2019 Best EMBAs: Bryan Kelly, New York University (Stern)

Bryan T. Kelly, MD

New York University, Stern School of Business

“Specialist in sports injuries, arthroscopic and open surgical management of non-arthritic disorders around the hip.”

Age: 50

Hometown: Riverside, CT

Family Members: Lois (wife), Conor, Emma, Jack, Ryan (children)

Fun fact about yourself: Bachelor of Arts, Music, Applied Music in Jazz Piano

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Brown University – Bachelor of Science, Psychology; Bachelor of Arts, Music

Duke University School of Medicine – Doctor of Medicine

New York Presbyterian Hospital – Internship in General Surgery

Hospital for Special Surgery – Residency in Orthopaedic Surgery

Hospital for Special Surgery – Fellowship in Sports Medicine

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center – Fellowship in Sports Hip Injuries

Where are you currently working? Hospital for Special Surgery – Chief, Sports Medicine Service; Surgeon-in-Chief (as of July, 2019)

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

Present Head     Consulting Orthopaedic Surgeon, UFC

Present Head     Team Physician, New York Rangers

Present Chief of Sports Medicine & Shoulder Service

Present Co-Director for the Center for Hip Preservation

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Throughout business school, I was able to delicately balance my school responsibilities with a busy surgical practice in sports medicine, continued presence at national and international academic meetings in the field of orthopaedics, serving as the Head Team Physician for the New York Rangers, running the largest sports medicine department in the country, starting the Center for Professional Sports Medicine, and being a husband and father of four kids. Very challenging – but my EMBA from NYU Stern has opened my eyes to the rest of the world.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Becoming Chief of the Sports Medicine Service is the achievement I am most proud of because it enabled me to provide strong leadership. I oversee and manage all aspects of the service through the use of delegated leadership positions. I work to engage as many of the members of the service as possible to play an active role in the continued growth and development of the service and hospital. This enables us to maintain the position of one of the top sports medicine programs in the world working out of HSS, the #1 nationally ranked Orthopaedics Department. I believe that when we are inspired by and supportive of each other’s success, and that when each of us succeeds as an individual, it makes us better as a group. The success of the service is ultimately the responsibility of the Service Chief and I believe I have been able to make significant contributions to our current success through effective leadership and by improving the culture of our peers.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Helio Fred Garcia, who taught his course on Crisis Management, was my favorite MBA professor.  He had an engaging speaking style and brought to life amazing and controversial real-life situations that had a great impact on my way of viewing decision-making and leadership.  He was able to clearly and articulately outline an organized strategy to deal with crisis situations that can be applied across all organizations and industries. As a result of his course, I have brought him in to meet with hospital leadership to help us develop a crisis management team at my place of work.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? My favorite course was Leadership in Organizations taught by Professor Anat Lechner. In my current role as the Chief of Sports Medicine, as well as my future role as Surgeon-in-Chief, I am in a position to lead large numbers of successful surgeons and physicians. I have learned that although there are some people who are better leaders than others, leadership in and of itself is not an intuitive skill. The ability to lead effectively, particularly when you are leading a group of highly skilled and successful professionals, requires many different approaches.  Professor Lechner’s course delved into many of the different techniques of leadership and exposed many of the pitfalls that leaders can encounter, providing great insight into how to avoid them, as well as how to appropriately choose different approaches in different scenarios.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? The executive MBA program at NYU Stern offered everything I was looking for in my business training. It is ranked as one of the top EMBA programs in the country, is located close to my place of work, and has a great and diverse curriculum that provides both strong foundational classes as well as a wide array of elective classes that offers numerous specialization areas. I was particularly interested in specialized classes in leadership and strategy. In addition, several classes in healthcare business and economics were particularly relevant to my career development.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? It was the opportunity to learn about how businesses function outside my area of expertise in medicine was amazing. Having spent the last 25 years of my life focusing on being a doctor and a surgeon, I had become closed off to many of the challenges facing the rest of the world and other industries. To me, the EMBA was essentially studying the instruction manual on how the world functions. The ability to learn about the challenges faced in other industries will allow me to integrate new ideas from a different perspective into the healthcare world.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? The biggest lesson that I learned from my EMBA is how quickly the world is changing and integrating advanced technology to streamline business opportunities. Healthcare is much further behind other industries in how they are incorporating information technology, data science, and predictive analytics into business operations. Consumers are demanding more efficiency and better value for their experiences.  We have already initiated changes in our hospital to improve access and provide higher quality care to more patients based upon the technological advances that have been used successfully in other industries.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family, and education? Juggling work, family, and education is challenging. Trying to figure out that balance is hard, and you’re always wondering if you should be doing more or less of one thing or another. My week consists of seeing patients and performing surgeries all day – usually leaving the house around 5:30 a.m. and getting home on a regular workday around 9 p.m. Administrative work required as the Chief of Sports Medicine involves managing 30 surgeons and an additional 15 non-operative sports medicine doctors. On days that I cover Rangers games, I go directly from the hospital to Madison Square Garden to cover games and usually get home around 11:30 p.m.  So adding four full days of class per month every other Friday and Saturday was an additional challenge to my family life.  What was interesting was how my children reacted to me going back to school.  For them, it was a great example of how learning is a lifetime experience. Involving them in what I was learning and bringing them to Rangers games whenever possible has helped me use my work and my education as a way to get closer to them. Of course, none of this would be possible without a loving wife and the best mother in the world for our four kids.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? My advice to a student looking to enter an Executive MBA program is that they should do it. It has given me a new lens for understanding the challenges that all businesses across all industries face. And it has given me new tools to enable me to function as a better leader in healthcare. My sense is that these same tools will help graduates in whatever industry they are in.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? The biggest myth about going back to school is that it will be hard to get back into the student mentality and that it will be impossible to have time to study and get ready for test-taking and projects. My experience was that school is completely different after you have been in the working world. You are doing it because you are curious. Realizing that what you are learning will have a direct positive impact on your career when you are done changes the motivation and has made the experience incredibly enjoyable and fulfilling.

What was your biggest regret in business school? My biggest regret in business school was that I was unable to spend as much time as I would have liked with my classmates. One of the great advantages of business school is the chance to meet new people and forge networks that will create new friendships and opportunities for business partnerships and relationships in the future. Although I have made great new friends and relationships over the course of my EMBA, I would have liked to have spent more time with them.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The classmate that I admire the most is David Berglund. A fellow physician with a strong interest in research and innovation, I was very impressed with his past accomplishments and future goals. Even more impressive was his commitment to his EMBA as for the first year-and-a-half he traveled every two weeks from Europe for school. I was always amazed that he was able to travel here every class weekend and admired his stamina and endurance.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I knew I wanted to go to business school when I became the Chief of the Sports Medicine Service at Hospital for Special Surgery and realized how important a business education would be to function as a successful leader in healthcare.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My long-term goal is to continue my career as a successful sports medicine surgeon and team doctor and integrate leadership opportunities into my job to help improve our healthcare system providing better access for high-quality care to those who need it.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I would like my peers to remember me as a successful surgeon who was able to have a significant positive impact on our healthcare system.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  1. Play piano in a blues band
  2. Travel to Fiji for a three-week vacation

What made Bryan such an invaluable addition to the class of 2019?

“Bryan brings a truly unique perspective to the Executive MBA community at NYU Stern. He is a talented surgeon and a strong leader who exemplifies humility and diligence in the cohort. He brings a thoughtful presence to the classroom and his peers enjoy learning from his diverse experiences as the Head Team Physician for the New York Rangers and running the largest sports medicine department in the US. Given his talent and commitment to academics, we are confident that Bryan will continue to make a great impact in medicine and that the foundation he builds through the NYU Stern Executive MBA program will empower him with the skills to lead, manage and grow his team and organization. Bryan is an invaluable asset to our program and we know that he will serve as a strong Executive MBA ambassador going forward.”

Neha Singhal

Senior Director, Executive MBA Admissions & Marketing

NYU Stern School of Business


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