2016 Best EMBAs: Abeel A. Mangi, MIT (Sloan)

Abeel Mangi MIT

Abeel A. Mangi, MD

Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“Abeel truly lives the MIT motto of mens et manus (mind and hand), taking everything he learned in the classroom to make an impact at Yale University and New Haven Hospital. … Abeel lives and breathes MIT Management’s mission of being a principled, innovative leader who improves the world and encompasses everything we hope for in our students.”

Age:  43

Location: Guilford, CT

Family Members: Basmah Safdar (wife), Shizah Mangi (daughter, 13), Haniya Faroo (daughter, 11), Ayedin Mangi (son, 1), Basel Mangi (son, 5 months), Bash (our poodle, 2 years)

Education: Brown University, Sc.B., 1993; Brown University School of Medicine, M.D., 1997

Where are you currently working? I am associate professor of cardiac surgery at the Yale University School of Medicine, where I have been for five years. I am an active cardiac surgeon and perform around 225 operations a year. This is over the 90th percentile for cardiac surgeons nationally. I also run a sizeable clinical research program and publish and give talks nationally and internationally.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work, and Leadership Roles: I have participated in over 2,500 heart operations, including almost 1,000 at Yale. My leadership in the field includes describing one of the first uses of an artificial heart and lung in an awake, walking patient as a successful bridge to lung transplantation; pioneering work in the area of trans-catheter valve replacement; recognizing the importance of surgical technique in avoiding failure of certain types of artificial heart pumps; and investigating comparative cost-effectiveness of therapies for advanced heart failure.

Under my leadership, referrals to the heart failure program have increased over 1,000% and come from every part of the nation. Volume of the transplant and mechanical circulatory support programs has increased over 10-fold. Lengths of stay, morbidity and mortality are monitored in real time, and have steadily decreased. Quality has increased with outcomes better than the national averages in almost every category. I am responsible for managing a staff of 50 physicians and staff, and an annual budget of almost $20 million. The program has generated a 23% contribution margin consistently over five years.

Similarly, referrals to the valve program have increased by 1,000% with a 300% increase in trans-catheter valve replacement volumes and a concomitant increase in surgical valve volume of 25%. Lengths of stay, morbidity and mortality are monitored in real time, and have steadily decreased. Quality has increased with outcomes better than the national averages in almost every category. I am responsible for managing a staff of 10 physicians and staff, and an annual budget of almost $10 million. The program has generated a 40% contribution margin consistently over three years.

I have led (as principal or co-investigator) over two dozen clinical trials and studies, and have focused my research efforts on specialty interests, including trans-catheter repair and replacement of diseased heart valves; the surgical treatment of ischemic heart failure; cellular therapy to treat advanced heart damage; and expanded roles for left ventricular assist devices (artificial heart pumps). I am principal investigator on multiple clinical trials investigating catheter-based therapies for valvular heart disease and outcomes of patients supported on newer generation LVADs.

My research investigates important questions regarding variables that influence clinical outcomes for therapies for end-stage cardiac patients – whether those with advanced heart valve disease or advanced heart failure. Large national databases such as the Interagency Registry for Mechanical Assisted Circulatory Support (INTERMACS), United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), Society for Thoracic Surgeons (STS) and the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) have been used to analyze cost and cost-effectiveness for such therapies and clinical prediction modeling. More recently, my work has focused on dynamic work design in the health care delivery environment and optimized rational strategies to decrease costs of care.

I have been invited to speak about these clinical experience and research findings at conferences and symposia worldwide. I am the author or co-author of numerous book chapters on subjects related to my specialty interests, including advances in cardiac intensive care, cardiac surgery, assist devices, and treatment of heart failure. I have authored or co-authored over eighty published studies and abstracts in peer-reviewed publications, including Circulation, Nature Medicine, The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, and The Annals of Thoracic Surgery among others.

I serve on multiple institutional, national and international committees, scientific advisory boards, and have been elected to membership and fellowship in the most esteemed organizations in my field including the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation, The American College of Cardiology, The Society for Thoracic Surgeons, The Society of University Surgeons, and The American College of Surgeons.

In terms of “extracurricular activities” I enjoy weight training and cardiovascular exercise. I am training for an Iron Man triathlon. I read voraciously. I play the drums and am learning to play the trumpet.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? The accomplishment I am most proud of is having successfully implemented principles of robust optimization and dynamic work design into the Heart & Vascular Center at Yale New Haven Hospital.  Specifically, we set out to reduce the number of patients who required blood transfusion either during or after cardiac surgery and were able to decrease blood transfusion rates from 78% to 22%. A second project improved patient flow via operational efficiency, and resulting in 40-70% decreases in lengths of stay and a 30% decrease in cost per case.

In terms of extracurricular achievements, I am most proud of having had two sons born while I was an EMBA student at MIT.  My wife and I figured that what the heck, we are up all night anyway … why not have a couple more babies?!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? When I was being trained in cardiac surgery, I noticed that there were often times when a surgeon would get into trouble and would be unable to get himself or herself out of trouble without calling in one of his or her partners. I realized back then, that this was not a situation that I ever wanted to find myself in. I decided, back then to train in the most rigorous, and intellectually and technically challenging area of heart failure, artificial hearts and heart transplantation. The thing I am proudest of is that 10 years after having completed my training, I have become viewed locally, regionally and nationally as one of the guys who can get anyone out of trouble in the operating room. I set out wanting to prove something to myself – that I could do technically and intellectually extremely difficult surgery. I am proudest of the fact that 10 years later, I am recognized by my peers as someone who excels at that type of work. I have proved what I needed to prove, to myself.

Who is your favorite professor? I have been fortunate to work with great professors during my career. In medical school Ted Goslow was a man who would make anatomy come to life. As a medical student, Dr. Kirby Bland and Dr. Arun Singh mentored me and inspired a love of surgery in me. As a surgical resident, Dr. David Torchiana made me want to be a cardiac surgeon. Dr. Victor Dzau – perhaps more than anyone else – honed my ability to think critically and rigorously about any scientific question. As a surgeon, Dr. Eric Rose, Dr. Yoshi Naka and Dr. Bruce Lytle mentored me to excel as a man and doctor.

In business school, that person has been Professor Nelson Repenning.  Nelson’s ability to bring to life the cognitive and psychological underpinnings of learning, and organizational dynamics has had an unparalleled influence on my way of thinking. He was able to take someone who is well educated, somewhat accomplished, and successful as myself and convince me that there are entirely different ways of looking at the world, people, and organizations.  He is energetic, engaged, healthily skeptical of the world, and shines a light on the way the world works that is unparalleled in my experience.

Favorite MBA Courses? Organizations Laboratory – where you have to solve a complex problem in your home organization using the toolkit you are taught; Operations Management – to figure out how to make the world function more effectively; Financial Management – the blood that nourishes our economy.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? I came because the people I met here believe in what they are doing and adhere unflinchingly to the mission of MIT Sloan – to create principled leaders who will transform the world. The mission statement had me intrigued, the way the people of MIT Sloan live the mission statement had me wholly committed. Several people asked me why I had not opted to do a health-care related MBA, and I always responded that I know enough about how healthcare works. I want to learn about industries completely unrelated to healthcare in order to improve healthcare with learnings from those industries.

What did you enjoy most about business school? I enjoyed learning that teams resolve difficult problems far more effectively than individuals ever can.  This is a very different mentality from that of a surgeon – who tends to be looked at as the “leader” of a team. I cherished interacting with, and learning from, my peers and classmates.  Frankly, I enjoyed learning again. All through college, medical school and residency I had been on such a steep learning curve. All of a sudden, I felt that I was no longer learning.  I was creating literature and shaping the world of cardiac surgery but that was not enough, and frankly that realization frightened me. Learning to learn again, especially in a manner that is so different than how I learned in college and medical school has been an absolute delight for me.

What was the hardest part of business school? Nothing about it was intrinsically hard.  The hardest thing about the weekends at school was realizing that there was so much to do, and so many people to see and talk to – that there was just never enough time in the day to get to it all.

What is your best advice for juggling work, family and education? Make sure that everyone in your family (and I mean everyone) is absolutely on board with your plans and do your diligence as to how much school will take of your day up front. Similarly, make sure that your boss is absolutely committed to you completing the program and that she or he realizes that she or he is investing in you for the future. Carve out time to study – for me it was early in the morning and between surgeries.  Make sure that you dig your teeth deep into every subject and wring the most that you can out of it.  The time comes to an end really quickly – and there is a sense that one will never again have an opportunity to learn so much.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your executive MBA program? Very similar to what I said above.  Make sure that you have the buy-in from your family and your bosses before you embark upon this.  Keep an open mind and enjoy the ride – you will learn more that you thought was possible.  Don’t judge classes – try to extract every last morsel of information from every class.  Engage with your classmates, your peers and with your professors.  Everyone has a lot to learn from one another. Think constantly about how you might apply what you are learning to your job today. The beautiful thing about being an EMBA student is that you are actually in a position to start changing your organization today. Think about how you used to do things, and contrast that thinking with how you do things today – armed with the scientific underpinnings of management today.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…” I was an undergraduate in college. It only took me 20 years to figure out that I really had no idea how to run things and that I needed a formal education in how to do it.

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would” still be mired in the muck.

What are your long-term professional goals? I am globally interested in changing the way health care is delivered in America today. Despite our tremendous technical know how and commitment to excellent results, we suffer from a near tragic misalignment of incentives and structures that pit patients, doctors, administrators and payers against one another. There is a lot that we need to accomplish as an industry in order to ensure that 50 years from now – we are still in a position to deliver the best care in the world.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My wife, my confidant and my best friend Basmah.  Without Basmah’s support I would never have had the courage to enroll in the program and to invest the time and energy needed to complete it. Without her incisive questions and commentary, I would never have developed the insights for why I needed to enroll. Without her ability to challenge me to be better than I ever thought I could be – I would never have been so open to learning and to the exhausting amount of work that was often demanded of me. Finally, without her own personal demonstration of excellence (Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Yale, MPH from Harvard, the mother of four children, a busy clinician, a funded researcher, a leader in her field), I would never have known what a human being is capable of.

Fun fact about yourself: I ride a Harley Davidson Heritage Soft-tail Classic.  I played drums in a band and still play.  I had hair down to the middle of my back in college.

Favorite book: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.

Favorite movie: Lawrence of Arabia with Peter O’Toole

Favorite musical performer: The Afro-Cuban All Stars

Favorite television show: “Ballers” on HBO

Favorite vacation spot: The Galapagos Islands

Hobbies? Motorcycling, the pursuit of the perfect bourbon, exercise, cooking for my family, Cuban cigars, travel to unexplored corners of the world, learning new things.

What made Abeel such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“From the start, Abeel impressed us with his relentless commitment to improving healthcare. His incredible success in his field speaks for itself, yet you would never guess it from meeting him as he is one of the most humble students we’ve had in the EMBA program. Abeel truly lives the MIT moto of mens et manus (mind and hand) taking everything he learned in the classroom to make an impact at Yale University and New Haven Hospital. To date, he will go on record for writing the most impact stories from the EMBA, writing a blog for the MIT EMBA Executive Insights, a case with Prof. Roberto Fernandez, and an article in progress with Prof. Nelson Repenning. With his writing about improvements he’s been able to implement that impacts lives and dollars saved, he is inspiring candidates, current and future students for years to come. Abeel lives and breathes MIT Management’s mission of being a principled, innovative leader who improves the world and encompasses everything we hope for in our students.”

Johanna Hising DiFabio, MIT Executive MBA Program Director

Nelson Repenning, MIT Executive MBA Faculty Director and Faculty for 4 of Abeel’s Courses


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