2016 Best EMBAs: Kathleen McCoy, Washington University (Olin)

Katie McCoy Washington

Kathleen McCoy

Washington University in Saint Louis, Olin Business School 

“There are no tricks or shortcuts … work hard but efficiently, make time for family, and don’t forget to occasionally take time out for yourself.”

Age: 31

Location: St. Louis, Missouri

Education: Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, B.S. Engineering Physics (2006); Washington University in St. Louis, M.D./M.A. (2011)

Where are you currently working? Neurosurgery resident at Barnes Jewish Hospital/Washington University in St. Louis

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

  • Running (marathons/half-marathons), triathlons
  • Coached “Girls on the Run” in previous years
  • Assist in teaching anatomy course for nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants in the neurosciences
  • Medical student liaison and mentor for medical students interested in neurosurgery; assisted in recruitment efforts for new neurosurgical residents
  • The Robert L. Grubb Jr. M.D. Neurosurgical Resident Clinical Excellence Award, 2012-2013
  • Department of Neurosurgery Resident Teaching Award, 2014-2015

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? In 2015, I was the recipient of the Neurosurgery Resident Teaching Award in my department. This award is voted on by all of the medical students who rotate through our department and is given to the resident thought to be the most dedicated to teaching. Receiving this award was a great honor, as I really enjoy working with students, and teaching/sharing knowledge with the younger trainees is something that is very important to me.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I was awarded the Grubb Award for Neurosurgical Clinical Excellence at the end of my second year of neurosurgical training. This is given to the resident, as voted on by the neurosurgical chiefs, who embodies the qualities of an excellent neurosurgical resident. It has always been important to me that I do my best in anything that I pursue, and to be acknowledged for this by my peers was very special.

Favorite MBA Courses? Macroeconomics, Business Analytics, Negotiations.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? Washington University’s executive MBA program has a reputation for excellence and its graduates have a track record of success. I spoke with multiple alumni of the program and was impressed with the quality of the executive education as well as the importance placed on the development of leadership skills.

What did you enjoy most about business school? Beyond the unbelievably accomplished professors and the breadth of coursework that we are exposed to, I was thoroughly impressed with the achievements of my classmates. This program has given me the invaluable opportunity to network with and learn from a diverse and talented group of people removed from the medical field.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? The biggest lesson that I learned is the importance of not only the “hard skills” of finance, strategy, etc., but also the importance of the “soft skills” of leadership, including emotional intelligence. These interpersonal skills are equally as important, if not more so, for success as a leader.

What was the hardest part of business school? Two words: time management.

What is your best advice for juggling work, family, and education? There are no tricks or shortcuts. Work hard but efficiently, make time for family, and don’t forget to occasionally take time out for yourself.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your executive MBA program? Don’t be afraid to try something new! I had very limited knowledge of what the world of business entailed upon entering the executive MBA program, and I encountered many skeptics who did not see the value of a physician getting an MBA. The program has opened my eyes to innumerable opportunities that allow me to continue practicing medicine while bridging the gap between health care practitioners and the business world in the ever-changing world of health care.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when …” My department had a presentation from the executive leadership of the hospital on the changing face of medicine and the financial impact that new health care legislation would have on the delivery of health care. I knew that I wanted to get involved in this realm, trying to maximize the quality of health care for our patients in a fiscally responsible manner, something that an MBA would help me achieve.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be …” Hopefully an excellent neurosurgeon, yet unaware of the opportunities I had missed out on.

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? Prior to enrolling in the executive MBA program, I would have answered this question much differently. However, recently we had to give marketing presentations to our class as part of an assignment. One of my classmates, Candice Goeggel, spoke of her project “Little Bit of Haven,” that provides lodging to families while their loved ones are receiving medical care. It was not fame or fortune that impressed me … rather it was her obvious passion for this project. Her love of her work was undeniable, and made a lasting impression on our entire class. To truly find something that you are passionate about and use it to better the lives of others — this is something that I admire and aspire toward.

What are your long-term professional goals? I want to establish and maintain a busy neurosurgical practice, while also getting involved in hospital administration in an effort to bridge the gap between health care professionals and the business of medicine. My hope is to maximize the value of health care delivered to our patients with a focus on quality improvement balanced with cost management.

Favorite book: The Great Gatsby

Favorite movie: The Fugitive

Favorite musical performer: Hmm … it changes … most of the Top 40 … currently Ed Sheeran

Favorite television show: “Law and Order”

Favorite vacation spot: Bar Harbor, Maine

Hobbies? Running, swimming, yoga, spending time with family/friends

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

“Katie is incredibly capable. After completing her M.D. at Washington University (one of the most selective medical programs in the country), and while completing the fourth year of a demanding neurosurgery residency at Barnes Jewish Hospital, Katie decided she needed to prepare herself for the management side of health care by pursuing an executive MBA at the Olin Business School. She has excelled in the program. She works hard, is quick to grasp complex issues and problems, and is a very warm and collaborative member of her study team. Her sharp insight, unassuming personality, and high energy draw people to her and make those around her better. After balancing the almost impossibly heavy demands of career and school, she unwinds by competing in triathlons. We’re proud to have Katie in our program and we’re excited to see how she decides to shake up the world.”

Stuart Bunderson

Associate Dean & Director of Executive Programs

Washington University, Olin Business School


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