2016 Best EMBAs: Mark Shen, University of Texas (McCombs)

Mark Shen Texas

Mark Shen

University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business

Age: 43

Location: Austin, Texas

Family Members: Wife Bridget, daughters Livia (5) and Lucia (3)

Undergraduate School and Degree: Stanford University, B.S. biology

Where are you currently working? President, Dell Children’s Medical Center

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work, and Leadership Roles: Board member of Ronald McDonald Charities of Central Texas, Center for Child Protection, Children’s Optimal Health; steering committee member of American Academy of Pediatrics Value in Inpatient Pediatrics Network; board chair of Children’s Hospital Association of Texas; associate professor of medicine and Fellowship Program director for Pediatric Hospital Medicine, Dell Medical School at UT Austin.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I received the Kozmetsky Scholar award for a 4.0 GPA during business school. However, I was most proud of my ability to balance a family with two young children, a new role as president of Dell Children’s Medical Center (started officially a few months before the MBA began), and a healthy amount of practical learning from each and every class.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of the continual learning and evolution of my career. When I look back at key moments in my career — to become an academic pediatric hospitalist, to lead a hospitalist group, and to become president of a children’s hospital — my motivations have been my own personal learning in each and every instance. As a result, I have largely surrounded myself with talented individuals and created some incredibly strong teams.

Favorite MBA Courses? Strategic Innovation (see above), Leading People and Organizations (systems and organizational leadership), Advocacy (selling ideas in organizations)

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? I could have opted for a master’s in Healthcare Administration or a health care-focused MBA, but I chose this program because it did not emphasize any one industry and had a great mix of students (tech, engineering, military, etc.).

What did you enjoy most about business school? The camaraderie of like-minded individuals willing to do more than just question things at work, but continually apply new concepts to existing and future business problems.

What was the most surprising thing about business school? The degree to which I would learn from my peers and the importance of a team in that learning process.

What is your best advice for juggling work, family, and education? Have a solid plan developed in conjunction with your family and work. Plan constantly. Do not procrastinate. Study, work and spend time with family consistently each day/week.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your executive MBA program? If you find yourself thinking a lot about whether you should do this — jump in! Don’t regret something you didn’t do.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when …” I went to bed every night looking up details of schools.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be …” A very average and narrow-minded hospital executive.

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? Elon Musk, for his bold vision and courage.

What are your long-term professional goals? My goal is to create an ecosystem for innovation in child health.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? Without any question, my wife, for her eternal role as the matriarch of our family and for always understanding my desire to learn.

Fun fact about yourself: I am homeless: I was born in Cleveland, Ohio. I lived in Saudi Arabia for 10 years (my dad worked for an oil company). I went to boarding school in Connecticut (no English high schools in Saudi Arabia at the time). I went to college in California. I went to medical school in Texas.

Favorite journal: The New England Journal of Medicine

Favorite movie: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Favorite musical performer: Jack Johnson

Favorite television show: Sports events

Favorite vacation spot: Hawaii

Hobbies? Fantasy sports (football, basketball, soccer, etc.)


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