2017 Best EMBAs: Anna C. Pavlick, MD, Columbia Business School

Anna C. Pavlick, MD

Columbia Business School

“Resilient, smart, compassionate, innovative go-getter.”

Age: 54

Hometown: Wallington, NJ

Family Members: Neil, my husband passed away in 2012 leaving me with our 5 large, furry rescued dogs. Cherish my Mom-Pat and Dad-Donald, Father-in-law-Neil, Sister- Patsy, her husband Camille and awesome nieces, Lauren and Sarah and irreplaceable Sister-in-law-Debbie. Always remember my brother, Donald who passed away in 2003.

Fun fact about yourself: Barbie Doll collector

Undergraduate School and Degree: Undergraduate-Fairfield University-BS in Biology and Nursing; Fairleigh Dickinson University-MSc in Human Anatomy; UMDNJ-Rutgers Medical School-MD

Where are you currently working? NYU School of Medicine/NYU Cancer Center – Professor of Medicine and Dermatology, Clinical Oncologist and Researcher in Melanoma and Medical Director of the NYU Cancer Center Clinical Trials Office.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: America’s Best Doctors, America’s Best Doctors for Cancer

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of being one of very few women in academia to be promoted to a Full Professor of Medicine and Dermatology at NYU.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of being part of the melanoma research team who conducted the clinical trials that successfully got 7 new melanoma drugs FDA approved. These medications changed the survival of metastatic melanoma patients from 5% to 65%. It’s the dream of every academic, clinical researcher to see this happen and be part of it.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Hitendra Wadwha. His course expanded my self-awareness and provided me with leadership insight that has dramatically influenced my daily interactions with my colleagues and staff. My life was changed for the better because of him.

What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? My favorite MBA course was Business Law with Professor Donna Hitscherich. This class provided me with a wealth of basic legal knowledge which I have been able to apply to my work and personal life.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? I needed to be mentally challenged and wanted to learn something completely out of my field. Columbia’s EMBA program offered me the highest quality education on a schedule that I could balance with my busy clinical research practice. I definitely gave me what I was looking for!

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? I Loved learning so many things I had absolutely no idea about. I was pushed like never before, which was what I wanted. I am also so much more time efficient due to this program and am now part of an incredible network.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? I was asked to give a lecture in Washington, DC at a melanoma meeting during my first year at CBS which was an honor. However, it only added more stress to my already busy life. I had a marketing exam on Saturday and the lecture was on Friday. I was able to settle everything at home for my “boys” (one dog takes 16 pills a day for epilepsy) and have my father-in-law feel comfortable with taking care of them overnight, book an Acela to DC for Thursday night after office hours and study for the exam down and back on the train. It actually was great to have 4 dedicated hours each way to study in the “Quiet Car”! Was able to give a great lecture, my “boys” and father-in-law were fine, and I did well on the exam.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s executive MBA program? As long as you have discipline and motivation, you can accomplish anything.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? The biggest myth is that as you get older you can’t study and perform like you used to when you were young. This was very different from all my other educational experiences, since this is the first time I was working full-time and going to school full time. Clearly this was more challenging to balance, but once you can find a routine, it’s doable and you can succeed.

What was your biggest regret in business school? Regret I didn’t take more finance classes.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire Young Le. She came from Vietnam as a child with her mother and brother and had a challenging childhood here in the US. Despite her turbulent start, she excelled in school and became an aeronautical engineer and builds helicopters. Her desire to succeed and thrive is remarkable and she is a kind, compassionate human being as well. She is one amazing woman.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I was sitting in GWB traffic on my way to work. I had time to think about how I was yearning to be challenged and learn something new, then it came to me to get my MBA!”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…stagnant and unhappy. Business school provided me with the opportunity to move forward into something productive and “unknown” to me after my husband died. It allowed me to move on to the next chapter of my life and truly expanded my knowledge and friendships.”

What is your favorite company and what are they doing that makes them so special? My favorite company has to be Blue Apron. Their health, education and environmentally conscious mission is what more companies need to do. They are a successful business, but believe in a social mission as well. They exemplify the best of both worlds.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I would like to be a Chairman of Hematology/Oncology or Medicine. I would also like my biotech start up to be successful, so that our antibody can further help cure cancer.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? The people I most want to thank for my success is my family. They have always been there to support me even if they thought I lost my mind by going back to school. They have celebrated my successes and been there for me in my time of greatest loss and pain. I would be nothing without all of them.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Smart, motivated and always willing to help.

Favorite book: Diary of Anne Frank

Favorite movie or television show: Armageddon (I’m all about saving the world!)

Favorite musical performer: Phil Collins

Favorite vacation spot: Italy

Hobbies? Barbie doll collecting, reading, rescuing large dogs, cooking and baking.

What made Anna such an invaluable addition to the class of 2017?

“Anna is a wonderful, inspirational member of our EMBA community. She is an accomplished and dedicated medical doctor who brings a wealth of experience and perspective to the classroom. She is a unique individual who has overcome personal losses with a positive approach to moving forward in her life. She exhibits warmth and enthusiasm and is well-regarded by her classmates.

A few comments from fellow students:

“Anna always has a great attitude in any situation, and constantly has a great story to share with her classmates.”

“She lightens people’s day and inspires her peers to go after our goals. Her professional experience is extensive, and her job at NYU changes lives.”

“Anna is an exemplary role model of what success looks like professionally and personally. She is an inspiration to our class on many levels.”

Kelley Martin Blanco

Dean of Students

Executive MBA Program


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.