2018 Best EMBAs: Ram Subramanian, Emory University (Goizueta)

Ram Subramanian

Emory University, Goizueta Business School

A physician who is intellectually stimulated by the application of business administration principles to healthcare.”

Age: 48

Hometown: New Delhi, India

Family Members: Wife (Chinmayee) and 2 sons (12 y/o Sanath, and 9 y/o Saurav)

Fun fact about yourself: Crazy about the sport of cricket

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Chicago, BA Economics.    University of Chicago, MD

Where are you currently working? Emory Healthcare, Medical Director, Liver Transplantation

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

Chair, Liver Failure Task Force, Society of Critical Care Medicine (A US National Society)

Consultant, Lifelink of Georgia (Role: providing guidance for management of organ donors to maximize number of organs that can be transplanted to patients on the transplant waitlist)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? During a healthcare operations course at Goizueta, I had the opportunity to prepare a case for class discussion based on my personal experience, and in addition, acted as the guest faculty to facilitate class discussion of that case.  This experience gave me the opportunity to function as a faculty member for a group of Executive MBA students, which is a role I enjoy and would like to pursue further in the field of the ‘Business of Healthcare’.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? During the course of my medical career, I have undergone unique and novel combined training that has brought together the fields of liver disease and critical care. This specialized training has created significant value with respect to improving patient care, developing innovative research, and defining novel training pathways for future healthcare providers.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite MBA professor was Professor Shehzad Mian. His passion for the subject of Finance is infectious. His brilliance as a teacher was exemplified by the fact that he was able to convey highly complex concepts in a manner that could be comprehended and applied successfully by an Executive MBA class.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? My favorite MBA class was the Operations Management course by Professor Walton. This course was very helpful for me to ‘connect the dots’ with respect to all the coursework in the MBA, including the topics of Strategy, Marketing, and Finance. An important insight that I gained from this class was the importance of first defining ‘value as defined by the customer’, which in turn will define business strategy and then determine the company’s operations and capabilities.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? Given the proximity of the Goizueta Business School to my hospital work, I was able to communicate effectively with the business school faculty and staff prior to enrolling in order to get information and advice regarding MBA options. The Modular MBA format was an ideal fit for my regular healthcare work schedule. Also, important, I was able to get input from Emory healthcare colleagues who had previously graduated from Goizueta executive MBA programs, all of whom recommended this executive program highly.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? The most enjoyable aspect about my business school experience has been interacting with my classmates. I have had the good fortune of having great classmates, who have brought an enormous breadth and depth of knowledge to the classroom.  I have learned as much from them as I have from the faculty.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? As I have come to appreciate the wisdom and talents of my MBA classmates, I have learned to seek the talents that exist in the different individuals in a group.   At work, when I am in charge of a team project, I am actively seeking to identify the strengths of each individual in the team, so that these individual strengths can be utilized collectively to execute the team’s goals.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? The executive MBA experience has taught me valuable lessons regarding time management and prioritization. With respect to juggling work, family and education, I remember an instance when I had a paper due for one of my classes, and I was challenged to meet its deadline due to two weeks of ICU hospital call, and an upcoming family trip. After strategizing with my wife, we decided that my window for writing the paper would be the 8 hour plane ride to Europe, and the airport wait prior to boarding. Utilizing a collective family effort (in which my sons agreed to bother only my wife), I was able to achieve the deliverable in a timely manner. The synthesis and completion of the paper at 30,000 feet will be a lasting memory.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? A ‘myth’ about going back to school is whether your brain can return to a ‘study mode’ that existed in one’s college days. I must admit that it took me a few weeks to recalibrate to being back in class, and being accountable for deliverables with deadlines. However, after the first couple of months, I was able to adjust into a school mode, and find a balance amongst work, school and family.

What was your biggest regret in business school? My biggest regret is that I wasn’t able to get to know a few of my classmates well. I have come to admire all my classmates for their specific insights and wisdom during our classroom discussions, and I wish I had more time to get to know some of them better outside the classroom.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Given the many impressive personalities in my class, it is hard to identify a single individual that I admire the most. Nonetheless, a classmate that I admire in particular is Ron Davis; he embodies an individual who couples intellectual rigor and excellence with empathy, compassion and authenticity.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I was reading the Harvard Business Review more than the New England Journal of Medicine.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…taking more physician executive training courses, and wonder about eventually pursuing an MBA.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? A potential long-term professional goal is to become a physician executive in charge of a large health care system.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? An individual who was driven by intellectual curiosity to learn and promote the application of business administration to healthcare delivery.

Favorite book: Notes from Underground by Dostoyevsky

Favorite movie or television show: Gladiator (Movie)

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Visiting Machu Picchu and watching a cricket match at the Lords cricket ground in London.

What made Ram such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“Ram is a liver transplant surgeon, accomplished medical researcher, and thought leader in the field of medicine. However, for the last several years, he has also been deeply immersed in building a business mindset, attending executive programs at Harvard, Northwestern and now most recently as an Executive MBA student at Emory. I got to know Ram several years before he enrolled in the Executive MBA program, and over many conversations with him discovered three things about Ram. First, he strives for excellence in all his pursuits. Second, he has the intellectual “engine” required to succeed in multiple disciplines.  Third, preparation and a laser-sharp thinking mind is at the heart of it all.  I teach a class module on “How Successful Leaders Think” and often times, I draw a parallel by getting my Executive MBA students to think about “How Successful Doctors Think.” As I reflect on the common attributes of being a successful leader and a successful doctor, it is crystal clear in my mind that Ram is that very perfect synthesis of the two.

Ram possesses a combination of intellect, ambition, and focus that easily places him among my top 5 students over a thirty-year career as a business school professor. From his academic accomplishments and numerous awards in the field of medicine to his passion for business education, it is clear that Ram strives towards excellence in all his endeavors. In the future, I expect Ram to use his unique intellectual capabilities to build a bridge between the field of medicine and the domain of business leadership.”

Shehzad Mian

Associate Professor of Finance

Emory University, Goizueta Business School



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