2018 Best EMBAs: Ronnie I. Mimran, Cornell University (Johnson)

Ronnie I. Mimran

Cornell Executive MBA Americas program, Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University

Loving and devoted father, passionate and ambitious neurosurgeon, with an eye for innovative healthcare solutions.”

Age:  44

Hometown: Danville, CA

Family Members:  Sophia, 11, and Andrew/Audrey, 9 (my children); Albert and Zipi Mimran (father and mother); Erica Sherlock (sister)

Fun fact about yourself:  I taught high school (AP government and mathematics) before going to medical school.

Undergraduate School and Degree: UCLA (BS in Physiology, 1994); USC (MD, 1999); University of Florida (neurosurgery residency, 1999–2005)

Where are you currently working? Pacific Brain and Spine Medical Group (neurosurgeon, partner); Oakland Raiders (neurosurgical consultant); AngelMD (Medical Director, SF Bay Area)

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: Chief of Neurosurgery, Sutter Eden Medical Center; Cornell Ambassador

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?  I would view my greatest achievement of business school as the formation of amazing relationships with my team and with my class. From the outset, I set a goal of doing whatever was necessary to see my team reach new heights, earn grades they could be proud of, and graduate with a degree. Grades were not as important to me, but seeing my teammates succeed was incredibly important.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Becoming board certified in neurosurgery. After four years of medical school, seven years of residency and fellowship, then five years in practice, passing my board exam represented the culmination of years of hard work, intellectual learning, and a passion for excellent patient care.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it?  This is a toss-up between New Business Ventures (entrepreneurship) and Corporate Governance. It’s ironic, because these were both areas that I felt I had a good foundation of knowledge going into them, and yet I learned the most from them. They have immediate, real-world applicability for me in my new role as the medical director for a healthcare startup investment network.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program?  There are pros and cons to many of the executive programs. The online programs can be too impersonal and lack the ability to network and learn from your peers; the in-person programs require a tremendous time commitment that often busy execs can’t afford. Cornell offered the best of both worlds — a convenient, local program (from a logistical perspective), with a technology-enabled way of interacting with my peers, all from a nationally known and respected school with top-notch faculty.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? I really enjoyed bringing in some experience from the real world and being able to use that knowledge to frame all that I was learning. It really is an amazing way to learn and gives perspective that is very difficult to get in any other manner.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education?  I don’t want it to get out there, but I actually took a trauma call at my hospital from the Cornell boardroom. I wouldn’t recommend it, as it was stressful, and I probably didn’t learn a whole lot those two days, but it was necessary at the time in order to pass my classes and keep my job!

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? The biggest myth is that it’s hard to learn after a certain age, that you lose your patience and skills to study and attend lectures. It was the exact opposite! I found it to be more interesting than most of my classes in college, and its real-world implications (on a daily basis) were oftentimes fascinating!

What was your biggest regret in business school?  Not doing it sooner! I have discovered an entirely different skill set that I enjoy immensely and is very complementary to my current job as a neurosurgeon. I wish I could have been using my newfound business knowledge long before now.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I absolutely cannot choose between two! Reva Srinivasan was amazing. She balanced an incredibly busy marketing career (which included monthly trips to Toronto), a toddler at home, a marriage to an incredibly supportive spouse, and getting an advanced degree at an Ivy League institution — and did it all with incredible patience and grace. And Ola Allen-Taylor, who decided to get her MBA degree to add to an already altruistic career where she leads educational efforts for the inner-city kids in Oakland. Not only has she devoted her life to this, but then she piled on all the work and time required by an MBA so that she could spearhead this noble effort even more effectively.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I realized that being a business leader in the healthcare space could actually impact POPULATIONS of patients, many more than being a doctor and treating them one at a time.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…a step behind when working in the corporate world; I would always feel like I was a medical person in a room full of business people.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal?  To continue doing neurosurgery, but someday transition into a chief medical officer role for a medical device or biotech company, or perhaps some other healthcare organization.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you?  I would love it if they remembered me for my sense of humor and my ability to keep a level head no matter what amount of chaos was raining down on us during the program!

Favorite book:  Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Favorite movie or television show:  Seriously? How can anyone NOT put Game of Thrones here?!

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Travel around the world and host my own late-night talk show. In no particular order.

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

“Ronnie proves the point that EMBA programs attract ambitious professionals with diverse and impressive backgrounds. He started his career as a history teacher and then became a neurosurgeon after many years of advanced education and hard work. When Ronnie applied to the EMBA Americas program, he was balancing four different roles. While he was busy operating, teaching, managing, and consulting, he also paid attention to the healthcare industry and decided that he needed to learn more about business to make an even greater impact. Ronnie is not an ordinary doctor. He has earned recognition as a Top Doctor in the San Francisco Bay Area three years running, has received the Patient’s Choice Award for seven consecutive years, and earned the Compassionate Doctor Award five times. Ronnie specializes in minimally invasive and navigated spine surgery and has taught more than 200 courses on this technique around the world. In addition, he treats brain disorders.

Ronnie has balanced the demands of his career and the program with humility, ease, and a sense of humor. Given the way his patients feel about him, it is no surprise he is a highly supportive classmate and teammate. And, he has been a supporter of the program, engaging with and encouraging prospective and new students. With an MBA in hand, we know that Ronnie will continue to do amazing things. We’re excited to see what he does next.”

Verne Thalheimer

Director, Cornell Executive MBA Americas

Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

Cornell SC Johnson College of Business

Cornell University



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