2018 Best EMBAs: Roopal Bhatt, MD, University of Texas (McCombs)

Roopal Bhatt, MD

University of Texas, McCombs School of Business

Age: 43

“I am a mother, physician, giver. I am an extroverted introvert, internally fierce, a foundation.:

Hometown: Poughkeepsie, NY

Family Members: Nuclear family: Kunjan Bhatt, MD (cardiologist), Sapna 11 year old daughter, Devan 8 year old son.

Fun fact about yourself: I can read palms.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

  • Harvard University, 1992-1996, AB in Biology (Neurobiology emphasis), cum laude
  • State University of New York Downstate College of Medicine, summa cum laude, Junior AΩA, 1997- 2001, MD.

Where are you currently working?

  • Four Points Dermatology, a division of US Derm Partners – Dermatologist (I sold my two home-grown Austin Dermatology offices in 2016; I remain as a physician employee)
  • Austin VA and Little River Healthcare – Staff Dermatologist

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: (Include school awards and honors)

  • “Texas Super Doctor” 2015-current and “Texas Rising Star” 2013-2014; “Austin Monthly Magazine’s Best Dermatologist” 2018
  • Harvard University- Dean’s list; John Harvard and Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Scholarships, Women’s crew, community service;
  • SUNY Downstate Medical Center: resident advisor and resident director for students.
  • I teach Dermatology residents at Austin VA; Clinical Assistant Professor for Dell Medical School
  • Lead annual office fundraiser for local Children’s Hospitals in Austin

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I thought myself a decent public speaker, but I surprisingly found myself getting stage-fright with this “Socratic method” teaching style of Business School. It became more nerve-wracking speaking in front of fellow students than physician colleagues. The final day of classes, I voluntarily did a formal presentation in our corporate restructuring class – I was proud of the content and my delivery. For me that was more challenging than any written exam I have ever had.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In June 2013, my two children and myself as pedestrians were hit by an SUV. Joyously, my children survived and thrived.  Professionally, I successfully continued juggling being a business owner, a wife/mother, a physician, and eventually, a student again. The learning through our struggles is what enriches and empowers us.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Sandy Leeds – our Investment Theory professor – is sharp, thoughtful, and committed. An ex-NYC litigator, he was no-nonsense and direct. It was obvious in his course materials how much time and effort and responsibility he took in his role as educator.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? I liked our Negotiations class very much. The professor was surprisingly mild-mannered – yet that juxtaposition of his knowledge with his personality emphasized that we are negotiating with human beings who each have needs and wants. Negotiations are about balance, problem-solving, and optimizing, not necessarily about competition, duping, or always getting one’s way. As importantly, you must stay true to who you are.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? I have the privilege of living in the great city of Austin, TX, which a multitude of resources. I chose McCombs due to its reputation, its faculty, and convenience.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? It exercised my mind again and made me see a new world through a very different viewpoint. Through the help of my (often younger) student cohort, I developed a more flexible way of thinking. Also, the really cool thing was that I found myself practically applying the educational concepts in my job.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? One of the biggest social interaction lessons I learned was through my Leadership class through a concept called VABES – “values, assumptions, beliefs, expectations.” Essentially, it allowed us to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes. This lesson has made my interactions so much more powerful and simpler – it has brought cohesion to my professional and social family.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? The last semester of our EMBA program, I took on being an EMBA Legacy Scholarship co-chair, all the while trying to fundraise keep up with lessons and deliverables for our EMBA program, continue to see more and more patients in clinic,being there for my children and husband’s school and professional career, and keeping up with aging parents. My family all ‘girdled our loins,’ and we got up very early, worked, studied, and stayed up late. “It takes a village” to get an education…

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? It will be the best and probably most challenging time of your post-college life. Make sure you allocate enough time to get the most out of the experience – from other amazing students and the incredible professors. “The learning is in the struggle.”

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? It is not as easy the second time around – neurons in the brain fire slower, other commitments run through your mind clouding your concentration, the multi-tasking is more intense.

What was your biggest regret in business school? Most of us missed the time with our families, especially our children.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admired an older female vascular surgeon – she was really “fierce” and was eloquent, smart, strategic, and commanded a lot of respect. I admired the way she logically thought and asserted herself. I aspire to be like her in many ways.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school whenwhen I sold my businesses to private equity. Getting an MBA was always on my bucket list, but I felt the need to diversify with another educational degree to remind myself to always try to be independent-minded and sharp.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…struggling to figure out what I wanted to do in life and how to re-invent myself.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I love what I do, and this business degree lets me appreciate the complexity of the business of medicine even more. Medicine is being consolidated and even more controlled, and healthcare still takes up almost 20% of the US GDP. I will always practice clinical medicine, and I hope to branch out into management and perhaps consulting.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? She was a cool, hard-working, kind person.

Favorite book: The Harry Potter series

Favorite movie or television show: Star Wars

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Marathon/Iron Man and going to Mount Everest

What made Roopal such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018? “Roopal thoroughly embraced the EMBA program and all it had to offer. Moreover, the program is better because she was a part of it. She routinely organized learning materials for her classmates, and even organized a silent auction to raise money for the Texas Executive MBA Legacy Scholarship fund.”

John W. Burrows, PhD

Director Executive MBA Program | Faculty, Department of Management

The University of Texas at Austin | McCombs School of Business



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