2020 Best & Brightest EMBAs: Kimberly Lumpkins, University of Maryland (Smith)

Kimberly Lumpkins, M.D.

University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business

“A pediatric surgeon who is building bridges between academia and business”

Age: 40

“A pediatric surgeon who is building bridges between academia and business.”

Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland

Family Members: Partner, John

Fun fact about yourself:  For relaxation, I enjoy both powerlifting in my garage gym and climbing.

Undergraduate School and Degree: B.A. in Biology, Johns Hopkins University; MD University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Where are you currently working? Associate Professor of Pediatric Surgery, University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM)

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work, and Leadership Roles:  I am honored to be one of Baltimore Magazine’s Top Doctors for 2019.  I serve on the Medical Advisory Board of the nonprofit National Kidney Foundation of Maryland and Delaware.  I am committed to advancing equity both at UMSOM, and through my angel investing as a member of women-focused Citrine Angels and LGBTQ-focused Gaingels.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I endeavor to bring the lessons from my Smith MBA to my medical students, who will be the next generation of physicians.  It was an incredible honor for that effort to be rewarded by the student body, who awarded me the University of Maryland School of Medicine Student Council Best Clinical Faculty award for 2019.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I was awarded the 2015 British Association of Paediatric Surgeons Gold Medal for Excellence, and I am proud to be an admitted Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England as well as the American College of Surgeons.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Gerald Suarez taught us design thinking and leadership and was also my executive coach.  His guidance and insights have been invaluable for my professional development.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program?  Maryland Smith demonstrated an incredible combination of academic excellence and professional coaching that elevated it to the top of my list.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general?  As a surgeon who trained and practices in an academic institution, it was humbling to learn just how much I didn’t know about the “real world.”  My cohort of classmates from all industries and all backgrounds gave me a new perspective on the business world and the interconnectedness of our society. At the same time, our formal classwork gave me the critical tools to navigate the business of healthcare.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work?  One critical lesson for me was the distinction between tactical and strategic thinking. As a surgeon, I tend to be focused on the tasks immediately in front of me—a tactical approach. My EMBA coursework taught me that purely tactical thinking can be problematic if you don’t have an overarching strategic vision to guide you to your goal. I applied these lessons daily as I spearheaded a new gender equity initiative at my workplace—creating our vision, our scope, and our strategic goals to guide our tactical decisions.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? Balancing my clinical and on-call responsibilities as a busy pediatric surgeon with the demanding workload of the EMBA is not trivial. One of the benefits of the Smith EMBA program is the ability to merge some of my educational requirements with my ongoing projects at work. This has allowed me to maximize the return on my limited time while creating value for my workplace.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Be prepared to work hard. And be prepared to struggle at times. Identify classmates early who can support each other through the difficult times—they will become part of your family!

What was your biggest regret in business school?  Not attending sooner!  I chose to attend business school to understand accounting and finance, but the teamwork, leadership, and strategy classes have turned out to be far more valuable to me than the financial education.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire?  Jessica Ennis is a nonprofit lobbyist working to address climate change on Capitol Hill.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when… I realized that excellence in patient care simply can’t rely only on clinical skills—it also depends on the financial, administrative, and leadership skills of executives in healthcare management. Physicians who understand business are well-positioned to advocate for optimal patient care and healthcare resource utilization.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? Academic medicine combines the business of healthcare with the commitment to train the next generation of healthcare providers. I am dedicated to bringing the lessons of the business world to the students who will be the physicians of tomorrow. I don’t know the exact path that I will follow as I pursue this passion, but I know that the Smith EMBA has given me the tools to succeed

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I’d like to be remembered as an insightful, focused individual who provides value across both qualitative and quantitative disciplines.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?  I want to climb a 5.12 route, and I want to drive an F1 car!

What made Kimberly Lumpkins such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“Kimberly was an energetic contributor to the EMBA program. Her intellectual curiosity, passion for learning, and deep sense of duty and commitment to giving back to others were contagious and commendable. She quickly established herself as a leader among her peers. She led by example and was always straightforward in discussion, decisive in action, and most importantly empathic, inclusive, and approachable. She inspired and brought out the absolute best in those around her. It was a privilege to have her in our program, and a pleasure to serve as her executive coach.”

J. Gerald Suarez, Ph.D.
Professor of the Practice in Systems Thinking and Design


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