2021 Best & Brightest EMBAs: Dr. Lori Sieboldt, Indiana University (Kelley)

Dr. Lori Sieboldt, MD, MBA

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business Physician MBA Program

Age: 53

“I am a mom and an emergency physician. I am a physician leader who is dedicated, hardworking, loyal, and tenacious.”

Hometown: Bloomington, Indiana

Family Members: I have a daughter, Abi, who is a high school senior right now and will be going to the University of South Carolina in the fall to major in Biology and Spanish. I also have a son, Max, who is a junior at Cornell University, majoring in Spanish and Pre-Health (Pre-Med) with a minor in Latin American Studies.

Fun fact about yourself: My family has had Indiana University season basketball tickets since 1975!

Undergraduate School and Degree: This will be my fifth Indiana University degree. I have two IU bachelors of science in microbiology and medical technology. I have my masters of science in physiology, I received my MD in 1999, and now I’m receiving my MBA, as well.

Where are you currently working? Deaconess Health Systems in Evansville, Indiana. I’m the director of case management, post-acute services and physician advising. I’m also the medical director for our population health department.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: I was on the school board for our local Evansville Day School for 12 years. The last eight years, I served on the executive committee – Two years as secretary, two years as vice president, two years as president, and two years as past-president. I also have been involved with the Vanderburgh County Women’s Fund, an all-female philanthropic organization, for more than a decade, and I’ve served on the board for the past two years.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Last fall, I was chosen as one of the Top 25 Innovators for Modern Healthcare. I was quite caught off guard; it was so special. I never dreamed our team would be recognized with a national award like that. It really let me know we are doing some amazing, forward-thinking work when it comes to population health, and I am so proud of the team.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Our ACO (accountable care organization) has been within the top five in quality for the last five years across the nation. I’m so proud Deaconess has been able to do that kind of quality work for our patients. It is incredibly impressive, and it definitely speaks to the quality of our team.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Nir Menachemi. His class was one of our first courses during the Physician MBA Program, and it was an intro to the American healthcare system. Going into the MBA, I thought our American healthcare system was by and far the best in the world, and his class opened my eyes to how America’s healthcare system has evolved over the last 125 years and where we stand amongst our world competitors now. We also learned more about what is good about our system here at home – and also how much opportunity we have to grow and incorporate things from other healthcare systems in the world that do a phenomenal job. It was taught so I could easily understand it all and apply it to the real world through our community and our team. It really left the class wanting to make change.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? I always knew deep down that when I walked across the stage with my MD that it wouldn’t be my last time in an IU robe. I have always loved learning, and the IU executive MBA program was the best one for letting me work and learn remotely while still being able to go to a college campus and experience that aura of knowledge and constant learning.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? The pandemic hit in the middle of my time in the Physician MBA program. At that point, I would hear something in lecture one weekend and use it in work that next week. It was amazing how much the MBA helped me get through the pandemic and manage my team of 100 nurses and physicians. The change management skills and the way they translated into the day-to-day work was just amazing. Even the finance class we took helped a lot. As the pandemic hit, there was an incredibly wide swing in our financial bottom line as first everything emptied out, and then we were very busy. To be able to read the reports with a finance eye and not a physician eye has been hugely beneficial in helping me understand the needs of our patients and our hospital system.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? One of the best examples of that happened during my first year of the Physician MBA Program. My daughter made it to the Indiana State Swim Championship, which happened on the same campus, IUPUI, where my residency was taking place. The classes and her swimming overlapped. Working with my professors, I was able to take my earphones and iPad so I could still hear the class, and walk over to watch my daughter swim (she made it to the finals!). Being able to juggle sitting in class and watching her swim was a fun experience and made that weekend one of my favorite residencies we had. I couldn’t thank the professors enough for being so professional to trust me to do what I needed to be a mom – and still be able to participate in the classes that weekend.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? I’d ask them first what their goal is to get out of the program. A lot of people may think it’s a plug-and-chug. You check some boxes, and off you go with your MBA behind your name, and that’s just not the case at the Kelley School. It’s work. I spent hundreds of hours over the last couple of years earning this degree. Make sure you know what you’re getting into. You will only get out of the program what you put into it. Secondly – schedule time for your homework into your week. If you’re serious, you need to be able to put that time for reading the material on your schedule to get the work done and to be successful.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? I was a little concerned that I’d be going back and sitting in a classroom like medical school, and it’s so far from that. The IU program treats you like a professional, and you are treated with the courtesies of an executive. There is no busy work, and all of the work is designed to apply to real world situations you could and probably will encounter over the course of your career. It is very interactive and very professional.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I do think it would have been nice if I had more time to do more reading. As a hospital administrator when COVID hit, my work time doubled or even tripled at the time. I wasn’t able to put as much time into the reading, since I was working 16 hours a day in the early days of the pandemic and then during the winter as the pandemic ramped up again. Another regret is more of a frustration that the pandemic took my face-to-face learning time away from me (During non-COVID times, Kelley typically has residency on campus one weekend a month).

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Dr. Jackie Saito is a pediatric surgeon in St. Louis. I’m so impressed with her compassion and her enthusiasm for her pediatric patients. Her desire to make things sincerely better for them really inspires me to hold my team to the highest standards for patient care.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? I chose an executive program because I wanted to be in a cohort of people at a similar stage of their career. I looked at local programs and regional programs, and then I discovered the physician-only program through Indiana University. As I investigated it more, I appreciated that I would be getting an MBA from a top-ranked business school, and I also found the monthly residency weekend with a group of peers from all over the country very appealing. As physicians, we were all able to also learn from each other – bringing our own history and story to the table and sharing problems and solutions to similar events we had experienced in our local areas. Going with the physician-only executive program was truly the best decision I made.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I want to continue to help the people of my community live happier, healthier lives. My ultimate goal is to help people on a larger scale than I could with the one-on-one care as a practicing bedside physician.

What made Dr. Sieboldt  such an invaluable addition to the class of 2021?

“Dr. Lori Sieboldt was a leader in the classroom, providing real-world insights on healthcare issues and challenges from her perspective as a physician leader. Her physician colleagues sought her perspective and counsel from her experience, and she was able to drive conversations to a more strategic and solution-focused level. I’m proud of the evolution that Lori has gone through while in the program, and I look forward to seeing how she continues to impact the healthcare industry using the tools, skills, and knowledge she gained in the Kelley Physician MBA Program.”

Nir Menachemi
Fairbanks Endowed Chair and Professor of Health Policy and Management
Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health

Nir Menachemi teaches health policy courses in the Business of Medicine Physician MBA Program.



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