2022 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: Eric Eskioglu, Vanderbilt University (Owen)

Eric Eskioglu, MD, FAANS

Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management

Age: 56

“Fun-loving husband and dad who is incredibly blessed to have his wife and kids!”

Hometown: Tucson, Arizona

Family Members:

  1. Dr. Lauren J. Speas-Eskioglu, wife
  2. Allie Eskioglu – daughter 11 years old
  3. Blake Eskioglu – son 7 years old
  4. Camden Eskioglu – son 7 years old

Fun fact about yourself: I am always the butt of jokes. I was a Rocket Scientist (Aerospace Engineer at The Boeing Company) and a Brain Surgeon (Neurosurgeon from Vanderbilt University Medical Center.) So, it sometimes takes a rocket scientist and a brain surgeon to solve some of the most complicated healthcare problems! All joking aside, I feel blessed to be in the position I am, and nothing is taken for granted.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

07/20-05/22    M.B.A. Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management

07/04-10/05    Chief Resident, Neurosurgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center Department of Neurosurgery, Nashville, Tennessee

07/02-6/04      Neuroendovascular/Vascular Fellow, University of Florida Department of Neurosurgery, Gainesville, Florida

07/00-6/04      Resident, Neurosurgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Department of Neurosurgery, Nashville, Tennessee

Passed USMLE Steps I-III

Passed American Board of Neurological Surgery Written Exam 5/2003

07/99-06/00    Intern, General Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Department of General Surgery, Nashville, Tennessee

08/94-05/99    M.D. with Alpha Omega Alpha Honors

The University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, Kansas

GPA: 3.75 on a 4.0 scale.  Honors in Surgery, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Ambulatory Medicine, Family Medicine, Neurology and Pathology

07/97-06/99    Fellow, Pfizer Clinical Research Scholars Program-National Institutes of Health

National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke-Surgical Neurology Branch

Bethesda, Maryland

08/92-06/93    Premedical Program University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

08/85-12/89    B.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

Where are you currently working? Novant Health, Charlotte, NC.

Executive Vice President – Chief Medical and Scientific Officer

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

1)         Modern Healthcare Magazine Top 25 Innovators in Healthcare – April 2022

2)         Hubert A. Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award for Health, education, and equality innovation – April 2022


10/2018 – present    Executive Vice President – Chief Medical & Scientific Officer, Novant Health Corporation, Charlotte, NC

06/2019 – present    Co- Executive Director Novant Health Institute of Innovation & Artificial Intelligence, Winston-Salem, NC

07/2015 – 09/2018     Senior Vice President, Novant Health Neurosciences, Charlotte, NC

04/2011 – 04/2015     Executive Medical Director, Comprehensive Stroke Center

Medical Director, Neurovascular & Stroke Institute

Medical Director, Neuro ICU

Physicians Regional Medical Center, Naples, FL


2014                 Five Star rating – Healthgrades

2011-2013       Compassionate Doctor Recognition – Vitals.com

2011-2013       Patient’s Choice Award – Vitals.com

2009                On-Time Doctor Award – Vitals.com

2009-09          Compassionate Doctor Recognition – Vitals.com

2008-09          Patient’s Choice Award – Vitals.com

1997-99           Pfizer/NIH-Clinical Research Scholar Fellowship Award

1997-99           R.M. Gouldner Memorial Medical Scholarship for Academic Excellence

1998                 Inducted to New York Academy of Medicine as an Associate Member

1997                 Inducted to Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society as a junior 1997-99

Marshall B. Flowers University of Kansas Endowment Scholarship

1996-98          Honors in Surgery, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Ambulatory

Medicine, Family Medicine, Neurology and Pathology

1994-96           M.D. Student Scholar Fellowship, University of Kansas Medical School

1994-97           University of Kansas Medical Center Bookstore Annual Academic and

Community Achievement Award

1992-93           Dean’s Honor List, University of Kansas

1985-89           Academic Merit Scholarship, University of Arizona

1984-86           Dean’s Honorable Mention List, University of Arizona

 Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I truly enjoyed the Venture Capital Class with Professor Burcham. It gave me the tools to launch my own company, should I decide to take that option.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of getting my MBA! It has been over 25 years since I was in classes in medical school, doing homework, studying with classmates, and taking exams! It goes to prove that there is no age for learning no matter how young or old you are.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? All the Professors were amazing! Two of them stand out in my mind as my favorites:

1) Professor Luke Froeb – He has the never-ending perpetual intellectual curiosity! His Economics class was truly amazing. Because of him, I formed a division under me called EVE – Economic Value Enhancement team. I hired a healthcare Ph.D. economist and put her in a group with operational and analytics VPs. The first year, their analysis and implementation of EVE projects delivered over $49m in savings to our health system.

2) Professor Brain McCann – Amazing teacher of strategy from every angle possible! His passion of getting us to understand and execute strategy was infectious! Because of him I am a better C-suite executive with strategy.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? I trained at Vanderbilt as a Neurosurgeon from 1999-2005. Furthermore, I was faculty as an Assistant Professor of Neurological surgery at Vanderbilt from 2005-2007. The decade I spent at Vanderbilt and Nashville were the most formative years of my life as a physician and later as a physician executive at C-suite. When I decided to go back to get my MBA, Vanderbilt without a doubt was the place I wanted to go! I owe a lot to the entire Vanderbilt community and hope to be able to give back in the years to come as a Commodore ambassador.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work?

I was the oldest student in the class as a GenX. Most of my classmates were at least one generation removed from me as millennials and GenZers. At first, I was nervous how they would take up to me and would they even be inclusive. I am here to tell you, after 2 years of being in the trenches, they are the best classmates I have ever had. Yes, this includes my engineering and medical school classmates. They took me as one of their own, and I learned more from them and their experience than they will ever realize. It has been a very humbling and amazing 2-year journey. I am able to relate to my team member at work in a much more efficient and effective way.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family, and education? During my second semester in 2021, we were in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, and as the Chief Medical Officer and Incident Commander, I was responsible for the health and well-being of not only all our 39,000 employees but also all of our 1 million plus patients. Being a husband and dad to 3 kids, I also carried a heavy burden. My days were starting to blend in with my nights with long hours at work and studying for my classes. I was getting burned out. My incredible wife told me that they will always be there for me, and I had to keep going on. This is also where Juli Bennett (Executive Director, Vanderbilt Executive MBA) came in. I called her for advice and told her that I might have to take a break and come back for my final year. Her calm voice and approach were what kept me going. She told me that I could do this, and she has seen other C-suite executives with heavy responsibilities go through similar struggles. She believed in me and told me Vanderbilt will do anything in its power to help me out. Well, I stuck through the worst of the pandemic, and I am so grateful to Juli.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? This program is not for the faint-hearted. It takes a lot of hard work and personal sacrifice. As you get close to finishing the program, you realize it was well worth it and that you are a better person having completed your EMBA journey.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? The biggest myth was our study times will not be as bad as undergraduate (or, in my case, medical school.) Within the first month, this myth was busted, and I realized how much work I had to put into this program. The great news is that the more time I put into it, the better I felt about learning.

What was your biggest regret in business school? No regrets whatsoever! Wish I had another 2 years to spend time with all my brilliant and my amazing classmates.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire Austen Lovelace the most. He is married and a father of 2 and worked harder than anyone else to be the best he could be. His counter-view arguments were always much appreciated. He is already a superstar and will make Vanderbilt very proud in years to come.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? I wanted to be in person with my classmates and enmesh myself in studies. Vanderbilt Owen School of Graduate Management’s excellent reputation made the decision easy!

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I would like to ultimately lead as a CEO in a very large (Greater than $10B) Health System or a Medical Device Company. It would be great to combine my engineering, clinical, and now business background. I would like to make a difference in people’s lives by making the healthcare system I lead be the safest, highest quality, and lower cost in the country. After all, the basic promise of democracy is equal and equitable access to healthcare. People without regular access to healthcare will have a very difficult time with upward economic mobility. We owe it to our communities.

What made Eric such an invaluable addition to the class of 2022?

“Eric Eskioglu was consistently a leader in class discussions – he listened carefully to other’s comments, was able to grasp conceptual ideas and integrate them with practice, and had a keen sense of the needs and concerns of his classmates. He never tired of engaging with ideas. He was not shy about expressing his views when they differed from others, but he expressed them with such humility that his comments triggered learning, not confrontation. It helped that he was in a position of great responsibility, as Chief Medical Officer of a major Health Care provider. This work context prompted him to see issues in complex and nuanced ways, especially in the face of COVID and its impact on patients and employees. Eric approached his education not just for himself, but as a way to enhance the quality of health care provided to patients. It was a delight to have Eric in my classes.”

Ray Friedman
Brownlee O. Currey Professor of Management, Professor of Asian Studies


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