2023 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: Ryan Quattlebaum, University of Florida (Warrington)

Ryan Quattlebaum

Warrington College of Business at University of Florida

Age: 38

“Husband, father, healthcare leader.”

Hometown: Grew up in California, but currently live in Tampa, FL.

Family Members: Cristina (wife), Sofia and Emily (daughters)

Fun fact about yourself: My first job in a hospital was in the nutritional services department, where I served patients meals, cleaned dishes, and mopped floors. It got me on the ground level of how hospitals work. I have experienced all levels of the organization which has made me more connected with the team and made me a more effective leader.

Undergraduate School and Degree: La Sierra University (Riverside CA), Bachelors in Finance and Accounting – 2008

Where are you currently working? President/CEO AdventHealth North Pinellas in Tarpon Springs Florida

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

Certified Public Accountant (inactive)

Florida Hospital Association, Member of Workforce Committee

Chairman of Finance Committee, Lifespring Adventist Church

COO Council Chairman for AdventHealth West Florida Division

Board Member for AdventHealth Riverview

2020 Rising Star Alumni Winner for La Sierra University School of Business

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I was promoted in the middle of completing my MBA at UF, where I went from being a Hospital CFO to a Hospital CEO. Balancing a new job and my family while completing my MBA was always a challenge, but I attended every one of my daughter’s ballet recitals. Being a present parent through the program was the most rewarding achievement.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? About one month into my new role as the CEO of AdventHealth North Pinellas, Hurricane Ian swept through the state of Florida. Because of the proximity of the hospital to the water, the elevation, and the path of the hurricane, we made the decision to evacuate the hospital. We moved over 70 patients to our AdventHealth Tampa facility. We safely relocated all the patients and then moved them back after the storm passed. I was most proud of the teamwork by the 700 employees, outside agencies, and community partners to accomplish this work. Not to mention, this occurred in the middle of my MBA program, so it was trial-by-fire (or wind-and-rain in this case).

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Many of the UF Faculty were top notch and subject matter experts. We had former Federal Reserve policymakers and former executives who consulted on large-scale projects including IPOs and debt offerings. My personal favorite was Dr. David Gaddis Ross for our Global Strategy course. The class was a capstone and Dr. Ross connected all the dots from past courses through the lens of case studies. The case studies and relevant questions challenged us to think differently by assessing real-life problems based on qualitative and quantitative analysis. I’ve implemented similar thinking in my current role and have challenged my team to do the same which has resulted in real time improvement at my hospital.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? I spoke with coworkers, researched online, and discussed with many campus recruiters. It became clear that the best education would be from the University of Florida. UF excels in providing cutting edge research, expert faculty, and a network that is top-tier, not just regionally but nationally. And being 2 hours from my home in Tampa, the executive program has proven to be a great fit for me personally and professionally.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? The biggest lesson I learned through the program is time management. We completed 21 months’ worth of course work while also working full-time. I am also a husband, father of 2 young girls, and have multiple responsibilities outside of work.  The program forced constant evaluation of time and priorities. Many days, it felt like I was juggling 10 balls in the air and kicking 20 balls on the ground but balancing those things through the program has made me a more effective leader.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? I would advise anyone entering the executive MBA program to build relationships with their fellow teammates early. It’s a challenge balancing work and school. When you have a strong team, it makes the work easier and makes the grind of classwork worthwhile. Early on, I set up Zoom calls with almost everyone in class and learned a great deal about each of them. I learned so much from my peers, but that would not be possible if I didn’t have an already established relationship.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? One of the biggest myths about going back to school is that you must fit in a particular mold to go into business school. However, I would say the strength of the program is the diversity of thoughts and experiences that reach across different professions. As an example, our cohort consisted of physicians looking to go into administration because they understood the practice of medicine but didn’t fully understand the executives behind the scenes making decisions. Every single one of our cohort peers valued having a physician’s perspective at the table when we were discussing case studies.

We had active and former military personnel, marketers, operations leaders, and accountants and all those ideas and perspectives added value to class discussion. There were people who worked for large Fortune 100 companies like Disney and people who worked for small start-ups and not-for-profits. It was tremendously valuable to share a room with this group of leaders for 21 months and made me more effective as a result.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I don’t have any regrets from business school. The program was exactly what I needed at exactly the right time. I could have spent more time studying or more time with my classmates but ultimately, we built a foundation to build on for years to come. I’m proud of the time at UF but more excited about the future.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? This is a very difficult question because my classmates were all amazing. The talent at UF was top notch, but I’ll have to say the person I admire is our cohort representative, Eduardo “Eddie” Fernandez. Eddie is a director at Disney and has a CPA background, so we clicked instantly. However, Eddie brought something special to the class. He brought an organizational consistency and steadiness during the entirety of the program. As an example, I could always rely on Eddie actively communicating with the cohort about updates and information before we were on campus. Eddie was also balancing work and home life, so I knew it was a lot of time and effort for him to add an additional responsibility of being the cohort representative. Eddie transformed our MBA experience by demonstrating values for the entire program.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? I wanted to get my MBA in a certain timeline, but also needed to work so the EMBA at UF provided the ideal opportunity. The program provided the perfect balance for personal and professional life. Also, I wanted to be in class with others to get the benefit of in-person interaction and class discussion.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? Long-term, I want to be a health system CEO. I’ve been in hospitals for years, my parents were nurses, my grandparents were nurses, so healthcare is in my DNA. Because I am not a nurse, my job is to remove barriers for my team so they can more effectively care for people. To be able to improve the care that gets delivered on a large scale is an exciting challenge.

What made Ryan such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023? Ryan’s scholarship and leadership embody everything we look for in quality Executive MBA candidates. He entered the program as chief financial officer and an experienced healthcare executive. Consistent with his commitment to excellence, he identified areas for growth and sought to broaden understanding of business units outside of finance and to deepen his skill set as a leader. He accepted the challenge of the MBA and sought growth beyond his proven abilities in finance. He capitalized on the benefits of his EMBA by engaging with faculty and applying the lessons learned on the weekends in his job and began affecting immediate change driving ROI for himself and his hospital.

Additionally, he completed the MBA in an executive format which demanded the same expectations of full-time students but required more refined time management, goal setting, relationship-building, and project management skills. He honed these skills and pushed his peers to embrace these essential traits as well. Put simply, he pushed everyone to thrive in this highly dynamic environment. That wasn’t all. In addition to being an executive and a student, Ryan is most importantly a husband and a dad. He and his wife are the proud parents of two and he found ways throughout his 20-month program to be attentive to all the priorities in his busy life.

Fittingly, through his efforts and commitment, Ryan was able to affect the outcome of most Executive MBA students when he transitioned from CFO to President and CEO of AdventHealth North Pinellas during the program. Ryan is a proven leader and continues to seek out ways to improve himself, his colleagues, and his organizations. We are proud to call him an alum. He is an asset to the UF MBA Program, and I am confident he will rise to the opportunities and challenges of his new role, in much the same way he did with the UF MBA.”

John Gresley
Assistant Dean & Director UF MBA
Warrington College of Business
University of Florida


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