Name: Gregg Khodorov
Concentration: Healthcare Management
Previous Experience: Several years of clinical research in neurodegenerative disease and movement disorders at the NIH (Bethesda, MD), Beth Israel Medical Center (NYC), and Mount Sinai Hospital (NYC).
Pfizer MBA Summer Associate, Worldwide Research and Development--Strategy, Portfolio, Competitive Intelligence, and Enterprise Operations
What made you decide to pursue an MD/MBA degree compared to just an M.D.?
I've always wanted to be a doctor, but I toyed with the idea of an MBA before even applying to medical school. I think I saw the Affordable Care Act as a sign that healthcare was going to need a major overhaul from the provider side within the coming years, and the idea of being involved in that excited me. It wasn't until I started class here that I really understood just how large the new frontier of personalized medical technology, as a result of a realignment of provider-payor incentives, and value-based care was turning out to be.
On top of that, my parents were entrepreneurs--both of them immigrated to this country from the former Soviet Union, and within a few years, my father had started his own consulting business, and my mother helped him run it. Growing up, I watched them work hard to grow their business. My dad taught me how a stock market worked when I was in middle school. I always loved learning business informally over the dinner table, but I wanted to academically fill the gaps with an MBA.
What was the deciding factor/s to go to Rutgers for this degree?
The football team (I'm kidding, but go RU!). Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School was my first choice in terms of where I wanted to be for my medical education. That was really the deciding factor for me.
That said, I was blown away by the caliber of faculty at Rutgers Business School. Some of the greatest professors I've ever had, and if I had to do the MBA portion over again, I'd choose Rutgers every time.
You pursued the MBA portion of this degree during your first year in the program. What did you see as the benefits to doing this?
The obvious benefit that made me choose to pursue the degree in this way was so that I could now have four consecutive years of medical school ahead of me, uninterrupted.
What I didn't foresee, and personally I think this is more important in retrospect, is that I've acquired an understanding of the industry I'm about to enter. Healthcare is complicated, and to say that most clinicians today don't have the time to understand how the industry works at the macroscopic level is an understatement. Physicians' time is too valuable for operational inefficiencies, miscommunication, and bureaucratic politics. Understanding the pain points of healthcare delivery before diving head-first into the job is a unique perspective that will allow me to mold my career in a way that aims to alleviate these pains.
What interests you the most in this program?
The unique perspective on the industry, especially with Rutgers' outstanding pharmaceutical management, healthcare services management, and health operations faculty. I'll never forget the picture of the healthcare industry that was painted for me by the outstanding professors in the program.
What are some of the biggest insights you gained from your year in the MBA program?
The Healthcare Management custom concentration allowed me to take elective classes at the School of Public Health and the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. Health Economics, Health Finance, Health Policy, and US Healthcare/Pharma Managed Markets were some of the most valuable classes in terms of broadening my understanding of what's happening right now with regards to health reform.
What is some advice you would give to someone in the M.D.-MBA program that has yet to take any MBA courses yet?
There was very little career guidance offered to us MD/MBA Students. Understandably so, considering the assumption is that we'll all become practicing physicians, and job security is certainly not an issue. Nonetheless, here are my bits of advice:
1. Use the year to expand your horizons--there is so much opportunity for physicians outside of clinical practice.
2. Talk to classmates, they all have unique perspectives with regards to healthcare. Some of them have years of experience in the industry.
3. Go to healthcare-specific events and meet entrepreneurs and employees.
4. The degree is of little use as extra signage at the end of your name--use what you're learning in class and apply it elsewhere.
Would you go about anything differently if you were to do the MBA program again?
I think I made the most of my year, so probably not. There's always room for improvement, but never room for rumination, in my opinion.
What do you plan to do once you graduate?
Change the world, millions of patients at a time.
Please feel free to add anything else you would like to include.
If healthcare or biomedical entrepreneurship interests you, please feel free to join us over at the Biomedical Entrepreneurship Network!