Jessica Langenhan ’16, MD – her year one experience

20140606 Jessica Langenhan MDAs you’ve heard me brag, FEMBA has 8 medical doctors, 3 dentists and 1 optometrist in the student body. Or, said another way, “We could start our own FEMBA hospital.” To my knowledge, no other part-time MBA program can say this and I’d hazard to guess no full-time or executive MBA program has that many medical professionals in its student body.

Jessica Langenhan ’16, Physician with Traditions Behavioral Health and Royale TRC, is one of those 8 MDs, and I asked her about her first-year FEMBA experience.

Jessica: I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect as a FEMBA, or as a business school student in general. Although I am well versed at attending school, my learning experiences as a FEMBA have been very different from my previous academic experiences—and that is something that I really appreciate and love about it. My classmates are fascinating people who all want to learn from each other, and the collaborative approach to many of our assignments always challenges me to think more deeply and differently than I know I would were I doing the work individually.

I had originally considered doing a healthcare-focused MBA program online, and being at Anderson in real-time and working with so many people outside of healthcare makes me so grateful that I did not choose that route. I feel that it is very easy to develop tunnel-vision in Medicine: you spend all day talking to other doctors and to nurses; you figure out how to cram continuing medical education (CME) credits into the off-hours; and your CV is a list of the different hospitals where you’ve worked.

Moving outside and beyond that world is one of the many reasons I want my MBA and my past 2.5 quarters as a FEMBA have definitely been anything but narrow. . . .I’ve joined Net Impact; I’ve participate in a case competition; I’ve helped out with SuperSaturday admission interviews and post-admit calls; and I’m very excited about the international elective to South Africa that I’ve just enrolled in.

I’ve developed a very different perspective on the way things are run at the hospital and at the clinics where I work, and I’ve become more out-spoken about those managerial issues. And, in addition, on May 14th, I spoke as part of a community-based mental health education panel in Orange County—and I was asked to do this after having met one of the people from the organization that is putting on the panel at the Net Impact Career Night back in Fall Quarter.

I am very happy to hear that more physicians are applying [to FEMBA] and being accepted for the incoming class. I wish more physicians felt confident or comfortable enough to pursue an MBA or even some core business classes, because the business side of medicine is very much alive and here to stay. 

Probably one of my biggest worries as I was getting ready to start this academic year was how I would be able to adjust from my science-oriented style of learning to business classes. (It has to be understood that, when I briefly considered minoring in Accounting as an undergrad, my mother essentially talked me out of it by asking whether I really wanted to risk ruining my GPA.)

What I’ve found is that the classes are certainly challenging, but we are not expected to be economists or financial managers in order to succeed in the courses, just as I was not expected to be a biochemist or a pathologist when I took my initial courses in medical school. And I was happy to find others beside myself who were initially mystified by the debits and credits and cash flow statements of Accounting.

My first year as a FEMBA has made me realize that there are many more career options and directions than I had initially considered—again, something that a health-care focused MBA program would not have provided me. I feel as though I have a different idea every day about what I ultimately want to do with my MBA, but for now I’m fine with the process of exploration.

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