I want to capture some FEMBA success stories this summer from our new 2014 graduates. I reached out to Chad Sparks ’14, MD, and new Medical Director at United Healthcare, and here is what Chad shared with me.
Thanks for everything over the years. And most of all thanks for calling me 3 years ago. I still remember it vividly! I was pacing in my home in North Carolina while we talked about the FEMBA program and all it had to offer. I originally wanted to do the full-time program, but switched when I realized the GI Bill worked for FEMBA as well. It was a great decision! With all that’s happened over the past three years, it was really tough deciding what to write about for you. In any case, here is my story. Hopefully, it’s what you were looking for.
Chad’s story, in his words:
It was a question from childhood: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The question seemed so innocuous at a young age. My answer used to be Superman, but that hasn’t worked out as well as I’d hoped. In any case, the question seemed to crop up at every important point in life. It was very relevant in high school and college, but persisted long after that.
As I’m sure was the case at every medical school, everyone at the University of Hawaii wanted to know what I was going to be when we grew up. That is to say that they wanted to know what residency program I wanted to apply for. My answer was Internal Medicine. I completed my Internal Medicine Residency in 2007 and subsequently served my country in the US Navy for four years. However, after my time in the Navy the question was still relevant for me.
In 2011, I was at a transition point in my life. I would be moving to a new city, starting a new practice, and building a new life. I had three basic options: continue practicing Internal Medicine, pursue fellowship training, or go to business school. With regards to my thought process, I couldn’t tell you whether it was my memories of the consummate capitalist Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties, the passing of the oh-so-complex Affordable Care Act, or my lively conversation with Dylan Stafford about the FEMBA program that convinced me, but the decision was easy. Obviously, I chose the Anderson School of Management.
Business school has been a period of exponential growth for me. In addition to building on my hospital administration experience, the core skills of running a business and being a leader have compounded each year. So after practicing at the VA near UCLA for several years, the questions again loomed large. “What was I going to do when I grew up?” The possibilities seemed endless, but I found the answer in the top 20 of the Fortune 500. I am now a Medical Director at United Healthcare.
I started business school believing I was building skills that would be useful later in my career. I was wrong. I’m using these skills today and applying them in real-time to the ever-changing world of health care. In my new position, I am not only using many of the concepts that I learned at UCLA, but also planning for the next big question in my career.
Thanks Chad! Congratulations and thanks for making FEMBA really “sing” for your career.