My name is Justin Wiley, and I am a student in Duke’s Business Master of Management in Clinical Informatics (MMCi) program at the Fuqua School of Business. MMCi is a new program at Duke, and I am excited to be a part of it, and to have the opportunity to share my experiences with you for the next few months. I want to make these blog entries as useful and interesting as possible, so please feel free to share any thoughts, feedback, or suggestions you might have and I will do my best to answer and incorporate them into the blog.
For my first post, I thought I would give a brief overview of what the MMCi program is and how I came to be a part of it. I was not working in health informatics when I first heard about MMCI in early 2010, although I had made the commitment to take a break from my career and return to graduate school. At the time I was focused on undertaking an MBA, convinced that this was the best way to move into areas of greater responsibility and to gain skills and a network to leverage in my career. My close friend George contacted me after hearing about MMCi through a colleague, and suggested I take a look at MMCi, saying that he thought it was and exciting new program and potentially a better alternative to an MBA.
Informatics? Had George lost it? I had already invested a large amount of time gathering references, studying and preparing for the GMAT, and researching the relative merits of various schools across the country. Despite having a strong technical background as a project manager and software developer, and several years of work experience in IT, I didn’t have any direct experience with healthcare. Would I really qualify for this program, and would it help me to meet my career goals?
After some amount of arm-twisting from George, I agreed to attend an information session at Duke. Despite my initial reluctance, I was immediately impressed by the presentation made by Randy Sears the Associate Director of MMCi, and Dr. Kevin Schulman, the Director of the Health Sector Management program. As they discussed the program in more detail, I realized that the program Randy and Kevin were describing was unique and compelling for a number of reasons.
The first and most obvious was the distinct mix of business, healthcare, and information technology that MMCi would provide students. The Master of Management in Clinical Informatics program was a brand new program that would be designed to create change agents who had enough experience in each of these three fields to concretely influence and impact how healthcare is delivered in the United States and globally. Dr. Schulman made a convincing argument that the healthcare industry needed to change rapidly to meet demographic, demand, and financial pressures, and that the students who graduated from MMCi would be ideally placed to play a role in that change. I found this point especially appealing, having seen first hand how powerful IT can be when properly applied and utilized during my work in the Peace Corps.
I also liked that the programs specific focus differentiated it from typical MBA programs, which were broader, longer, and less directly applicable to my background. While finance and general management were certainly interesting, I did not relish the thought of restarting my career at the age of thirty-two as an intern if I could avoid it. The program Kevin and Randy were discussing seemed to offer a platform for making a career transition while utilizing my existing investment in information technology.
Finally, I saw the value in the program’s attachment to the Fuqua School of Business and Duke University. Fuqua is an amazing place to visit, and a brief stroll down Breeden Hall gives you an immediate sense of excitement and purpose. I loved the diversity I saw in the student body, and reading through the list of faculty attached to the program and the partner organizations in the Duke network convinced me that being a part of MMCi would also make me a part of a strong network.
This Thursday will be the start of our second term, and I am extremely proud to be a part of MMCi, and I am looking forward to the rest of program. And yes George, you were right.
In my next post, I will give more specifics about the classes and course so far. Thank you for reading along, more soon!