Our Stories

Moving beyond Burnout

EMBA helps pediatric specialist find career satisfaction

Madhumita Murphy
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Vanderbilt Executive MBA 2019

Dr. Madhumita Murphy works in an environment she describes as “very stressful and emotionally draining.” As a pediatric intensivist, she cares for critically ill infants and children after open-heart surgery and heart transplants. She’s handled that role for more than half of her two decades in pediatrics.

In such an intensive setting, she sometimes works both day and night shifts, and physician burnout is a real concern. Madhumita experienced it herself—a feeling that intensified, she says, after the death of a young patient “strongly affected me as a person. [The experience] allowed me to see how burned out I had become and motivated me to make a change in my life and, hopefully, in the direction of my career.”

That’s what she sought to gain from an Executive MBA. “I have always enjoyed taking myself out of my comfort zone,” she says, “which may stem from being in the military [she served for seven years as a pediatrician in the U.S. Army] and moving from place to place. The MBA has allowed me to challenge myself in ways without a fear of failure.” As a reflection of the stresses of her job, she points out: “Believe it or not, school has actually helped me be more relaxed at work. I am more confident and less worried about things that don’t really matter.”

While the return on her investment in the MBA has not been financial—nor did she expect it to be—it has enabled her to negotiate a job change at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Meanwhile, she sees a significant increase in her self-confidence and in respect from her co-workers. “These two things cannot be over-valued,” Madhumita says.

“[The program] has literally changed my life—given me confidence to redirect my career and helped me to feel valuable again. It has made me more resilient at work and better at my job, while exposing me to new ideas, places, and people.”

Even before graduation, Madhumita was applying her new skills in a promising direction. Working with a Nashville-based company, she was developing a mobile application to help prevent physician burnout.

Believe it or not, school has actually helped me be more relaxed at work