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Phyllis Ekdall: Going beyond the Numbers

Hospital finance executive finds value in learning from diverse colleagues

Phyllis Ekdall
Vice President of Finance, Clinical Enterprise, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Vanderbilt MMHC 2009

Phyllis Ekdall, a finance executive at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, was one of first 25 students in Owen’s Master of Management in Health Care program. The distinctive is designed to give working health care professionals the business fundamentals to succeed in their industry, and the students come from both clinical and non-clinical backgrounds. Among Phyllis’ classmates were doctors, nurses, and even a marketing professional and an architect.

While practitioners stand to benefit from learning critical business skills that may not have been a part of their formal training, professionals like Phyllis gain a broader perspective through the program. “For us non-clinical personnel it fills the gap of how to integrate those business skills with the clinical personnel and really stand in their shoes and understand their perceptions.”

What drew her initially to the MM Health Care was Owen’s reputation as a top-tier business school and its convenient schedule: one night a week, one weekend a month, for one year. But more than anything else, she considers it a rewarding experience because of the people she’s met along the way.

“It was more enriching than I ever imagined in terms of actually being able to work and talk real-time with my colleagues about how that translates into what we do every day,” says Phyllis, noting the camaraderie among her classmates.

“Because you have access to so many individuals with different backgrounds, a lot of times you would find yourself solving problems in hallway meetings. We really learned a lot from each other.”

“For us non-clinical personnel it fills the gap of how to integrate those business skills with the clinical personnel.”