When colleagues become classmates

Michael Recht, M.D. and Tammy Vogel

When Michael Recht, M.D. and Tammy Vogel decided to complete the MBA program together, they did not foresee the changes they would experience personally or achieve operationally. As colleagues, they saw their relationship deepen with the shared experience. They were able to address challenges in the workplace more effectively because they had a “common language to talk about what was going on in our workplace” and were “able to roll with change much better.”

The learning allowed Michael to better step into an administrative role. He noted, “Now I better understand and identify as a physician-administrator. I also use the skills from the leadership skills to manage up; besides learning how to better coach the staff under me, I learned how to work better with those to whom I report in a productive way.”

Tammy spoke about how her leadership style changed as a result of the program: “I learned that what I find helpful is not necessarily what my employees will find helpful; just telling them to tell me what they need turned out not to be productive.” As a result of trying new ideas and approaches, she finds that their department is more functional and has greater understanding and appreciation. She attributed this directly to her coursework, “This came from the program where we learned to be more formal, analytical in our planning and decision-making, not just asking ‘what’ but figuring out the ‘why’ of problems and possible solutions.”

As Michael moved into leadership roles, he found practical knowledge gaps. The MBA helped to close these gaps. He cited the finances courses as challenging and instrumental in his professional development: “Previously the finance person on the team wasn’t great at communicating and with my knowledge I wasn’t great at understanding. But through the finance courses and the leadership courses, my grasp on our finances and ability to make important decisions has greatly increased.”

Michael noted that the program came with a bittersweet moment for him. Michael wanted to go through the MBA with Tammy because “she had so much more potential.” This potential was recognized, and he “didn’t realize how quickly she’d become my boss. I feel a little jealous that other people get to work with Tammy as closely as I used to.”

Tammy is currently the Institute Administrator for the Institute on Development and Disability at OHSU. Michael is now the Chief Science Officer at American Thrombosis and Hemostasis Network.

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