Written by George Thomas Mathew, MD, a Customer Black Belt Consultant at GE Healthcare. Prior to joining GE Healthcare
Milwaukee office, George earned his MBA from Duke University Fuqua School of Business in 2003.
My current job responsibilities at General Electric Healthcare, Performance Solutions revolve around leading and driving hospital operations projects. In short, with a team composed of both GE and hospital members, together we can help the hospital change or develop a new way to do its everyday operations, and ultimately, to help more patients.
To get this done, we use a combination of LEAN (a set of manufacturing improvement techniques derived from Toyota's production techniques), Six Sigma (a rigorous statistical operations improvement process), and pull from my consulting experience. There are also some opportunities to do product development and medical teaching for GE. My projects allow me to gain experience by either facilitating teams of a client's employees or working with my GE peers in getting statistical analyses and recommendations for addressing specific client goals.
During a typical week, I usually travel from my home office just outside of Milwaukee to New York City on Sunday nights or Monday mornings. I typically work there through Thursday or Friday and then return home again for the weekend.
7:00 a.m. -- I wake up in hotel room in New York City, pray, and turn on my computer. I check e-mail from my team leaders and reply as quickly as I can. It has become a game now to guess how much e-mail is waiting for me in the morning (anywhere from 12 to 35 messages), as some team members do most of their e-mailing late at night or extremely early in the morning.
9:00 a.m. -- I have a 10:00 a.m. client meeting. So, I grab a cab going uptown to one of the hospitals I'm currently working with to make sure that my clients and team members are gathering data or doing research for future improvements in our project's process.
11:00 a.m. -- At the hospital, I meet with teammates in our team room to review the work we've done for client presentations and plan what future work.
12:00 p.m. -- I grab a quick lunch from the deli across the street from the hospital.
1:00 p.m. -- I leave the hospital and grab cab downtown for a 2:00 p.m. meeting with clients at another hospital I'm working at to discuss a similar project.
3:30 p.m. -- From this hospital, I conduct a teleconference meeting about a clinical-practice improvement project in New Jersey. I review work with the team leader -- who has been a great mentor for me -- and make plans for what still needs to be done.
4:00 p.m. -- I finish up my meeting and start doing some of my work from the day (PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets, data analysis, etc.) at our work room that the consultants have lovingly named "The Pit."
6:00 p.m. -- I grab some dinner, either alone or with team members. Alternatively, sometimes when I'm in New York I'll meet up with friends from B-school, medical school, or residency.
9:30 p.m. -- Back in my hotel room, I make a few calls to loved ones and finish some leftover work.
11:00 p.m. -- Finish up any e-mail responses and turn off my computer.
1:00 a.m. -- It's around now that I go to sleep.
TOOLS FOR SUCCESS. I can't say that I had any misconceptions about my current job, as I didn't know what to expect when I started. Initially upon interviewing for the job, I thought I should have taken more operations and decision-modeling courses in B-school. However, I'm getting enough of a foundation here that I'm happy I took other finance, strategy, and accounting courses instead.
You don't really need an MBA to do what I do. GE has always been very good at investing in its people and giving them the tools that they need to succeed. After all, GE practically wrote the book on leadership and management training. In the short time I've been here, GE has trained me in its Six Sigma statistical methodology, its cultural change tools (called Change Acceleration Process, or CAP, and Work-Out) used to make positive and lasting changes in a how a company works. GE has even allowed me to attend one of its leadership courses for project management.
But the MBA definitely helps to understand some of the basic accounting and finance concepts when I'm talking to hospital management. In addition, I've made some good friends at GE who are extremely talented but also very generous in sharing their skills and knowledge, as I try to share my clinical knowledge with them. At this point, I'm one of the few physicians in the company, and I know that it was one of the major reasons I was hired. As more opportunities become available to use my particular combination of skill sets, I intend to take advantage of them to help the company.
GETTING HIRED AT GE. GE Healthcare is expanding and looking for qualified, intelligent, hard-working people who want to help build the health-care business as well as become part of the GE culture. Many of my peers have years of experience at GE and are experts in using all of GE's tools to positively change organizations.
Some of my colleagues also have prior consulting or health-care experience, but all are dedicated professionals. I had some minor consulting experience prior to this job from work I did during B-school, but it was my clinical background combined with the MBA that made this job a good fit.
Ultimately, I landed my job because one of my fellow Fuqua alums was brought in to help "build the business" in GE Healthcare Performance Solutions, and he wanted to bring in results-driven professionals to help him realize this goal. He went through Fuqua's resume book of recent graduates and contacted me. Months later, I'm glad he did, as I'm tremendously enjoying the work, the training, and the growth opportunities at GE.
: Bloomberg BusinessWeek
.Read the full article on the blog.