From a Boston hospital to the city of dreaming spires for the Executive MBA

4 minute read
Dr Ebrahim Barkoudah

Scholar: Dr Ebrahim (Abe) Barkoudah 
Career: Medical doctor (System Chief of Hospital Medicine)
Home town: Boston, Massachusetts, USA

What led a hospital doctor from Massachusetts, USA to Oxford to study for an Executive MBA? In this blog, I’ll tell you more about my journey.

On the surface, a business degree may seem like an unlikely educational path for a medical professional. However, the Oxford Executive MBA has proved transformative for me as a healthcare leader.

Dr Ebrahim Barkoudah

Throughout my life, I’ve had two great passions – helping others and science. These passions led me to pursue a career in medicine. I studied Medicine at the University of Damascus – ironically, this was founded by ophthalmologist Dr. Rida Saïd, the father of Wafic Saïd (who founded Saïd Business School). Little did I know at this time the impact the School would have on my life.

After medical school, I emigrated to the US, completed my medical residency, and was invited to join the faculty at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and later Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. 

Bridging the gap between medicine and management

I’ve always been interested in how we can bridge the gap between medical practice, healthcare management, and finance to deliver better patient care.

As my career progressed and I moved into healthcare leadership roles, I started to think about how I could make a greater impact, delivering change to systems and processes to better serve patients. It’s been said by various esteemed physicians that, “as a doctor you can save a few patients but, if you fix the system, you will save thousands”. This was an area I wanted to explore further.

As I moved into leadership roles, I recognized that I needed to enhance my management skills to achieve this. I had completed various leadership courses but I needed something more structured and in-depth. There are numerous business degrees available – but Saïd Business School’s Executive MBA was different.

A business degree with practical learning

The degree provides an in-depth study of global business practices, with an emphasis on leadership development, decision-making and innovation – this was the perfect alignment of topics for me.

At Saïd Business School, you’re not just learning about topics like private equity and venture capitalism. You’re getting a 360° view that brings together the theoretical framework and practical applications – through case studies, simulations and real-work projects.

Of course, you have the prestigious reputation of Oxford, esteemed faculty and robust curriculum. But you have so much more besides. The diverse student body was something that particularly appealed to me. It’s been said that a business school education is 50% curriculum and 50% class interaction with your peers. That’s certainly been true for me at Oxford. Learning alongside students from many different industries and backgrounds has fostered a truly dynamic exchange of ideas. 

The Oxford Executive MBA has proved transformative for me as a healthcare leader.

Dr Ebrahim Barkoudah

A transformative programme

The Executive MBA has proved far more transformative than I could have imagined. Professionally, it’s given me a deep understanding of global business dynamics and reinforced the importance of agile leadership. But it’s also challenged me to reassess my perceptions and ideas, broadened my horizons and enhanced my management skills.

On a practical level, the programme is helping me to implement new leadership practices. Financial management is becoming increasingly important in my work. I can now walk into a meeting with our finance analysts and interpret the financial results in a more informed and strategic way.

The Executive MBA is a testament to how we can keep working on our growth as individuals and as leaders.

Dr Ebrahim Barkoudah

A launchpad for career growth

There’s no doubt that globally we need to build better healthcare systems that deliver improved patient care. To achieve that, we, as healthcare professionals, need a good understanding of the business and the economics of healthcare. That way, we can create meaningful change. The Executive MBA equips you with those tools.

Oxford is not just an educational institution. It’s a launchpad for many like me to rethink how to improve what we do locally, one patient at a time, one institute at a time, and take this to a broader global level. The Executive MBA is a testament to how we can keep working on our growth as individuals and as leaders. That’s the part I will carry with me throughout my journey. This degree is now a cornerstone of my professional identity and I’m so grateful for this opportunity to study at Oxford.

Interested in learning more about my experiences on the Executive MBA? Connect with me on LinkedIn.

Oxford Executive MBA