An In-Demand Combination
Sudeep Ross, MD
Eller Evening MBA ’12
Chief Health Officer, Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center
By Liz Warren-Pederson
Sudeep Ross was born in India and grew up in Africa, son of a father who was an engineer and a mother who was a teacher, both with a travel bug. He attended a British school in Zambia and an American school in Somalia, circumstances that gave him a head start on globalization — and on connecting with people in his future career.
“Doctors aren’t necessarily known as tolerant people,” he said, “But I’ve always been sensitive to subtle differences in cultures and now I think my background helps a lot in managing people.”
In college, he was pre-med all along, but by the first semester of his junior year, he’d finished his medical prerequisites. “So I looked into electives and found one called Magic, Sorcery, and Witchcraft,” he said. “It was an anthropology class, and I loved it.” He decided to major in anthropology. “I imagined an Indiana Jones kind of thing,” he said with a laugh, but he ultimately decided to continue with med school in India.
“I didn’t have a green card at that point,” Ross said. As he was over 21, he didn’t acquire one automatically when his parents immigrated, so he applied for one through his family and waited. He completed his residency, went to grad school, and finally, about ten years later, the green card came through.
“Out of my residency, I worked in urgent care for a couple of years in central Pennsylvania and was the medical director there,” he said. “I found I enjoyed the administrative side and did want to continue on that path, but an MD alone doesn’t give you much credibility with hospital administrators.”
Ross began looking at online and evening MBA programs. “The Evening MBA program at Eller was ranked well, and I thought it was also a good bang for my buck,” he said. He completed the program in August and updated his LinkedIn profile in September. “I started getting two to three phone calls per day,” he said. “Professionals with both clinical experience and business experience are in high demand. The volume of interest was incredible to me.” He just accepted a position as Chief Health Officer of the Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center in Kansas City, Missouri.
“The big problem is that medical students get 15 years of education, but are never once exposed to business,” he said. “It’s as if we are magically expected to be able to run a business, which is essentially what a private practice or hospital setting asks you to do. We do need people who just see patients, but these settings also involve managing the HR challenges that come with employees, not to mention budget and accounting needs. Business education is invaluable.”