PART 1: Q&A with Nwando Anyaoku, EMBA class of 2019

We asked current student Nwando Anyaoku (class of 2019, monthly format) what life is like in Foster’s Executive MBA program.
Anyaoku Nwando Full

Where do you live and what do you do?

I live in Seattle, WA and I am the Executive Medical Director for Pediatrics at Swedish Health Services. Swedish is one of the largest multispecialty physician groups in the greater Seattle area operating 5 hospitals and multiple urgent care and primary care clinics. I am responsible for the delivery of pediatric services ambulatory and acute care, across Swedish. I am a pediatrician with over two decades of experience in patient care and physician leadership. I also have a Master’s in Public Health and I am passionate about population health particularly for the pediatric age group.

What inspired you to pursue an MBA? Why did you choose the Foster School of Business, Executive MBA program?

I have been in a leadership position for several years and have pursued multiple avenues to improve my management and organizational leadership skills. In my current position I now have direct responsibility for strategy and business performance. An MBA is invaluable in equipping me to handle the business as well as management responsibilities of my position.

I have been considering the emba path for a few years so I have explored a number of highly ranked business schools as well as some emba programs that are targeted specifically to physicians. I chose the Foster program because I found that in addition to having an excellent reputation, the culture of the program is very welcoming and very supportive to students who have a whole lot going on in their lives outside of school. A number of colleagues at Swedish are alumni of the Foster EMBA program and spoke really highly of the program. I also very much appreciate the diversity of industry and experience in the program, and I have learned almost as much from my classmates as from the faculty.

Have you already been able to apply what you’ve learned in the program to your real-world challenges?

Just about every single class I’ve taken has been immediately applicable to my real- world.

We have been working, for example, on a new and exciting strategic alliance with a partner organization and as my role of Executive Director, I am the physician lead for the process. Typically, such a complex venture requires a thorough review and understanding of financial statements and accounting processes as well as strategic thinking, marketing and negotiation skills. Each and every one of these is a course in my EMBA so it was like I had a practicum associated with each class.

The greater understanding of the language of business and organizational leadership was immediately valuable in my conversations with our senior management team as well as giving me a much needed skillset for leading my team through a pretty significant change.

Describe your team experience.

The team experience is an absolute survival requirement for the program. I have been very fortunate to work with teammates from a variety of industries. My learning has been very much enriched by working with my teammates and classmates.

What is the vibe and feel of your EMBA class cohort?

The energy of my program is awesome. Over the time we’ve been together I truly have come to appreciate the how diverse, supportive and just plain fun my cohort is to be around. Everyone is so generous in sharing their experiences and knowledge as well as their challenges and lessons learned with the rest of the group. I don’t think I could have found another program that so perfectly suits my persona.

Has there been an unexpected benefit of the EMBA program thus far?

I have been just thrilled with how much I have learned from other industries in their approach to issues. Beyond the actual curriculum, just learning about different ideas and approaches from a variety of industries as well as a variety of cultural perspectives has been truly an unexpected bonus of this program.