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Carol Friesen, MPH, FHFMA

Faculty in the Executive Healthcare MBA Program

Healthcare MBA Helps Students Plan Their Path

Carol Friesen, MPH, FHFMA teaches Executive Leadership and Organizational Behavior at Creighton, which is one of the lead-off courses within the Executive Healthcare MBA curriculum. In a lot of ways, this course helps set the tone for the program, and Friesen thinks the content could surprise some people.

You might not expect a master’s program to start with an assessment of your leadership style, but that self-awareness is at the heart of the course and it carries throughout Creighton’s healthcare-focused EMBA program.

Why? Faculty member Carol Friesen says finding areas of strength in your leadership abilities and also identifying where you’ll need bolstering is vital. She notes, “Self-awareness and growth is a critical piece of this program. Going in, students expect an education, but they’re also going to gain insight. Insight and awareness are valuable because you’ll reapply them in many different ways over the course of your career. And that’s what we’re looking to see. We want to be in a place where we’re growing leaders.”

Calling on Her Healthcare Leadership Background

Friesen’s career makes her uniquely qualified to help grow leaders. She’s currently the Chief Executive Officer of the northern region for OSF HealthCare, and she’s been working in the healthcare industry for more than 20 years. She started out as a hospital CFO, moved to a CEO role, and has since transitioned into senior executive roles at the health system level.

Friesen brings that extensive experience into the classroom, and she says she loves sharing her knowledge, though she learns from the students, as well. She notes, “It’s really rewarding to listen to the students. I find it fascinating to compare their experiences with mine and then continue to help them grow in their leadership journey.”

Students Find Their Way

These discussions lead back to that self-discovery she says is so seminal to the course. A lot of students might not know exactly where they want to go in their careers, but they know they need to be in the healthcare MBA program as part of their journey. It helps students explore their opportunities and discern what path to take.

She says in class discussion, “the interesting stuff is in the diverse experiences.” And with a cohort of students from a wide variety of backgrounds at different points in their careers, there’s plenty to compare and contrast. It’s a discovery process.

She notes her course, like the others within the healthcare EMBA program at Creighton, is experiential. You’ll never be asked to simply echo back information. It’s about applying what you learn in ways that align with your personal career goals. That hands-on application is what will make the learnings “stick.”

A Journey Worth Taking

Self-exploration and hands-on application take work, but Friesen is 100% sure it’s worth the effort. She says pursuing a master’s degree is an investment in yourself. If you want to be a great leader, you first need to build yourself up before you can be of service to others. She adds, “It’s critical to do it now–don’t wait. There’s not another day better than the day that’s upon us.” Particularly in healthcare, learning is a lifelong endeavor, and it’s one worth undertaking.

Friesen adds, “When I started out as CFO, a colleague mentored me, and I really see this teaching opportunity as a way of paying it forward to others.”

Learn more about Creighton’s Executive Healthcare Fellowship or the Executive MBA in Healthcare Management.