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Nichole Wilson | Weekend MBA '11

nichole wilsone, weekend mba 2011


For Nichole Wilson, the goal was always to be among the leaders in healthcare. The exact path, however, was not always so clear.

“I’ve always had leadership in my DNA, and I reached a point where I wanted to take the next step in my career,” she says. “I was contemplating an MS in Healthcare Administration. But if for some reason I wanted to step away from healthcare I wanted to have a credible degree that would back me.”

Her attention turned to the pursuit of an MBA, a detour from the clinical path she had been on after attaining a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Medicine from DePauw University as well as Master’s and Doctorate degrees in physical therapy from the University of Indianapolis.

With professional responsibilities that required her attention well into the evenings, program flexibility was key. Still, she valued the in-class experience as a critical component that best suited her learning style. The result of her graduate business school research nudged her toward Purdue's Weekend MBA program, as she was drawn to the program’s reputation, and rigor.

Ultimately, she and her husband both enrolled in the Weekend MBA program, where they found value learning from subject matter experts and the real-world application of the content.

I was always trying to tie what we were learning back to what I do in health care as I managed my areas. I found that the professors were able to relate and translate not only from textbook to business practice but also from the business world to the healthcare world

One such practical application occurred on the job as she was encountering challenges in assessing how much regular and contingency staff were needed depending on how much demand there was in the clinics she managed. The topic not only proved to be an interesting case for the class, but also led to an opportunity to work with a professor and graduate assistant on developing a model to help improve scheduling.

“I also enjoyed learning from my peers in the class. There was a person in our group who was already in the marketing field. It was great to glean from her industry expertise and compare it to the curriculum and what was being taught in the books,” she says.

While she was in the program, Wilson was promoted from Manager of Rehab Services to Director of Rehab and Sports Medicine Centers for Community Health Network. After completing the program, the upward bound trajectory of her career continued leading to her current role as Vice President of Retail Health Services. In each of the expanded roles, she has pulled from her MBA experience to become an established leader in her field.

“I was no longer the content expert, and you don’t have to be the expert in everything,” Wilson says of her ascension to her current role. “But you do need to know what questions to ask that are key to running the core of your business. You can set forth on a positive path based on your initial assessment of how the business is run. And you can transfer skills from one area to another. The MBA certainly helped maximize those transferable skills in the business setting.”

Wilson sees herself fulfilling the aspirations she once had as a leader in healthcare. And with her MBA, she feels prepared for the opportunities to come.

That's Nichole's giant leap.