Side by side in the Executive MBA journey

From Atlanta to Portland – and a big new role

When Hendrix received a position at the University of Oregon Health and Science (OHSU) in 2015, he and Hamel left Atlanta to make a new home in Portland, Oregon. A year later, the OHSU appointed Hendrix as its interim director of patient experience, a role that included multimillion-dollar oversight and staff management of more than 100 people. When Hendrix decided to apply to make the temporary role permanent, he knew I needed an MBA.

“OHSU leaders supported me and knew I was capable of taking the position, but they also wanted me to get a master’s degree. “It was a turning point – to take on this role and have the support of OHSU leaders who said they wanted me to go back and finish this part of my education,” Hendrix said.

For his part, Hamel fully supported Hendrix’s decision to pursue his master’s degree in business administration and was pleasantly surprised to learn about the program’s convenient schedule twice a month for Friday-Saturday lessons.

“It was so much better than I thought it would be. “Because Banning always had weekends and there were always a few weekends,” Hamel said.

Implement new concepts in real time

After launching the program, Hendrix discovered that he could immediately take what he learned in the classroom and apply it to his work at OHSU.

“At that time, I was in the midst of renovating our department and doing some reorganization work with roles. At the same time, I’m going through a call for proposals for a new patient experience provider – a process that was completely new to me. All these parts that I had to finish in my work were things that I could learn from the classes, but also from the experience of the people in the cohort, “said Hendrix.

Balancing between home, school and work

Starting in a busy and challenging new role in the work and then adding a rigorous MBA program was a challenge, of course. But Hendrix uses his high-level organizational skills to make everything manageable.

“I planned the work for each class well in advance. As soon as I received the curriculum, I would start drawing what the results looked like in terms of what was already on my work calendar. I was basically doing the same thing I would do with any project I have at work, ”Hendrix said.

Hendrix also strives to keep work and home strictly separate, extending his days in the office by one or two hours to complete his school work.

“When I get home, I’m ready to cook dinner and spend some time with Chris and relax. So I found it really helpful to do longer days, ”Hendrix said.

Knowing that the MBA program would take up a significant portion of Hendrix’s time in 20 months, Hamel took on more of the family’s daily chores.

“Someone in a master’s program doesn’t have to wash,” Hamel said.

Making new friends

But the MBA experience wasn’t just for longer hours for Hendrix and a temporary increase in laundry duty for Hamel. It was also an opportunity for the couple to meet new people, make new friends and make lasting relationships in their new hometown of Portland.

“When the class was over, I wanted to spend my extra time with Chris, of course. But if the other students got together, then Chris was always invited, “Hendrix said.

These early friendships deepened when Hamel accompanied Hendrix on the program’s global trip to Fiji and New Zealand in the early second year of the class.

Several years after graduation, these ties remain strong. During the pandemic, the couple formed a pod with an alumnus and his fiancée, seeing them almost every weekend.

Expert Council

When asked what he would advise other couples considering considering an Oregon Executive MBA trip, Hamel keeps it simple and optimistic.

“Be ready to lose weight and understand your role in this investment. There is a real comeback for the couple and I felt like a partner in it, “said Hamel.

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