Meet UCLA Anderson’s MBA Class of 2020

Patricia Mathelier

UCLA, Anderson School of Management

MD/MBA student passionate about improving healthcare discrepancies for underserved communities.”

Hometown: Suffern, NY

Fun Fact About Yourself: In my free time I enjoy photography and updating my lifestyle blog, Three Thousand Miles.

Undergraduate School and Major:
Undergrad: Harvard University (Major: Psychology, Minor: Global Health & Health Policy)
Medical School: Drew/ UCLA Medical Education Program

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: As a dual degree MD/MBA student, I have been enrolled in my MD program for the past three years. During that time, I have worked on various projects via the UCLA Center for World Health at UCLA and UCLA Health. I am currently working with UCLA Health on a quality improvement project to improve healthcare efficiency in their gastroenterology department.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment was travelling solo to Port-au-Prince, Haiti for 10 weeks to lead a team of doctors, nurses, and researchers to lay the foundations for a research study testing the acceptability and feasibility of STD testing in pregnant, HIV-positive women. There were many logistical challenges between managing various players across two different campuses across the city. During my time in Haiti, I spearheaded the pilot study and I am proud to say that my work resulted in a publication in The International Journal of STD and AIDS. I have been a part of various research projects throughout undergrad and medical school, but to know that I saw a project from beginning to end and contributed towards work that has an impact in science, medicine, and global health policy is truly humbling.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? There are so many ways that I can describe my classmates, but if I had to pick one I would say genuine. So far, everyone that I have met has been so open and down to earth and I am looking forward to spending the next two years with them.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? I chose UCLA Anderson for various reasons. However, one of the driving factors was the fact that I would have an opportunity to participate in the Business Creation Option (BCO), which is a capstone project that gives Anderson students an opportunity to work with their classmates to launch a business. As someone who is interested in healthcare entrepreneurship, I knew that I wanted to go to a business school that was equipped to support my entrepreneurial endeavors from beginning to end. With the support of the Anderson Venture Accelerator, I know that I will have an overwhelming amount of support, resources, and mentors to guide me in creating a successful startup.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Healthcare Business Association, Black Business Students Association, and the Entrepreneur Association. I don’t want to stretch myself too thin but I can’t help but add Anderson Wine Club to the list too!

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career?
During my first three years of medical school, I was exposed to the clinical side of healthcare. In my experiences, I realized that although physicians have the potential to change lives on an individual level, they face limitations when creating larger scale impact outside the hospital. I want to create innovative solutions to improve accessibility and affordability of healthcare for underserved communities. To do so, I need more than clinical knowledge from medical school. As an Anderson MBA student, I know that I will be surrounded amongst some of the best and brightest faculty and students and I will gain the insights and skills needed to transition from being a healthcare provider to a healthcare business leader.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? After already completing three years of medical school, I had to really think about the financial and time sacrifices I would be making. This year, I could have finished my fourth year of medical school and continued on to be a practicing physician, but I decided that the two years getting an MBA would be worth it. I thought about the goals I wanted to achieve and realized that there was a knowledge gap between the skills I needed and the skills I currently have. I decided that an MBA would be the best way to bridge these skills to pursue my interests and goals.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? The Wharton School

How did you determine your fit at various schools? It was really important for me to go to a school where I fit in with the culture. I knew that most of the top business schools would have what I wanted academically and professionally, but it was more important for me to be somewhere where I felt that I could connect with my peers. I visited various campuses and spoke with students and alumni from all the schools I was interested in. I found that Anderson students and alumni seemed the happiest with their decision and were also the most genuine when talking about their experiences and how Anderson has helped them post-graduation.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? My defining moment was taking the plunge to apply to business school. My parents didn’t support my decision. As an only child in a Haitian-American household, choosing to explicitly defy my parents’ wishes is a big “no-no” in my culture. My whole life, I had always walked the straight and narrow and took very little risks. I’ve always had ambitious dreams and goals, but was too scared to take the leap and just go for it. For that reason, I stayed on the traditional pre-medical path and went to medical school.

It wasn’t until I arrived to medical school that I came to terms with the fact that I would not be truly satisfied in life if I continued down the path of becoming solely a doctor. I wanted to have a larger impact in the medical community and I wanted to use my creative talents to find solutions to large-scale problems.

When I applied to business school, it was a big sacrifice on my part because not only did I have to come to terms with spending two additional years in school, but I had to fund the entire process myself without the financial support of my family. As a full-time medical student with no income and who was living off of financial aid, it was hard to reallocate my budget to find the extra funds for my application, standardized test prep, admissions deposit, etc. Still, I made it work. Looking back, I am proud of taking the plunge. I could have taken the “easy” route and simply graduated medical school this year and walked into a profession where I would have stability but I know I wouldn’t be 100% happy. One of my biggest lessons from this experience was that it’s okay to prioritize my needs and happiness over others. I also learned how to take risks. I don’t know where this journey at UCLA Anderson will lead me, but I’m excited to be here and I’m looking forward to taking more risks and taking advantage of all of the opportunities that Anderson has to offer me.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? After I graduate, I have to finish my last year of medical school and possibly residency. After that, I’m not exactly sure what path I’ll take (I hope to get more clarity during my MBA), but I see myself working for a startup (maybe even my own) or possibly getting into healthcare consulting.

Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I see myself working part-time as a pediatrician and making the transition towards working full-time at a healthcare startup (ideally my own).