Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Tricia O’Brien, Michigan State (Broad)

Tricia O’Brien

Michigan State University, Broad College of Business

“I am a lifelong learner. I am empathetic, eager, and thankful.”

Hometown: Omaha, NE and Bloomfield Hills, MI

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’ve been learning how to fold origami in my free time as a way to destress and step away from electronics!

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Michigan, B.S. with a Major in Microbiology and Minor in the Sociology of Health and Medicine

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Medical student. I was in medical school for two years before starting my MBA as part of the dual DO/MBA program at MSU.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? When I was applying for medical school, MSU was the only school that I researched that had a dual DO/MBA program. In the years leading up to my application to medical school, I was becoming increasingly interested in economics and politics and I felt that pursuing my MBA along with my DO degree would help me to be a better leader in the healthcare industry. I also researched MSU Broad College of Business and saw that it had a great reputation and curriculum, so I pulled the trigger to attend both medical and business school at MSU. I am so happy I did!

What has surprised you the most about the Broad MBA program? How dedicated the staff and faculty are to the students. I was not expecting this high of a level of communication and support from them. They made the transition into our MBA classes very easy, the community feels very personable (even with classes being entirely online due to COVID-19), and I feel like I can reach out to them anytime.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Collaborative. Business school has been an interesting change of pace for me academically. A lot of our work has been through team projects. I am really happy that my classmates are so collaborative because they make accomplishing our goals not only straightforward, but enjoyable! Even classmates not on my team for a specific project are more than willing to help when I have questions about an assignment. I also really liked how quickly our year made a group WhatsApp so it is really easy to communicate with everyone in our class.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: It was passing my COMLEX-Level 1, which is the first of three levels of examinations to obtain licensure to practice as a physician.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? Completing my first finance class! I found the class very interesting and challenging! I also started a new club, the Business in Healthcare Association (BHA).

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I saw that there are a lot of administrative and bureaucratic rules in healthcare. Sometimes, these rules do not serve the patients or healthcare staff in the best way. Therefore, I decided that I wanted to set myself up to be in a position where I can make positive changes in the healthcare field.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? I started medical school in the summer of 2018 and took two classes during that summer: Biochemistry and Anatomy. Anatomy was a really tough class for me because we had it five days a week and learning all of the new information felt like, “drinking from a fire hose.”

I put hours into studying each day, but I didn’t do as well as I wanted to on the first two exams of anatomy. My confidence was really shaken and the first biochemistry exam was coming up. I was seriously questioning if I was smart enough for medical school. I thought about not showing up to the biochemistry test the next morning. I had even called my parents to talk about it. I was set to not go…but I went anyway. Something inside me wouldn’t let me just stop. I knew I would be so disappointed in myself for years to come if I just gave up and didn’t even try. This is my defining moment because I was at such a low point, but I kept going and I did end up passing both classes!

This moment prepared me for business school because there are a lot of new situations and things to learn in this environment (made even more unique by COVID-19) and they can be challenging. However, if a demanding situation does come up, I try to remember how I was able to keep going at such a stressful time and that I am capable of completing whatever challenge comes my way.


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