Leveraging Business Principles to Transform Healthcare

Yele Aluko (MBA '14)
Summer 2016

Aluko2011 Headshot (1)“Healthcare reform is upon us,” said Dr. Yele Aluko (MBA ’14), “and most physician leaders lack the fundamentals of business management. I realized an MBA would better position me to be a more impactful and effective physician executive.”

That’s why he pursued his graduate degree in business administration – and why he is thankful that he found the School of Business Working Professionals MBA program in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Aluko puts what he learned at the School of Business to work as senior vice president and medical director for Novant Health, which owns 15 hospitals and more than 350 physician practices in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia.

Although it is uncommon for physicians to hold MBA degrees, he feels interest is growing and credits his MBA training at Wake Forest for his expanded understanding of strategy, change management, operations management, finance, marketing, and economics.

He said stepping back and evaluating the system isn’t always easy for physicians who have little time to consider the long list of stakeholders within the healthcare value chain – insurance companies, medical device and pharmaceutical companies, health systems, hospitals, physicians, other providers, and ultimately the patients under their care.

“This network is not very integrated. It’s not easy to parse out the true value proposition for the patient. A physician who has been trained in the trenches and can understand business strategy, finances, and accounting, is better positioned to put this all together, to optimize efficiencies, and eliminate redundancies.”

“Every successful person has made mistakes,” he said. “A mentor provides direction, support, encouragement, and helps mentees understand that while nothing good comes easily, it will certainly come with deliberate planning, discipline, preparation, and guidance.”

For his part, he talks to groups of high school students interested in the healthcare industry through the Wake Forest University Charlotte Center’s College LAUNCH for Leadership Program.

“It’s good for interested youth to get exposure to the healthcare industry early so they can really understand what it’s all about. The worst thing you can do is be in medicine and not like it.”

Aluko’s involvement is all part of paying forward what mentors have offered him in the past, and he appreciates how Wake Forest provides opportunities to give back and influence the next generation.

“Mentoring nurtures a strong sense of community, and it fosters relationships among students and faculty,” he said. “There’s opportunity for social interaction, intellectual interaction, and philanthropic participation. I wish I had done this 10 years earlier.”