How an MBA Defined My Career Path

How an MBA Defined My Career Path


By Pablo Noguera, MBA '16 | June 30, 2015

When I started my MBA at LMU, I didn’t have a clear idea if I wanted to stay in healthcare operations, continue as a licensed family therapist in private practice, or pursue a new path in sports marketing. With a master’s degree in behavioral medicine, a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and 8 years of experience in performance psychology and mental health counseling, I thought I wanted to continue in the healthcare industry….but I wasn’t sure.

The Business Side

While helping a close physician colleague build the foundation of a comprehensive behavioral medicine practice, I got a taste of branding, marketing, website development and healthcare operations. It was during that time I recognized how much I enjoyed the business aspects of healthcare. What options were available to someone with my background? I did some exploring and realized my business education was lacking. All my prior classes were in psychology or related to clinical aspects of the healthcare industry. So I spent my first year in the MBA program focused on obtaining internships and putting myself in business roles that would provide the building blocks for my future career.

Getting Internships

LMU’s Career Services Office helped me determine where I should focus my time, improved my resume, and polished my approach for finding relevant internships. The advice and support proved extremely valuable. With the guidance of Career Services, I reached out to alumni via staff recommendations and LinkedIn and within the first month of the program I had already received an internship offer from Puma headquarters in Europe!

Although I didn’t pack my bags for Europe, I landed a fantastic marketing internship with AEG - Staples Center, followed by an internship at a digital marketing agency working in business operations and project management. These experiences helped me determine what my professional goals would be moving forward - to pursue a career healthcare, specifically focused on addressing the performance of healthcare systems through analytics and project management roles.

Define Your Goals

When you realize your goals, it’s a lot easier to focus on how you’re going to get there. Now that I had direction, I sought out and landed an MBA internship with UCLA Health, working as an analyst in their Patient Experience Analytics Department. This internship would define my second year of business school. Being in a part-time program allowed me to take classes, pursue this incredible internship, and work as a project manager for a real estate firm (got to pay the bills!).

As my time at UCLA Health came to a close, I created a simple checklist of wants/needs for a full time position:

  • Large corporation with offices across the US
  • Headquartered in Southern California
  • Within a vertical that is essential to healthcare (Health Insurance, Pharmaceuticals, Health Systems)
  • A role that would incorporate project management, analytics, and business strategy

That led me to focus my efforts on the health insurance industry! I started looking at Fortune 500 companies and found that the majority of the top health insurers are Fortune 200 and in good economic positions. Considering the recent changes in public policy from Obamacare and after reading several articles which discussed demand for MBAs within healthcare - I moved forward with confidence.

My New Position

One company that stood out and met all my wants and needs was a Fortune 200 company called HealthNet. In May 2015, I was offered a job and started as a Business Process Consultant within the Strategic Provider Partnerships division. My role consists of managing a broad spectrum of strategic initiatives that aim to create value for patients, improve care for patient populations, and reduce health system costs for hospitals, medical groups and physicians. It’s an incredible position and I know I took the right steps to get where I am today - putting in the effort, doing my research, and taking advantage of internships and career services.

I almost forgot to mention - the salary for my first position after two years of the MBA program is 70% higher than what I earned previously. It’s all about being invested in getting the most out of an MBA.