MBA for Executives

Executive MBA Profile: Omar Manajwela, MD


Omar Manajwela, MD

Medical Director
Hazelden Foundation

MBA for Executives
Class of 2010

Why an MBA? 

Physicians generally don’t get a lot of business training in medical school, and I realized quickly that if I wanted a seat at the table, I needed to be able to communicate with businesspeople, with administrators, with other leaders, with a vernacular, a language that I really didn’t have. I also wanted an opportunity to see what I could create, how I could contribute in new and exciting ways.  The ability to leverage some of the exciting innovations in business has been something that’s been really available to me, and I’ve used it.

On the value of his Darden MBA 

Well, the value’s been tremendous and it’s had real-time application for me…The things I’ve learned in the classroom I can apply often the same day or the very next day.  My colleagues have been really impressed with implementing ideas that I’ve acquired here from the other students and from the faculty.

I’m surrounded by peers, colleagues, who are hungry for information about how to improve business operations, and I’ve been able to take a lot of what I learn here and teach it to them on a regular basis.  They’ve been very excited about that, and as a whole the organization has moved forward.  

On the impact of the Darden Executive MBA on his career

Recently, I was named Medical Director of Hazelden in Minnesota, which is the nation’s oldest and largest addiction treatment center.  It’s a huge upgrade, and I really do attribute the opportunity to much of what I learned here at Darden.

On the Case Method at Darden 

I think that the Case Method is a huge driver of success.  It forces us as students to be creative.  It forces us to think about aspects of the problem that we ordinarily wouldn’t think about.  It has forced me at times to shed old ideas about how problems should be solved, to take a multiple stakeholder perspective, to think about things from all sides of the street.  Much of the learning actually takes place outside the classroom, peer-to-peer. 

The educational experience here occurs in such an experiential fashion.  In the sense that, it’s not just studying material and presenting it or taking an exam but rather being immersed in a problem and having to find a way through teamwork, through interactions with faculty and through reflection to dig your way out of the problem with new and creative kinds of solutions.    

On the faculty teaching in Darden’s Executive MBA program

At times, I’ve actually reached out to faculty about work-related problems, and they’ve gone above and beyond.  At one point, there was a faculty member who spent two maybe three hours with me on the phone brainstorming a work-related problem.  I can’t imagine that that would happen at a school that wasn’t as intimate as Darden.

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