Christy Woodruff

Rice Executive MBA

Hometown (City and State): Houston, TX

Undergraduate School and Major (Include Graduate School if Relevant):

Trinity University, B.A. Psychology; University of Texas Medical School at Houston, M.D.; Harvard Medical School/ Massachusetts General Hospital, Internship in Internal Medicine; Baylor College of Medicine, Residency in Dermatology

Employer and Job Titles: Physician/ Dermatologist, private practice

What led you to pursue an MBA? I did not enter the MBA program with any particular goal in mind.  My goal upon deciding to pursue an MBA was simply to learn about business, and to see what direction that might take me. 

Business has always interested me, but my career path took me in a different direction. I had never taken any business courses before starting the MBA program. But I had started two dermatology practices, built them up into large, successful practices and then sold them. I learned practical skills along the way, but I would not say that I really understood how to run a business. I would hire good people to help with the business issues I did not understand or did not have the time to learn.

Medicine is now dominated by insurance companies and business people. I knew in the future I would need to learn how to communicate with the health care executives on their level if I wanted to make a difference in the future of medicine. I also wanted to learn skills which would allow me to explore other options outside of medicine if I decide at some point to alter my career path.

Why did you choose Rice for your executive MBA? As a native Houstonian with two parents who are Rice alumni, I was well aware of Rice’s reputation for academic excellence. When I began investigating the MBA programs, I decided on Rice because of the quality of the students who would be my classmates, as well as the academic reputation. 

I also wanted a program where I would be on the main campus rather than a remote location. I live between Houston and Austin, so I signed up for the residency program through Rice which allows me to stay in Houston during the weekends we are in class. This program has helped enormously with decreasing my driving time. 

The international trip at the end of the program, with the opportunity to work with my classmates at a company overseas, is an experience I am eagerly anticipating, and it is an opportunity which made Rice stand out for me.

What has been a highlight of the program? There have been three highlights which I would say have made my experience incredible. The first are my classmates, who are outstanding people, and I am enjoying getting to know them. The second are the professors. I enjoy going to class and having professors who are such great teachers, and who are so interested in helping us learn. The third is the emphasis on the development of leadership and communication skills. 

What has surprised you about the journey so far? I was warned before the program started about the workload.  However, I am not sure I really understood how much work it was going to be before it started. Any MBA program is going to be tough, especially when you already have a full-time job. I have learned to adapt, manage my time well, and realize this is my second full-time job. I have also been surprised that I actually like accounting.  It’s not as dull as I thought it would be. 

What advice do you have for prospective students? When looking at the choices for MBA programs, keep in mind they are all going to be tough programs, especially when you are also trying to balance work and family.  Anywhere you go, you are going to have to put in quite a bit of effort. So look at what makes the programs different, such as the quality of the students, the quality of the professors, the academic reputation of the institution, and the alumni network.