From MBI to MBA: Video Transcript

Michele Molden (Miami, 1977) [President and CEO of Piedmont Heart Institute]: Ending up in the business side of medicine, after starting from a very technical field, isn't perhaps as unusual as it may seem. When you're trained in the scientific method, as we were as microbiology students and chemistry students, and all of the classes that we went to, we all expected, I think, to be in the natural sciences for a very long time.

But after spending about 5 years in basic research at the University of Cincinnati, I had the opportunity to join a very small start-up company, in New Town, Ohio: Meridian Biosciences (what is now Meridian Biosciences). And in that organization, working for a start-up company, was really a lot of fun.

I was still in my major field, still in microbiology, but as that company developed, I realized and the company realized that they had some business needs that there was really no one to fill. So, as is typical in small companies, you do whatever needs to be done. And I started doing some of the forecasting for products and planning and, sooner or later, just almost by accident, I ended up going out and working with researchers in the field, looking at the products we were making compared to other products, and that kind of was where I really made the left hand turn into business. But, of course, I had no credentials for what I was doing.

The really interesting thing is, when I decided to go to graduate school, I took the GMAT just to see what I would need to do to qualify when I took it seriously. So, it was kind of a test run. And I did fine on it, and I realized it was because the same scientific method that I had used and been trained in so well at Miami were the basics for analyzing business problems. And the intersection, if you will, between science and business was really very close. And so, for me, one has always, more or less, been an extension of the other. I think good business basics are all about the scientific method of hypothesis, testing, plan-do. All of the cycles that we talk about in quality improvement are just the same as the basic scientific method.

[April 2011]