Dr. Bryan Buechel, ’18, stood at a crossroads in his career as a senior pharmacy manager at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Although he served a vital role collaborating with providers to coordinate pharmaceutical care for patients, he set his sights on mastering additional skills while maintaining both his family and career responsibilities. He found the perfect fit in the MBA@Nebraska program.
“While earning an MBA was important for me professionally, it was critical schoolwork wouldn’t interfere with my role as a father and husband,” said Buechel. “The program’s design allowed me to tailor my course load based on upcoming family or work commitments. Furthermore, the opportunity to work ahead in most classes was pivotal for me to maintain an effective balance between family, work and school.”
Buechel enrolled in the MBA@Nebraska program and began dedicating early morning hours, often beginning at 4:30 a.m., to studying fields such as finance, supply chain management and business analytics. He knew bolstering those skills would leave him well-prepared to quickly adapt in the dynamic pharmacy industry, and, more importantly, transform patient care for the better.
“I recognized my lack of business experience may limit my ability to advance and effect change in the broader healthcare system. At Nebraska, I had the ability to take finance and analytics courses online to obtain a deeper understanding of those subject areas,” Buechel said.
He immediately began applying principles he learned in class to the workplace. His newfound ability to manipulate large amounts of information and make data-driven decisions helped him improve patient care at Mayo Clinic.
“During an analytics course, I learned how I could apply ‘queueing theory’ to streamline pharmacy call center operations and to provide more timely care for patients. By analyzing one year of call flow data using models introduced in class, I was able to modify staff schedules to nearly eliminate abandoned calls during one of the busier times of day. Reviewing how this analytical model might be further leveraged to optimize pharmacy workflow served as the basis for an article I authored for an industry journal in late 2017,” said Buechel.
While he worked toward a specialization in finance, faculty teaching other subject areas inspired him with the right information to impact his work life at the right time. Dr. Elina Ibrayeva, associate professor of practice of management, cultivated management skills that helped him build a better workplace culture.
“Dr. Ibrayeva stands out for the genuine interest she takes in each of her students’ growth. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to have worked with her and for her thoughtful, timely and constructive feedback. Her willingness to share personal anecdotes made the material very relatable,” he said.
Ibrayeva noted Buechel’s ability to lead in the classroom. She saw him apply her classroom materials directly to his workplace.
“Bryan was always the first student to post his assignments,” said Ibrayeva. “He set the tone for the class and generated feedback from other students by getting his work up first, and in turn benefited from interactions with the best students. During his time in the program he received workplace challenges where he had to be extremely innovative and a leader in changing business models at Mayo Clinic. He mastered skills in leadership, communications, networking and innovation, and he applied all those things to his own life including mindfulness. He started to meditate which allowed him to find that quiet center in his personality so he could be creative without being overwhelmed.”
Soon after graduating from Nebraska, Buechel transitioned into his current position as director of pharmacy for managed care at Mayo Clinic. He now oversees the pharmacy benefits for nearly 170,000 members.
“Our clinical staff and system analysts work behind the scenes to ensure members can walk into almost any pharmacy nationwide, present their prescription benefit information and receive a safe, effective medication that’s covered by their plan. Additionally, our team routinely works with the Mayo Clinic Pharmaceutical Formulary Committee to evaluate new medications, manage individual patient cases to optimize therapy, develop and implement clinical programs and partner with clients to ensure their drug benefit delivers cost-effective care,” said Buechel.
He credits Nebraska with providing an MBA program that translates perfectly to building a more fulfilling career.
“MBA@Nebraska provides far more than a degree and a few extra letters after your name,” said Buechel. “The opportunity to refine your skill set, learn new mental models and frameworks, explore ‘stretch topics’ you otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to, learn from world-class faculty and interact with talented individuals across the globe, make the program an excellent choice for anyone interested in pursuing an MBA.”