“The best approaches to problem-solving often come from outside your own industry.”

Although Dr. Nabihah Sachedina loved practicing pediatrics in the UK, she found herself increasingly frustrated with inefficiencies in the health care system. “Because of conflicts over funding, it was sometimes difficult to discharge patients into community care,” says Nabihah. “I saw preventable rebounds and readmissions. Patients experienced unnecessarily long stays and treatment delays.”

Driven to find a better way, Nabihah left clinical practice to spend a year with the World Health Organization and the UK Department of Health. There, her interest in policy formation inspired her to pursue a degree at the Harvard Kennedy School.

“But as I worked in government,” Nabihah says, “I saw that policy formation was only part of the picture; when it comes to implementation, management principles are incredibly important.”

Eager to obtain both a policy perspective and general management skills, Nabihah ultimately elected for the joint MBA/MPP degree through HBS and HKS.

A safe environment for trying things out

Given her background, it’s not surprising that Nabihah took a leadership role in the annual Healthcare Conference sponsored by the Healthcare Club. “But many people were surprised that I took an operations role,” she says. “I had never managed logistics on that scale before. That’s the great thing about being at Harvard: it’s a safe environment for trying things out, to augment my capabilities where I don’t have a lot of experience.”

“HBS broadens my perspective – in finance, strategy, marketing, and in unfamiliar industries,” says Nabihah. “I learn more from the non-health care cases that take me out of my comfort zone. I’ve learned that a lot of key challenges are industry agnostic. And I’ve found that the best approaches to problem-solving often come from outside your own industry. Without your biases, you can look at problems objectively, drill down, and come up with creative solutions without a voice in your head second-guessing your recommendation. You become more creative in your thinking."