From Patient Care Advocate to Senior Manager: How a Lifelong Passion for Healthcare Led to an MBA

September 13, 2018 | Express Scripts

Syed Ali is a Sr. Manager – Strategic Performance Solutions/#1HD Business Communications, based out of Dublin, Ohio and currently a member of Express Scripts’ Professional MBA Program.

As a proud graduate of The Ohio State University (Go Buckeyes!), Express Scripts is my first (and only) full-time employer. In fact, I celebrated my 20th anniversary on September 8, 2018!

My Express Scripts adventure started in 1998 when I was looking for a summer job. I attended a career fair and was overwhelmed by all of the options. I wasn’t totally sure what the opportunity with Express Scripts would entail when I filled out the application; however, I was called in for an interview and soon offered a position as a Patient Care Advocate.

Though I started the job thinking it would be something I could do for the summer, I fell in love with it my very first week. I made friends and recognized that Express Scripts was where I belonged. I even met the love of my life at Express Scripts: my wife, Laura, works as a Sr. Clinical Analyst in our PBM Services Benefit Operations organization. We are now happily married with two kids, Ryan and Layla.

Over the years, I’ve changed roles and departments several times. Currently, I work in our Strategic Performance Solutions organization, which is responsible for the design, development, and delivery of training and communications solutions across Operations. Most recently, I was asked to lead our new #1HD Business Communications team. My team and I are focused on delivering communications to our employees across our Member Services and Home Delivery organization that support strategic initiatives, align with performance needs, and cultivate employee engagement.

Some of my best days on the job are when I’m able to help others recognize how they’re making a difference. From my days as a Training Supervisor, to various roles leading Operations and Training teams, I’ve been able to see the impact that I can create when I can help others connect to our company’s mission around patient care. It truly is my purpose in my professional life.

I’ve always been a bit of a “geek.” I read healthcare blogs, I’m a member of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), and I attend conferences and webinars every chance I can. And when the opportunity to further my education came along, I jumped at the chance.  Just before I turned 40, my leader nominated me to take part in Express Scripts’ Professional MBA Program. This is a joint program with the University of Missouri-St. Louis that allows participants to take courses on campus and earn an MBA degree in just 21 months.

Since being accepted into the PMBA program, I find myself recognizing application possibilities every week. From increasing my financial acumen (I can attend an earnings call and not feel overwhelmed by terms like “EBITDA”!) to developing a greater appreciation for supply chain and business law, to becoming more confident as a leader, this has been one heck of a ride so far. I’ve also found countless opportunities to share what I’ve learned in classes with my team.

Looking back, it’s no surprise that I ended up working for a healthcare company. I’ve always been passionate about patient care. As a teenager, I volunteered at a local hospital with the hope of being able to simply put a smile on patients’ faces and attempt to make them forget why they were in the hospital to begin with.

Throughout my 20 years at Express Scripts, and under CEO Tim Wentworth’s leadership, we continue to evolve as a company. Employees are connected to our  mission and are able to see how we are making a difference for our patients and clients every day. I love the work I do, and who I get to do it with. Even twenty years later, I’m still in love with this great company, and proud to be a Champion for Better.

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