Dr. Steve Sentovich, PEMBA’11, Health Sector

in HSMP PEMBA Graduate Profiles, Student Profiles
October 6th, 2011

Steve Sentovich

PEMBA, Health Sector Management

With a mother who majored in math and a physicist for a father, Steve Sentovich (PEMBA), now a colon and rectal surgeon, thinks of himself as a bit of the family rebel, having chosen medicine over science, and being, at least in his mind, the least educated in his family.

“My parents cultivated a solid learning environment throughout our lives. In high school, I definitely gravitated toward math and science. I had an excellent biology teacher who really inspired me, and I read a lot of books on medicine. I knew I wanted to be a doctor, but my parents kept saying, ‘You could always fall back on engineering.’”

It’s not often that someone’s backup plan is engineering, but it turned out that Steve didn’t need one anyway. He completed a seven-year undergraduate/medical school program, five years of general surgery residency, and a two-year fellowship in colon and rectal surgery. Then he was recruited to work at Boston’s Deaconess Hospital (now Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital), where he worked for five years. He has spent the past 10 years at the Boston University School of Medicine as an associate professor, and he runs his practice at Boston Medical Center.

“Being a physician was very appealing to me because I wanted to care for people. And surgery allows me to do that in a physical way,” he says.

But something was still missing. On the flip side of patient care, Steve had a practice to run, and discovered that he was without the right information to make many of the administrative decisions he was facing.

“During all those years of medical school,” he says, “I had zero training in business and administration. Nobody ever said one thing about it.”

Inspired by a colleague who had attended the School’s Executive Education program and encouraged by the accommodating schedule of the part-time Professional Evening MBA program (PEMBA), Steve added “earn an MBA” onto his already busy schedule of clinic and office visits, surgery, and lecturing. He’s concentrating, of course, in health sector management.

“I really started with zero management knowledge. In fact, for a lot of these MBA classes, I walked in and really didn’t even know what we were going to be talking about. But my professors and classmates have given me a framework for understanding how you organize people, how you learn, and how finances are managed. And with that, I have immediately started applying it to what I do.”

Although Steve understands how important efficient processes, operations, management, and technology are to running his practice, he’s more excited by how his new understanding of health sector management will help make him a better doctor. “When it comes down to seeing a patient in my specialty, I’m able to provide them with the latest, most effective, and comprehensive treatment. It’s still that personal one-on-one that I’m most proud of. And it’s very satisfying when you have a happy outcome.”

By Alissa Mariello