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Jay Bezerra '17

Jay Bezerra


Jay Bezerra ‘17
Associate Director of Patient Relations, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Why did you choose Texas A&M’s Executive MHA Program?  

“I had been accepted to Washington University and Texas A&M was just getting ready to kick off its program. When I compared the two, Texas A&M made a lot more sense. Texas A&M’s pros heavily outweighed George Washington for many reasons. It was local and it really fit my schedule being that it was on the weekends. Also, the network that Texas A&M has in the Houston. George Washington has a big network in Washington, D.C., but not so much in Texas.”

What was your experience like in the program?

“I was in the first cohort, so we helped shape what the program looks like today. We were in class eight hours a day and we had no idea what that meant. The professors had to tailor the course to fit that, so it was really interesting and we had a great time.”

How did the Executive MHA program prepare and/or enhance your career?

“It was really neat for me and for most of the people who were in the group. We were doing our jobs as well as going to school and they fed into each other. Many  of the projects that I had to do for my degree were projects that I was already doing for work.. It was a nice marriage between the two and I really enjoyed it.”

Do you feel like the program was flexible with your current job you had at the time?

“Absolutely. I was in a position where I didn’t have to work weekends and the program being on the weekend was very helpful. I was a business manager and 50 percent of my job was operations and the other 50 percent was finance. Almost all of the courses tied in nicely with what I was doing professionally.”

How would you describe the culture of the program, cohort, and Texas A&M as a whole?

“Probably 90 percent of my class was people who worked at the Texas Medical Center, which has its own culture. It was nice because everybody just fell right in line and all spoke each other’s language. I think it was more Texas A&M tailoring to our culture than the other way around.”

What level of support did you receive from the program during your time as a graduate student?

“Because we were the first cohort, I think we were lucky and we probably received more support than any other class. It was all hands-on deck to make sure the program was going to be successful. We received an incredible amount of support.”

What did you think of your MHA courses and competencies?

“I think it was very well balanced and really touched on all the points that we deal with on a daily basis as health care administrators. It was also great to be exposed to topics such as insurance and law that I didn’t have hands-on experience with."

What did you like most about the program?

“I liked that when we were in the same class for eight hours, it was not just listening to the professor, it really became conversational. It opens your eyes to what your colleagues are doing in different hospitals and you learn from them. There were many takeaways that you can bring to your organization and try to implement.”

Is there a favorite memory or a personal story you’d like to share about your time in the MHA program?

“I really enjoyed our lunch breaks because that was our time to let loose a little bit and just have some fun and sit around the table and share a meal. Because we were there all day it meant we had breakfast and lunch together and that was always fun."

What has changed for you personally and professionally?

“The program has really helped shape who I am as an administrator. I have definitely grown in the field and I definitely attribute some of that to the things I learned from the program. I don’t think I would have gotten the manager job at MD Anderson if I hadn’t already been enrolled in the program. Having an MHA or MBA was a requirement, and since I was enrolled, they offered me the position on the contingency that I finish the program. That saved me two years of having to finish the program and then apply for the position. When I graduated, I already had been a manager for two years in addition to the degree so it worked out well.”

What recommendations do you have for future students?

“I referred several people from MD Anderson because I believe in the program so much. I think the executive program is perfect for anybody who is currently an administrator because it pairs nicely with working and going to school. I wouldn’t stress too much over the quantity of work because a lot of it is conversational and a lot of the assignments are group assignment. By the time finals come around, you have already had so many good conversations around the topics that things come naturally, especially if you are already doing them on a day-to-day basis."

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