Best-selling author, healthcare leadership expert shares advice with MHA students


Published: May 15, 2020

By Sally Crocker

Quint Studer

Quint Studer

U.S. businessman, entrepreneur, author and leadership consultant Quint Studer is a healthcare management icon that students learn about through case studies and examples of success.

Being able to hear Studer speak at conferences and large-scale events is eye opening.

To connect with him personally is something that many aspiring, young healthcare leaders might only wish for, yet a group of Master of Health Administration (MHA) graduate students at the HSC School of Public Health were recently able to do just that, thanks to closer connections being forged online by professionals and the education community working remotely in a new and different environment during COVID-19.

Dr. Stephan Davis, MHA Program Director, took a chance when he reached out to Studer through LinkedIn, asking if he would be interested in sharing perspectives on healthcare with students preparing to embark on their own careers in a new time for the industry.

The answer was yes, resulting in one of those rare, once-in-a-lifetime conversations that few healthcare leaders ever have the chance to engage in.

Studer has authored seven leadership-based books both inside and outside the healthcare industry. His books have ranked on Wall Street Journal and Business Week bestseller lists. He writes a syndicated, weekly, employee-development column for the Pensacola News Journal, is co-owner of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos Minor League Baseball team and also owns several businesses in the downtown Pensacola area.

His family of companies also includes the Pensacola nonprofit Studer Foundation and Studer Community Institute, helping people understand their community, and supporting local organizations that serve children, the disabled and the elderly.

He was honored with the first Marketing Visionary IMPACT Award in 2014 and has been named twice to Modern Healthcare’s 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare list.

Studer was relaxed and informal the day he met with HSC students, Zooming in from his Florida home office, with Blue Wahoos memorabilia, books and other personal items in the background.

He was prepared to share insights and predictions on the healthcare industry, but he also wanted to hear from students and faculty and was open to any and all types of questions.

As might be expected, many of those questions centered on where students could take their healthcare leadership degrees and experience in the midst of the pandemic.

The current growth in telemedicine services is important, Studer said, as he stressed finding the right fit and being committed to your own personal and professional development throughout your career.

He offered advice on success and what it looks like from different views, whether it’s your own, from the perspective of the doctor or healthcare administrator, or in the eyes of the patient.

80 percent of failure in a job, Studer offered, has to do with clarity.

“Share your priorities with your boss and others in leadership, so your list matches theirs,” he said. “Ask for feedback on what you’re doing well and what you could do better, and let them know you can take the feedback.”

A personal example was when he asked those questions of his wife, to get her “what’s your what” on something he could do better. “Make the bed!” was her immediate reply. The answers, he  advised, are not always what you might expect.

Studer emphasized the importance of mid-managers, noting that with 94-98 percent of healthcare employees reporting to a middle manager, the organizations with the best people in those positions “will win.”

Some key takeaways for students were questions to ask as a healthcare leader: am I hiring right, am I developing right, am I getting engagement, are we achieving outcomes and meeting our goals and mission.

Being self-aware, coachable, flexible and open to change are also important, especially now as the healthcare industry responds to COVID-19.

Studer was optimistic on his vision for graduate students, concluding, “The best part about the future of healthcare is you, your diversity, your energy and your passion.”

“Our students and faculty really connected with his message and the examples he shared from his 30-plus years in the industry. We hope to have more opportunities moving forward, as our classes continue online in response to COVID-19 social distancing, to engage with other healthcare experts in this way as well,” said Dr. Arthur Mora, HSC Chair of Health Behavior and Health Systems.

Students described the opportunity to meet with Studer as insightful, thoughtful, inspiring and encouraging.

Daniel Figueroa said she learned that, “I must make myself indispensible to the organization where I work. Clear communication on what makes me a successful addition to the company is easily attainable by asking leadership the following: a year from now, if I exceed your expectations, what exactly will I have accomplished?”

“Be kind to yourself, be confident and vocalize your opinion, and make yourself indispensable,” summarized student Chiamaka Udoye.

“The HSC MHA program is so grateful for the time Quint Studer spent with us,” Dr. Davis said. “He brought tremendous perspective to our students and faculty, consistent with his values of generosity, learning, mentorship and giving back to others. We were very lucky to engage with this extraordinary healthcare, community and thought leader.”