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Savannah doctor earns MBA to be a better physician, advocate for patients

For Savannah doctor Timothy Connelly earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree wasn’t about advancing his career in the business world. Instead, he saw it as an opportunity to grow in his current career.

“I did not get my MBA to look for a different job, a better job or a higher paying job,” Connelly said. “I went for it to do a better job.” 

Georgia Southern University’s MBA program, offered through the Parker College of Business online and at the Armstrong Campus in Savannah, was the right balance of flexibility, reputation and cost-effectiveness to meet Connelly’s high-demand schedule.

“After doing my research and looking up many different MBA and executive MBA programs, I felt the Georgia Southern MBA to hold by far the best value for furthering my education,” Connelly said. “Few programs balance cost, educational outcomes and program flexibility for the working adult better than the Parker College of Business at Georgia Southern.”

Connelly enrolled in the online program right at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which ended up being a perfect fit after he transitioned into an intensive care physician role.

“I was basically a COVID doctor,” Connelly said. “I would work 12 hours and spend a couple hours working on my MBA. Fortunately, the professors needed everything completed every other week, so I either got it done a week and a half early or right on the verge.”

Connelly was grateful for the flexibility and accommodations from professors in the program during such an unprecedented time. 

“The corporate finance class was extremely difficult, but the professor would always find time to meet with me at odd times, go online and do problems with me, so I could work toward the A,” Connelly said. “The marketing professor—Dr. Eastman—would meet on a Sunday, late in the evening to accommodate our team.”

During the first few classes, Connelly was already learning skills he could immediately apply in his work.

“I learned many things starting in the very first semester that I could immediately apply to my role making me more effective with both my communication and management skills,” Connelly said. “Working for a leading multinational healthcare corporation, I learned a great deal about how to better serve as a bridge between practicing physicians like myself and healthcare management. Thus far, my MBA training has been a great benefit for all those I serve in my community.”

The decision to seek an MBA after already being a teaching doctor was a natural one, said Connelly. After receiving certifications in areas related to clinical informatics, Connelly became a utilization review doctor, which reviews clinical information and insurance coverage for patients to determine eligibility for treatment.

“I came to a crossroads where once we were acquired by HCA—which is a for-profit healthcare system—I wanted to better understand how I could improve patient care, and, at the same time, be mindful of the business environment and how businesses work,” Connelly said.

Connelly was also looking for ways to share what he learned in meaningful ways with both his patients and incoming resident physicians.

“I wanted something that would give me a good amount of training so that I could take patient care to another level and make it more available and more cost-effective when possible and provide the highest value care that I can for the patients I care for,” Connelly said. “Being a teaching doctor, I also want to teach that to the resident physicians I train so that they are not just effective at being doctors, but they are effective in a three-dimensional way.”

Connelly would recommend the MBA program at Georgia Southern to colleagues in the medical field. 

“The investment in the time is well worth it as business principles taught in the Georgia Southern MBA program are based on solid evidence much like our medical decision making is taught in medical school,” he said. 

For more information about Georgia Southern’s MBA program, please contact the Parker College of Business Graduate Programs Office at 912-478-5767 or The Parker College of Business also offers a Master of Accounting and Master of Science in Applied Economics, as well as a Ph.D. in Logistics and Supply Chain Management.


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