COB graduate TJ Sobeck complements his medical care experience with a business education

December 14, 2018

Sobeck, who earned his M.B.A., said the program helped the pediatric nurse blend a healthcare mindset with business strategy for more informed decisions.

When TJ Sobeck walks into a room, a calm soothing, presence follows. And then, a light-hearted joke.

“Hello. I see the board says my name is Kelly. But I’ll be going by TJ today,” he said with a smile while changing the nurse name on the patient goal chart in the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital room.

Meeting Sobeck, he’s got the bedside manner down. Although he credits his disposition to having three younger brothers, you can tell it just comes naturally.

Sobeck said he wanted to add to his skillset and learn how to make the backend of things — the stuff in the hospital that you don’t see, like the report writing and analysis — more efficient. And a recently completed College of Business program helped him gain those tools. Sobeck graduated Dec. 15 with his M.B.A.

“UM-Dearborn had everything I was looking for: The great business program reputation, class-time flexibility that worked with my 12-hour shifts, and it was financially reasonable for me,” said Sobeck, who’s worked at Michigan Medicine’s C.S. Mott Hospital for five years. “The advising was excellent too. They helped me figure out an education strategy so that, even when working full time, I could earn my graduate degree in two years.”

He said lessons learned through his M.B.A. program, such as logistics and management operations, will help him with his hospital duties, like when he’s the acting charge nurse, leading medical-focused committees, training new hires or organizing report information. He said it also gives him the credentials and expanded knowledge to serve as a hospital administrator in the future.

“My goal from high school was to be a healthcare administrator, but I wanted to get bedside knowledge first so I could better understand the effect of the decisions I’d be making. Nursing has given me that and so much more. I love the kids and what I do. I also think it’s a cool way for kids to see that males can be nurturing caregivers too,” said Sobeck, who also coaches youth wrestling and baseball. “My M.B.A. has expanded my view of the hospital administration side. So no matter the discussion or who I am having the conversation with, I will be able to have an understanding and can thoughtfully contribute.”

Sobeck said he had a great role model — his father — and he saw as a youth the strength of a nursing and business education.

“My dad started as a nurse and is now an administrator at a nursing home. When I’d go to work with my dad over the years, I remember hearing so many people tell me how much he’s helped them and how good of a man he is. That stayed with me and drives me a bit — I want to be a man like that,” he said. “My upbringing helped me see what I wanted to do. And earning my M.B.A. adds to my ability to provide people with the best care I can give and extends the reach I’ll be able to have.”

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