Dr. Adam Hamawy
You already have an impressive list of degrees, certifications, and residencies. Why did you decide to earn a PMBA?
I think there’s always something new to learn. I wanted to learn more about business, rather than just reinventing the wheel on how to run a business in a medical practice.
What surprised you the most about the program?
It’s not that it was so surprising, it’s that it was eye-opening. Starting from Accounting to Marketing to Business Analytics, I was learning what questions to ask. Doctors think about things clinically, but after the PMBA, I definitely make decisions in a different light. Long term, this gives you a different way of thinking about business, analyzing it, looking at the numbers – not being in the dark about it.
How did being a student again affect your life?
I was working a full-time job, and I have a full-time family. My wife and I have three daughters – ages 16, 15, and 13 – and one son, age 8. I guess the program took 70 Saturdays. It’s a sacrifice. You can’t wait until you have the time to do it, or you’ll never do it. I’ve been a doctor since 1996, and I had been thinking of getting an MBA for seven or eight years. It was always ‘Let me wait until after . . . hoping for the right time.’ But you have to make time for the things you want to do.
What did you learn that has influenced your work?
The PMBA gave me fresh new ideas. I’m not stuck with the same way of thinking. You come out with all this knowledge. I’m slowly making changes. I’m in private practice, and I now have a better picture of the business. Now I can look at employees, payrolls, marketing, and revenue and expenses, and it makes sense to me.
The PMBA cohort includes an International Business Course. What was that experience like for you?
We went to Panama and to Colombia. Seeing how companies address problems exposes you to other perspectives and possibilities. It takes you out of your local and national environment. In Panama, they have their people and the Canal, and they’ve grown their economy by creating networks and connections internationally.
Describe your experience with the professors.
The professors were all helpful. Everyone was really intent on your learning and succeeding. The key with the PMBA is this: They don’t hold your hand throughout the program. It’s not easy. It’s hard work. This program is not about memorizing and retaining information. It’s about opening up to new ideas.
What was the biggest challenge?
Time management. You have to put in the time to read, study, and understand. You have eight hours in the classroom once a week. You’re supposed to be experienced enough to do the learning on your own. It’s a full curriculum.
What advice do you have for others considering the program?
Build in the study time. You may have to balance it with family and your job and social life. It will mean giving up something. I personally gave up sleep. I would spend all day with patients and evenings with my family. After everyone went to bed, I would stay up late and study.
I think you get out of the program what you put into it. If you really want to learn, you’ll learn a lot. Not everyone knows accounting, statistics, analytics, and marketing. There will be times when you feel lost. Eventually you’ll get it. You have to prepare yourself for the experience, after having been out of the classroom for many years.
During the lectures and in discussions, everyone is learning from one another. We looked at the different perspectives and learned to solve problems.
Tell us about your chosen work.
I work at Princeton Plastic Surgeons. I’ve been working here for five years. Previously, I was in a medical group in New York. Before that, I was a general surgeon in the army. I was active duty for eight years. I was deployed in Iraq in 2004 and 2005. That’s when I made the decision to go into plastic surgery. We were dealing with trauma and devastating injuries that changed the way people look. We wanted to make them feel like themselves again.
The flip side of plastic surgery is that everyone hears about the celebrities and LA. We also do reconstructive surgery after accidents, on cancer patients, for hand injuries, and things like cleft palate. This is all in the field of plastic surgery, but it doesn’t get as much attention.