Favorites ()
Amanda Knutson in a kitchen.

Getting Innovative in Global Health Care

Amanda Knutson ‘18 came into St. Thomas with a specific mindset on executive leadership and left with a very different one. Her big takeaway was that nobody has the answer -- just the right questions.

“My perspective [of executives] was that they had the answers and their main job was to move people along the change curve,” she said. “The program shifted that mindset for me.”

Knutson enrolled in the Executive MBA program to get to the next level of her career at HealthEast of Fairview. Her current role in community health management is to help people change habits and lifestyles to stay independent as long as possible:

Our mission at Fairview is driving a healthier future. Health care is changing. Hospital care can be too costly for our patients. So how can we look upstream and help people before they even get into the hospital?”

Professors challenge students with assignments that open doors to high-level leadership. "We interviewed executives within our respective organizations for many of our projects,” Knutson said. 

Associate professor John McVea teaches a global studies strategy course in the program. He assigned his class to interview executive leadership on pressing issues in health care. Students then work to figure out solutions from a global perspective.

Knutson met with James Hereford, president and CEO of Fairview Health Services, a network of nearly 4,000 doctors and providers. “His perspective on health care issues gave me a much bigger picture outside my world in community health.”

He also connected Knutson with local health care leaders and in Silicon Valley. She developed a strategic plan on how Fairview can pivot and grow in the rapidly changing health care era. Health care leaders also provided international perspectives during her study abroad trip to the UK.

“Health care as a whole is changing with Amazon, Google and Apple entering the industry,” she said. “We need to think about how we’re going to pivot, change and grow.”

Knutson has already seen big dividends in her career from her MBA. “I can demonstrate skills and different ways of thinking. There’s no ladder any more in advancing within a big industry or company. It’s a jungle gym.