School of Business Administration

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Changing industry landscape inspires pursuit of Executive MBA

Changing industry landscape inspires pursuit of Executive MBA

Sharelle Brown
Sharelle Brown, director of pharmacy at McLaren Oakland Hospital, found Oakland’s Executive MBA program broadened her leadership skills.

As director of pharmacy at McLaren Oakland Hospital, Sharelle Brown, MBA ’15, was already an experienced healthcare professional when she decided to pursue her Executive MBA.

The seismic shifts in the healthcare industry combined with Brown’s increasing managerial and leadership responsibilities since earning her Doctor of Pharmacy in 2003 led her to Oakland’s Executive MBA with a concentration in Healthcare Leadership.

“I’m a clinical pharmacist, but I needed to get stronger on the business side,” says Brown. “Healthcare is becoming a big business, and you have to have that skill and acumen.”

The opportunity to earn an Executive MBA that built on her strengths as an administrator and supported her career goals was pivotal in Brown’s selection of Oakland’s Executive MBA. The program’s flexibility was also a plus. Oakland’s fully-inclusive, 21-month cohort program meets on alternating weekends, a schedule conducive to the lifestyle of busy executives like Brown.

“It is a very comprehensive program,” Brown says. “The curriculum is structured in a way that you get useful knowledge you can use right away. There is a lot of networking. The professors are great. The fields they teach are the fields they work in.”

All those elements came together to broaden Brown’s leadership skills. They contribute to her success in a high-pressure position where, every day, the lives of hundreds of patients depend on her and her staff of 55 to ensure they receive the right medication at the right time.

That’s no small charge on its own, but as director of pharmacy, Brown is also in charge of ensuring integration of services, overseeing her department’s multi-million dollar operating budget, developing policy and procedure, negotiating conferences and promoting staff development.

“The ‘lean learning’ aspect of the program and Six Sigma taught me how to organize and look at things from different angles,” Brown says. “Especially at this stage in my career, it’s very applicable to my experience.”

About the Executive MBA

The Executive MBA at Oakland University is a premier graduate business program designed exclusively for experienced professionals. Offered in a cohort structure, the fully inclusive 21-month program meets Friday afternoons and Saturdays on alternate weekends to support the lifestyle of busy professionals. Students in Oakland’s Executive MBA program are often mid-career executives preparing for senior management or senior executives looking to enhance their skills. Learn more at

For Brown, Oakland’s Executive MBA program enabled her to refine the skills she learned over the course of her 25-year career in pharmacy. Her previous roles included director of pharmacy at Doctors’ Hospital of Michigan in Pontiac and clinical pharmacy coordinator at Beaumont Hospital, Troy.

Throughout her career, she has focused on one goal: helping others. That remains her driving force, one that extends beyond her patients to her employees and colleagues.

Her work with faculty and peers through Oakland’s Executive MBA program enhanced Brown’s commitment to mentoring, a talent that assisted her in leading a staff that is recognized for professional excellence. This underscores how the lessons learned by one strong leader can resonate within an entire department.

Reflecting on her OU experience, Brown sees a program that rewards hard work. Brown has seen her effort pay off in success. In the final analysis, Brown says, “Oakland’s Executive MBA program delivered even more than I expected.”