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Brett Pentz

Brett Pentz

Vanderbilt Health Care MBA 2013

— Concentration in Concentrations in Strategy and Operations

Case Team Leader at Bain & Company

Making a Course Correction

A Health Care IT Pro Makes the Switch to Management

Brett Pentz is no stranger to the health care industry. After graduating from Northwestern University with a B.S. in biomedical engineering, he spent four years at health care software company Epic in Madison, Wisconsin, implementing electronic records for large health care systems. During that time, he worked regularly with hospital management, doctors, nurses, and other staff.

“I then decided to go back to school to pursue a health care MBA to facilitate a small career shift,” recalls the New Jersey native. “I wanted to move from my niche role in health care information technology to solving broader strategy and operations problems for hospitals.”

Pentz was drawn to Vanderbilt because of the strength of the school’s Health Care MBA curriculum, the Leadership Development Program, and Nashville’s prominence in health care services. He was attracted to Vanderbilt’s smaller class sizes as well.

“With 160 to 170 students versus 500 or more at comparable business schools, you really have an opportunity to leave any imprint you want,” says Pentz. “For me, that meant becoming very involved in the Vanderbilt Health Care Club, community service through 100% Owen, and the student-led Honor Council. I’ve also had the opportunity to form meaningful connections with my fellow students, faculty, and staff. I don’t know that I would have succeeded at the same level elsewhere.”

Highlights of Pentz’ Vanderbilt experience include work as an administrative intern at Nashville’s Centennial Medical Center. His health care economics class, led by program director Larry Van Horn and U.S. Representative Jim Cooper, also made a major impression.

“We were challenged to consider all the trade-offs made in the decisions that shape health care,” notes Pentz. “I especially remember the final project where my group was tasked with fixing the Medicare system. The takeaway was that there are no easy answers. Instead, we have to be aware of the implications of the decisions we make and be prepared to defend them, which will be crucial as future health care decision-makers.”