Auburn’s Physician’s Executive MBA team places second in international competition

AUBURN – A four-member team from Auburn University’s Physicians Executive MBA Class of 2011 recently competed and finished second in the inaugural Compete for Healthcare International Case competition hosted by Bocconi University’s SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan, Italy. The competition provided an opportunity for master’s degree students from around the world to discuss the challenges facing modern health care systems.

More than a dozen teams from leading universities, including Cambridge University, Erasmus University and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, began the competition, with the top three teams moving to the finals. The team from SDA Bocconi was declared the winner, with Auburn’s Physicians Executive MBA, or PEMBA, team finishing as first runner-up.

“Health care is an important industry internationally, and we are proud that our Auburn students can compete with anyone in the world in analyzing and addressing key issues facing health care,” said Bill Hardgrave, dean of Auburn University’s College of Business.

Each team was asked to develop a proposal for how the pharmaceuticals company Novartis could redefine its role in the Italian health care system, including the development of collaborative relationships among health care administrators, health care providers and Italian educators and legislators.

Auburn’s PEMBA team included physicians from San Rafael, Calif., Akron, Ohio, Indianapolis, Ind., and Birmingham, Ala., and brought expertise in the fields of anesthesiology, hemotology and oncology, cardiology and emergency medicine.

“The unique contribution of the Auburn team was a vision for Italian health care that included patient participation in their own health and well-being and a program whose goal was to provide cost reduction incentives for patient participation, which is an American perspective on consumer choice,” said economics professor Joy Clark, associate dean of the Auburn University Montgomery College of Business and the team’s faculty advisor.

Clark said the team presented a proposal which envisioned the creation of OneNovartis, the primary focus of which was a partnership with the patients, who are the health care consumers, in the development of a wellness plan. This partnership would position Novartis to become a leader in the health and well-being of Italian citizens. The benefits to Italy were a healthier population and reduced health care costs.

Modern Healthcare magazine recently ranked the Auburn PEMBA program eighth among MBA programs in the United States for physicians. For more information about the program, go to

(Contributed by Dina Kanellos.)

Contact: Dina Kanellos, (334) 844-2203 (, or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (