Graduate Student Alumni Spotlight
MBA Healthcare Management
Student Name: Irene E. (Gaut) Schwaninger
Program: MBA with Specialization in Healthcare Management
Graduated: Fall 2015
Employer: Texas Tech University, Health Sciences Center
Position: Director/Designated Institutional Officer (DIO)
What attracted you to this field?
When I joined the Air Force (USAF), I knew that I wanted to serve within the Medical Service, but what I did not know was that the intricacies of healthcare management within the DOD would become fascinating to me. Towards the end of my career, I found that I wished to become an officer in the Medical Service Corps (MSC) and needed to earn a Master’s Degree in business administration or management. The MBA with Specialization in Healthcare Management was the perfect fit for this goal. Later, when I was no longer in the USAF or the Texas Air National Guard (TxANG), I continued the program as I learned how vital this is to the current changes in law regarding the Affordable Care Act and the rising costs of healthcare.
Why did you choose to attend UT Tyler?
I chose UT Tyler first because my father, Bill Gaut, earned a Master’s Degree in Industrial Technology from UT Tyler. I was able to spend time with him in the library, and I remember the kindness of the staff and their interest in finding books that I might like to look at, though I was only in Jr. High at the time. I also remember my father having a strong support system of faculty. He was able to complete his degree while working a graveyard maintenance supervisor shift. As a working mother, I needed that same support, and I knew UT Tyler was where I would find it!
Second, I chose UT Tyler because my sister, Tami Glasscock (MBA Graduate, 2014), found this program and there were very few similar programs during my initial search. She, and my family, pushed and encouraged me to join this program. If she could work, be a mother, and earn a high quality education, so could I!
What do you like most about UT Tyler?
The faculty and staff were very responsive to my questions and my needs, such as using the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) and Veteran’s Benefits to offset some of the costs of the program. The Office of Special Programs staff was vital in my ability to complete this program, and they were wonderfully encouraging and responsive.
What are your career aspirations?
Because of this program, I was able to find that I fit right back into the world of health care, but with a twist! I am in healthcare academics with the Texas Tech University School of Medicine. I would not have been considered for the position without the MBA with the Healthcare Administration focus. For the first time since leaving military service, I truly feel that I am in the field that I need to be in. I will be able to use my skills from UT Tyler as I continue my career in the field of Medical Education.
What's your work experience?
Outside of serving in the USAF and TxANG, I have served within social services as an intake manager with MHMR, a caseworker with Child Protective Services, a Foster Mother, and a Legal Guardian of incapacitated adults while continuing to serve my country. I loved these jobs, but after many years, I decided to change fields and get back into Medicine. Now, I ensure your future Physicians are trained to the very rigorous standards of the accreditation authorities and I have a hand in the future of medicine. Where else would I get to make that type of difference in healthcare!
Do you have any advice to pass along to other students interested in this program?
Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, gird up your courage, muster your belief in yourself, buckle down for hard work, and take the first step. With this program, you will find that it begins to quickly make sense and has many useful applications in the healthcare setting, business, and life decisions in general. It will challenge you, but at the end you will marvel at your personal growth.
Find out more about our MBA Healthcare Management program.