The impressive achievements of Professor Dr med. Ines Gockel highlight the fact that Frankfurt School’s study programmes are not just intended for enhancing careers in banking and finance.
Dr Gockel was awarded an MBA that was specifically designed as a qualification for people working in the medical professions and healthcare, including doctors and managers: Frankfurt School’s Master of Business Administration in International Healthcare Management (IHM).
Only the third woman in Germany to be appointed as the head of a thoracic and abdominal surgery department at a university hospital, Dr Gockel became Executive Director of the Department of Abdominal, Transplant, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery at the University Hospital of Leipzig in October 2014.
Previously, she had worked at hospitals in Wiesbaden und then Mainz, where she finished as Head of the Department of General, Abdominal and Transplant Surgery. Her clinical specialities include minimally invasive visceral surgery and surgical oncology, and for many years she has been building a very successful career as a surgeon in a field usually dominated by men.
Ines Gockel completed her medical studies at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz. After passing her United States Medical License Examinations and earning a business studies degree at St Galler Business School in Switzerland, she further strengthened her management skills by studying for an MBA in International Healthcare Management at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, starting in 2011 and graduating in 2013. For Dr Gockel, this was the most important higher-education course she has attended since being awarded her doctorate in medicine.
To what extent did your MBA prepare you for the challenges of your current job? What did you find especially useful?
Studying at Frankfurt School gave me a deeper understanding of the economic aspects of health management, both national and international. The Quality Management and Change Management modules had the greatest influence on my clinical thinking and decisions.
The way the course prepared me for a leadership role was also extremely useful; the Human Resources Management module, for example, provided valuable insights that have helped me in my current work.
Unfortunately, this kind of theoretical, background knowledge – together with the various practical skills involved – is not something you learn while studying for a medical degree. And yet I believe these skills are indispensable if you want to forge a successful medical and scientific career in a position of leadership.
Looking back, how important was your time as a student at Frankfurt School in the greater scheme of things?
For me, my degree course at Frankfurt School was the most important higher-education course since my medical studies. This isn’t just because of the multifaceted aspects of health economics we covered in the modules, but also because of the methodologies I learned and now apply to my scientific and clinical projects – since studying at Frankfurt School, I have completely rethought and modified my approach.
Of course I didn’t study for an MBA in International Healthcare Management for purely academic reasons; it was also a very useful way to prepare for specific areas of activity in my current work.
The MBA expanded my horizons in all the right ways, extending far beyond the issues and challenges I had encountered in university environments prior to the course. After many years of clinical work, studying at Frankfurt School helped further my own personal development.
What’s your favourite memory of your time at Frankfurt School?
Besides the specialist knowledge I acquired and the many interesting on-site visits I made to various hospitals and healthcare institutions in different cultures around the world, my favourite memories are of the networks I built and contacts I made during the course. I still stay in close touch with my fellow students in this country and abroad.
How important are alumni for a business school?
Alumni can enhance the contact between graduates and students. As well as establishing new, interdisciplinary networks, they can give useful feedback to both university and students on aspects of the degree course which they found especially useful, while simultaneously suggesting possible improvements that could benefit future generations of students.