Missouri State University
Jennifer McClean

Jennifer McClean

  • Vice president of strategic initiatives for Mercy health care system
  • Springfield, Missouri
  • Master of Health Administration, '05

Cost-effective education offered valuable networking opportunities

The Master of Health Administration program at Missouri State helped fuel Jennifer McClean's desire to network early in her career.

Why I chose Missouri State: A couple of factors affected my decision: cost, and a budding and developing program. It was much more cost-effective to study at Missouri State, and the program allowed me to work full-time and gain professional experience while I also gained academic experience.

Favorite course during the program: I took a class in which we had guest speakers come in, or we visited other health care organizations. The class gave us a nice exposure to senior executives who had done it all and had a diverse background, but also let us understand what the common challenges were between different environments and how the environments work together.

How the degree helped me succeed: The program did a good job of encouraging us to network at an early career level. The relationships the program has with so many different health care organizations allow students who demonstrate performance and ability to easily find job placement in these organizations.

What I do at work: The role entails looking at the landscape of health care and at our business, the communities they serve and their priorities. We then identify specific projects or programs that we need to design and implement in the communities where Mercy provides services. Though it started in Springfield, my particular role is for all of Mercy (the sixth-largest Catholic health care system in the U.S.).

Career goals: As long as my work energizes and motivates me, as long as I feel like I’m making a difference, I’m going to be satisfied. It’s really about what opportunity is going to come my way! It’s fascinating to see what’s ahead of us in health care. I think there are jobs that we haven’t even imagined that are going to be opportunities in the future. If I am honest about what role I might play five years from now — it might not even exist today!