Jay Patel

Bachelor of Business Administration, finance, 2011Jay Patel

Administrative director of strategic planning, OU Medicine

Describe what you do and how GGC may have played a role to prepare you for success in your job.
I facilitate strategic planning efforts across the health system, interfacing with hospital, physician and university leadership. Additionally, I lead business development financial planning for the health system including joint ventures, partnerships/affiliations, mergers and acquisitions, and other external-facing projects. GGC really prepared me for this role through two main areas: Student Government Association (SGA) and finance. The lesson of true listening is something that I learned very quickly as a part of SGA. As a representative of the student body, I learned that "doing things" is not always the answer and can sometimes be the wrong answer if you do not listen carefully. Secondly, the finance concentration. Not a day goes by that I don't look at a balance sheet and discuss payback ratio or net present value on the handful of projects we have going on. Understanding finance at a detailed level (being able to do the work) and at a conceptual level (being able to make sound decisions) is critical to our success as a health system. A small mistake or omission can lead to a misfunded or misguided opportunity which impacts patient care which is the forefront of our mission.

Has your life changed since graduation, and if so, how has earning a degree contributed to that change?
GGC changed my life drastically. I transferred to GGC in the middle of a "pre-career" dilemma – to continue the pursuit of a career as a future physician or to my newer interest in finance. I really had no clue what I wanted to do, and so I took a step back and looked at my options. My faculty mentor, Dr. D'Souza, guided me and challenged me on why I was unable to put my passion for medicine and my love of numbers together in healthcare administration. Beyond my wildest dreams would I have imagined working in a role like I do now. And what is amazing about my career path so far is that I still have the foundational skills I learned at GGC to pivot to another industry and move away from healthcare if an opportunity presents itself. I have the ultimate work-life balance while being challenged with something new and exciting every single day.

Why do you give back to GGC through donations and volunteering your time?
My graduate school program director repeated this phrase to our class every so often: "You are a representation of me. Either you add value to my degree or you take away from it." As harsh as it sounds, it is as important for a small graduate program with a cohort of 15 as it is to a new college. I may be the first GGC graduate that attended Tulane or worked for Massachusetts General Hospital. My performance impacts the ability for those to follow from GGC. My skills were fine-tuned at GGC, and I would not be successful today without the help of GGC administration, faculty and peers. As one of the earlier graduating classes, our alumni base was small and did not have the opportunity to provide support as we do today. As alumni, our impact only magnifies the impact of the work and support that the GGC administration and faculty provide to the students to help achieve their own goals and dreams.