Executive MBA 2017
Senior Director at Conifer Health Solutions
Sean Diehl (MBA 2017) is a Senior Director at Conifer Health Solutions (Austin), where he provides revenue cycle services, including contract oversight and client relations management, to 16 acute care hospitals and associated clinics. Sean earned his MBA with a Healthcare concentration from the Baylor Executive MBA program in Austin in 2017.
When Sean Diehl decided to go back to school 11 years after earning his bachelor’s degree, he set high standards for the type of graduate program he wanted and wouldn’t settle for anything less. Among Sean’s top priorities were an EMBA that offered a healthcare-focused curriculum, and which put its students first.
“I had no interest in becoming another statistic—another number in a giant program of pod people,” explains the now 39-year-old. “Baylor’s staff and students were welcoming, and the program overall seemed more centered on student learning and the student experience [than other programs I had looked at]. There was no question it was the right choice for me.”
Once enrolled at Baylor, Sean credits his fellow students—“the amazing individuals (talented, intelligent, and remarkably motivated) with whom I attended class” for establishing a “lifelong network” of friends and esteemed colleagues that continues to fuel his stellar career trajectory.
“It was the diversity of ages and backgrounds in our cohort that made the experience so rich,” he says. Sean brought a degree in business management studies and a career in business management to the table—but that wasn’t necessarily the case for his classmates. They were subject matter experts in operations, sales, engineering, and medicine, lending a “depth of perspective to the classroom” that Sean describes as “surprising and truly welcome.”
He found the same breadth of experience and perspective among the Baylor faculty. “My professors were not just lifetime academics, but current CEOs, practicing attorneys, and former government executives … making classroom discussions that much more engaging.” The course materials they introduced were accordingly applicable to real-life scenarios. “Upon graduation, I had multiple opportunities to leverage coursework to establish my credibility and ensure my success at a new firm.”
In addition to the valuable connections and intense hands-on learning, the most profound lesson that Sean took away from Baylor’s EMBA program was time management. He spent his two years at Baylor balancing a full-time job, family, a (necessarily limited) social life, plus schoolwork—but he lived to tell the tale. “Going into the program, I thought I was a pretty talented time manager; however, I quickly realized that I had much to learn. The program stretched me to be creative, thoughtful, and efficient in allocating my time.”
Sean learned both to identify priorities and to set boundaries: skills that have served him well ever since. “I set specific times to address assigned work and readings, helping me establish a cadence and avoid building up large quantities of work to complete at the eleventh hour. But I also set boundaries to prevent school from taking over my life completely. I took my family to brunch every Saturday morning, and ran around Lady Bird Lake every Sunday morning.” These habits became traditions that Sean still honors today, allowing him to “maintain [his] sanity and energy” at work while keeping family time “sacred.”
“The program will be challenging,” Sean warns new candidates. “It will push you past your comfort zone, and will be one of the most tenuous juggling acts you will ever tackle. That being said, it is such a worthwhile endeavor. I’m so glad I finally realized the wisdom in the time-honored cliché: If not now, when?”