Sharon Smith

Sharon Smith '14

Vice President and Medical Director, Global Health, Prudential

Bringing More to the Table

I earned my medical degree at Howard University and began my career as a primary care physician. Over time, my responsibilities grew; I became medical director of the practice, then associate chief medical officer for the group of practices. I grew more interested in the business side of medicine and realized that there was more to being a physician than just seeing patients. I wanted to be able to bring more to the table.

Deciphering the Data

I went to business school to elevate my management skills to the next level, and to focus beyond managing only physicians. I also wanted to gain more insight into analyzing data—to be able to read spreadsheets and income statements, decipher what was going on, then develop a strategy around it.

Developing Strategic Intuition

William Duggan’s courses on strategic intuition were my favorites. I learned to think at a different level and be more open with my thinking. What’s funny is that I went to business school believing that it would help me focus on what I was doing, and I left realizing I was too focused on what I was doing. One of the things I pride myself on now is being able to step back and look at the big picture and ask, What are we getting out of the data, and are we going in the right direction?

Supporting Women in Business

When I heard that Columbia Business School was launching a Women’s Circle, I was excited to get involved. The Women’s Circle is not just about encouraging women to donate—it’s a vehicle to get women heard and seen. I’ve attended several events, and the level of camaraderie and sisterhood made a big impact on me. People were so open and willing to share information and support one another.

Taking the Lead

I joined the Hermes Society Council because I got so much from Columbia. It means a lot to know that I can help someone else have a similar experience without their having to take on a financial burden. Columbia gave me the tools to be successful. I love the idea that I'm helping to build a legacy so other students can have the same experience.

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