Business leadership essential in healthcare industry

Four factors led Dr. Jason Swain to choose UFred

Dr. Jason Swain is the President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Assessment Rehabilitation Services (A.R.S.) Inc. In addition to holding several degrees and certifications, being published in multiple industry journals, and speaking at many conferences throughout the year, he’s a devoted husband and father. So where did he find the time to complete his Executive MBA (EMBA)? And why did he feel the need as a Doctor of Chiropractic to also earn an EMBA?

Dr. Swain says he was driven by the desire to always be the best that he can be.

“One does not always foresee where their educational or vocational paths will take them. For me, a series of choices ultimately put me in the position of presiding over a company with lots of potential to continue to improve upon an already strong revenue and customer base,” he said.

He added that while he has strong critical thinking skills, he had no formal business education beyond what he encountered running his own rehabilitation clinics. He felt that in order to take that business to the next level, he required additional skills. With that in mind, he began the search for a program that would meet his needs and still allow him the freedom to oversee the company.

After much deliberation, he chose the University of Fredericton’s EMBA program, specializing in Health and Safety Leadership, due to four factors:

  1. Swain is East Coast born and raised. As such, he says he was aware of the quality educational programs accredited by the Atlantic Provinces.
  2. All feedback was positive and his research into the curriculum and faculty appeared “impressively” qualified.
  3. The program permitted remote completion in full.
  4. The cost of the program is reasonable.

Dr. Swain says his experience was “incredible.” Having completed very challenging academic programs in his life, he says the EMBA program was different.

“It was challenging, but also immediately rewarding. It was time-consuming and thought-provoking, but also immediately applicable to my working life. The program was truly built with the Executive in mind,” he said, adding that it cut to the core of the most important aspects of developing a broader business understanding and financial literacy.

In addition, he says his cohort was diverse and the program created opportunities for advanced learning through collaboration, readings, writing posts in the online discussion forum, and in-class discussions.

In terms of time management, Dr. Swain and his family accepted that it would be a commitment.

“With appropriate planning, time management, and buy-in from the family, we simply choose to make the time.  Everyone is ‘busy,’ but time allocation is something we can ultimately control. The program becomes a temporary priority, and we have to start making better use of our time to ensure work, family, and school are all effectively managed,” he said.

Dr. Swain suggests creating a schedule for keeping up with readings and assignments.

“When you enter the program, you do so because you desire the end outcomes, so you just have to choose to put into the program no less than you hope to gain from the program.”

He added that once you accept the commitment of time and effort, the courses fly by and each completion acts as a small celebratory stepping-stone towards program finish.

“Before you know it, your set schedule becomes normal for your life and then the program is over and you can be proud of what you have achieved. Work smart, and enjoy a smooth road to success,” he said.

Dr. Swain took a great deal of pleasure and pride in pushing himself to achieve success.

“There is a certain joy with truly learning, understanding, and being able to apply information and concepts meaningfully. Taking my growth and seeing it impact A.R.S. Inc. positively was something I will always cherish,” he said, adding that the positive business changes will continue to be fuelled by his UFred experience for years to come.

One of the most important things Dr. Swain says he learned was that there is a science to leading change.

“Change towards betterment is not something that happens easily,” he laments.

He also learned that a business can be broken down into strengths and weaknesses, as well as its opportunities for improvement.

“A systems-thinking approach can be applied to any existing company with the purpose of objectively achieving a path towards improvement,” he said.

Dr. Swain compared the program to Daniel-son in the Karate Kid franchise.

“When Daniel-son finally puts all of his ‘wax on’ and ‘paint the fence’ moves together, he finds that he learned a far greater whole than was the sum of all the parts. With the UFred program, the integration project brought together all the coursework in such a way that was immediately useful, effective, and impactful,” he said.

His integration project group used A.R.S. Inc., as its case study. Dr. Swain says the opportunities identified in the integration project have become the basis for how the company has led change towards improved infrastructure, employee engagement, and overall business success.

Dr. Swain has one piece of advice to offer those considering furthering their education: Just go for it.

“You owe it to yourself,” he said. “At the end of the day, you will be a far more learned business professional, no matter what your chosen occupation or vocational aspirations. I truly feel enriched, and I know that I am more valuable in the workforce and far more attractive in the talent pool.”

In the future, Dr. Swain intends to lead A.R.S. Inc. into the next level of corporate maturity by improving market penetration, addressing low-cost opportunities for improvement, and diversifying revenue streams.

“My education has given me the tools and confidence to properly evaluate risks, performance, and financial health in a way that allows me to also manage these issues proactively through the development of an ingrained, reliable series of processes built towards continual improvement.”