Q&A with SLU Alumi Elizabeth Schwaab, MPH, MBA



Elizabeth Schwaab, MPH, MBA is the Director of Global Health and an Instructor of Epidemiology and International Studies at Saint Louis University. Elizabeth is a graduate of Saint Louis University, where she received her MBA in International business, and a bachelor’s degrees in Investigative Medicine. Additionally, She received a Master’s in Public Health from Boston University in International Health.

Her professional experience has included work with the World Health Organization in the Western Pacific Regional Office in emergency management and preparation.  She has also worked for the World Food Programme with the Mindanao IDP relocation project, and Eben-Ezer Project during the post-earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.


Why did I choose SLU?

When I was being recruited out of the field to work at SLU, the advice that one of my former co-workers gave me was that if I was going to transition to academia for awhile, I should take advantage of tuition remission and learn something new. Having come from working with healthcare non-profits in the Philippines and Haiti who were struggling, it was clear that regardless of the country, healthcare is a business which requires financial knowledge that I had not been taught. SLU’s part-time program was the logical next step in my career, not only because I was working for the university, but because of their flexibility for individuals not coming from a traditional business background.


What surprised me the most?

I fully expected to be the minority since I did not have formal business experience and had a graduate degree in another field. What I found was a classroom full of people like myself, who came from very diverse careers and held fascinating jobs across numerous industries. This not only made for a lively discussion in class, but professors often looked to our experiences to help each other. 

I also greatly appreciated the ability to take electives overseas. I spent time studying in both Hong Kong and Denmark to fulfill coursework for my international business concentration. 


How has my MBA helped me professionally?

Though I do not use accounting or supply chain management skills on a regular basis (nor see myself doing so in the near future!) it has given me a different view on business operations, and the ability to speak the industry language. This has proved invaluable already in discussions with board members for the non-profits that I work with, donors and community partners. Additionally, it has allowed me to see situations in a new light, to where I have reached out to former classmates and colleagues in other industries to see how they would handle the issue.


Advice for others interested in the MBA?

Do it. The time that you spend working on an MBA will involve long hours and some personal sacrifice, but the investment is worth every minute. 

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