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Collaboration, Connections and Coursework Benefit MHA Grad

Allison Orlando

Frederick, Maryland - While pursuing her Master of Health Administration at the Mount’s Frederick Campus, one of Allison Orlando’s classmates introduced her to a job opportunity at Carroll Hospital Center.

Little did she know that gesture would help shape her future.

Robert White, vice president of operations at Carroll Hospital Center, introduced her to Teresa Fletcher, director of the hospital’s Business Development Department. The hospital was seeking a business development coordinator, and after speaking with Fletcher, Orlando applied for the position that evening, interviewed the following week, and was offered the job shortly thereafter.

“We learned together for two years,” Orlando says of her classmates. “I did not have a lot of experience in healthcare, or professional work experience, and being able to hear their stories and listen to their experiences really helped me grow.”

Before deciding on the MHA track, Orlando considered a Master of Business Administration. She chose the Mount for her graduate studies because of the high-caliber classes she experienced as an undergrad studying business. While a MBA seemed a natural next step, MBA Program Director Deborah Powell helped her realize that a MHA would better align with her ultimate goal: working for a nonprofit organization in a helping field like healthcare.

When she began the program, Orlando was an event coordinator for the American Cancer Society. She joined the Mount’s second MHA cohort — graduating in January 2014, and participating in the Mount’s Commencement Exercises on May 11.

“There were times when I felt mentally exhausted, solving problems at work and then coming home to schoolwork was challenging,” Orlando says of her early days as a working adult student. “Once I established a good workflow I felt a better grasp on everything.”

In addition to valuable career connections, the constant collaboration with her classmates supported Orlando through the Lean Six Sigma Certification, her favorite part of the program.

“People think having an MHA limits you to working in a hospital, but there is so much more you can do,” she says. “Consulting firms, insurance companies, federal and state agencies, and pharmaceutical companies are just some of the organizations that would value someone with an MHA degree.”

On her decision to advance her career with not one but two degrees from the Mount, Orlando believes strongly that it was the right choice.

“It’s important to keep challenging yourself and to keep your brain active by learning,” she says.

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