Real Humans of the University of Washington Foster School of Business

Washington Real Humans

Emily D. Purvis, DVM, UW Foster Hybrid MBA

Age: 40

Hometown: Gig Harbor, WA

Undergraduate Institution & Major: Western Washington University (Bachelor’s in Cellular and Molecular Biology), Washington State University (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine)

Pre-MBA Work Experience: Post-DVM, I worked in a rural small animal private practice as an associate and then started my own company providing relief veterinary work. Since 2013, I’ve focused my efforts in animal welfare as Medical Director for a non-profit animal shelter.

Emily D. Purvis, DVM, UW Foster Hybrid MBA

Why business school? Why now? I had been kicking the idea around for a few years and read The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt for a fellowship program. I was struck by the similarities in supply chain management and animal sheltering. I realized if we could make our process more efficient, we could save more lives and do it for less money. There’s a big void between what a pet needs from a medical perspective and how your CEO accounts for that on an excel spreadsheet. I often hear veterinarians voicing their frustration over conflicting requests; budget cuts and treat more animals. I wanted to bridge that gap and set both parties up for increased success which translates to more lives saved.

Why the UW Foster Hybrid MBA program? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend? Foster’s Hybrid program is truly unique, and the in-class time is so valuable for relationship building both with classmates and instructors. The pre-application and orientation sessions were so exceptionally helpful, personable and welcoming. They were also very organized. These are things that really drew me in.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to your MBA class? I am a veterinarian! It was like being a celebrity for about the first five minutes of immersion. The novelty wore off quickly though! ☺

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application? I can spay a cat in six minutes—not exactly a MBA core skillset!

Post-MBA career interests? I am pretty open. I anticipate staying in industry and look forward to sharing my new perspective with other sheltering organizations in a continued effort to elevate animal welfare.

Advice to Prospective MBA Applicants:

One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process? I attended all the pre-application orientation workshops. They were both informative and it’s an opportunity to informally interview the admin a little too.

One thing you would change or do differently? The process was pretty smooth. The application instructions were clear. By the interview, I was already familiar with several people in administrative roles, just via Zoom, so there was a nice familiarity. So, I can’t really say I would change anything.

Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it? I hate writing about myself. Just hate it! I enlisted the help of some close friends to review some of the personal aspects and be my gauge to make sure I didn’t’ undersell myself.

Greatest highlight so far at UW Foster? The people! From my teammates to classmates and instructors, everyone is so incredibly intelligent, diverse and caring.

One thing about the UW Foster that you didn’t expect before arriving? I really didn’t expect the instructors to be so personable. It’s really clear they are here to help and invested in your learning experience.

Thing you were most anxious about in your first year? I had been out of school for 11 years! I mean, do I need a trapper keeper, or what!?!?

Thing you were most excited about in your first year? I just love learning and really didn’t know what I was getting into. That was pretty exciting. I also could not wait for Operations Management so I could figure out how to further dial in my manufacturing plant of dogs and cats (the animal shelter).

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About the Author

Matthew Korman

Matthew Korman is a writer on MetroMBA. Since graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism and political science, Matthew has worked as a music industry writer and promoter, a data analyst, and with numerous academic institutions. His works have appeared in publications such as NPR and Sports Illustrated.

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