Rutika Naik

Online Master of Health Administration

Rutika Naik

Tell me about your background when you started at NYU Wagner. Why were you drawn to the MHA program?

I have over ten years of clinical experience in various settings such as hospitals, ICU, outpatient, sub-acute, long-term, and home health as a Physical Therapist (PT). I went to PT school in India and gained critical clinical experience in a major hospital system in Mumbai, India. While working as a PT, I kept getting veered in the direction of research that I had followed through the years being in PT school, which connected my two loves of PT and video games. 

This passion to learn more for my self-growth made me take a break from working and move to New York to attend LIU, Brooklyn and pursue MS in Exercise Physiology. At LIU, I got the opportunity to work on various research projects, present at conferences, and become a published author. The ability to contribute to the world of biomechanics and exercise physiology made me content with my goals and I steered back to being a clinician in New York. However, after years of experience in outpatient, home health, sub-acute, and long-term care settings, I identified issues in healthcare, e.g., disparities in access to quality healthcare, poor safety, and leadership, which focused more on financials than patient care and employee burn out. 

As a clinician, I can only help my patients to a certain extent and that made me pivot my goal towards serving the community at a higher level by being able to dive deeper into healthcare administration, health policy, and healthcare accounting. This is how I decided to get my Master of Health Administration (MHA). 

What is your advice to prospective students who are considering applying to the MHA program?

This MHA program is rigorous, but also well-created and catered for all aspects of healthcare. I would definitely not do it just because I want extra credentials or to get a degree. One needs to really be passionate about healthcare, leading change, and serving the community in order to be committed to this amazing MHA program. Trust me you will need to remind yourself time and again about your personal goals throughout the 28 months of this program in order to get going. 

It definitely gets difficult and without hard work, perseverance, and a zest to help change the face of healthcare, it will not be easy to go through the program. With all this being said, the decision to pursue MHA at NYU Wagner was definitely one of the best decisions I have made for my big transition out of the clinical world. The program is built and designed in a way that will give you opportunities to learn about every aspect of healthcare. Every class is a core class and equally important. 

Another important thing about this program is that it’s not your typical online program. I like to call this a virtual program where you are still in a class every week and get to interact live with your professors and peers. Just be on top of your game with the asynchronous material and there is no way you won’t get the most out of the program

What was your favorite part of the program or something that you did not expect?

I have had some exceptional professors and the best educational experience I could think of. However, the Immersion during the second semester and the final healthcare strategy simulation were my two favorite parts of the program. 

At the Immersion, we met our peers and professors in person. This enhanced the experience of the program tenfold. This also allowed us to make some lifelong friends and expand our network at a more personal level. I won’t deny the fact that the group assignments did force us to dwell more into the social aspect of this, but the immersion just brought in a whole new experience. Finally, the healthcare strategy simulation made me realize that the 28 months of hard work I put into the program actually translated into some real-life skills needed to run, manage and lead a healthcare organization. 

How do you hope to apply what you learned in the program to your career in healthcare?

Now that I am done with the program, I hope to successfully transition my clinical career towards management and lead changes in healthcare. I believe that this program has taught me and excelled me with the tools necessary to manage healthcare organizations while always focusing on the quality of care and patient safety.