Since completing his Minnesota Management Institute (MMI) education, information technology professional Anudeep Parhar has experienced some noticeable changes in himself and his career. The most significant change being just months after MMI when he was promoted to vice president of technology strategy and planning at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota.
It was just over a year ago when Parhar, after years of working in the technology-driven legal and financial services industry, joined the IT division at Blue Cross Blue Shield. The change of industries presented him with an entirely new business scope along with frequent interaction with fellow employees who knew healthcare, but were not adept at technology.
"To be a well-rounded leader," recalls Parhar, "I needed a refresher on the basics of how businesses operate and to understand leadership challenges. MMI was, and still is, an essential part of our leadership development at Blue Cross, and I felt the program best met my needs."
By going through MMI, Parhar's perspective of the operational side of his new industry came into focus. "We have, for example, a huge, day-to-day operation of processing claims here at Blue Cross," he says. "The Six Sigma instruction in MMI gave me a better appreciation for the intricacies of processes and the challenges behind them. I now completely understand the benefits of having operational efficiency."
Where he has been able to incorporate his MMI education most effectively is in his responsibilities overseeing the development of a long-term information technology strategy.
"To learn the process of strategy development in MMI and to be able to apply it to practice every day was essential," Parhar says. "I'm now able to effectively look at our core competencies, project where we want to be, and then develop the actual tactics we need to complete to get there. Learning that has been extremely helpful."
As for his nontechnical peers at Blue Cross, he has found bridging the communication gap with them easier now that he has gained a deeper, more diverse perspective from his MMI colleagues.
"Simple things like interacting with people in MMI who had nontechnical backgrounds was absolutely imperative for me," he says. "I learned what their challenges were, how they had to operate, and I brought that knowledge back and have directly applied it to how I interact with the nontechnical people here at Blue Cross."
That type of interactive environment was the best aspect of the MMI experience, he says. "I loved it. I learned a lot more by questioning and interacting not only with the instructor but also with my peer group. One other take-away for me was that I was able to form both a professional and friendship network within the community."
Now, with a better understanding of his business and a new title to go along with it, Parhar says he holds his MMI education in even higher regard. "To have a formal education from the Carlson School means a lot to me. MMI has certainly elevated me from a very technology-centric leadership role to a very broad, general management and leadership role."
His educational pursuits are not over, however. To complement his MMI education, Parhar says he aspires to continue learning through Carlson Executive Education in the future.
"Having gone through MMI permits me to take the next step up to the Minnesota Executive Program. I consider that an essential part of not only my personal development but my professional growth as well."