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Alumna Julia Ogutu Returns to School to Earn MBA in Healthcare Administration Online

After gaining 10 years of real-world experience in the pharmaceutical field, Julia Ogutu was eager to take on a new career challenge.

“I wanted to still be involve in healthcare but behind the scenes, not in a clinical role,” she said. “I like to work with people and be in an environment where I can support the clinicians, so healthcare management was the next step.”

Ogutu graduated from the Avila University online Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare Administration program in December 2021.

“I had always wanted to get a master’s degree,” she said. “I was already in the process of looking for a program, and I enjoyed my undergraduate experience at Avila. I knew that I wanted to go back there.

“They offered the program I was looking for, and it was the right time to do it. They also offered the great support that I needed to successfully complete the program. It was easy to integrate back into the college system there.”

Ogutu is a clinic navigator at Saint Luke’s Health System in Kansas City, where she has worked for more than two-and-a-half years.

“The online format worked well for me,” she said. “I did some of my undergraduate degree online which actually prepared me for online learning. When I was starting my graduate program, COVID-19 was also starting. I was grateful that I had experience with online schooling. It made it easy for me to transition. The faculty and staff at Avila were very supportive.”

Second Home

Ogutu is from Kenya, East Africa, and moved to the Kansas City area 35 years ago. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Healthcare Management and Business Administration from Avila in 2018.

“When I was preparing to go back to school, I applied to another school to see what it offered…It made me realize even more that Avila was the best choice for me,” she said.

Once Ogutu started the online MBA program in January 2020, she saw an immediate return on investment with the knowledge she gained.

“My healthcare courses were my favorites because I got to dig deeper into research and learn more about the processes of the healthcare system.

“I was able to apply the knowledge that I learned in the program to my job as a clinical navigator. The information was very applicable.”

Like her undergraduate experience at Avila, the online MBA in Healthcare Administration program was a good value for Ogutu.

“The faculty and staff at Avila gave me the support I needed to be successful,” she said. “I also had a great advisor, Dr. Wendy Acker. She was the best advisor anybody could ask for and made it so much easier.”


Ogutu had a strong and extensive support system as she continued her higher education journey. She and her husband, Gerald, have six children — Goddard (32), Candy (28), Matthew (27), Timothy (25), James (21) and Benjamin (19) — and a grandchild.

“I had to wait until I could devote my attention to school,” she said. “I didn’t want to sacrifice that time with them. They were excited and proud of me.

“Young people sometimes think that school is boring. They saw me enjoying it and said, ‘Mom, you must be crazy.’ But they also saw me working hard and balancing work and family with school. With the support from my instructors and advisors, I was able to do it and do well.”

Now that Ogutu has a master’s degree, she hopes to transition to practice management. She is the first person in her immediate family to earn a master’s degree.

“Healthcare administration is very broad,” she said. “There are so many different avenues I can take. I would like to work in population health, as well. Either of those paths is appealing to me.”

Ogutu, who enjoys being with her family and friends and reading in her free time, has not returned to Africa since before COVID-19. However, she plans to visit her homeland within the next year.

“When people hear from others who can give them insight to what the experience of earning an online degree. It’s better than marketing,” she said.

“I have had an opportunity to participate in open houses for prospective MBA students and let them know about my experience.”

Learn more about the Avila University online MBA in Healthcare Administration program.

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