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Lawrence Pemble

Q&A with Lawrence Pemble, MBA '11

Lawrence Pemble, MBA ’11, is the Chief Operating Officer of U.S.-based Chindex International Inc., a leading integrated healthcare provider in the Greater China region. Since graduating from the Michigan Ross EMBA Program, Lawrence advanced from executive vice president and chief financial officer to chief operating officer. Now in the role of COO, Lawrence works across the organization to align company operations to advance business strategy.

Why did you pursue an executive MBA program?

My company has grown significantly over the years, and now as we expand even further and face increasingly complex operational and logistical challenges, I wanted to raise the caliber of the tools I bring to the table. I was looking to advance my business and analytical skills for larger, more complex initiatives and gain greater acumen about global environments.

Why did you choose Michigan Ross?

First and foremost I wanted a globally recognized program. The format also really worked for me. I have demanding career and family responsibilities, and the once-a-month format was something I could make work.

What was the once-a-month format like for you?

Flying into Detroit was easy, and staying at the school's Executive Residence was extremely convenient. I was juggling a lot of things during residencies, and having all the logistics taken care of was a big help for me. The food in the dining room was great; it was a pleasure getting to know classmates there.

During the off-campus weeks, I was traveling for work most of the time, so I did a lot of team activities remotely from China. It worked out quite well. Coordinating scheduling with everyone in different time zones was challenging sometimes, but with technology we made it work. I got a lot out of interacting with faculty and students through the virtual environment.

What was the best aspect of the program?

The people. The quality of the student body was amazing. Everyone brought incredible intellectual horsepower and kept the discussion at a very high level. I also found Ross to be highly collegial. Everyone was there to help each other learn, and I got a lot of inspiration working with the other students. We shared a lot of great times I’ll carry with me for a long time to come.

What has been most helpful about the program?

I got a comprehensive set of tools I’ve been able to apply immediately in my work. The general management curriculum gave me practical knowledge I’ve put to use across the organization. I’m now very comprehensive in how I assess any business situation.

I was also surprised by how helpful the global business knowledge has been. Based on the amount of global work I’ve done, I was skeptical about how much the program could really add for me in this area. It added a lot. I gained important insights about key aspects of my work in China and new perspective on global markets.

How do you plan to use the Michigan Ross EMBA to leverage your career?

The Michigan Ross experience was a big factor in transitioning to my new role as COO. As I take on increasingly cross-functional work, I have a better understanding of what the organization needs from me right now, and I feel better prepared to make tough decisions.

With the program’s focus on leadership development, I’m also better equipped to deliver the right leadership. The 360-degree feedback and personality profiles helped me assess key aspects of my leadership style and develop the right plan to build on my leadership effectiveness.

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