DownEast Digital Expectations

Just like that, my final semester here as a part time MBA student is underway, I can’t believe how fast the last three years have gone by. Coming into the program, that’s exactly what most peers had to say – “ it goes by much faster than you’d think” – and to be honest I was hoping that they were right as I started to look down the list of core classes required. Other than the data analytics courses, I can’t say there were too many core requirements that I was looking forward to, the excitement was always in the electives for me which is what has me absolutely thrilled for this course specifically. I’ve heard many of my classmates talk about the positive reviews being what had drawn them to this course and I can’t say I was in that boat. When searching for electives,  my criteria consists of a two pronged approach – what interests me specifically and what is going to give me the most valuable tools and perspectives after graduating. While each elective provides a content summary to help shape a students expectations I’ve found that you really can’t tell the quality of a class until that very first meeting. I chose to knock out all my core classes as soon as possible so that I could focus on electives leading up to graduation, which is why I’m really looking forward to this semester where my final two classes are electives. 

My first class was Monday night and I was a bit disappointed after our class consisted mainly of slides that the professor read right off of. Sure, the subject matter is interesting but it left me a bit concerned for what’s to come and if it was the best choice for one of my coveted electives. This lead me into our first #ISYS8621 meeting Wednesday night…I was absolutely blown away by the structure of this semester and just the overall energy coming from Professor Kane. Like many of you I was a bit intimidated but I never questioned if this was the right choice for me despite the fact that I would be going well outside my comfort zone. In my eyes, that’s exactly what a high quality elective is supposed to feel like – an exciting challenge where learning and growing together as a class is priority number one.

One of the reasons I chose to take this class was an article highlighting the findings of CarringtonCrisp, an executive education consulting group out of London. They had surveyed over 500 employers from 20+ countries looking to identify if employers were satisfied with MBA programs. Surprisingly, 77% of respondents indicated that they thought MBA programs need to be revamped. Their findings highlighted the desire for MBA graduates to be able to handle strategic projects and broad scale digital transformation.

This finding fed directly into the second reason I chose to take this class, which is my desire to completely change the way long term healthcare is provided within the state of Maine. Although I work in financial services, I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit which has me interested in potentially starting my own company someday. When most leaders in the healthcare industry hear what I’m interested in, they express their concern that I have no direct experience in the field I’m choosing to go into and that’s ok, I don’t think I need it. The issue I’m looking to attack isn’t a health crisis which would require the attention of medical professionals…It’s a supply problem that’s best suited for an MBA graduate with an interest in digitization and logistics. 

Older people are projected to outnumber children nationally in 2035 for the first time in decades due to the aging of baby boomers, and the state of Maine is 15 years ahead of that schedule. The accelerated change in Maine is due to the growth of the retirement population and the simultaneous decline in young workers. Currently it’s estimated that the state has a shortage of about 600 RN’s and expects that shortage to increase to 3,200 in the next five years. My plan is to create a company that operates off an online platform to maximize the efficiency of Maine’s current nursing supply, change the way long term care is coordinated within families and give every resident a flexible employment opportunity. This platform will also serve as a dashboard for those out of state, clearly communicating where demand and opportunity is found. The name of my company is Trestle Civitas, which loosely stands for “bridge of citizens”. The name Trestle Civitas was inspired by the ruins of the Trestle Bridge which is in Cape Neddick, Maine. A trestle bridge is a bridge composed of a number of short spans supported by closely spaced frames. That’s a perfect description of what this company will be as we slowly become the backbone of Maine’s support system with many sets of hands contributing to a long spanning efficient network of care. During the Civil War the structure at the south end of the bridge was actually a ticket station on the Underground Railroad. The remains of the Trestle Bridge that crossed the marsh to the north and freedom are still there today – pictured below.

I hope to refine my business plan for Trestle Civitas over the course of this semester in addition to increasing my knowledge of digital transformations across other industries. I can’t wait for our class discussions focusing on blockchain, NFT’s and cryptocurrencies and I’m also really looking forward to each of the individual presentations from the class. When our class wraps up in early December I’ll officially be done with my MBA curriculum and I want to keep the energy and momentum going as I apply my experience this semester in a professional environment.


  1. cloudbasedbrett · ·

    Ryan, really interesting post you’ve made. I like learning what drove one another to take this course. I think your post resonates with me the most because we hold a similar entrepreneurial passion. Finding a problem and figuring out a way to fix it, regardless of what others say…go do it. To your point about not caring what others say, I have a family friend who had zero healthcare experience and ended up creating a leading ultrasound company in New England.

    I will comment though, especially for your identified problem in Maine (also a big Mainer…Penobscott bay region) is that one of the pillars of digital transformation is people & adoption. If people do not attach to the transformation, companies will have a hard time getting to critical mass. Either internally or externally to customers, it’s something that I would be wary of. Technology obviously becomes more ubiquitous over time, so you have that on your side. Our parents weren’t born in a digital age, but any 24-year old getting off of their parent’s healthcare plan, I imagine, would rather have digital access to their medical records, plan (not sure exactly what your business would provide).

    I’d love to see your business plan when you start…or have developed it! Good luck!

  2. I love, love, love the Trestle Civitas name and branding concept (and beautiful picture in this post!) It’s such a great image and the story of the name is great hook to get people to then listen to what you are doing (my $0.02 as a marketing storyteller.)

    Will be great to see how you can leverage our class in enhancing your business plan in advance of completing your MBA pursuit. My own MBA progress officially moved to “glacial pace” with the arrival of the pandemic ;-)

  3. Oh man, is this the right class for you. Last semester with an entrepreneurial idea to explore. I think you’re in great shape.

    Oh, and I intentionally dialed back the energy last week. Haha

  4. Christina S · ·

    “77% of respondents indicated that they thought MBA programs need to be revamped. Their findings highlighted the desire for MBA graduates to be able to handle strategic projects and broad scale digital transformation” – such an interesting statistic, and a great talking point for future interviews to demonstrate how this course lends itself to that desire.

    As someone who also has great career aspirations that fall outside of the realm of my direct prior work experience, I am inspired by your resolve to transform healthcare in Maine and how you are re-framing the scope to fit your capabilities and interests.

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