Rachel Todd long saw the importance of her Oregon State MBA – the picture just became that much clearer as she settled into her new role as chief executive officer at Puget Sound Gastroenterology.

“It’s been more valuable the past few months than ever before,” said Todd, who previously had been the vice president for clinical services and specialty practices at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis. “I’d been with big health care systems most of my career, and now I’m with a small group.”

The job represented both a chance to be a CEO and an opportunity to move back to the Seattle area, where Todd had grown up in a family of health care professionals.

“My parents could tell I was an organizational freak from a young age; in college, I kind of fell in love with health care administration,” said Todd, who was on the rowing team while studying at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2003 her husband, Steve, who had rowed at the University of Washington, got a coaching job at OSU. Todd went to work for Samaritan Health Services, and three years later, she decided her path to career enrichment should include an Oregon State MBA.

“It was about getting a stronger financial sense, and feeling more confident in making a strategic plan,” she said.

A part of her studies that particularly stands out was working on an integrative business project to try to bring to market a biopolymer food thickener developed in the College of Science.

“You had to work with all sorts of people, with different levels of interest in all sorts of things,” she said. “But there were three of us who really got close and worked hard together, and I’m still in contact with them.”

Todd cites instructor Tom Dowling and John Turner, now the co-director of the OSU Advantage Accelerator, as being especially influential components of an MBA program that she describes as “exactly what I needed at the right time.”

“And I also really enjoyed staying involved with the College of Business, which I can’t do as easily now that we’ve moved,” said Todd, who has an 18-month-old daughter, Mallory. “That pull we felt to get back to Seattle was just too strong, but we miss Corvallis.”