EMBA Alumni at Work: From Classmates to Cofounders

For Abhi Mehrotra, M.D., and Scott Quilty, the University of North Carolina (UNC) Kenan-Flagler Business School was a catalyst for business partnership.

The two met while attending the Weekend Executive MBA Program.

Quilty, a sales and marketing executive and Iraq war veteran with seven years of service, always wanted to pursue his MBA and the time was right.

Associate professor for the UNC Department of Emergency Medicine and assistant medical director for UNC Hospitals emergency department, Mehrotra entered the program with a passion for emergency medicine and years of experience in hospital emergency departments.

As he advanced through the program, Mehrota’s ideas for a final class project took shape—he wanted to combine his hospital background with his newly found business acumen to benefit patients.

When Mehrotra shared his idea for a final class project, Quilty was intrigued by the potential.

“We both wanted to leverage our MBAs to start a business,” said Quilty. The two joined forces and launched MedScribes in August 2015.

Building a Business

MedScribes works to improve patient outcomes and satisfaction by providing clinics, hospitals, and other practices with medical scribes. Think of a medical scribe like a hospital stenographer, someone who records important details during patient visits and completes other administrative tasks. This, in turn, allows physicians to focus more time and energy on patient care.

MedScribes hires premed students and trains them extensively before pairing them with physicians.

“I saw a need for it and started a small-scale scribe program at the university,” said Mehrotra, who quickly noted its advantages – more quality time with patients, recording patients’ medical information, and increased efficiency of physicians.

Physicians spend 50 percent of their time at the computer, according to Quilty.

“I looked at the problem and thought–this is a great solution,” he said.

They developed their business plan while in the program and took first place in the EMBA SoftLaunch course, taught by Professor Ted Zoller, where students prepare their ideas for real investor review.

The Value of an EMBA Network

Both Quilty and Mehrotra said the EMBA Program helped make MedScribes a reality—from the courses to the faculty, to their peers.

“The network was powerful for us,” Quilty said because they relied on the advice and feedback from their fellow students.

They continued to tap their network and draw from their coursework as the business grew. In just over two years, MedScribes has expanded from eight to 42 scribes, an impressive 400 percent rate of growth.

In addition to devising a successful business, Mehrotra was named the medical director of the UNC Hillsborough Campus Emergency Department, as well as vice chair for strategic initiatives and operations for the UNC Department of Emergency Medicine, during his time in the program.

Mehrotra and Quilty continue to support the program by serving as coaches for the EMBA SoftLaunch class. “It’s an opportunity to give back,” said Quilty. In addition, Mehrotra took a step further, establishing an EMBA fellowship for interested residents in his department.

“I cannot state strongly enough how valuable, how important, and how much I enjoyed the program,” said Mehrotra. “I want others to experience what I went through.”

The program opened just the right door for Quilty. “Without the program, I never would have met my co-founder and have started this venture,” he said. “It was a transformative experience.”

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