Hutchens is the CEO and President of real estate investment trust National Health Investors (NYSE:NHI), as well as an MIT Sloan Executive Education Certificate holder. In this interview, the successful businessman shares his thoughts on why he chose MIT Sloan Executive Education, the challenges he faces as a young CEO, and some advice on starting out in business.
How does it feel to have received this honor for three consecutive years?
“I'm thrilled to get the recognition and to share this honor with very talented business leaders on the list.”
What attributes do you think help to make you a part of this elite group?
“First and foremost, the success of the company. National Health Investors has had a very successful run over the past few years. I have a great team that is continually focused on creating value for our shareholders.”
What challenges do you face as CEO of National Health Investors?
“NHI is a publicly traded company that primarily purchases healthcare properties and enters into long-term leases with operators. As the CEO, I continually interact and negotiate with senior executives of large institutional shareholders, banks, and key accounts, while leading a team that has averaged $250 million of acquisitions per year over the past five years.”
What made you choose MIT Sloan?
“I considered a number of different options but chose MIT because the certificate program was very clearly defined and structured. I was able to meet my primary goal of earning a certificate, but from an economics standpoint—rounded out with strategy and negotiation programs.”
Have you been able to apply lessons learned at MIT to your company?
“I learned a lot at MIT and have definitely applied what I have learned as much as possible. In 2011 and 2012, I took courses in economics, negotiations, and business strategy. I intend to stay committed to lifelong learning.”
Do you think your time at MIT has influenced where you are/your success today?
“In addition to adding credibility to my resume, I think earning an executive certificate from MIT has provided me with access to a solid network of very smart and experienced people. Today, I have open invitations to Denmark, India, Singapore, and Columbia—and the opportunity to network with high-quality people from all over the world. I draw on my experiences from MIT often. The executive education offered at MIT is world class and I'm thrilled that I made the commitment to become part of the MIT community.”
Do you have a favorite course or professor from your time on campus?
“I had exposure to many professors that led courses or participated as guest instructors, and I was impressed across the board. Robert Rigobon was a standout professor. The depth of his knowledge in economics and his ability to relate sophisticated topics with real world relevance is amazing.”
What advice would you give to young businessmen and women just starting out?
“My Dad gave me the advice early in my career to volunteer for the least desirable and highly visible assignments. Those are great opportunities to differentiate you as a leader. I've found that being flexible geographically has helped the progression of my career. Most of all, hard work does pay off!”
Justin Hutchens is the CEO and President of National Health Investors. He earned an MIT Sloan Executive Education Certificate in Strategy and Innovation in 2012.