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What is a Master of Business Administration

MD, MPH, CPCC, PCC. Does a physician really need to add MBA to that list as well?

A Master of Business Administration, or MBA degree, exposes students to the different disciplines of business, ranging from accounting and marketing to human resources and start-ups. Students who enroll in Master of Business Administration programs can tailor courses to their interests, choosing general business or an emphasis on particular areas of concentration, such as healthcare management or bioentrepreneurship.

Omar Z. Maniya, founder of the MD MBA Association, points to the growing demand for healthcare professionals to have a deeper understanding of the business side of medicine, and vice versa.

"The synergies between clinical experience and management knowledge is exactly what our healthcare system needs," he says. "Traditionally, physicians understand the diseases, treatments, and complexities involved in patient care, while business professionals appreciate the economic realities of competition and costs. Combining these two schools of thought allows the decisions made in the board room to seamlessly transition into the exam room."

Maniya sees a vast array of opportunities for students who pursue a Master of Business Administration while working on a medical degree. "An MD-MBA once told me that she spent her day translating the medical jargon of doctors into the business vernacular of executives, which represents the cooperation and interdisciplinary focus that has the potential to significantly enhance the way healthcare works in this country."

Is an MBA Necessary?

On the other side of the debate is Entrepreneurial MD Dr. Philippa Kennealy, a former hospital Medical Director and CEO, Internet start-up executive, not to mention board-certified family physician and former private practitioner. As she sees it, the answer to whether physicians need to pursue a Master of Business Administration to enter the business world is a resounding “no.”

Instead, Dr. Kennealy offers up a sort of DIY version of the MBA on her Entrepreneurial MD blog.

Here are a few of Dr. Kennealy’s suggestions to get started:

    1. The Personal MBA Recommended Reading List
    2. Find a mentor with a successful business and ask if he/she will be your “Info Resource and Business Guru”
    3. Read business magazines like Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Wired, Inc, Business Week, etc.
    4. Join a professional business networking group
    5. Get a business start-up coach

Read more about why MBA programs are hot

More> Pros and cons of the MD-MBA

More> Why MBA degrees are popular

More> Where do MD-MBA programs lead?

More > Appeal of the dual degree

More > Online MBA

Back > Distance learning MBA programs

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