Menu Icon Search
Close Search

About the ads

Do MD/MBA's practice medicine?

Discussion in 'Med Business [ MD/MBA, DO/MBA, DDS/MBA ]' started by TheMightyAngus, 10.15.05.

  1. TheMightyAngus

    TheMightyAngus

    Joined:
    06.14.05
    Messages:
    1,193
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member

    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    So I was recently at Penn and my interviewer was telling me how great an opportunity it was to pursue a degree at Wharton. It seems like an MD/MBA would open a lot of doors to get involved in Health Policy, something I'm really interested in. But from what I gather, people who go into Med-Biz tend not to practice medicine, using their medical background for alternative careers. If I wanted to be a practicing physician who is involved in clinical research and has an interest in policy, would an MBA be unnecessary? Do people in academic medicine pursue MD/MBA's or is usually for those interested in public policy or the private sector?
  2. Shredder

    Shredder User

    Joined:
    12.14.04
    Messages:
    3,909
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    as for clinical research, i think an MBA would be useful for overseeing clinical trials and regulatory affairs, where business and management training would come in handy. there must be some ppl in academic medicine who pursue md/mba, to teach and assume high level administrative positions, which they also do at hospitals and medical centers or networks.

    im a big fan of MBA. it seems like a versatile dual degree option, maybe more so than any other dual degree but of course im biased. and its just a year, especially from trumps alma in this case

    yet another good thing about md/mba is that you dont have to decide in a hurry. most schools permit applications for it up until the 2nd or 3rd year even. and i hear that most med students, since there are so few of them who pursue md/mba, are pretty much shoo ins.
  3. DrMom

    DrMom Official Mom of SDN Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    04.24.02
    Messages:
    43,322
    Location:
    wherever I go, there I am
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Physician SDN 10+ Year Member
    If you're interested in policy, I'd recommend getting an MPH in health policy.
  4. SMC2UCLA2_

    SMC2UCLA2_ Senior Member

    Joined:
    05.07.04
    Messages:
    173
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    http://www.md-mba.org/

    Peruse this sight. You will find many examples of physicians who obtain their MBA degree later in their professional carrers and continue clinical practice. They provide different reasons for pursuing the MBA degree - I think an MBA is becoming a popular degree among physicians.

    Physicians today go back to get their MBAs for various reasons, whether its to assume high level hospital managment as clinical practice becomes impractical or unappealing, or to begin medical consulting services to biotech/pharma, and so on. Apparently radiologists have a niche where MBA is particularly useful for their practice.

    An MBA is a great degree. I have always felt you can learn what most any MBA program can teach on your own if you have the desire and or interest. But in today's world, a degree speaks a thousand words. Everyone wants proof of your skills and often its easier to tack on a year or 2 of school than explain why you are capable and willing each and every single time you put your skills to use.

    I don't think an MBA would be so useful for health policy unless you are looking at owning and operating a think-tank in the future or assuming management positions in such an organization.

    Cheers!
  5. TheMightyAngus

    TheMightyAngus

    Joined:
    06.14.05
    Messages:
    1,193
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Very helpful posts. It makes sense to pursue an MBA degree mid-career, but completing one in med school saves time, money, and gives you a head start thinking about healthcare from a business perspective.

    As far as research goes: while a conventional clinical investigator would have little use for an MBA, someone who is involved in directing research, allocating funding, or guiding health policy based on scientific evidence definitely would. In this case, having a background in research and policy would be extremely beneficial.

    In regards to an MPH : I think it would be more useful in conducting research in health services and policy, not defining it. An MBA or a JD would be more useful if you wanted to actually guide policy on a national or institutional platform.

    While it isn't a necessity, it does seem that an MBA would greatly diversify your career opportunities.
  6. SMC2UCLA2_

    SMC2UCLA2_ Senior Member

    Joined:
    05.07.04
    Messages:
    173
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    True That!
  7. dr_almondjoy_do

    dr_almondjoy_do So Very Happy to Be Here!

    Joined:
    05.10.03
    Messages:
    334
    Location:
    New York
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Have you ever heard of the MPA? A Masters in Public Administration basically focuses on management in the public sector. There are tons of research articles done on the subject of it's comparison to an MBA, but the MBA always wins out.

    I know that there is a John F. Kennedy School of Government that is affiated with Harvard that is impressive. You learn alot of Health Policy, Public Planning, etc.

    http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/apply/
  8. CTSballer11

    CTSballer11 Senior Member

    Joined:
    07.24.05
    Messages:
    717
    Location:
    USA
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 5+ Year Member

    I have seen docs in academia that have an MBA. I think one poster was trying to make it seem like you need a Phd to be an academic practicing physician. If you have an oppurtunity to pursue and MD/MBA at UPenn, why not, it can only help you once you are looking for a job as a practicing physician, plus an MBA from wharton would probably open more doors then an MPH. Like shredder said, it is only a year.
  9. Shredder

    Shredder User

    Joined:
    12.14.04
    Messages:
    3,909
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    exactly, considering some ppl take a year off to goof off or do postbacs. compared to taking a yr off to get a wharton mba, the decision seems clear but it depends on career goals i guess, i always bring my bias
  10. Minion677

    Minion677 Senior Member

    Joined:
    07.31.04
    Messages:
    120
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    ok here is the issue i'm having with this: im at econ major at school and im very interested in the business side of medicine, hospital management, all those things. so im thinking about doing one of those 5 year MD/MBA or MD/MPH programs out there. the problem is that it seems like in order to do one of those programs you need to be spending your time working towards the other degree. ie summers you need to be either taking MBA classes or doing internships in management, and when taking electives in your 3rd and 4th year you need to gear them towards management. it seems that this would prevent any MD/MBA from getting into a competitive specialty, because these specialties require summers and rotational electives dedicated to their fields.

    for people who have done an MD/MBA, is this the case? and for those of you looking to pursue one (shredder), how do you plan to deal with this. are yall trying to get into a competitive residency?
  11. DrBowtie

    DrBowtie Responsible?!?! PGY3 Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    02.24.05
    Messages:
    14,724
    Location:
    Classyville
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    People doing the MD/MBA match into competitive specialties in competitive places. The Yale and Penn Match list for the MD/MBA's are around here somewhere.

    I plan on going into Rad-Onc (top 2 hardest to match into) and I met with the RD of the program here who is my undergrad mentor and she said that it was a very good idea and would be an asset.

    Another thing she said was that they have "5th pathway" programs that would allow you to get the MBA during residency. An option to look at.
  12. fedor

    fedor gunning like the NRA

    Joined:
    08.27.05
    Messages:
    431
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Are you an undergrad Brett?
  13. DrBowtie

    DrBowtie Responsible?!?! PGY3 Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    02.24.05
    Messages:
    14,724
    Location:
    Classyville
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    yes. I am guessing you are going to make a comment on me "planning" to go into Rad Onc. Sorry, I should have used want.
  14. fedor

    fedor gunning like the NRA

    Joined:
    08.27.05
    Messages:
    431
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    No, no. I was just curious as it's rare that undergrads have already decided their specialty. I think it's great that you'll have plenty of time to do research and immerse yourself in the field prior to residency applications.
  15. fedor

    fedor gunning like the NRA

    Joined:
    08.27.05
    Messages:
    431
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    I would like to say something here about MBA/MD and Wharton in particular.

    As noted above, the MBA is certainly not a research degree. If you plan to contribute to the field of health policy, there is nothing better than a PhD in Economics. Wharton has a PhD in Health Care Management, but if I were you, I would do a PhD in Econ and specialize in health economics.

    The MBA is nothing more than a rehash of an undergrad business major. It looks much better than it really is.

    Now, about Wharton in particular. It's arguably the best business school in the world. I would even go so far as to say it has the best finance program, hands down. However, you won't find too many likeminded individuals interested in the health care field. At Wharton less than 1% of the students choose a health care management concentration (I would say most of those wind up doing a second concentration in finance and work as analysts on wall street specializing in the health care industry) Everyone is geared towards finance and landing that IB, hedge fund, or VC job. You will be lucky if you find any other students seriously interested in health care policy. It's a shame really, because you see amazing students with great experience and qualifications selling out just to wind up as first year associates on Wall Street.

    A huge bonus of Wharton is the name. While I don't think it will open as many doors for you when it comes to applying for residency as spending that year doing pure research, it will open many doors for you socially. Also, if you ever decide not to enter residency after medical school, even without work experience, you may be able to pull off an associate position instead of an analyst position.
  16. Shredder

    Shredder User

    Joined:
    12.14.04
    Messages:
    3,909
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    good post. havent seen you before fedor, whats your background? we could use more contributors around here. im applying to med schools with a stated md/mba interest, and im planning on expressing enthusiasm for health policy research to appease research-hungry interviewers. but the MBA is really a management degree id say IMHO, with the ideal MBA probably going on to become CEO of a Fortune 500 company. the exemplar of the successful MBA i guess one could say

    btw im interviewing at penn this friday, any advice?
  17. fedor

    fedor gunning like the NRA

    Joined:
    08.27.05
    Messages:
    431
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    I'll try to post more a little later (tonight or tomorrow) but I want to write this before I forget. There's a public transportation strike here in Philly and only the regional rail trains are running. Probably some people may not be aware of it and may miss their interviews or be late.
  18. bluejay68

    bluejay68 Member

    Joined:
    01.18.05
    Messages:
    90
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    The Health Care Management major actually had just over 70 people in it in my year (Penn MD/MBA Class of 2005) and given a total class size of about 800; the percentage interested in health care is actually closer to 10% than 1% and with some really big names in the industry on the faculty (Mark Pauly), and with June Kinney running the program for ~25 years now (and building an amazing alumni database that can open doors when called upon), I think the Health Care Management major/department is incredibly strong at Penn (plus we were just a really tight group - lots of social interaction, coursework, learning teams, etc.)

    We actually had a lot of very interesting policy coursework and discussions over the two years (even took a policy course co-taught with the former head of Medicare/Medicaid - Nancy-Ann Deparle). Seemed like we had a good mix of people going into industry (management "rotational" programs at places like Pfizer, Genentech, J&J, etc), consulting (McKinsey, Bain, BCG, etc), or finance (hedge funds, VC, I-banking). VC seemed to be the "sexy" job a lot of Wharton people were interested in, but at the end of the day very few good VC jobs were available and not so many actually went into it. For the docs, all except one went into residency (I'm doing EM in Boston, another is doing ophtho at Tulane, another medicine at Penn, etc). While the finance people were clearly well represented, I wouldn't make them out to be quite the dominant force that the original poster stated.

    A lot of the non-docs do also complete a second concentration, mostly because the first year is pretty much the same for all majors and everyone usually has time to take a couple of other electives to qualify for a second major (I think a health care/finance double concentration from Wharton is really impressive); none of the combined-degree students could double major since we only had 3 semesters instead of 4 at Wharton and as a result, didn't have enough elective time for an entire second concentration.

    The Wharton name appeared to in general be a nice distinguishing positive for me during my residency interviews, and I have no idea how a year of research would have compared in this regard. As for my own career intentions, I am very glad that I did the Wharton year versus a research year, as I can see that extra time I spent at Wharton being relevant and helpful to me for many years to come whereas a research year, while potentially useful (especially if I could get a big paper out of it), would have been less interesting to me and less relevant to my career 5 or even 10 years down the road.
  19. NRAI2001

    NRAI2001 3K Member

    Joined:
    11.05.01
    Messages:
    4,409
    Location:
    Central/Northern California
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 10+ Year Member
    I m sorry I am just starting to learn more about business, but what is the heirarchy in IB?

    analyst < associate < ?????

    Are there a lot of MD/MBAs doing IB and hedge funds? The ones that are, are they mainly career changers or will an MD actually help you in this part of the business world?
  20. mshheaddoc

    mshheaddoc Howdy Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    04.24.02
    Messages:
    43,162
    Location:
    Wild west of Mistytown
    SDN 10+ Year Member
    distinguish between medicine and health care administration as if you aren't planning on practicing you can save yourself alot of money by just getting a degree in public administration or something of the sort. I have been told this many times and although they have a point, that isn't my point for becoming a physican although its part of my plan. (Already have a MBA) I truly have to wonder though, if you want business you could save yourself the hassle of 8 years of hell by just going strictly business. Although my opinion is that I want to practice and I feel that medicine is becoming a business and in order to strike a balance of business and medicine you have to have an understanding of both. As administration work has become mostly business, hopefully those who have a full understanding of medicine and business together with health economists can make a difference in solving our health care woes. Just my optimistic standpoint though.

    As for Wharton, a GREAT program with lots of health care policy work. I wish I had the opportunity to attend their healthcare management program. I envy those who do attend.
  21. NRAI2001

    NRAI2001 3K Member

    Joined:
    11.05.01
    Messages:
    4,409
    Location:
    Central/Northern California
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 10+ Year Member
    Found a really good link:

    http://www.careers-in-finance.com/ibsal.htm :thumbup:
  22. TheMightyAngus

    TheMightyAngus

    Joined:
    06.14.05
    Messages:
    1,193
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    bluejay68, since you've completed the MD/MBA program at Penn and several of us on here are seriously considering Penn, could you discuss your experience as a dual-degree graduate? Specifically, what your plans are post-residency? How do you plan to incorporate biz training into your practice in EM? How did Penn prepare you to make a career choice that utilizes the dual-degree? Did you feel that the residency PD's considered the MD/MBA to be a positive thing, or did they in any way assume you weren't going to be practicing medicine in the future?

    Sorry for the barrage of questions, unfortunately, I didn't meet any MD/MBA's at Penn during interview day and am trying to figure out if it's something I should try to pursue.
  23. bluejay68

    bluejay68 Member

    Joined:
    01.18.05
    Messages:
    90
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Here are some general thoughts on my experience as a dual degree graduate (these are just a couple of the many things I took from my time in the program):

    - Penn did a great job of preparing me for whatever I wanted to do on either side of the street - I felt like I was competitive for virtually every type of business job and medical specialty that I desired (caveat is that your spare time is limited by the dual degree, so an early focus is key for more competitive opportunities)

    - Medical school and Business school are very different animals and it was very interesting to experience both; I felt a little like a "professional student" by the time I hit business school. My peers at Wharton all had more real-world experience than me while I had more grad school experience; I found myself well prepared to study and do well on exams while my peers had more to offer in class discussions

    - B-school offered me some very interesting professional development that I felt was lacking in the basic medical education; namely professional communication skills, problem-solving frameworks and a more broad understanding of the US health care system


    As far as my plans to integrate my medical and business experiences into my career, this is a challenging question. I had an opportunity to pursue a purely business career straight out of school (consulting), but I just felt like I liked clinical medicine too much to give up on it so early in my career (I really felt like trying to match after spending a few years in the business world would not be practical for several reasons, both personal and professionally). As a result, I find myself nearly halfway through my intern year now, just trying to get from one rotation to the next and learning as much medicine as I can to be a good doctor. My business skills and aspirations are unfortunately very much on hold right now, but I plan on trying to change that after this year.

    As a resident, I hope to get involved in research that has a business/management spin, network with leaders in my department and hospital system and start to carve out a niche for myself. My aspiration at this point is to find an attending job out of residency that offers a significant amount of management responsibility right away (the traditional dogma in medicine is for clinicians to incorporate more management into their career as it winds down; I really want to challenge this and find a place that trusts me enough to give me these opportunities eary on). So right now, it looks like provider management/clinical practice is the route I am taking. But do you want to know the beautiful thing about the combined degree? If this does not appeal to me down the road and I change my mind, there are many, many different paths I can take that are all potentially rewarding professionally, personally and financially.

    When you apply to the program (and I would stress that you should apply AFTER you are a medical student, not straight out of undergrad), they want to hear a very concrete story as to what you plan to do with your combined degree. I would encourage you to talk to as many people as you can and think about what kind of career you want and then answer this question to the best of you ability. Just realize that you are by no means locked into this story and you have every right to change your plans as your life evolves.

    In regard to the response from interviewers that I received, I think nearly all felt it was a positive that I had this additional experience. The important thing was to emphasize that I was very much committed to clinical medicine. I think maybe in the back of their minds a couple of them thought I may be tempted to drop out for a better paying job with more reasonable hours because such an opportunity would be much more available to me than to other applicants. I felt like during the interview as long as I spoke about my commitment to practicing medicine, then my business school experience just acted as a unique experience that made me different. I also found that at just about every place I visited, there was an attending that was working on some research that involved resource management or some other aspect of medicine with a business twist; I always tried to learn about this person ahead of time and even meet them on my interview day; they invariably were excited to see an applicant with business experience/interests and as a result, the interview day usually went quite well.
  24. Shredder

    Shredder User

    Joined:
    12.14.04
    Messages:
    3,909
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    great post in the annals of the md/mba forum, makes me excited. sigh now just waiting on acceptances...and some interviews. cant wait to progress beyond college. the md/mba interest is definitely a double edged sword when applying. i guess you just have to wield it carefully if you decide to unsheath it.
  25. TheMightyAngus

    TheMightyAngus

    Joined:
    06.14.05
    Messages:
    1,193
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    thanks bluejay68. much appreciated. sound advice. real sound.
  26. kuruppu

    kuruppu

    Joined:
    06.27.07
    Messages:
    8
    Status:
    Non-Student
    Hi All,

    I am a recent graduate in Business Economics and will be applying for an MBA in fall 2007. I have only recently thought about medicine as a career. I am a little late, I know. What are my options in medicine with an MBA, but without an MD? Is public health policy the only thing I can get involved in? Is there a way to take the relevent courses for med school, MCAT, and apply for med school? Is it even worth it or am I too late?
  27. mward04

    mward04 SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus Partner Organization

    Joined:
    05.21.04
    Messages:
    419
    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    SDN Partner SDN 5+ Year Member
    you're asking some loaded questions that have no easy answers. Basically, medicine needs MBAs that are willing to better understand how healthcare works and that can come up with some creative solutions. Can you be in medicine without an MD, absolutely. I know a ton of people who contribute immensely. One particular person I am thinking of, is a CFO for a physician group and she brings a financial sense that most MDs couldn't even begin to understand. She has helped take their business to the next level while not only maintaining the physician-first mentality, but helping them make a buck or two.

    re. applying for med school, it's never too late. It's just a long haul so usually the sooner the better. It all depends upon what you are willing to tolerate. Another 2 years for B-school, then going back to school again for another 4 then another 3+ for residency. You're talking 2118 (minimum) before you are done with residency!

    Sorry I am not more specific but you asked a very broad question.

    Mike

  28. SimulD

    SimulD Senior Member

    Joined:
    04.22.01
    Messages:
    1,629
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    SDN 10+ Year Member
    Another thought is that if you are sure you want to be in administration/management in the hospital setting, you may not need an MBA. Many major hospitals, cancer centers, HMOs are led by people that are MDs that have strong leadership skills and a knack for business.

    An MBA doesn't really guarantee you anything. The people who go to Wharton and Sloan and Stanford and Harvard and GSB and Kellogg probably could learn that same coursework at San Diego State, but just wouldn't have the contacts. These folks are brilliant and hardworking and have a knack for business. They go to Wharton as finishing school and to meet contacts, not b/c the textbooks are any different.

    I think an MD, solid work ethic, basic knowledge of econ/finance/accounting and an interest in leadership and management can get you pretty far. You could save the opportunity cost of a year lost practicing medicine. But, from what all my friends say, business school is a blast. I don't know ... I'm at UPMC, the fifth largest medical center in the US, and most of the MD upper management do not have MBAs. Conversely, many in upper management of UPMC have MBAs but no MDs.

    But, an extra degree from a top business program isn't going to hurt you too bad, other than opportunity cost.

    -S
  29. DrKnowItAll

    DrKnowItAll Member

    Joined:
    11.19.03
    Messages:
    55
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Don't waste your time with medicine if you can get into a top business program. Refer to my previous posts for more info.
  30. wyme84

    wyme84

    Joined:
    04.23.09
    Messages:
    95
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Bluejay, that was well said. Thank you.
  31. michaelrack

    michaelrack All In at the wrong time SDN Advisor

    Joined:
    12.22.07
    Messages:
    3,071
    Location:
    Memphis TN
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Bluejay wrote that in 2005 and doesn't look like he's been back here since 2007
  32. medicalapp

    medicalapp

    Joined:
    04.02.12
    Messages:
    3
    I wanted to do a DO/MBA, are there any requirements for applying for those dual degree programs? I was only a Biology major, so I only have a few Business classes, but no minor or major. Also, if I do not get the dual degree, would I still be considered for the DO degree or is it a double or nothing ordeal? Like would my application for the DO or MD be rejected if I did not get into the MBA? For MD I wanted the same thing, but do you think they might be too competitive to apply to?
  33. Doc89

    Doc89

    Joined:
    01.19.11
    Messages:
    17
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
  34. novafan3000

    novafan3000

    Joined:
    03.04.12
    Messages:
    188
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Hey guys,

    Great discussion and appreciate the insight! I just graduated this past summer in microbio and am now pursuing a cheap mba at a local private school here in my city. Do you guys think this is a good idea to sep myself from other applicants or should i take the rest of the year off to work and study for the mcat? My app is pretty standard I mean I am 3.88/3.85sGPA and have the usual research, 300hrs+shadowing, 150+volunteering. Are there any reliable resources to see the admit data besides msar (kind of vague on their admitted class "degree" because i think this is referring to bachelor)? Any other advice?

    Thanks a lot!
  35. sanityonleave

    sanityonleave Adrenaline Junkie

    Joined:
    09.16.08
    Messages:
    430
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Having the MBA is unlikely to do very much for your med school application. However, provided you do well on the MCAT, you should be able to get in with your stats irrespective of the MBA.

    Why are you spending the money to get the extra degree? If it's just to boost your med school app, it's a waste of money.
  36. Frazier

    Frazier turtle in a rabbit race Lifetime Donor

    Joined:
    11.12.09
    Messages:
    3,952
    Location:
    US
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    At this stage, MCAT trumps all.

    Unless the mba was dirt cheap (<$10k, paid in cash), I would have def held off and pursued it later on in your training (i.e. during 5 yr md/mba program, during a cush residency, or post-residency).

    While it might make an interesting talking point at interviews -- such as elaborating on your plans of improving/smoothing the inevitable integration of the corporate world with medicine -- it isn't a talking point worth points on the mcat.

// Share //

Style: SDN Universal