Help!Master's program

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Mar 20, 2004
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MBA versus MPA or MPH

I have a question for those of you who have done a master's before going to medical school. Before going to medical school, I'm thinking of getting a MBA in health services management, does anyone know if it's easier or harder than a MPH or MPA. I know that you need a really good GPA like >3.8 if you're doing a MPA or MPH to be considered competitive but does that also apply to a MBA. I'm just trying to gauge the difficulty level between the programs.

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I will second what late in the game has posted here, as I completed a Master of Public Health degree a couple of years ago, and I'm attending medical school next year. Typically, MPH programs are not super competitive to get into, as I knew folks from a number of different kinds of institutions, with different backgrounds, and a variety of GPA and GRE scores there. However, some areas of concentration may be more competitive than others. But the graduate school process pales in comparison to the medical school process. I will refer you to the MPH lounge for more information on specific programs and schools.

I have considered pursuing the MBA as well, but I don't think that any Business degree would necessarily be a piece of cake, esp. if your background is not in business (my undergraduate was Biology/Sociology, and graduate concentration was Health behavior/Health education). Plus, the GMAT is an entirely different monster to tackle when applying to business school. Here, I will refer you to the MBA website, which has good general information about schools and the GMAT:

With this, if you are truly interested in health care administration, I might suggest pursuing a Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA) program at a school of public health. I will not advocate that it will be easier than pursuing a business degree (MBA), but it would afford you some of the advantages that late inthe game has proposed (although MHSA programs tend to be tightly packed and leave little room for additional coursework, etc.). If you do decide to go with the MHSA, the program at my alma mater, Michigan, is very strong. If you're not applying to med school immediately after graduate school, then you could probably get a pretty competitive administrative residency with a top notch health care system :D I have a few friends in these fellowships now and they get unbelievable clinical exposure since they generally have to do rotations at every unit within their health systems. May be worth looking into.

Originally posted by late inthe game
...and oh, I forgot to mention, graduate school GPA's are totally irrelevant: We're basically graded 3.0-4.0, no one ever gets less than a 3.5, and they really don't mean anything.

There are no F's, D's, or C's?
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at my school of public health people got C's.....not D's or F's, but C's, yes......
There are indeed Cs given out in graduate school. However, the C that you get may be the normal undergraduate equivalent of a D, which means you've got to do pretty poorly on a consistent basis to get a C. It happens though. Just to give you an example, I was maintaining about a B+ in one class, had several finals and a paper, and had to pick and choose which classes to study for being the procrastinator that I am. I essentially bombed this final with a C- (I think the exact grade was less than %40 - yeah, I really didn't study). Overall, I still came out with a B+ in the class, especially with good grades on my other projects.

The other important thing about graduate school is that they're not out to get you. You are at a level where you are assumed to be more interested in the learning taking place, or else you wouldn't seek out more advanced training. You are typically well supported and the hope may be that you'll seek help when you need it, lest someone recognizes your need for help and comes to you first. Schools also have reputations to uphold, and indeed, the better your numbers look, the better the school looks.
Question: I was a biology undergrad and have never taken a MBA course in my life. I know that if I go for a MPH I would do better and have a higher GPA, but I'm really leaning towards the MBA in health services. I 'm just wondering whether medical schools will look at the fact that I have never taken a business course and have now gone for a MBA and give me some credit for getting a decent GPA let's say >3.6 or should I go for a MPH and get a really high GPA. From what I've heard from people I know and people on this site, you can get a pretty high GPA in a MPH program but how does a MBA program compare. Is it harder to get a good GPA in a MBA program than in a MPH program and if I get a GPA like a 3.6 in a MBA will it hurt my chances. Any advice would be really welcome. Thanks.
why in the world would you want to get an MBA...that is more years in school. Just stick it out do a post bacc or masters if u cant get in then reapply
because the OP clearly stated they were interested in health management...

while, i do agree an mph may be a better route, an mba is certainly an option..
i don't think the issue was "not getting in"...
how would a post-bacc help with health management?

sheesh, bubbajones, you amaze me.
A response to medstu110's last post:

Don't get a Master of Business Administration to impress medical schools. If you want to do that, it would probably be more feasible to get a Master of Science degree, showing that you can excel in higher level science courses. I would find that much more feasible than to get the MBA. Essentially, whatever you do with your Master's program (unless it is a straight science) is going to get drowned out by the clinical training that you will receive in medical school. Please do not make the mistake of getting a degree that you either have no intention of using, or that you think will help you in medical school. Yes, while advanced training will probably enhance your understand of certain issues beyond the basic sciences, you won't use this until much later in your career. Be sincere about why you want to get a Master's Degree, b/c adcoms will see through it when you're interviewing.

With regard to getting a higher GPA in the MPH vs. the MBA program - it's all up to you. Personally, if I were to pursue the MBA, I know that even with hard work, I might not get that 4.0 in the program that I'd aspire to (heck, I didn't even get near a 4.0 in the MPH program) - especially without the background and my limited affinity for business (took one business course in college, and realized that the thinking is different = no easy A for me :p). Not to say that the same will apply to you, but honestly, if you are going to pursue a program in which you have no background, it may be harder to get a higher GPA because you have to work a little harder to grasp the material. I think that it may be slightly easier for a science student to transition into a Master of Public Health program. I would just urge you not to get stuck in a position you don't want to be in. Choose something that you're genuinely interested for that exact reason - you're interested in it. Do not think that having a great graduate GPA in a non-science program is going to boost your application - you're expected to do reasonably well in any graduate program that you pursue. However, actually showing that you have an interest through your activities (i.e., what you do with the degree) will, IMHO, truly determine the worth of advanced studies to an adcom.

Thanks for the advice everyone, this is why I love SDN. I really do want a MBA in health services management because I want to hold a administrative position in a health care organization as well as pursuing my medical career. When I was a undergrad majoring in biology I had a really high GPA. I know that even though I didn't major or minor in business that I can get a decent GPA let's say > 3.6, but I don't want the medical school to look at my application and say look she had such a great GPA in udergrad but now in graduate school she has a lower GPA and therefore can't handle medical school. That was my fear. I was wondering what was a good GPA for a MBA or MPH program. Does anyone know? Thanks.
Originally posted by bubbajones

:laugh: ....u r crazy
To medstu110, RE: the good graduate GPA:

I would hardly call a 3.6 a "lower GPA". I would safely assume that anything over a 3.5 would be considered good, but expectations will differ for different schools. I have friends in medical school that had less than a 3.5 in their graduate programs, and some with a near 4.0. It all depends. If you know what medical schools you'll apply to, I'd check with the admissions folks to see what they would think about the MPH vs the MBA, and what an "appropriate" GPA might look like. I had a decent graduate GPA, but it was a good couple of notches lower than my undergrad GPA (by about .2).

In all honesty medstu110, I would really consider saving yourself some money and doing a dual degree program when you get to medical school that is more focused on your ultimate goal of becoming a MD/ MBA. Unless your goal is to get the graduate degree and then work for a while to utilize it somewhat (as I am, currently doing a post-graduate fellowship), I would suggest doing a dual degree in five years, versus the headache of using a two year program as a stepping stone into medical school. I thought about it, but as burnt out as I was from undergrad, I personally needed a break and planned in advance on working for a few years to build a resume based on my public health experience. Plus, with a dual degree program, you'd most likely be getting the MBA directly through a school of business in a condensed 4 semester program (typically starting in the summer after your first or second year and ending the next summer).

Other thoughts: Another option for you is to go back and get a degree post medical school. Some doctors prefer this because they can usually pay out of pocket, and the education has more relevance in their work contexts. However, some would advocate that you should do the degree while you're in school, because you might not have the time to enjoy the luxury of obtaining another degree when in practice.