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Is MPH/MHA a good fit for me (an Engineer seeking to enter healthcare)?

Discussion in 'Public Health Degrees (Masters and Doctoral)' started by BUJonathan, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. BUJonathan

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    I graduated in '05 with a Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering from Bradley Univ. My post-bacc work experience was first in automotive research, working in Ohio for the Japanese automaker Honda, and now in Chicago in aerospace doing project management.

    I spent a great deal of time training-through-doing in Japanese business principles like Lean, Kaizen, Continuous Improvement, etc.

    For 3 months I volunteered on Fridays at Nationwide Children's Hospital. I worked on the Rehab floor with long-term care patients and helping the clinical staff. When I was a kid, the pediatric hospital in Chicago made a huge impact on me treating sports-related injuries that I struggled with due to a genetic called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

    When I started volunteering I just wanted to gain satisfaction helping others... after a few months, I realized altho I'm skilled in Engineering, perhaps I could use those same skills in Healthcare and gain much more personal satisfaction.

    I learned Nursing or OT/PT was a bad match. Tho satisfying, the large # of patients they deal with daily drains people with my personality. Med school, becoming a Dr., and specializing orthopedics or PH&R would satisfy my investigative curiosity, and is a more one-on-one interaction.... but starting med school at 29 scares me :eek: , and my hands aren't steady enough for surgery. Orthotics sounded cool... but its such a narrow-field, prospects seemed murky.

    Then I learned about the admin side: specifically Management Engineering and/or Business Process Improvement :thumbup:. Its an area I could apply what I've learned in Japanese business practices (Lean), I really enjoy those topics as an engineer, and I see the field being relevant as Healthcare faces reform, cost pressures, and aging population.

    Would an MPA/MPH or Rush's MS in Health Systems Management (HSM) be a worthwhile degree for me? Or, am I be better off getting an MBA focused on operations? Or, should I stick to my engineering roots and get a Masters in Industrial Engineering? :confused:
     
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  3. Veggie Monster

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    sounds like an MHA degree is up your ally. however, if you want to stay in chicago and you're sure you wana stay in health admin, stick with the MS in HSM at Rush otherwise you can apply to the MBA - health management at northwestern. if i were in your situation, i would stick with rush because the reputation of rush is prominent within the chicago area. i'd know since i've lived in chicago since veggie monster was formally cookie monster. plus, do you really wana move around again and again or do you wana settle down in chicago?
     
    #2 Veggie Monster, Aug 16, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011
  4. Wickel

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    I too believe that an MHA would serve you well. I'm currently obtaining a B.S. in health systems management from a private university in Chicago and a lot of what you're talking about has come up in several of my courses. Also, several graduates from my program go on to pursue the MS from Rush. If you're planning on staying in Chicago, a degree from there will take you very far. In fact, a degree from there will take you far nationally, it is recognized as one of the top 10 programs in healthcare management according to US News. Rush is actually in the process of modeling an undergraduate healthcare management program after my university's. In addition to Rush and Northwestern as Veggie Monster has states above, Loyola University also offers an MBA in healthcare admin, specifically for individuals like yourself who have several years of work experience and what to re-direct or re-focus their career.

    It sounds to me that you have a very clear idea of how you want to apply your background in engineering to the healthcare world and this is VERY important when it comes to wooing admission committees.
     
  5. jaya88

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    Hi
    I'm with everyone else on this--if you want to stay in the Chicago area, I would go with Rush or the healthcare MBA at NU. I'll be starting UIC this fall but I was able to get research assistantship at Rush and their resources and network are amazing. I'm not so interested in the management side of healthcare which is why I chose UIC over Rush but now I get to experience both programs. You might even want to consider the GEM program on the side. I know you said you weren't interested in direct care nursing but you could probably combine it with the MS to have it focus more on the administrative side. You already have the math and science requirements down with an engineering degree. I can't remember what GEM stands for but it is a nursing degree for people who already have degrees with a strong science/math background so it is only a year--maybe 2?

    In the end, I think any program will see you as an asset. So, I wouldn't limit yourself to Rush/Northwestern, etc. even if you know you want to stay in Chicago. Public health is so interdisciplinary and coming to it with a different background than others will challenge you and your classmates to look at ideas outside of the box!

    Good luck!
    Jaya
     
  6. RAMPA

    RAMPA Pimpiro
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    BUJonathan

    Best ROI would be getting an MBA at Kellogg. Rush, Loyola, and UIC can't even compare to the doors a degree from Northwestern would open.

    I do know someone who has been through the Loyola MBA-Healthcare program and while she said the instructors were great the fact that it is a weekend type program and with no built in time for a internship, it's not best suited for career changers such as the OP.

    I don't know about comining the GEM program with "MHA" type degree if you don't plan on working as a RN. Essentially you are throwing away $70,000. While administrators with clinical experience are very much valued, the majority of health administrators do not have a clinical background.

    However, I do agree that any program will see you as an asset.

    For example I plan on doing a Lean/Six Sigma-Healthcare certification during my first year. Many hospitals are seeing the benefits of implementing Lean and/or Six Sigma so there is a big focus on performance improvement and quality improvement. I'm sure your background will translate over very well. In fact I know that at Advocate they hire those with engineering degrees for their system wide in-house consulting team.

    I plan on moving back to Chicago once I finish my program at UCLA so don't set yourself to geographic limitations.

    Good luck!
     
  7. BUJonathan

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    Hi Everyone:

    My apologies for the "pokey" response. Thank you so much for the advice, much appreciated! You guys definitely convinced me that this realistic and worth pursuing. I'm going to setup some appointments this week to meet with Admissions at the various Universities around Chicago.

    jaya88: I thought about accelerated Nursing programs, although, I'm a bit on-the-fence. I realize there are a LOT of possibilities to move up in nursing. But, my concern is that if I get a Nursing degree, the job market will push me towards a job as a floor nurse or hospital nurse. I'm just not cut out for that mentally (I'm an INTJ/INTP personality type... an introvert) nor physically (I have joint issues, and rolling around/lifting heavy patients isn't in the cards for me). That being said certain aspects of Nursing do appeal to me such as Research Nurse, because it'd be great with my engineering background, fits my personality, and is more one-on-one interaction which I enjoy.


    RAMPA: Is Northwestern's program really ranked that much higher than Rush's? The one benefit I do see of Northwestern's program is that it is an MBA + health care focus, where as Rush is a Health Management Systems masters. If I ever decided to go to another industry outside healthcare, an MBA would be more portable.

    What about University of Chicago's Graduate Program in Health Administration and Policy? Is that ranked well?
     
  8. Samuelpolakarta

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    hmm..
    http://adf.ly/2R9FL
     
  9. Wickel

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    Just by looking at your background, I agree that an accelerated Nursing program would be a bad fit for you.

    As for the Northwestern/Rush debate, Rush's program is very highly regarded, not only in the midwest, but nationally. In fact, it is recognized top 10 by US News. Based on the research that I've done, I would go with Rush over Northwestern is you plan on staying in the healthcare setting. But I do agree that an MBA with a health care focus from NU will be great if you see yourself moving around in the future.

    I also looked into UChicago's program, but it's seems to me that they only offer a certificate of some sort. Also, it is not even ranked, which says a lot considering the fact that UChicago is widely regarded as a top university in many areas.
     
  10. healthdisparity

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    Before I begin, Rush is an excellent program. Great facilities, teaching model (work + school), active working professors, and a strong medical program. If you put forth any effort, employment should be relatively easy.

    Now, there is a clear reason Northwestern University is a top 5 national MBA program. If you are qualified for such degree, I would personally take the MBA. The sheer alumni, name brand recognition, and funding opportunities through a top, top University can not be ignored. That being said, remember it is a top 5 MBA program. I hope you have a pretty successful background and study hard for your GMAT!

    This is not an insult to Rush. I applied to only HMP programs this year and found mostly positive feelings towards the school, especially in Chicago. However, the NU degree swings a much bigger stick and all your peers will come in having at least 2 years experience (huge advantage). Most MPH/MS/MHA degrees will have a large percentage of recent graduates.

    Either way, you will have a significant advantage in any operational excellence/process improvement hospital opening. Good luck!
     
  11. RAMPA

    RAMPA Pimpiro
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    +1. Many employers do not care about specific healthcare rankings, rather they care about the name/brand of the university. Outside of healthcare Rush is relatively unknown, so the alumni network and reputation clearly put NU > Rush.

    Also the Mayo Clinic has an internal business consulting group and they actively recruit industrial engineers, so that is another option.
     

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