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Jun 18, 2005
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Hey guys, just thought I would bring up a new topic on SDN and ask for some feedback from you all. My school has a relatively new joint program with the business school that grants an executive MBA degree with just one extra year added to the curriculum. Basically, you take a year off between 3rd and 4th year and do all the business coursework there before starting 4th year. At graduation you earn both degrees.

The program essentially only requires one year for an MBA, which is a 2 year master's degree, and you also only pay (obviously) one year's worth of tuition - half price for a degree that's actually more expensive per year than MD at many schools.

I was strongly considering pulling the trigger and going for it. The MBA from what I've read really ups your earning potential in private practice (what I intend to do) in basically every field, and also facilitates climbing the ranks and attaining leadership positions at hospitals in the future (many department heads at big name hospitals have an MBA with their MD). I would also learn a thing or two about managing a practice, since the degree is focused on healthcare business and I really know NOTHING about business in general, much less running a successful practice. The year of business is also a bit less rigorous than a typical year in med school, and I was also planning on doing some research during that year should I decide to go for a more competitive specialty (I'm still debating IM-cardio, IM-GI, anesthesia vs. ENT, which requires some publications under my belt). I also feel like I kind of need a break from this intense race which is medicine, and know that once residency starts, your life is really absorbed by medicine, with no time off for outside ventures and exploring other academic interests.

Thoughts? Opinions? What do you all think? Anyone thought about a program like this one (or actually participated in one)?

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To the OP, I'm a premed (applying next cycle) considering a similar program. Having worked in finance before deciding to become a premed gives me (i think anyway) a different perspective on the issue than some others.

I don't think the MBA is worth the tuition if you simply want to go into private practice. If there is a correlation with higher compensation among PP docs, it may be because those who are inclined to get the degree already tend to have a business mindset. An MBA is generally not the "get your hands dirty" type of education necessary to run a private practice group and it's certainly not necessary to run a hospital (MPH may actually be a more relevant qualification). MBA degrees tend to focus on broad based organizational management, corporate finance, and marketing. They have become, in a sense, a rubber stamp in certain industries - kind of like taking physics as a premed. Most doctors don't use physics on a day to day basis, but you still need to say you've taken it to get into med school... I think that the biggest value add of an MBA is the opportunity to make connections, but unless you're in a program with a bunch of other doctors and hosptial administrators, I would question the usefulness of the degree for you in this regard (esp. because you're not considering a Harvard, Wharton, Dartmouth, etc.)

Bottom line in my mind is that an MBA is simply not necessary to run a practice or a hospital. If there's no clear ROI, I would question the investment of another year and 60K for the additional three letters.
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Hurricane, did you go to the orientation meeting? I unfortunately could not attend.

My main question about the MBA is how much does a degree impact how much knowledge you actually possess?
Hurricane...I would do it. You are getting a huge cost savings and doing it integrated with everything else. That is, if you think you'll ever use it, which you might. I wish I'd had that option.

Also, dear god please tell me who that girl is in your photo.
Yes I'd concur as another finance premed (with an MBA). For me the MBA did two main things:

1) trained me to work in corporate finance; technical skills like protecting a portfolio against interest rate and credit risk at the 99% confidence interval. But if one were to focus on, say, general management, this would not have been an issue. But medical practices are run VERY differently from the corporate world in my nearly 15 yrs business experience.

2) helped put things into context; organizational behavior classes were really interesting in that I had 5 yrs corporate experience prior to starting bschool; the courses helped me to apply a framework around what I'd seen and experienced in my professional experience.

I would also agree that many/most MDs wouldn't particularly need an MBA if they intend to focus mainly on medicine; just like I and my spouse (who is an attorney) hired an attorney to review our house closing docs - if you're an MD, it'd likely make sense to hire a business manager who is solely focused on that aspect rather than try to do medicine + manage the business.

Final word - based on my experience (MBA earned around 10 yrs ago) the MBA is kind of an accelerator - it bumps you up in knowledge and earnings ability wherever you are. Sometimes I wish I'd been less impatient to begin the program as I would have gained lots more benefit if I had more leadership/management experience when going through the program, and you can't really do another MBA just because you're at a more advanced/experienced level.