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Should I mention MBA intentions during MD admissions?

Discussion in 'Med Business [ MD/MBA, DO/MBA, DDS/MBA ]' started by Pghboy18, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. Pghboy18

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    Here's a question for those of you who've been admitted to joint MD/MBA programs (at the same institution). Should I mention my intentions to pursue the MBA during the MD admissions process?

    I only ask because I'm not sure how those who have business aspirations are perceived in the MD admissions process. I'm slightly non-traditional, having had two years of finance experience (healthcare venture capital) before applying to medical school and have a genuine interest in the business/investment aspects of medicine, although I do intend to do a residency and eventually practice.

    It also seems like once you've been accepted to an M.D. program, getting into the MBA is somewhat secondary, especially if you have a high GMAT and strong recs. I don't want to jeopardize my chances of getting into an MD program by rubbing an adcom the wrong way by seeming too oportunist, if that makes sense.

    Long post, I know. Any wisdom will be appreciated.
     
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  3. DrJosephKim

    DrJosephKim Advisor
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    I think it probably depends on the school. For certain ones, they're looking to produce primary care physicians to close the gaps in the nation. For others, they may be more focused on medical research.

    If a medical school had to decide between someone who may go into healthcare finance vs. a clinician who may bridge the shortage, it might be a quick decision.
     
  4. Pghboy18

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    Thanks so much for the response. It seems like you're saying that if my goal is to get into healthcare finance, I'm screwed. I agree with you. Of course, there are many ways to get into healthcare finance that are a LOT easier than going to med school.

    My goal is to practice medicine, but also develop a deeper understanding of business and finance as it relates to healthcare . In my old job, I worked with a lot of clinicians who started or advised new biotechnology/healthcare companies and helped bring some interesting ideas to market (especially on the biotechnology side). They generally did not have to sacrifice clinical practice to do this unless they were intent on running a company in the long term, which was rare. I'd like to have the option to do this one day in addition to, not instead of, clinical practice.

    Does this sound farfetched or unreasonable? Should I just keep my mouth shut through the MD admissions process and focus exclusively on my clinical and research interests, or would it add to my candidacy to bring my work experience into the equation?

    As always, all insight appreciated.
     
  5. Pghboy18

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    Thanks so much for the response. It seems like you're saying that if my goal is to get into healthcare finance, I'm screwed. I agree with you. Of course, there are many ways to get into healthcare finance that are a LOT easier than going to med school.

    My goal is to practice medicine, but also develop a deeper understanding of business and finance as it relates to healthcare . In my old job, I worked with a lot of clinicians who started or advised new biotechnology/healthcare companies and helped bring some interesting ideas to market (especially on the biotechnology side). They generally did not have to sacrifice clinical practice to do this unless they were intent on running a company in the long term, which was rare. I'd like to have the option to do this one day in addition to, not instead of, clinical practice.

    Does this sound farfetched or unreasonable? Should I just keep my mouth shut through the MD admissions process and focus exclusively on my clinical and research interests, or would it add to my candidacy to bring my work experience into the equation?

    As always, all insight appreciated.
     
  6. oneironaut

    oneironaut New Member
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    *NO*
    Don't bring it up. If someone asks you about it say that you've thought about it, it'd be an interesting idea etc. , but I wouldn't go bringing it up.

    I'm an MD/MBA, a dual degree from an Ivy institution, although I didn't apply to the MBA part until my 3rd year of med school, I *can* tell you that my business world intentions absolutely killed me during residency interviews. Huge grain of salt- I actually told programs I only wanted to do my intern year and I was only applying to pre-lim spots. But the bias was clear. Some people asked me directly why they should train me in medicine when I intended to leave for business (lots of good reasons I had.) This is after they bothered to offer me an interview. The old generation is still very much in power and people still distrust anything that smells corporate. IMHO.

    Many of the same people will be interviewing you for Med School. My heartfelt advice is to let it lie. Don't lie about it, but definitely de-emphasize it if it is brought up to you. You are right, there are *loads* of entrepreneurial doctors that will tell you what a great idea it is, (and it *IS*) but it is a polarizing subject, and by and far the majority of old school docs don't get it, will think you're in it for the money, etc ad. nauseum.

    That is my honest opinion.
     
  7. Pghboy18

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    Thanks for being straightforward in your post. I have been feeling out my premed advisors about this topic and have been met with some hostility, even though I do intend to complete a residency. I find the bias against doctors who openly want to make money in some way or another to be very interesting.
     
  8. radslooking

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    i'd say generally no.
     
  9. Pghboy18

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    Same reasons?
     
  10. cpants

    cpants Member
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    You have to know your audience. A med-school faculty member (or even student) interviewing you is not likely to have much interest in business. Furthermore, any school's goal is to make doctors, not to make administrators or businessmen. This is especially true given the negative outlook most doctors have these days toward the business side of medicine. Given the choice between you and a candidate whose life passion is to treat patients, they will probably be more interested in the latter. Therefore, bringing it up can only hurt you. I would only discuss if specifically asked. Even then, keep it vague.
     
  11. radslooking

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    Its just a bias there is in the field. Theyll take it as lack of interest, or trying to profit from the field. Not everyone, but enough so that it makes it worth your while to not mention it. If you told it to me, I honestly wouldnt care, and maybe would applaud you for it. But I wouldn't expect that from most people.
     
  12. cpants

    cpants Member
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    Isn't that the motivation?
     
  13. Pghboy18

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    To be honest, my passion is to treat patients, I'm just interested in business because I find it fascinating. I'm not sure exactly why that's a problem in the medical community, but I know that it is. I'm certainly going to keep it to myself in the application process based on the responses in this thread.
     
  14. Pghboy18

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    And let's be honest, all doctors profit from the field (as they should). It's a noble calling, but nobody is exactly "taking one for the team" by becoming a physician.
     
  15. cpants

    cpants Member
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    True, doctors make a pretty decent living, though some would debate it considering the length and expense of schooling. There are easier ways to make money.

    I'm not saying that it's necessarily a bad thing, but I don't think most people want to get an MBA on top of their MD because of an academic interest in business. People want the MBA so that they can get lucrative jobs in healthcare corporations, insurance companies, consulting firms, hospital administration, etc. Like it or not, that is what most doctors will think when you tell them you want to get your MBA.
     
  16. DrMojorisin

    DrMojorisin Member
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    I agree with everyone who has replied before me. There are many old school docs on adcoms who have been telling themselves they are humanitarians while raking in 6 figure salaries for so long that they really believe that money isn't important to them.

    Ironically, they often dislike businessman because they have been the source of their past paycuts.

    I did not receive one positive comment regarding my MBA during the interview trail. They're looking for idealists, not realists - and so you must play the part.
     
  17. Pghboy18

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    Agree completely. My interest in business isn't purely academic, but it's not entirely financially dirven either. After working in healthcare vc for a couple of years, I've seen doctors do pretty incredible things in terms of innovation that, with some luck and cooperation from the market, will help thousands of patients in the future. Many of these physicians continued to treat patients or took a short hiatus from clinical practice. If these docs hadn't had a solid understanding of business principles, they likely would not have been able to bring their ideas to fruition. They also might have gotten screwed by us (the vc guys).

    Sure, some of these docs rightfully stand to make a lot of money, and I hope to make a lot of money as well. Almost none of them needed it - most were already successful physicians. Wealth was a part of their motivation, but so was the notion of helping a whole lot of people.

    Here's a link to one of the companies that I worked with, which was founded by a cardiologist: http://www.cardiomems.com Who knows how they'll do, but the technology is pretty interesting.
     
  18. CoolSpot7Up

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    OP, it's pretty clear you have good reasons for wanting to get the MBA. If you mention all the reasons for why it will be beneficial to your career and goals, I would say go ahead and mention it. Make sure to explain your reasons fully, immediately after mentioning it, so your interviewer doesn't have time to stereotype you as a capitalist. Since you have finance experience, it will make sense that you want to use your medical and business skills (why wouldn't you do both if you're good at both and enjoy both fields?).

    I also want to do an MD/MBA. I have similar reasons to yours, not just for the money. I even included it as part of my goals in my personal statement. I received interviews at schools with both research and primary care focuses. I've been accepted at the research school and waitlisted at the primary care school. Both schools have MD/MBA programs offered. Overall, I felt I explained my reasons well, it made sense, and I came off as someone who knew what they were doing and had thought about their career aspirations.
     
  19. dragonfly99

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    Well, I wouldn't emphasize this aspect of your application at the primary care focused schools.

    For private type med schools, they may be interested in your business related goals, particularly if the school has an MD/MBA program.

    I would approach with caution.
     
  20. doctor7

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    in this environment, don't tell people you have any interest in pursuing an MD/MBA. friggin' wall street is burning because it stands for everything that medicine is fundamentally against. you can roll things out on the other end after residency when the ER is under-budget, risk management is up everyone's ass, and no one knows how to create a statement of cash flow to keep things afloat. good luck and keep up the good fight.
     
  21. Pghboy18

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    haha. Thanks for the advice. You bring up a couple of good points about the current situation. I've decided to stay away from mentioning the MBA aspirations unless an interviewer directly asks about it (which might happen given my background). In that case, I will be honest.

    It's kind of ironic that there is a stigma on doctors having business acumen and yet everyone's favorite thing to do is complain about how much of a financial mess we have in the healthcare system.
     
  22. michaelrack

    michaelrack All In at the wrong time
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    Maybe they're afraid that doctors with business acumen will use that knowledge to enrich themselves at the expense of the healthcare system.
     
  23. Pghboy18

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    Maybe the notion that money is evil drives doctors to support measures that shield medicine from market effects that would increase competition, help to cut costs and optimize care. This is coming from someone who is not a doctor yet, though. I will be the first to admit that my knowledge is far from complete.

    I do hear you what you're saying and appreciate your perspective. The system can certainly be abused, but I think that's a risk in any industry. I don't think you can make the assumption that as soon as a doctor learns about business, he is automatically going to start abusing the system and making decisions at the expense of patient care.

    Either way, I don't think it hurts to promote business education and awareness among physicians.
     
  24. AustinMD2B

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    mdjkim is right and would extend his advise so far as to advise you to be program specific when you interview. If a program, say Washington or Hopkins is interviewing you, I would mention your desire to research and improve the theory of the business of medicine. Research schools want forward thinkers and, let's face it - the face of health care is changing. Washington would love to have the next Surgeon General hail from their program. On the other hand, if you're at a public/state school (state-funded programs (e.g. UT network of health centers) are notoriously geographically sensitive), then you'd better pontificate about how you want to practice as a primary care provider and dedicate a portion of your practice to underserved, at-risk communities in x region in said State.
     
  25. michaelrack

    michaelrack All In at the wrong time
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    ...
     
    #24 michaelrack, Jan 17, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2009
  26. LSU Gladiator

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    I'm not sure how relevant this is, but an M.D. that I job shadow also owns a gym. When I started seeing his patients come in to the clinic, I noticed that about 1/3 of them are also members at his gym!

    A guy came in with a back ache, and the Dr. says, "Oh well see there, that's because you work out at the YMCA. If you worked out at my gym, that never would have happened." We all laughed, and I made a tally mark on my blackboard of suspicion.

    Hypocritically, though, I think it would be BAD ARSE to own a gym in addition to my practicing aspirations.

    The Dr. was talking to me one day, and he said something pretty profound, "I used to work 50 and 60 hours a week. Then I had kids and I had to re-evaluate everything. I make more money than I spend, and I make more money than my kids need. I decided to quit working myself to the bone and so I cap it at about 40 hours/week now. My gym brings in a fair amount of money to supplement my practice, and I go home and play with my kids at 3:00 every day."
     
  27. Xardas

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    Boy, this guy you follow better be careful he doesn't break self-referral and kickback rules.
     
  28. michaelrack

    michaelrack All In at the wrong time
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    Some might consider that doc unethical, but since a gym is not a covered medical service, it wouldn't violate any self-referral or anti-kickback rules.
     
  29. Xardas

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    True, but it depends how he markets that gym.. does he call it a 'therapy gym' or something along those lines?

    Physicians need to be quite careful about the manner in which they market themselves.
     
  30. doctor7

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    how about if you owned a bar...and a hangover clinic.
     
  31. Fleurdeuxle

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    Curious if anyone has thoughts as to how residency programs view the MD/MBA degree and which residencies are typically sought?
     
  32. dragonfly99

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    They're pretty much in every residency.
    MD/MBA is still a fairly uncommon degree, but there was one guy in my IM program who had an MBA. He was interested in informatics, I believe.
    For those students on here, I would be careful about signing up for an MD/MBA. If you have a true interest and aren't super worried about the extra year of tuition, then go for it. But don't get it just to have an extra degree, particularly if it's going to put you in more student debt. I feel like some of these combined degree programs are just a money making thing for universities and med schools.
     
  33. oneironaut

    oneironaut New Member
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    I'd like to counter that comment.

    I would say if you even *think* about it, you should do it. That's a little bit of hyperbole, yes, but only a little. For disclosure let me say- I drank all the Kool-aid and asked for more. I loved business school and it developed a feeling of empowerment totally unlike Med School (You can imagine what I mean if you know what 'Pimp' usually stands for.)

    Believe me- no one is struggling to leave medicine more then I right now, or more painfully aware of the economy. But I'm still glad for my decision to do a joint degree, and I still feel leaving Medicine is right for me. (And btw, I *do* love Medicine and I'm glad to have gone to Med School- I just don't want to practice.)

    First of all- at my school at least- Tuition didn't actually meet the cost of our education. Endowments do pay most for both B and Med school (and the research grants of my PhD friends.) I *really* doubt it's a money making scheme for any school.

    Second- the MBA strengthens your options for an entire plan B career- in anything. Be that immediately (myself) or later in life. That has value. No, I don't recommend B school just so you can run a practice- nor because it enhances your perspective on everything from finance to economics to politics. But if you think you might have an interest in business and entrepreneurship later in life- if you think your smart and talented and want a broader tool set to take more control of your life- Do it.

    But for the love of god, don't mention it during your Med School interviews.

    Sorry- I really did drink the kool aid.
     

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