In the current healthcare system, doctors often need more knowledge and training than just their medical degrees. Doctors typically have a hand in the business end of treating patients and need to be able to manage the finances in addition to treating patients. In order to streamline their practices and improve income and profits, it is helpful if the doctors are also able to take on leadership roles and run the business side. This can help keep costs down and stabilize the healthcare system overall. One of the best ways to accomplish both your medical degree and the business degree necessary to do both facets is with MD and MBA dual programs.
What is an MD/MBA Program?
An MD MBA dual program provides you with both a medical degree and a business degree upon completion. Coursework will include the typical medical school courses as well as classes in epidemiology, public health, and environmental health. This dual degree program is intended for those who want to become practicing medical doctors and also be able to run the business end of a practice. Many larger universities that have both departments on campus have begun to offer this dual degree program in recent years as the demand for and the trend toward more streamlined healthcare services picks up. The MD/MBA program continues to expand to more and more colleges and universities, making it more available to you no matter where you live.
Why pursue MD and MBA?
A joint MD/MBA degree is ideal if you want to own your own practice or open up more career opportunities for yourself. The ability to practice medicine and oversee health administration for a hospital, care facility, or practice is a very enticing combination for a board or group of employers. It will give you a leg up over other candidates and will broaden the number and the types of jobs that you can apply for. This dual degree will also provide you with options for mobility into positions of leadership within a practice or hospital.
If you intended to acquire both of these degrees eventually anyway, the dual program is beneficial due to the reduced length of time it takes to complete. These programs are typically condensed to finish both in 5 years, whereas completion for each individually will take 6 years. This shortened time frame will not only allow you to get into the field sooner but will also save you an entire year of tuition.
What are the Requirements for Admission to a Dual Program?
In order to apply to an MD/MBA program, you must have completed an undergraduate program that meets the criteria for acceptance into medical school. While all schools will require MCAT scores for admission into the medical school, not all business schools will require a GMAT or GRE. Requirements will vary depending on the rules and policies at each school. It is important to carefully review what each college requires as you send in your applications.
For some of the colleges that offer the dual MD and MBA degree, your acceptance into the medical school is the primary decision made in the application process. Once you are accepted into the medical school, your eligibility for the business school will then be assessed. For other colleges, you apply to both schools and the decisions are rendered independently. If you are accepted to both schools, you are able to proceed with the dual degree. In the event that you are only admitted to one or another, you may enter that program only and pursue that single degree. You will want to do your research and understand how each school makes its decisions so that you understand the process and what to expect.
What Career Paths Can You Pursue With The Dual Degree?
Completing both a medical and business degree provides you with a long list of job opportunities. One of the most popular options is to work in health administration or medical facility management. It is important to have people running hospitals, care facilities, and practices who also have medical backgrounds, and vice versa. Many of the issues in medical care in the present day revolve around implementing insurance protocols and systems, and it is important that these are done properly. You would also have a role in choosing staff with these positions, which would enable you to hire those who also have similar business backgrounds.
Instead of managing and overseeing medical facilities, you can support medical services on a larger scale by entering health policy. With this job, you will be able to weigh in on how healthcare should be delivered and managed within our country. While this would take you away from direct patient care, this is an exciting prospect for anyone who wants to shape and influence healthcare that directly impacts the services being provided in medical facilities.
In addition to these positions, you could also work at the collegiate level training future doctors and business people. The dual degree provides you with specialization and a more unique perspective than those who just have one or the other, meaning that you will be able to enhance the education of those in training for either degree or the combined MD and MBA.
And of course, you can always choose to work solely as a doctor delivering direct patient care. Primary care, in particular, is desperately in need of doctors, especially those with the critical thinking perspective that is further developed with the MBA. You will find with the dual degree that you become more open to taking appropriate risks in your thinking and decision making, to the benefit of the patients and the practice or medical facility.
What Are the Pros and Cons of an MD and MBA Dual Program?
There are many advantages to MD/MBA programs. First, the dual degrees offer you a larger selection of potential jobs and careers. You will have the degrees and skills needed for mobility within your organization or within the medical field as a whole. You will also have a skill set that is broader than your colleagues who have just the MD. Overall, you will look at problems, both on the business end and medical side, as problems that do not have just one solution, but likely many. This open-mindedness and willingness to take calculated risks will not only make you an ideal employee but a better doctor.
The other factor in the pro column is the timeline and cost of the dual program. By completing your MD and MBA as part of the same program, you will reduce the amount of time that it would typically take to achieve both degrees by about a year. You will also reduce your tuition bill by a full year, which can be a huge cost saving depending on the price of the school you are attending. Many programs have you complete three years toward your MD, then take all of the courses for your MBA, while finishing with your final year of medical school. The back and forth nature of the coursework and topics helps you to better understand the connection and influence of the two areas of study on one another and will help you integrate them into your practice and career.
The downside to completing the dual degree program is that it does tack more time and work onto your already rigorous course load. Medical school, rightfully so, is incredibly intense and challenging and requires a significant amount of focus and drive to complete the classes and truly understand the content and how to apply it to patients. Interspersing the courses in the medical degree with the courses for the business degree can be difficult for some people, and can be overwhelming while you are in the thick of it. However, in the long term, the program is worth it if you can stick it out through the difficult parts and through an extra year of study,
What Should You Consider Before Applying to a Program?
It is important to understand the structure of MD/MBA programs prior to applying and enrolling. As mentioned above, the two degrees are separate, but the timing of each is intertwined. You will begin and end with medical school and the business coursework in between. However, you will be required to complete both programs before you are awarded both degrees simultaneously. This is important to know in case you are unable to complete one of the programs, or you change your mind partway through.
Additionally, you should keep in mind that many schools have limited and selective enrollment in the MD and MBA dual degree programs. If this is a path that you want to pursue, your chances of admission are greater if you apply at the outset of beginning medical school. While many schools offer opportunities to enroll in the business school after your medical degree is underway, the likelihood of openings in the program and the number of students accepted will be less. It would be in your best interest to apply for the dual degree as you apply to medical schools, though it may not be too late if you are already enrolled in a medical school that offers the combined MD and MBA program.
As you prepare to embark upon your medical school education, you may be considering applying to dual MD/MBA programs. Within the current healthcare climate, there are distinct advantages to completing your medical and business degrees together. The shortened timeline to degree completion, tuition savings, increased breadth of knowledge, and large pool of job opportunities and careers are all reasons that a dual degree could be the right choice for you. If you are still uncertain, our Healthcare Internship Program could be just the right option for you. International Medical Aid offers a wide variety of internships to help you find your passion and make your decision.