Everything You Wanted to Know About MD/MBA Programs

Listen to the full conversation about MD/MBA programs with Dr. Maria ChandlerIntrigued by business and medicine? Not sure whether you want to be the next Steve Jobs or Jonas Salk?

AST’s guest this week is the person who can show you how to combine these two complementary, but in some ways disparate interests, with an MD/MBA.

Meet Dr. Maria Chandler, founder of the Association of MD MBA Programs and the UC Irvine MD/MBA program, MD/MBA Faculty advisor at UC Irvine, Assoc Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Assoc Professor at the Paul Merage School of Business, and practicing pediatrician.

Tune in to our conversation for fascinating insight about the place where medicine meets management.

00:01:11 – Featured Applicant Question: Should I apply in Round 2 with my good essays, or apply Round 3 with excellent essays?

00:04:10 – Why Dr. Chandler decided to pursue an MBA.

00:06:30 – The story behind the founding of the UC Irvine MD/MBA Program.

00:08:08 – Inviting the east-coasters to Irvine in February: The founding of the Association of MD MBA Programs.

00:10:42 – Curriculum at the typical MD/MBA Program.

00:13:04 – Culture gap alert! What it’s like to go to b-school after med school.

00:17:51 – MD/MBA career paths.

00:20:15 – Do most MD/MBAs leave clinical medicine eventually?

00:22:14 – How and why this new degree became so popular so fast.

00:27:01 – The dual-degree application requirements.

00:31:35 – Maria’s dream for the future of medicine.

00:36:35 – Advice for applicants considering an MD/MBA.

Listen to the full conversation to learn more!*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

• The Rise of the M.D./M.B.A. Degree
MD/MBAs: Fixing Hearts & Healthcare
UC Irvine M.D./M.B.A. Program
• Contact Maria: mchandle@uci.edu

Related Shows:

• Getting Into Medical School: Advice from a Pro
• MCAT Mania: How to Prepare
• Healthcare Management at Wharton and at Large
• Med School Application Process: From AMCAS to Decisions

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The Popularization of the Joint MD/MBA Degree

Need medical school admissions advice?

Hospitals staffed by physician CEOs outperformed those that did not employ medical leadership.

A recent The Atlantic article talks about the rise of the combined MD/MBA degree and increased demand for doctors with both degrees. Previously, MBAs held leadership positions in hospital administration, and MDs filled the middle management positions – now, with the dual degree, the lead position can be filled by someone with business and clinical acumen. According to the Atlantic article, those hospitals staffed by physician CEOs outperformed those that did not employ medical leadership. With the Affordable Care Act and the implementation of other healthcare initiatives, doctors are seeing a greater need to understand the business of healthcare. Healthcare consultants and managers of healthcare startups are also popular positions for MD/MBA degree holders.

In the last decade, it’s become increasingly common that doctors pursue additional degrees (PhD, MPH, MA, etc.), in part because of the growing complaint that med school curriculums haven’t changed much since the early 20th century. More and more students feel they need to supplement their med school education with additional schooling. In fact, 20 years ago there were only six joint MD/MBA programs, compared to 65 programs today. At UC Irvine, 20% of med students are also pursuing an MBA.

Another study indicates that an understanding of business may actually help physicians in the exam room as well – a strong sense of leadership and finely tuned critical thinking can help a doctor solve medical problems, particularly in primary care, a field that may be on the rise among MD/MBAs. According to the Atlantic piece, “The field allows doctors to be creative while serving a high-need medical population, and to tackle preventive care rather than band-aid solutions.”

These five-year programs enable students to pursue both degrees, paying a lot less for their MBA than they would if it were not part of a combined program. These programs also sort out timing issues that a person earning two separate degrees would inevitably encounter if not in a dual program. The breakdown usually goes as follows – three years of med school followed by one year of business school followed by a fifth year that combines the two disciplines (clinical rotations with business training).

The Atlantic article is fairly long and goes into much more depth. I recommend reading it if you are seriously considering an MD/MBA.

leadership in admissions

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• Business and Science Meet: Insights of an IMD Grad and Former Medical Doctor
Healthcare Management at Wharton and at Large
Medical School Admissions 101

2014 B-School Grads Flock to Jobs in Tech, Healthcare, and Manufacturing

A GMAC press release presents the results of the most recent global student exit survey (of 3049 grads from 111 schools who responded in February and March), revealing that those students seeking jobs in traditional fields like consulting, products/services, and finance/accounting were more likely to have a difficult time securing a position early in the hiring cycle that those looking for work in smaller, less traditional fields such as technology, manufacturing, and healthcare.

Check out the GMAC press release.

Image from the GMAC press release

Here are some highlights from the report:

 • 57% of 2014 business school graduates (MBA and others) received at least one early job offer, down 3% from last year, but up 25% from 2010.

 • 62% of students were involved in the job search; 4% were planning on pursuing entrepreneurship or were already self-employed.

 • There was an 80% median salary increase (over their pre-degree salary) for those who received job offers, up 7% since last year.

 • 61% of job seekers in the tech industry received job offers, accounting for 15% of the total number of grads who received early job offers; this is up since last year’s 9%.

 • Students in the manufacturing and healthcare/pharmaceuticals industries had the greatest success rate landing job at 74% reporting at least one job offer, and accounting for 7% and 5% respectively of all early offers.

 • 27% of career changers who received job offers were in the consulting.

 • 21% of all job seekers who received job offers were in consulting, up slightly since 2010 (20%).

 • 26% of all job seekers who received job offers were in the finance/accounting sector, up since 24% last year, but down from 2010’s 30%.

 • 62% of graduates in the government/non-profit sector received early offers, accounting for 5% of all job seekers who received job offers.

The following stats come from the Financial Times article on the subject, “Technology companies become magnet for MBA students”:

 • At London Business School, more graduates received job offers at tech companies than at financial institutions. Eleven class of 2013 grads landed jobs at Amazon, while Citi hired only eight. Seven grads were recruited by Google, and only five received job offers from HSBC.

 • In 2013, Stanford GSB sent more grads to tech companies than to banks for the second year in a row – 32% in 2013 went into technology, which followed 24% in 2012 and 13% in 2011. Of those who headed to tech companies, 40% went to small and medium-sized companies, 40% went to large companies, and 20% went to startups.

According to the FT article, a number of factors are responsible for this monumental shift. Steve Dalton, Duke Fuqua’s senior associate director of MBA student services, reports that promotions and job security, two previously high scoring advantages for the banking industry, are on the decline, making alternative fields more attractive. But, according to David Morris, LBS career services’ head of corporate sectors, in explaining tech’s growing and banking’s declining popularity, money’s not the main draw – “People are excited about the company and the product – that’s the main driver, not the money,” he says.

You can read more about the results of the GMAC survey in the Poets & Quants article, “Job Offers Up In Tech & Healthcare.”

Navigating the MBA Maze


Business and Science Meet: Insights of an IMD Grad and Former Medical Doctor

Applying to IMD? Check out our application essay tips!This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now, introducing Marije van Weelden-Cuche, an alumna of IMD

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Do you hold any other degrees?

Marije: “Growing up” in a family Pharmacy in the Netherlands, I have always been intrigued by health care. When it came to choosing my studies it was a no brainer for me that I would study medicine. Throughout my studies I learned that even though I loved treating patients and knowing about diseases, the exposure to our family pharmacy had also infected me with a business virus. Upon completion of my Medical Degree, I therefore went to the London School of Economics to do an MSc in Health Economics, with the objective of joining the pharmaceutical industry.

Afterwards, I worked for large international companies like GlaxoSmithKline and Astellas and had great opportunities to make a difference, for example in Astellas by establishing the Health Economics / Market Access function in Astellas’ R&D organization…and yet the business virus kept popping up. I was therefore very excited to join IMD’s class of 2010 to do my MBA.

Accepted: What was your favorite thing about IMD?

Marije: One thing that is my favorite thing about IMD? That’s a tough question! If I really have to pick one, I would choose the so-called Leadership Stream. That definitely was the most valuable part of the year for me. We had coaching sessions and 20 individual sessions with a psycho-analyst (technically this is an elective), in which we reflected on our own behavior and that of our team mates. We also had a full outdoor day where we did team exercises while being observed by a coach. This turned out to be a very effective method where I learned how I can be most effective as a leader in one-on-one and group situations. This is still useful in my professional life every day.

Accepted: If you could change one thing about the program, what would it be?

Marije: As I recently said to a friend: “I have ridiculously few complaints about IMD, I would have enjoyed even more attention to the leadership stream, but other than that, I really think the program is very valuable as it is!”

Accepted: Which other MBA programs had you considered when applying to b-school? Why did you choose IMD? How did the international reputation and its rankings play into your decision?

Marije: I had no doubt that if I would do an MBA, I wanted to do so at a good school, so reputation and rankings were my first selection criteria to narrow down the number of schools.

Having done my review of comparative schools in Europe, I quickly selected IMD as my only target due to the above mentioned Leadership Stream. In addition, the relatively small sized, “hand-picked” class, resulting in a large diversity of MBA candidates from a geographical professional perspective appealed to me.

I was not disappointed. My classmates had many years of experience in a wide range of fields (from diplomacy to civil engineering) and were able to bring valuable real-world perspectives into the classroom, making the learning go way beyond the business cases.

Accepted: What is your current job? What role did IMD play in helping you secure that position?

Marije: I work for one of the top pharmaceutical companies in Switzerland. I collaborate with the head of Europe on the pricing strategy for our products and I am responsible for ensuring that the evidence that supports our products is presented in such a way that we can clearly demonstrate that the price we ask is fair and in relation to the value of our products.

My MD and MSc gave me a strong scientific background which helped me launch my career in the R&D side of the pharmaceutical industry. IMD’s focus on leadership as well as the tools and language of business made that I became more effective in the interactions with the people I work with. I can target my messages differently, such that they resonate best with for example the finance manager, the global head of commercial or the general manager of the UK. This ultimately makes that I am more efficient and more effective at what I do.

Accepted: Clinical medicine is so different from business, do you ever miss it?

Marije: No I don’t! I actually love the combination of business and science.

In my work, I use my knowledge of being a Medical Doctor every day. Moreover, by working on drugs across Europe, I am able to provide benefits to patients on a much larger scale than that I could if I would still work in a hospital.

I also found that business and medicine are closer related than one would think at first sight. The tools that I learned in medicine help me to effectively address business issues. The best doctors are those who diagnose people quickly and prescribe the most effective therapy. The best business executive is one who is able to diagnose problems quickly and who applies the most effective mitigation…

Accepted: Looking back at the MBA application process, what would you say was your greatest challenge? How would you advise others facing similar challenges?

Marije: I felt that I had relevant experience as well as the drive and energy that could make me a valuable participant in IMD’s class of 2010, so I had good hopes of being accepted if I were invited to the interview day. Therefore, I saw writing the application essays as my biggest challenge.

It really helped me to start early. I remember having countless discussions with anyone who would be willing to share their thoughts on my draft answers. I drafted several responses for each question and reworked them until I felt that each question had a strong and clear answer that reflected my personality.

Accepted: Do you have any other tips for our readers?

Marije: Invest in your MBA. And by invest, I don’t mean the finance. I mean give it all you have.

You might find that if for example you have a background in Finance, you will have some free time when your colleagues study for that part of the program. Use that time to do something that is valuable to you. You could do research a topic of particular interest to you with the excellent faculty that is available to you, or you could create a special interest group with your classmates that target the same industry in their job search. It may be a cliché, but the more you put in, the more you will get out!

For one-on-one guidance on your b-school application, please see our MBA Application Packages. For specific advice on how to create the best application for IMD see:

•  IMD B-School Zone
•  IMD 2014 MBA Essay Questions, Tips
•  2013 Virtual Panel: Exploring European B-Schools with IMD, HEC Paris and ESADE
•  Leadership is King: Interview with IMD’s Lisa Piguet

Thank you Marije for sharing your story with us!

Listen to our podcast interview with Lisa Piguet, Associate Director of MBA Admissions and Marketing at IMD!



Hugo: A Pharmacist from Spain Applying to Top U.S. B-Schools

Read more MBA applicant blogger interviews!We’d like to introduce you to Hugo, a pharmacist from Spain who will be applying to top MBA programs in the U.S. in the fall of 2014. Read our interview with Hugo below, as well as his blog, Under Prescription: MBA & Pharmacy, to learn more about Hugo’s b-school adventure. Thank you Hugo for sharing your story with us!

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What is your favorite non-school book?

Hugo: I am from Bilbao, a mid-sized city in northern Spain, but I’ve lived in Madrid since I was 18. I moved in order to study Pharmacy at Complutense University, and remained here ever since.

It would be difficult for me to just name one favourite book. One of them would definitely be The Lord of The Rings, I am a big fan since I was 11. The others could be The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas-LLosa and 1984 by George Orwell.

Accepted: What is your current job (industry/function)? Do you plan on continuing in that field after you receive your MBA?

Hugo: I am a third year Resident Pharmaceutical Intern at one of the major hospitals in Spain, specializing in Hospital Pharmacy. After the MBA, I do want my career to remain related to the Healthcare field, because it has always been my passion, but I would like to have the opportunity to work one of the big pharmaceutical or biotechnological companies. Many of them have great Leadership Development Programs in which I am definitely interested.

Nevertheless, I cannot deny that, at some point, I would also like to start my own company. Although the latter is more of a long-term goal.

Accepted: What stage of the MBA application process are you up to at this point? What would you say has been your greatest challenge so far? How did you work to overcome that challenge?

Hugo: I am on a quite early stage of the process. I have already taken the GMAT and, currently I am preparing to take my TOEFL exam within the next month, and also doing some research about the schools. So I would say GMAT has been the hardest part so far.

In any case, I am aware that the biggest challenges are still ahead of me; first and foremost, writing the different sets of essays corresponding to each one of the schools I end up applying to. Therefore, I will start to prepare and write them as soon as I can, so I don’t end up being rushed by a time constraint, and I am able to take my time and do a good job.

Accepted: Looks like you did great on your GMAT – 710 – congrats! Can you share a few tips with our readers?

Hugo: Thank you! I did very well and I am very happy with it, although I always have the feeling I could have done even better.

In my opinion, the first thing any potential test taker has to be clear about is the fact that you have to take it seriously and that it is an exam that will take a great amount of your free time to prepare, and even a bigger one if you want to get to 700. Besides, I believe that it helps when you like it, because it becomes easier for you to commit time to study and it requires a not-so-big effort on your part. I did like the exam, for me every question was a little challenge, and that motivated me to find the logic behind each one of them and always look for better way to solve them and do it faster.

I would also recommend rest properly. It is an exam that will definitely penalize the test taker if he shows up unprepared. In order to solve the questions, particularly when considering a high-difficulty level, you have to take into account very small details that are very easy to overlook if you are not focused. It is very obvious when you are tired, because you start rushing the answers and thus failing a far greater percentage of the questions you take than you usually do.

Accepted: Where are you applying? Why would you say you’re drawn to the U.S. schools as opposed to ones closer to home?

Hugo: I am still deciding to which schools I am going to apply, although I am almost certain there are a few of them, such as Tuck, Stanford or Fuqua, that will make the final cut. In any case, I do know that location will not be a critical factor and that I prefer smaller classes and close communities.

My interest in attending a business school located in the US is based on several factors. First of all, most top European schools only offer one-year MBAs (I think IESE and LBS are the only ones to offer a two-year degree), and I believe a two-year program, summer-internship-opportunity included, better suits my career-changing plans. Besides, I have always been very attracted to the American culture, and since the MBA offers an opportunity for a unique and, in some aspects, potentially life-changing experience, I think I would make the most of it if I step out of my comfort-zone, and move to another continent, into a very different culture. If I stayed “at home”, so to speak, I would have the feeling that I am missing something.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? Who is your target audience? What have you gained from the blogging experience?

Hugo: I have always had the idea to create a blog, maybe about music or cinema, two of my biggest passions, but never really tried, until I discovered a blog by a recent MBA graduate where he shares his two year experience at Chicago Booth. That blogger provided a glimpse of what those two years could mean and while reading I realized that, in fact, this could be a great topic to write about: a Spanish pharmacist who wants to enter a top MBA program in the US.

At first, I had the intention for my blog to cover more diverse topics, but it has ended being an MBA-centric blog, at least for the time being. Nevertheless, now that I have started with the blogging, I plan to create another one, when I have the time, to write about my other interests.

What I have gained from it that I value the most is that it has helped me get in touch with other applicants, some of them also bloggers,  who are in the same situation I am in: preparing to apply or just applied. This has allowed us to share our experiences, our thoughts on the application process or the schools, and to support each other through a very daunting process like this is. Most of them are in a more advanced stage of their way to get into a top MBA program, and thus I have been able to learn a lot from their personal stories that will help me when I apply next fall.

And that is what I want to achieve with my blog: to share my story and the information I gather with those considering the same path or who are in an earlier stage of the application process. Although, I appreciate anyone who takes the time to enter and read what I write, interested in doing an MBA himself or just curious.

I would also say that since, in order to being able to write and blog about every event I attend or every school I am considering, I have to do a little bit of deep thinking and soul searching, it will help me when I have to start with my essays.

Do you want to be featured in Accepted.com’s blog, Accepted Admissions Blog? If you want to share your MBA/EMBA journey with the world (or at least with our readers), email us at mbabloggers@accepted.com.

Learn about healthcare management’s past, present, and future.