This morning, Winston Sherrill, PhD, MBA, MHA (Associate Professor, Public Health Sciences, Clemson University), presented some data from an original survey in 1999 and a follow-up survey conducted in 2009 where they compared MD/MBA students against MD students. The follow-up group was small (n=22-23), but it was still interesting to hear about the qualitative data that was collected.
The Benefits of the MD/MBA Degree, a Ten-Year Follow-Up Study (an update)
The original study began in 1999 and there were only 6 schools that offered a dual-degree MD/MBA program. The survey evaluated perceptions, career intentions, and career planning decisions. Plus, they studied some psychological measures (such as ambiguity tolerance).
6 schools in 1999 that were offering a joint MD/MBA degree:
- Tufts (was the largest group)
- Wake Forest
- U Illinois
- U Penn
- MD/MBA did not plan to pursue board certification
- MD/MBA had higher income expectations
- MD/MBA had a higher ambiguity tolerance
- Overall, the majority are glad that they pursued an MD/MBA
- Majority (62%) reported that the MD/MBA changed their role in the health care system.
- MD/MBA graduates are more involved in medical management
- 83% in the MD/MBA follow-up groups were board certified
- Most responses indicate that these graduates are spending over 50% of their time in patient care
- Over half are spending more than 10 hours a week in a non-clinical setting
Works with a biotech/drug development company, investing/management, and consulting. Did not pursue residency.
A diagnostic radiologist in clinical practice. Has administrative responsibilities as a clinical unit leader and he oversees other radiologists in practice.
Private practice doing orthopedic hand surgery. Feels that the MBA was of little benefit.
Owns a solo weight loss practice. She also spends 20 hrs/week as a part-time physician adviser (review Medicare compliance).
Emergency orthopedic trauma, large group practice leader, negotiates contracts.
Dermatologist, managing partner role within the practice.
Exectuve VP at a global company that sells medical software. No board certification.
Venture capitalist. Initial survey during medical school indicated that this person was interested in primary care.
Usefulness of training
- 4 of 22 report limited usefulness
- 13 of 22 find MBA very useful or essential
- 80% feel they have mastered the administrative role of being a physician
- team work and presentation skills (consistently ranked as the #1 key management skill)
- budgeting/finance and leadership skills
- Information technology
- Operation management
- Quality improvement
- MD/MBA were much more confident compared to MD student
- Traditional MDs have a very low ambiguity tolerance. However, MD/MBA students have a significantly higher ambiguity tolerance.
- Given that health care is full of uncertainty, physicians who have a higher level of ambiguity tolerance may be more effective leaders.
- Mean was $325k
- two reported $100 to 150k
- 4 reported over $600k
- How about non-physicians who pursue MBAs? Do they feel like the MBA added value?
- How about time in clinical vs. administrative based on specialty?
- Is it a disadvantage to apply for residency if one has an MD/MBA? Is there a stigma associated with having a dual degree?
- Trends when you compare different schools that offer MD/MBA joint degrees?
- Every residency has an inefficiency program. Every MD/MBA student can probably find an efficiency project and become a more competitive candidate for residency.