Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What's the value of an online MBA?

We see ads for online MBA programs everywhere, don't we? Do you know anyone who got an MBA online? I know several physicians who have received an online MBA from schools such as U Mass Amherst (Isenberg), Drexel University (LeBow), Penn State, and even the University of Phoenix. As distance learning options continue to expand, more physicians are taking advantage of MBA programs.

What motivates a physician to get an MBA? In my earlier post (see: What's the value of an online degree?) I mentioned some general principles regarding online degrees. However, the MPH is a unique degree for physicians since we already have a considerable amount of health knowledge. In contrast, many physicians have little structured business knowledge. Business courses were not mandatory if you were pre-med during college. Many physicians have never taken courses in economics (micro or macro), accounting, statistics, etc.

If you're a physician and you're seriously thinking about an online MBA, answer these questions:
  • Why do you want an MBA?
  • How do you plan to use your MBA? (many people don't know how to answer this question)
Many physicians seem to think that an MBA opens doors to non-clinical careers. That's partly true, but an MBA does not guarantee anything. An MBA is also not necessary, depending on the type of career path you choose.

Some pursue an MBA with hopes of career advancement. If you're working in a private office or hospital, an MBA may open up opportunities in medical or health care management. You may enjoy dealing with aspects of practice management.

Perhaps you simply want to gain head knowledge. If you lacked business education in college, maybe you want to take those fundamental courses like accounting, statistics, economics, etc.

Many physicians find themselves drawn to Executive or EMBA programs because they see themselves being entrepreneurs and they want to connect with other business leaders to learn from them (now I'm drifting away from online MBA programs, so let me get back on track).

Over the next few days, I will publish my thoughts regarding the "pros and cons to an online MBA."

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