Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Residency Directors and Their Opinions of MD/MBA Applicants

Author: Brittany Chan

This weekend, Texas Tech hosted the 9th annual MD/MBA Conference. It was a great success and I’d like to thank everyone who came out to Lubbock.

One major topic discussed at the conference was the impact of the MD/MBA dual degree on one’s residency application. Back in January, I posted an article on the utility of the dual degree in the field. Based on anecdotes I had heard from other students, I mentioned marketability to residency programs as one of the advantages to the MD/MBA. However, I really had no empirical evidence for what residency directors truly think of the dual degree.

Dr. Robert Wallace, a clinical associate professor in ob/gyn at the Keck School of Medicine at USC, presented an eye-opening research study in which he surveyed residency directors on their opinions of MD/MBA applicants. Though he and his research team are still working, the preliminary data he shared shows that overall, 85% of the residency directors surveyed were aware that MD/MBA dual degree programs exist, and 65% of the residency directors viewed the MD/MBA as a positive aspect of a student’s application. According to his study, MD/MBA students were often perceived to have positive traits such as stronger communication skills, interpersonal skills, management skills, problem solving ability, and leadership potential. On the negative side, MD/MBA students were sometimes judged to have less clinical focus or seem "distracted". No significant differences were noted among specialties.

Dr. Wallace’s research sparked a great discussion, and I can’t wait to see the final product. I’m glad someone has finally decided to study this empirically.

If you’re an MD/MBA who has interviewed for residencies, was the dual-degree a huge topic of discussion in your interviews? What was your experience like?

About the author:

Brittany Chan is a second-year medical student at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas. She is also a candidate for an MBA in Health Organization Management from the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University. Originally from the Houston area, she graduated summa cum laude with degrees in psychology and general studies from Texas Tech University in 2009. In addition to blogging, Brittany enjoys reading, crafts, and spending time with family and friends. 

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