What is the MD/MBA
The MD/MBA dual degree is a combination of a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and Master of Business Administration (MBA). On their own, these degrees allow physicians and businesspeople to succeed professionally. Together, the MD/MBA opens doors for practicing and non-practicing physicians to impact healthcare and beyond. No wonder more and more premed and medical students want to get an MD/MBA!
Nowadays, the most common question I get is “Why did you decide to do the MD and MBA?” Whether I’m at the hospital or working in the office, my friends, mentees, colleagues, and coworkers all want to know what attracted me to the MD/MBA dual degree.
Well, gather round! It’s story time!
My entrepreneurial background
Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my parents managing the stores that they owned in Barbados. One was a lingerie store and the other was a toy/convenience item store. I remember accompanying them on trips to the store to restock items and to talk to employees about management policies. Though I usually played with bubble wrap in the corner with my siblings, I also collected mental notes. My parents knew how to communicate effectively and how to market their goods to consumers. They gave their employees autonomy but managed them appropriately. These visits to the stores always stuck with me. Whether I was selling desk organizers made of index cards in 4th grade for tickets to the class store, running Atasha’s Hair Care, my college side hustle, or decorating homes through THI Interior Designs, entrepreneurship has always been a part of who I am.
I wanted to formally learn about business
Prior to business school, I had experience in entrepreneurship, health administration, and strategy consulting. I gained practical on-the-job skills through these opportunities. As an academic, however, I longed for formal training in topics such as accounting, marketing, and corporate finance. I knew that the MBA would serve as a boot camp to quickly learn the basics of the business world.
I could shorten my training timeline
At the University of Pennsylvania, MD/MBA candidates can complete the program in five years, rather than the typical six-year course. It made sense to me to invest this additional year of training to amplify the impact that I could have for patients in the future.
The MD/MBA would Inform my clinical practice
I know that healthcare management and entrepreneurship will continue to play a large role in my career as a psychiatrist. So, it made a lot of sense for me to get an MBA before residency so that I could enter residency and clinical medicine more broadly with a more critical business lens.
I could prepare for future roles in healthcare and business
I think of my career goals in terms of the impact I want to have. I ultimately want to impact the delivery of healthcare in the US and my home countries in the Caribbean. To get there, I have to gain experience as a clinician and businesswoman in the healthcare space. The MD/MBA provided me with the academic training needed to achieve my goals. Additionally, the MD/MBA continues to open doors for me to access the right professional training so that I can help to improve health delivery systems.
My closing thoughts on the MD/MBA
Now that I’ve completed both my MD and MBA, I can say with absolute certainty that this was the best decision for me. As is the case for many medical school students, my first three years of medical school were ROUGH. I had several moments when I wanted to quit, but thanks to the support of friends and family, I stuck with it. In addition to providing a much-needed break from the hospital, business school helped me to realize how much I actually LOVE medicine. My first month back to the clinics solidified this fact. Medicine, either through clinical practice or healthcare management – must be a part of my future. Thankfully, the MD/MBA is a tool to help ensure that either of these paths will be possible.
Dr. Atasha Jordan, MBA is a psychiatry intern in Philadelphia, PA. She recently completed the MD-MBA program at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Jordan is originally from Barbados and has a passion for serving patients with mental health illness in the US and the Caribbean. Dr. Jordan writes on topics including mental health, navigating premed and med school life, and professional development on her blog www.atashajordan.com.