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Applying Business Principles To Healthcare

  • Article by: Nancy Giguere
  • Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • May 19, 2010 - 10:39 AM

You're a clinician interested in healthcare policy or management. Or an accountant at a hospital or clinic. Whether you'd like to change direction, move up in your organization or simply become more skilled at your current job, you may want to consider earning a healthcare MBA.

Beyond Business Basics

"This is a degree for people with broad-based goals," says Jack Militello, director of the healthcare MBA program at the University of St. Thomas. He explains that an MBA is the basic "calling card" for any business manager. But a healthcare MBA goes a step further because students explore how this business foundation can be used to address the complex challenges faced by healthcare leaders.

The healthcare MBA includes general courses in core business disciplines like accounting, finance and marketing, with a focus on their application to healthcare. Case studies, for example, are drawn from the healthcare industry. In addition, students take courses that apply specifically to the industry, including healthcare finance, economics and policy.

The 27-month program is structured around a cohort model. Each group of about 20 students spends two long weekends on campus every six months. In between campus visits, students work online. Live meeting software allows them to interact and discuss course material and assignments.

Putting The Degree To Work

Alumni include a surgeon who became the CEO of a local cancer center, a former nurse manager who now directs "guest services" for his hospital and a pharmaceutical sales representative who is now marketing manager for a large clinic system.

Some graduates, like the manager of a large family dental practice, use their knowledge to enhance or expand their current role. "Healthcare needs people who can look at operations to see how their organization can be more effective," Militello says. "And the healthcare MBA provides managers with the preparation they need to do that."

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