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6 MBA Programs to Launch Your Career in Healthcare

Top MBA Programs for Healthcare Management

Written by Molly Ellison. Photo courtesy of NEC Corporation of America via Flickr.

Looking for a booming industry that’s in need of talented MBA grads? Then pursuing a career in healthcare – and getting a specialized MBA to kick-start your journey – may be your answer. Read on for more on some of the best b-schools that will prep you for a career in America’s fastest growing sector.

Searching for an MBA program can feel overwhelming, so we’re here to help you sift through the madness. Despite the fact that there aren’t many well-regarded rankings on healthcare specialty MBAs, there are tons of top-notch programs out there. Your best bet will be to focus on U.S. schools because of how quickly the country’s industry is growing. In 2016, the American healthcare sector added more jobs than any other industry.

Healthcare is the world’s largest industry. New technologies, increasingly empowered consumers, and a rising demand from aging populations worldwide is creating ample opportunities for the growth and innovation in the sector. Healthcare companies, ranging from service providers to hospitals to big pharma, need talented business minds to navigate the marketplace. That’s where MBAs come into play.

“Jobs in the health care sector have become more complex, which require more experienced staff and an MBA is a way to fill that need. The pressure to maintain or manage costs through business practices has become more important than ever and the MBA is in greater demand than ever before,” Jeff McNish, assistant dean of career development at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, told U.S. News & World Report.

Every single program on our list sends at least 5% of its grads to work in the healthcare industry. Many offer a dual-degree option with either a Master’s in Healthcare Administration or Master’s in Public Health. Or, they offer a comprehensive specialization in the subject. More than half of our featured schools are members of the Business School Alliance for Health Management (BAHM). One school holds an accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME).

The Best Full-Time MBA Programs for a Career in Healthcare Management

Vanderbilt Owen

 

 

 

Vanderbilt University – Owen Graduate School of Management (Vanderbilt) – Touch MBA Interview

Nashville, Tennessee, United States

Nashville is more than just the “home of country music” – it’s also a booming hub for the healthcare industry. About 400 related companies have offices in the city. Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management capitalizes on this proximity in its extracurricular and career development offerings for MBA candidates. Every year, Vanderbilt’s MBA program sends 15-20% of its graduates to careers in healthcare.

The university also has a top-notch medical school, which was ranked #14 in the country for research by U.S. News & World Report in 2017, as well as a well-renowned medical center.

In addition to offering heaps of “Southern Hospitality,” Nashville is an affordable U.S. city when compared to other major metro areas. About 16% of the Class of 2017 stayed in Nashville post-grad and another 41% stayed in the American South.

Healthcare in the Classroom

In addition to offering a healthcare concentration and many electives, b-school students can obtain dual degrees related to the field. Vanderbilt offers both an MBA/M.D. and MBA/Master’s of Science in Nursing in Healthcare Leadership.

Healthcare Outside the Classroom

Vanderbilt offers a short course in Healthcare Immersion that takes students into hospitals, clinics, and research centers to experience the real world of health care delivery. The university is also home to the Vanderbilt Healthcare Improvement Group, which is an interdisciplinary professional group focused on improving the sector. The b-school hosts the annual Vanderbilt Business Healthcare Conference, which is sponsored by Cerner, Cardinal Health, the Nashville Health Care Council, and other notable players.

Project Pyramid gives students the opportunity to work with local and international organizations to tackle poverty-related social issues. Past projects have dealt with community health challenges, such as diabetes.

Where Do Grads End Up?

Each year, about 15-20% of Vanderbilt MBA grads land jobs in the field and work at companies such as Acadia Healthcare, Cigna, Johnson & Johnson, UnitedHealth Group, Kaiser Permanente, and McKesson.

Healthcare in Practice: A Vanderbilt MBA’s Success Story

Cindy Kent, MBA-Divinity dual degree ‘99-’01, worked for pharmaceuticals company Eli Lilly before starting her studies at Vanderbilt. She used the combination of business and religious teachings to develop a unique leadership style. Since, she has risen in the ranks at Eli Lilly, Medtronic, and now 3M Health Care. Cindy is currently the President and General Manager of the 3M Infection Prevention Division.

 


Boston University Questrom

 

 

 

Boston University – Questrom School of Management (Questrom) – Touch MBA Interview

Boston, Massachusetts, United States

If you’re looking for an established program with a wealth of post-grad job opportunities, then Questrom is for you. The b-school’s Health Sector MBA program opened its doors way back in 1972. It’s no surprise that 23% of the Class of 2017 landed jobs in the pharmaceutical, biotech, and health sectors, either. In addition to having a world-class reputation in the industry, the school’s location in Boston is ideal for landing a job in the field. In 2017, healthcare and social industry companies employed 18.5% of people in the city – more than any other industry.

Questrom is also the only MBA on this list that’s accredited by the competitive Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME).

Healthcare in the Classroom

Questrom has stand-out academics to prime you for a career in healthcare. The carefully tailored Health Sector MBA curriculum requires students take courses such as “Health Sector Issues and Opportunities,” and “Drugs, Devices and Diagnostics: New Challenges, Strategies and Execution.” The b-school also offers 12 related electives.

Does getting just one degree feel like a bit of a slacker move? You can pair your Questrom Health Sector MBA with either an M.D. or a Master’s in Public Health from Boston University.

Healthcare Outside the Classroom

The network you make at b-school can be equally or even more important than your coursework. Questrom makes sure that its students can make the most of theirs through the Health Sector Mentoring Program. Students can also join the BU Health Sector Management Club, which hosts events throughout the year as well as the annual Health & Life Sciences Conference.

Where Do Grads End Up?

Nearly one-quarter of the Class of 2017 launched careers in pharmaceuticals, biotech or healthcare. That’s the highest percentage of any school on our list. Employers include Athenahealth, Blue Shield, Cambridge Health Alliance, CVS and Kaiser Permanente. Health Sector MBA grads also had the highest average salary among their full-time classmates.

Healthcare in Practice: A Questrom MBA’s Success Story

Dr. Andrew J. Sussman, M.D., came to Questrom after attending medical school at the neighboring Harvard University. After climbing the ranks at UMass Memorial Medical Center, he held high-profile leadership positions at CVS Health. He’s currently CEO of St. George’s University in New York.

 


U Pennsylvania Wharton

 

 

 

University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School (Wharton) – Touch MBA Podcast with Wharton Students

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United states

If you’re looking for a top-tier b-school with a well-established track record in the healthcare industry, then you may be moving to Philly sometime soon. Wharton created an entire department – the Health Care Management Department – to prep students for careers in the industry. The department supports the MBA Program in Health Care Management, which gives students a strong academic foundation in the subject area while offering impressive extracurricular opportunities.

Healthcare in the Classroom

Students pursuing the MBA Program in Health Care Management take required courses including “The Health Services System” and “Health Care Field Application Project.” Electives range from “Legal Aspects of Health Care,” to “Health Care Entrepreneurship,” to “Comparative Health Care Systems.” The specialized MBA major works closely with the interdisciplinary Leonard David Institute of Health Economics (LDI), which was founded 50 years ago.

Healthcare Outside the Classroom

Wharton’s extracurricular offerings related to healthcare standout on our list. Notable activities include the Healthcare Club, Mentor Program, Health Care Board Fellows, Penn Biotech Group, and Wharton Global Health Volunteers.

For nearly a quarter century, Wharton students have hosted the annual Wharton Health Care Business Conference. Keynote speakers for the 2018 event come from CVS Health, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Omada Health, and CareMore Health System.

Where Do Grads End Up?

Nearly 6% of the Class of 2017 landed jobs in the field. Employers included Medtronic, Nuna Health and Oak Street Health.

Healthcare in Practice: A Wharton MBA’s Success Story

Amy Chiu, MBA ‘13, benefited from “generations of Wharton alumni” in healthcare and healthcare related fields. While at Wharton, she interned at Kaiser Permanente and worked at Sutter Health immediately after graduation. Amy is currently a Product Manager at the Office of Health Transformation at IBM Watson Health.

 


Carnegie Mellon Tepper

 

 

 

Carnegie Mellon University – Tepper School of Business (Tepper) – Touch MBA Interview

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

Though Pittsburgh may not be the most glamorous American city, Carnegie Mellon University consistently ranks as one of the most prestigious schools in the country. Tepper takes more of a public policy-based approach to healthcare education than many other competing MBA programs by offering a joint MBA-Master’s of Science in Healthcare Policy and Management (MSHCPM).

Healthcare in the Classroom

Tepper teamed up with the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management to create its dual-degree healthcare program. Students can take courses including “Management of Innovation and Product Development,” “Managing Intellectual Capital and Knowledge,” and “The Business of Healthcare Innovations.” Students can complete both degrees in just 2.5 years.

Healthcare Outside the Classroom

Like most b-schools, Tepper has a Healthcare Club that hosts events and meetings for students interested in learning more about the industry. The Career Treks program is another great opportunity for MBA candidates to network and learn about the sector. It has organized past site visits to Philips Healthcare and Thermo Fisher Scientific. Students pursuing the dual-degree option can also take advantage of extracurricular activities at Heinz College, including its Health Care Club and robust weekly speaker series (which featured former President Barack Obama in 2016!).

Where Do Grads End Up?

Twelve percent of Tepper’s Class of 2016 snagged healthcare industry jobs. That’s the third highest of schools on our list. Tepper’s recruiting partners include Athenahealth, Bayer Healthcare, Merck & Co., Inc., and Philips Healthcare.

Healthcare in Practice: A Tepper MBA’s Success Story

Katherine Kohatsu, MBA ’05, has tackled the healthcare industry from a consulting perspective. She currently works in the Healthcare Strategy Practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Katherine has also worked across other sectors, including insurance and travel.

 


CEIBS

China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) – Touch MBA Interview

Shanghai, China | Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Hoping to snag your MBA in less than two years – and looking to throw in a Master’s in Public Health while you’re at it? Then, you’re in luck. CEIBS offers a joint MBA-MPH program that can be completed in just 23 months. After taking their b-school coursework at CEIBS’s Shanghai campus, students get their MPH at the top-ranked Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in the U.S.

By studying in two countries with vastly different (yet complex) healthcare systems, students are exposed to a range of perspectives on the industry. China has been struggling with how to provide healthcare to such a large population – and currently has the busiest hospitals in the world. In the past two years, CEIBS has sent an average of about 9% of its grads to careers in healthcare.

Healthcare in the Classroom

While studying at CEIBS, students can take elective courses including “Health Care: Economics and Industry,” “Health Care Systems, Policy and Reform,” “Management of Healthcare Organizations,” and “Management of Life Science Industry.”

Once they get to Baltimore, Maryland, to start their public health studies, they can fully immerse themselves in the subject area. U.S. News & World Report ranked the Bloomberg School of Public Health at JHU #1 in 2015 among MPH programs and #5 in 2017 for health policy and management programs.

Healthcare Outside the Classroom

The MBA Healthcare Club offers students networking opportunities, events, and career development experiences to help them explore the industry. If you plan on pursuing the dual-degree option your extracurricular offerings will also double because you’ll be a student on two different campuses.

CEIBS is also home to the Centre for Healthcare Policy and Management, which conducts intensive research on the industry and offers students robust elective offerings.

Where Do Grads End Up?

More than 10% of the Class of 2016 and 8% of the Class of 2017 landed jobs in healthcare. If you’re hoping to settle in mainland China, then odds are very high that you will. Nearly 90% of the most recent class stayed in the country with the majority snagging jobs in Shanghai.

Healthcare in Practice: A CEIBS MBA’s Success Story

Dr. Kohta Satake, MBA-MPH ‘12, is the co-founder and CEO of CureApp, a tech start-up in Japan that helps people quit smoking. He worked for five years as a doctor before attending CEIBS. Now, CureApp is four years old and has secured more than $6 million in VC funding.

 


IESE Logo Narrow

 

 

 

 

The University of Navarra – IESE Business School (IESE) – Touch MBA Interview

Barcelona, Spain

The nature of Europe’s mostly publicly run healthcare system explains the low popularity of healthcare management careers at its b-schools. But, IESE teamed up with the Spanish government in the 1980s to develop innovative, business-minded solutions for the country’s healthcare system. IESE’s MBA program is still committed to this goal and is a member of the Business School Alliance for Health Management (BAHM).

Unlike many of the other programs on this list, IESE’s extracurricular healthcare-focused offerings outdo their classroom options. If you’re looking to land a career outside of the U.S. and consider yourself more of hands-on learner than a true “academic,” pencil IESE in at the top of your list.

Healthcare in the Classroom

At the end of their first year, students complete a Capstone Project in which they have to solve a real-life business problem. In the past, student have worked with health-focused companies such as Biotherm. Related electives courses include “Management in the Health Sector,” “Management in the Service Sector” and “New Product Development.”

Healthcare Outside the Classroom

IESE’s Center for Research in Healthcare Innovation Management (CRHIM) has been around for more than 30 years. MBA students can take advantage of its robust speaker series and partnerships with other centers at the university, including the Center for Social Entrepreneurship. The CRHIM is a collaboration with consulting giant Accenture, which could come in handy for students interested in a healthcare consulting career.

The school also hosts an annual Healthcare Industry Meeting, which welcomed special guests from Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, and KPMG in 2017.

Where Do Grads End Up?

Five percent of the Class of 2016 landed healthcare jobs. Nearly one-quarter of grads ended up in Spain, with another 38% settling in other European countries and 18% heading over to Asia.

Healthcare in Practice: An IESE MBA’s Success Story

Soon after graduating from IESE, Juan Alejandro Virgili, MBA ‘13, launched a bioinformatics startup called Pepper Biology. He’s currently the Senior Brand Manager for Sandoz, a subsidiary of the Swiss pharma-giant, Novartis.

 

Head to Head

Read below for a head-to-head comparison of top healthcare MBA programs. You can also contact our team to get free b-school selection help.

Interested in seeing how you stack-up against applicants to the CEIBS and IESE MBA programs? Submit your profile and get an early indication of fit.

VANDERBILT OWEN MBA vs. BOSTON UNIVERSITY QUESTROM MBA vs. WHARTON MBA

CARNEGIE MELLON TEPPER MBA vs. CEIBS MBA vs. IESE MBA

Last updated December 2017


Vanderbilt Owen MBA vs. Boston University Questrom MBA vs. Wharton MBA

 Vanderbilt OwenBoston University QuestromWharton
% of graduates going into field16% - Healthcare

Class of 2017
23% - Pharma/biotech/health sector

Class of 2017
5.8% - Healthcare

Class of 2017
Related courseworkElectives
Healthcare Immersion (Healthcare)

Practice of Transplant Administration

Healthcare Quality Improvement

Healthcare Marketing

Healthcare Delivery Organizations

Healthcare Strategy

Healthcare Analytics

Healthcare Operations

Healthcare Clinical Immersion

Healthcare Innovation and Evaluation

Healthcare Economics and Policy

Healthcare Law and Regulation

Healthcare Finance and Accounting

Healthcare Data Analysis
Required coursework for Specialization
Health Sector Issues and Opportunities

Health Service Delivery: Strategies, Solutions and Execution

Drugs, Devices and Diagnostics: New Challenges, Strategies and Execution

Elective coursework
Health Service Delivery: Strategies, Solutions and Execution

Drugs, Devices and Diagnostics: New Challenges, Strategies and Execution

Bench-to-Bedside: Translating Biomedical Innovation from the Laboratory to the Marketplace

Health Information Technology

Health Sector Marketing

Health Sector Consulting

Driving Health Sector Innovation

Indian Field Seminar

Managing and Improving Quality: Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification

Idea Lab

Intellectual Property Strategies

Starting New Ventures
Required coursework for Specialization
The Health Services System

Health Care Field Application Project

Elective coursework
Managed Care and the Industrial Organization of Health Care

Financial Management of Health Institutions

Health Care Reform and the Future of the American Health System

Health Care Services Delivery: A Managerial Economic Approach

Legal Aspects of Health Care

Management of Health Care for the Elderly

Health Care Marketing

Comparative Health Care Systems

Management & Economics of Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology, & Medical Device Industries

E-Health: Business Models and Impact

Health Care Entrepreneurship

Private Sector Development in Global Health Development

Advanced Study Project Seminar: Management of Health Service Businesses

Advanced Study Project Seminar: Medical Devices

Advanced Study Project Seminar: Health Business and Policy
Related co-curricular opportunitiesHealthcare Immersion Trek

Vanderbilt Healthcare Improvement Group

Vanderbilt Business Healthcare Conference

Project Pyramid
BU Health Sector Management Club

Health Sector Mentoring Program

Annual Health & Life Sciences Conference
Healthcare Club

Mentor Program

Health Care Board Fellows

Penn Biotech Group

Wharton Global Health Volunteers

Leonard David Institute of Health Economics

Wharton Health Care Business Conference
Dual-degree & specialization offeringsMBA - Healthcare Concentration

MBA/MD

MBA/MSN
Health Sector MBA

MBA/MS in Digital Innovation

Health Sector MBA/MD

Health Sector MBA/MPH
MBA in Health Care Management

MBA/MD

MBA/MSN
RANKINGS & ACCREDITATIONS
Healthcare Management Degree Guide (2015) - "Top 20 MBA Programs with a Specialization in Healthcare Management"N/AN/A#2
Member of the Business School Alliance for Health Management (BAHM)YesYesYes
Approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management ProgramsNoYesNo

Carnegie Mellon Tepper MBA vs. CEIBS MBA vs. IESE MBA

 Carnegie Mellon TepperCEIBSIESE
% of graduates going into field12% - Pharma/biotech/healthcare

Class of 2016
10.2% - Healthcare

Class of 2016
5% - Healthcare

Class of 2016
Related courseworkElectives
The Business of Healthcare Innovations

Managing Intellectual Capital & Knowledge
Electives
Health Care: Economics and Industry

Health Care Systems, Policy and Reform

Management of Healthcare Organizations

Management of Life Science Industry
Required
Capstone Project

Electives
Management in the Health Sector

Management in the Service Sector

New Product Development
Related co-curricular opportunitiesHealthcare Club

Career Treks
MBA Healthcare Club

Centre for Healthcare Policy and Management
Healthcare Club

Center for Research in Healthcare Innovation Management (CRHIM)

Healthcare Industry Meeting
Dual-degree & specialization offeringsMBA/MSc Healthcare Policy ManagementMBA/MPHN/A
RANKINGS & ACCREDITATIONS
Healthcare Management Degree Guide (2015) - "Top 20 MBA Programs with a Specialization in Healthcare Management"#16N/AN/A
Member of the Business School Alliance for Health Management (BAHM)NoNoYes
Approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management ProgramsNoNoNo

 

Behind the Rankings and Accreditations for Healthcare MBAs

Healthcare Management Degree Guide – Top 20 MBA Programs with a Specialization in Healthcare Management (2015)
This is one of the few ranking lists in circulation. Its methodology is based on the 2014 U.S. News & World Report rankings for top b-schools. As its content is a bit outdated, take the list with a grain of salt – though it can be a good starting point.

Business School Alliance for Health Management (BAHM)
The alliance features both U.S. and international MBA programs. It hosts an annual case competition, networking opportunities, and forums for students and alumni.

Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Programs (CAHME)
The CAHME includes MHA and MBA programs that are committed to upholding its values of integrity, excellence, transparency, fairness, and recognition.

 

What Do You Think?

While we’ve highlighted our favorite healthcare MBA programs, we know there are many great programs. Is there another b-school that you think deserves to be featured? If so, let us know why in the comments below.

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