As the demand for business-savvy health care professionals grows, business schools are taking notice. Leading the way is the Business of Medicine Physician MBA at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, which is designed to train practicing physicians to assume management positions and face a changing health care business environment. The two-year degree program was launched in the fall of 2013 and presents a new kind of opportunity at the intersection of business management and medical practice.
The degree combines the basic curriculum of Kelley’s full-time MBA with specialized health care courses supported by the school’s Center for the Business of Life Sciences. Idie Kesner, who was interim dean at the time but has since been appointed dean, said in a Financial Times article regarding the launch of the program, “With this degree, physician leaders will emerge with the full skillset to transform individual institutions, the broad healthcare field and, most important, patient outcomes.” Part of the Business of Medicine Physician MBA program—approximately 10–14 hours a week—is taught online, drawing on Kelley’s pioneering strengths in distance learning, while the other part entails one weekend residence per month, allowing for a more flexible time commitment.
Despite the size of its parent institution, the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University, another Midwestern business school, boasts a relatively intimate classroom experience—with approximately 100 students in each incoming full-time MBA class—and a close-knit community. Fisher students consequently benefit from the school’s wider university network (more than 550,000 alumni) and its proximity to major companies based both in Columbus and throughout the Midwest. Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Fisher 53rd in its list of top full-time MBA programs in 2018.
The Fisher curriculum consists of a core sequence spanning the first year of the program and offers a plethora of optional pathways in which students can major, including Leadership, Corporate Finance, and Supply Chain. Of the 60 credit hours required for graduation, 7.5 credits consist of experiential course work, including Business Lab Projects and the Core Capstone Experience. In these hands-on projects, students work with local and international businesses to apply the skills they have learned within the classroom to real-life scenarios. Nearly half (27 credit hours) of the required credit hours are dedicated to elective courses, proving that the Fisher MBA is a widely customizable program.