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Expert Insights: Why You Need a Healthcare MBA

Expert Insights: Why You Need a Healthcare MBA

“I cannot think of a reason why you would not need a healthcare MBA if you work in healthcare.”

– Mary Carr, Dean of Curriculum and Content at the Jack Welch Management Institute  


Medical expertise alone won’t get you to the leadership table in the healthcare industry. The changing nature of the industry calls for knowledge of core business principles to achieve winning results.

Mary Carr, Dean of Curriculum and Content at the Jack Welch Management Institute, led the effort with Jack Welch and top industry experts like Toby Cosgrove, Executive Advisor at Google and Former CEO of Cleveland Clinic to develop the healthcare MBA program. She shares her expert insights into why a healthcare MBA is necessary.

Why is there a need for an MBA with a healthcare concentration?

There is a need to create solutions that combine practical and proven management foundations that you get in business with a healthcare concentration. There are trends in populations, such as the aging baby boomer generations, and there are regulations such as the Affordable Care Act that are creating a need for managers in a healthcare setting to know how to focus on outcomes as well as cost reductions. The old way of doing things doesn’t work anymore.

Healthcare, historically, has been a fee-for-service industry. It is now transitioning to value-based care. As it transitions, medical professionals need to have the business sense to deal with the complexities that come along with it.

What is value-based care, and what is the JWMI approach to teaching students how to manage through it?

Value-based care is about improving outcomes by putting the patient at the center of everything the organization does. It’s about performing services and measuring those outcomes. It’s as simple as making sure that by the end of their care or time with your organization, the patient improved and recognizes the value received.

If you improve quality, prices, and efficiencies to achieve better outcomes, all boats will rise. We teach students how to build core business principles such as lean six sigma into their practice to find a cleaner, faster process to reduce costs and create a better experience for patients across the board.

What are the fiscal challenges in the healthcare industry, and how does an MBA with a healthcare focus give professionals the upper hand in navigating those challenges?

From a financial perspective, you are always going to focus on reducing costs. Third-party payer systems can be complicated, and many healthcare professionals are not very familiar with them. The healthcare MBA gets down to the nitty-gritty and the basics of how institutions can categorize cost and approach it effectively. Understanding the relationship behind “money out” and “money in” is critical for students and medical professionals to comprehend. JWMI gives students knowledge of working capital and what the revenue cycle looks like within a healthcare setting.

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What are the unique challenges associated with bureaucracy in healthcare, and why is an MBA helpful in addressing them?

Developing a long-term strategy to improve patients’ lives while navigating a complex regulatory environment isn’t something you learn in other degree programs. JWMI’s healthcare MBA gives students foundational knowledge in navigating bureaucracy within three core areas:

  1. Navigating the affordable care act and what it means
  2. Treating the government as a customer to achieve better outcomes
  3. Looking externally at other organizations to adopt best practices that work

Is there anything else you would like to add about the benefits of a healthcare MBA?

If the many intelligent and highly skilled clinicians can infuse business methodology into their medical practice to help better their performance when it comes to saving lives while saving money, we all win.

Mary Carr is the Dean of Curriculum and Content at the Jack Welch Management Institute. She has over a decade of experience as general counsel in the healthcare industry.

Connect with Mary Carr on Linkedin


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