Everything You Need to Know About MD-MBA Programs

Padya Paramita

Everything You Need to Know About MD-MBA Programs

During your time in college as a pre-med student, you might have discovered that you’ve got a knack for business-oriented courses. Or, you might have always wanted to venture into healthcare management in the future. Either way, you could be wondering whether a combined MD-MBA program is right for you.  

The medical school admissions process is cutthroat, and the business school applicant pool is competitive as well — so you can imagine how tough it is to pursue a combined degree. To help guide you through the application process, we have outlined the list of schools where you can receive the MD-MBA dual-degree, how the admissions process works, how to best prepare your application materials, and finally, how to figure out whether any of the MD-MBA programs is actually right for you.

Institutions that Offer MD-MBA Programs

The question on your mind might be whether every medical school or every business school offers an MD-MBA dual-degree option. The answer is no, but a lot of the top institutions do. So, go through our list carefully to guide your research on MD-MBA programs:

Medical School Affiliated Business School
Baylor College of Medicine Rice University Jones Graduate School of Management
Boston University School of Medicine Boston University School of Management
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Columbia Business School
Cornell University - Weill Medical College Cornell Johnson School of Business
Creighton University School of Medicine Creighton University Heider College of Business
Dartmouth College - Geisel School of Medicine Dartmouth College - Tuck School of Business
Drexel University College of Medicine Drexel University - Lebow College of Business
Duke University School of Medicine Duke University - Fuqua School of Business
East Carolina University - Brody School of Medicine ECU College of Business
Emory University School of Medicine Emory University - Goizueta Business School
Georgetown University School of Medicine Georgetown University - McDonough School of Business
Harvard Medical School Harvard Business School
Indiana University School of Medicine Indiana University - Kelley School of Business
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Johns Hopkins - Carey Business School
Medical University of South Carolina Citadel’s School of Business
Michigan State University - College of Human Medicine Eli Broad College of Business
Mount Sinai School of Medicine Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College
New York University Grossman School of Medicine New York University Stern School of Business
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Kellogg Graduate School of Management
Ohio State University College of Medicine Fisher College of Business
Penn State College of Medicine Smeal College of Business
Saint Louis University School of Medicine John Cook School of Business
Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University Widener University School of Business Administration
Temple University - Lewis Katz School of Medicine Fox School of Business and Management
Texas A&M College of Medicine Mays Business School
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Texas Tech College of Business Administration
Tufts University School of Medicine Northeastern University College of Business Administration and Heller Graduate School at Brandeis University
UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School Rutgers Business School
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences University of Arkansas at Little Rock Business School
University of California - Davis School of Medicine UC Davis Graduate School of Management
University of California - Irvine School of Medicine UC Irvine Paul Merage School of Business
University of California - Los Angeles - Geffen School of Medicine Anderson School of Management
University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
University of Central Florida School of Medicine University of Central Florida College of Business Administration
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Linder College of Business
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center Leeds School of Business
University of Connecticut School of Medicine University of Connecticut School of Business
University of Florida College of Medicine Warrington College of Business
University of Hawaii - John A. Burns School of Medicine Manoa Schidler College of Business
University of Iowa - Carver College of Medicine Tippie School of Management
University of Kentucky College of Medicine Gatton College of Business and Economics
University of Louisville School of Medicine University of Louisville College of Business and Public Administration
University of Michigan Medical School Ross School of Business
University of Minnesota Medical School Carlson School of Management
University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine The Wharton School
University of Rochester School of Medicine Simon Graduate School of Business Administration
University of Southern California - Keck School of Medicine Marshall School of Business
University of Texas Health Center University of Houston Clear Lake School of Business
University of Texas Southwestern Medical School University of Texas at Dallas Jindal School of Management
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Owen Graduate School of Management
Wake Forest University School of Medicine Babcock Graduate School of Management
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis Olin Business School
Wright State University - Boonshoft School of Medicine Wright State University Raj Soin College of Business
Yale School of Medicine Yale School of Medicine

As you can see, the list contains a lot of schools that are known for their esteemed medical programs, such as Baylor, ones particularly reputable for their business school, such as Indiana, and schools such as Harvard which are well-regarded for both.

How the Admissions Process Works

The number of students who apply to MD-MBA programs varies from year to year and also depends on the institutions themselves. For instance, each year, 8-12 students from Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine apply for an MD-MBA, and the acceptance rates fluctuate based on the quality of the applicants. Before we dive into the required components of an MD-MBA degree, you need to understand how the medicine and business application portions occur. At Johns Hopkins’ MD-MBA program, applicants have to meet the admissions criteria of the School of Medicine and be admitted to the MD program first. If they are accepted by the medical side, the admissions committee then forwards the file to the MBA admissions office to review their fit for the MBA program. If they meet the criteria, the candidate receives their decision from the dual-degree program before they start either school. If they don’t meet the MBA criteria, they do still get an acceptance from the medical school. 

Most other schools, however, want you to settle into your initial medical years before pursuing the business route for one year. Harvard, NYU, and Dartmouth all follow this path. At Dartmouth, you have to complete two years at the Geisel School of Medicine before applying to Tuck for the January admission cycle. If accepted, your third year would be spent pursuing an MBA before diving into the MD clinical work period. Similarly, at Harvard, students admitted to HMS must apply for HBS in the round 2 of the MBA admissions stage while in their second year of med school. You must meet the criteria for the standard two-year MBA program at HBS (which includes the GMAT/GRE, essays, 2 letters of recommendation, and an impressive resumé) before being considered for endorsement by HMS to join the five-year, dual-degree program. The endorsement is made based on your academic standing at your MD program.

At NYU on the other hand, students begin enrolling at Stern in the fourth year and stay through the fall and spring semesters. They then return to the medical school for the summer and fall of the fifth year, and finally, dedicate a semester to MBA coursework in the spring of the fifth year. So, they complete 3 years of medical school followed by one year of MBA, before going back to the MD program.

Gaining admission to medical school is no easy task in the first place. On top of a commitment to medicine, your MD-MBA application components also need to have a business focus, so you need to frame your dual-degree applications to reflect both interests.

Required Components 

The application requirements vary by school, but they’re similar in nature. In order to be selected for one of these dual-degree MD-MBA programs, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Standardized Tests: In order to apply to MD-MBA programs, naturally you must take both the MCAT and the GMAT or the GRE. Each of the programs requires the MCAT, but not all of them ask for your GMAT or GRE score. Johns Hopkins and Cornell, for example, only consider your MCAT score. Most other schools, such as NYU, Penn, and Ohio State require you to have taken the GMAT or the GRE by the time you apply to the business program. Because they’re very competitive, you must bring strong numbers to the table that match the given business school’s median.
  • Essays: You need to take advantage of your essays and frame a compelling narrative in order to convince admissions officers that you are worthy of acceptance. Regardless of whether you’ve already started medical school or not, your essays should address your career goals — how can a combination of medicine and business help you get there? Specifically, how can an MBA help you on top of having an MD and why is now the best time to get both degrees? The reader must understand why you’ve pursued an MD-MBA, i.e. how your plans incorporate a background in business and medicine in order for you to succeed.
  • Resumé: Work experience is absolutely essential for any MBA candidate. Your resumé should contain experiences that connect to the business side of your interests in order for your career trajectory to make sense. If you’re applying to the business portion of the MD-MBA programs once you’ve already been admitted to the MD program, you must design your resumé very differently from your AMCAS activities list. Think about opportunities you’ve had that have been more managerial, demonstrate your leadership and collaboration skills, and convey how you perform in a business-oriented setting. Take advantage of action verbs, highlight your personal achievements, and bring to focus your leadership. Show that you’ll bring a unique perspective to the classroom.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Your letters of recommendation for your MD-MBA programs should come from your managers and colleagues who have worked with you in teams and on projects. Your recommender must be familiar with your background and understand your reasoning behind pursuing the MD-MBA program so that they can reiterate why you’re a strong fit in their letter. 

Is An MD-MBA For You?

When thinking about an MD-MBA, you should not only consider the medical school, but remember that it also depends on the reputation of the business school to an extent. Given how competitive and specific this track is, while you’re researching MD-MBA programs, you might wonder if it’s the correct path for you. The most important factor to consider is your career aspirations. Why do you want an MD-MBA? You not only have to reflect on this question for your written applications, but you’ll have to address it in your interviews as well. An MD-MBA can be beneficial to you if you have your eyes set on jobs in healthcare management, running finances for a hospital, or being a consultant in a medicine-oriented setting. If you just want to be a physician, even if you’re good at or interested in business-related subjects, an MD-MBA will not benefit you in the long run because you would just end up being a full-time doctor. 

Thinking about timing is also important. Would pausing your medical education to dedicate time to business classes for a year cause a disruption in your learning flow? Does completing your degree in five years instead of the four years fit with your ambitions and timeline? Speaking of timing, you’ll also have to balance your business classes on top of remembering everything you previously learned in your MD courses. If you think you’ll struggle to balance all the work, an MD-MBA might not be a sustainable choice for you. 

Finally, you should also put some thought into what your resumé currently looks like or will look like at the time of your application. You don’t just need medical experience; your profile must also reflect a dedication to business. If you applied to medical school straight out of college without getting any professional work or internships under your belt (because you might have entirely been focused on pre-med activities), you’re not going to stand a strong chance against other applicants who have probably had far more hands-on experience. If the business school admissions committee doesn’t know how you work on a team or in leadership positions, they won’t be confident about your ability to successfully contribute to the program.

Getting into MD-MBA programs is by no means easy, and once you do, you have to take part in two programs that challenge you thoroughly throughout five years. But if you believe this is the route that will perfectly complement your dream career path, you should certainly go for it. Make sure you don’t underestimate the components and put your best foot forward. Good luck! 

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