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Navigating the Landscape: The Value of an MBA for Healthcare Professionals

Updated: Mar 15

MBA for Healthcare Professionals

Have you ever thought about investing in an MBA as a healthcare professional? Completing an MBA may not always be a good option; however, it’s well worth keeping in mind that there are many potential options available that could be worth considering. Fortunately, in line with this thought, we’ve outlined some of the main things you should know about investing in MBA certifications for your healthcare career (and the benefits and drawbacks of doing so).

What is an MBA?

Before we go any further, one of the first things we must define is what an MBA is. An MBA is short for “Master of Business Administration,” and this qualification can lend itself readily to several different applications. One such example of how this could help is in the healthcare field, which can potentially surprise many people.

Indeed, when we think about the required qualifications for healthcare professionals, we usually jump immediately to thinking about healthcare-specific courses and qualifications, such as pursuing a degree in medicine as recognised by the General Medical Council. However, this is far from the only qualification that can be valuable for healthcare professionals, and pursuing an MBA can be well worth considering.

An MBA for healthcare professionals covers a range of potentially valuable information, including the core principles of business practices and insights into a plethora of management concepts. In turn, this can help make an MBA an incredibly valuable research option to consider for your professional development.

When are MBAs Required for Healthcare Professionals?

Thus far, we’ve clarified what MBAs are - but when do you need them as a healthcare professional? Well, the requirements for healthcare professionals can sometimes vary, and these aren’t necessarily straightforward. However, the simplest way to answer this is that MBAs will usually only be needed when you apply for a management or administrative role within a healthcare business.

Even then, this will come down to individual positions; not all roles will necessarily require applicants to hold an MBA, especially for healthcare professionals who have experience in similar management roles. As such, if you are looking for a way to increase your competitiveness in the job market when applying for healthcare management roles, an MBA may be a worthwhile option to consider.

However, there are other ways to attain the skills covered in an MBA qualification. Thus, if you are looking to diversify into a healthcare business management role, be sure to look into alternative options too. Some key considerations here could include other forms of management training and even starting your own healthcare business as an entrepreneur.

MBA for Healthcare Professionals

Should I Undertake an MBA as a Healthcare Professional?

Whether you should undertake an MBA as a healthcare professional will often vary depending on your personal situation. As such, before you sign up for an MBA, we recommend considering the following benefits and drawbacks of completing an MBA to help you determine whether this will be the most appropriate option for you to pursue in your own career.

The Benefits of Completing an MBA for Healthcare

Healthcare professionals can potentially benefit from investing in MBA qualifications for several different reasons, and keeping these in mind could help inform your own decision. Indeed, an MBA can sometimes seem like a natural progression, especially if you have been thinking of moving into a more managerial role; as such, it’s well worth considering the benefits to see how these might apply to you.

Additional Business Management Qualifications

One of the main benefits of completing an MBA for healthcare businesses is simple: it provides you with a business management qualification to supplement your existing skills. Naturally, managing a healthcare business is significantly different from providing healthcare services; as such, making sure you are equipped with the relevant skills and knowledge is vitally important before taking on a more managerial role.

Improved Communication Skills

As a healthcare professional, chances are that good communication skills are already a pivotal aspect of your job role; however, being able to communicate effectively with suppliers, stakeholders, and other industry professionals is a very different skill. Following this thought, ensuring that you have honed these is highly important to help enhance your communication and ensure messages are shared effectively and accurately.

MBA for Healthcare Professionals

Increasing your Professional Network

Another core opportunity that these qualifications can present is the ability to access an expansive pool of alumni who have also completed MBAs. Networking is highly important, in many cases, and this can offer an opportunity to increase your professional network, connect with new experts, and get ideas from other business management professionals. This can offer a valuable opportunity to implement new business strategies, accordingly.

Awareness of the Global Market

One of the core skills that MBA training can equip healthcare professionals with is knowledge of the global market. Indeed, international markets are playing an ever more crucial role in many different businesses, and healthcare applications are no different. This is especially notable when it comes to staffing, with almost one in five NHS staff alone reporting a non-British nationality. In line with this thought, if you have been looking to begin working in a managerial healthcare position, ensuring you are aware of international markets and opportunities is essential, and an MBA can potentially equip you with the knowledge to tackle this.

Pushing for Higher Pay

Ensuring you are getting a fair rate for the work you do is highly important - and, as part of this, having as many qualifications as possible is highly important. As suggested by Leland, MBA holders typically earn around 50 to 100% more than they would have made before obtaining an MBA, which could potentially push your hourly rate or salary up significantly.

MBA for Healthcare Professionals

Stand Apart From the Crowd

Despite being high-skilled roles, the average management position in the UK still receives many applications, and of these, around six people are interviewed for each job. As such, for each interview you attend, there’s technically only around a 16.67% chance you’ll get the role, assuming equal competition. Fortunately, MBA training can help you stand apart from the crowd in this regard, helping distinguish you from other candidates and making it potentially easier to succeed in getting a new role.

Speed Up Professional Development

Not everyone undertaking an MBA necessarily wants to change their career entirely, and as far as healthcare businesses go, this is often true. Fortunately, undertaking an MBA can help speed up your career progression, allowing you to achieve new opportunities in your existing job role or company. As such, if you have been feeling held back or restricted in your job and have been looking to achieve new career opportunities, investing in personal development through an MBA might be a worthwhile option to consider.

Offers New Opportunities for Experienced Healthcare Professionals

In many cases, experienced professionals can have limited opportunities for progression and education, especially when they have already completed all of the main healthcare qualifications available to them. Fortunately, MBAs are generally best suited to those who already have experience in the healthcare industry, making them valuable learning opportunities for those who are further into their careers.

The Drawbacks of Completing an MBA for Healthcare

While studying for an MBA can potentially offer a valuable option, it’s well worth keeping in mind here that there are several drawbacks to consider. Indeed, investing in and completing an MBA isn’t necessarily a perfect solution, and though there are countless excellent benefits, there are also negatives that you should keep in mind carefully.

Time-Consuming Qualification

Many courses can be completed in some months, making them easy to commit to alongside your typical schedule. However, MBAs typically run for two years, making them a much greater commitment and adding complications to the process of completing your MBA.

MBA for Healthcare Professionals

Limited Specialism in Healthcare

While MBAs can offer a highly valuable opportunity that can enable far superior business management overall, it’s well worth keeping in mind here that completing an MBA will have limited focus on topics relating specifically to healthcare businesses. As such, while the knowledge you attain during an MBA will no doubt be valuable, you will still need to learn how to cross-apply this to a healthcare perspective.

Indeed, the majority of MBA graduates tend to enter fields such as business analysis, auditing, accounting, logistics management, and the like. As such, the knowledge you gain during this course, though valuable, may not be directly relevant to healthcare. However, some providers offer healthcare management MBAs specifically, so if you can enroll in one of these courses, you may find that the MBA offers greater value for healthcare professionals.

Not All Employers Will Pay More

While the average rate of pay for MBA graduates is significantly higher, this is not necessarily true for all employers, especially if your chosen MBA course wasn’t specifically focused on healthcare and the medical field.

Furthermore, if you are planning to work for a smaller business, such as a local pharmacy, there is much less likelihood that there will be significantly more funds in the business budget for an MBA holder. As such, determining your desired role and business type and considering how much value an MBA would bring to these businesses - and, in turn, if they would be able to pay more for it - is crucial.

Significant Expense

Pursuing an MBA for healthcare professionals can potentially be a valuable opportunity; however, this should never be a decision that’s taken lightly, given that there can be significant costs involved.

The average cost of pursuing an MBA will vary significantly depending on where you choose to study, but even low-cost providers such as the Open University will charge around £20,000 for the course. Meanwhile, other providers can potentially cost in the region of £30,000 or £40,000. As a result, there’s a lot to keep in mind here, and considering the value that an MBA can bring versus the significant costs involved is crucial.

MBA for Healthcare Professionals

May Not Support Entrepreneurs

As a further drawback, it’s worth keeping in mind that an MBA will often prove most valuable for jobseekers and those wanting a promotion; however, if you have been looking to start your own business, the value may be more limited. As such, if you are pursuing an entrepreneurial opportunity, you may want to consider whether an MBA is worth the time and money in the long run. This is especially true if you intend to hire a manager for your new healthcare business, in which case, holding an MBA yourself may not provide many benefits directly.

Less Suited to New Graduates

Many people look to undertake additional qualifications after completing their undergraduate and postgraduate studies; however, for MBAs, the opposite may be more appropriate. Indeed, completing an MBA often requires individuals to have knowledge and experience in their chosen field initially, and the more knowledge of the industry you hold, the more you will likely gain from the course. As such, if you’re looking for a progression opportunity that can be completed immediately after your main studies, an MBA likely won’t be appropriate.

In addition to this, it’s also worth considering that MBAs don’t necessarily provide a complete solution for healthcare professionals looking to diversify into a management role. As such, if you do not have precious managerial experience, undertaking further courses first may be necessary to help you get the most from the MBA and ensure you’re prepared for the rigors of the course.

MBA for Healthcare Professionals

Some Employers Prefer Real World Experience

MBAs are designed to equip you with the knowledge you’ll need to manage a healthcare business and take it to new heights; however, it’s important to keep in mind here that many employers will still want to see real-world expertise when hiring a new manager.

As such, an MBA isn’t a miracle solution to break you into management positions and cannot replace traditional expertise in every scenario. Remember: theoretical knowledge is no doubt valuable, but it’s not the be-all and end-all for many hiring managers.

Starting Your Own Healthcare Business: An Alternative Option

With all of the aforementioned benefits and drawbacks of completing an MBA in mind, for those looking to get into a healthcare management role, there is an alternative option: starting your own business. Indeed, for those entrepreneurial individuals who want to get involved with healthcare management, this can offer a surprisingly lucrative option.

Starting your own healthcare business naturally doesn’t require you to complete an MBA. Nevertheless, this can offer a wealth of benefits that could make it a better option for your needs.

Of course, we should stress here that, if you want to complete an MBA before launching your own business, this is your choice. However, doing so may not be necessary, so this is a personal decision and depends on whether you think the MBA could support your new business goals.

Complete Management Freedom

Perhaps the most notable benefit of starting your own business is that it offers unrivaled freedom. Indeed, compared to taking on a management role on behalf of other individuals, running your own business allows you to pursue the opportunities you want. As such, if you want to run a healthcare business in your own way, starting your own business could be highly rewarding.

Make a Difference in Your Community

If you want to make a genuine difference in your community, starting a healthcare business could make a genuine and valuable difference. As a result, for those who have identified a need in their local community, taking the initiative directly with an entrepreneurial approach can be invaluable.

Be Your Own Boss

An MBA can add an additional competitive touch to your CV - however, you’ll still end up working for someone else after all of the hard work. Following this thought, if you’d rather be your boss (and enjoy the freedom that such entails), considering your own healthcare business could be a more valuable option. This also allows you to work hours that you prefer, giving you more freedom accordingly.

Lucrative Opportunities

While one of the main motivations for people to start a healthcare business will be to make a genuine, tangible difference in local communities, this isn’t the only reason. Following this thought, the lucrative nature of healthcare businesses, when managed appropriately, is also worth keeping in mind. Indeed, while the margins on healthcare services aren’t as high as in some other sectors, the model benefits from a recession-proof nature and a large customer base; almost inevitably, everyone will need healthcare at some point. As such, it’s easy to see why some people might choose to invest in their own business, instead.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve been looking to take your skills to the next level, ensuring you’re aware of the different options available to you is hugely important. However, while it’s easy to assume that our options will be limited to just a few select scenarios, this isn’t the case at all; in fact, there are many different options available that could help you progress your career and uncover new opportunities.

As such, we strongly recommend considering these options to help, and remember: that opportunities within the healthcare field are numerous. So, while investing in MBA training may be appropriate for some healthcare professionals, it’s not the only way to get into successful management roles.

MBA for Healthcare Professionals

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