Why You Should Be Recruiting Physicians With MBA's

Why You Should Be Recruiting Physicians With MBA's

The last 20 years has seen an emergence of the business side of medicine in healthcare. Physicians used to spend the lion share of their time caring for patients but changes in the healthcare landscape have required change. Today, Physicians must be knowledgeable about how to run both the clinic and the back office.‌ Organizations need a strong Physician leader that understands both the clinical and business sides of medical practice. Hiring a Physician with an MBA (MD/MBA) gives your organization a leg up by gaining insights from a professional who can bridge the gaps between the clinical and administrative sides of your organization.

Why do we need MD/MBA's?

Current medical programs provide Physicians limited exposure to the business side of medicine. Your average Physician leaves school with little knowledge of how to run a business. This knowledge deficit can make collaborations between an organization's administration and its Physicians difficult. It is essential that all parties involved understand the business of medicine so that collaboration is most effective. The MD/MBA provides a solution to this problem and has become increasingly popular over the last two decades with schools like Harvard, Duke, and Johns Hopkins leading the pack of over 60+ MD/MBA programs. This increasing popularity is also reflected in the fact that a majority of top ranked hospitals are run by Physician CEO's as opposed to non-clinical executives(3).

What special qualities do MD/MBA Physicians have?

The majority of Physicians seeking MBA credentials are striving to take their career to the next level. A 2007 study of MD/MBA graduates found that the majority pursued their MBA degree to understand the business side of healthcare systems and were seeking more interesting career opportunities(2). These Physician Executives promote key quality improvement and healthcare management efforts in organizations by calling on their knowledge of both the clinical and business sides of medicine.

MD/MBA graduates report that their education provides them with skillsets to:(2)

  • more effectively evaluate systems operations
  • enhance their ability to implement changes
  • effectively utilize negotiation skills
  • comprehend financial principles
  • be a more effective leader
  • increase their ability to effectively work in teams

Where are they working?

Most MD/MBA Physicians can be found working in the clinical (27%), banking/finance (27%), hospital administration (11%), biotech/pharma (10%) and entrepreneurial sectors (9%)(1). While many Physicians continue to practice medicine, those who choose to pursue a job in venture capital tend to reap the most financial gains from their degree.

What are their pay expectations?

Available data suggests that starting salaries are around $292,500 for MD/MBA hires(4). This places them significantly ahead of their clinical colleagues whose starting salaries range between $147,000-247,000 a year, depending on their practice specialty(4). These notably higher salaries reflect the dual expertise of medical and business knowledge that MD/MBA's bring to organizations.


(1) Ljuboja, D et al. When doctors go to business school: career choices of physician-MBAs. Am J Manag Care. 2016 Jun 1;22(6):e196-8. Accessed 05/30/17.

(2) Parekh SG1, Singh B. An MBA: the utility and effect on physicians' careers. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2007 Feb;89(2):442-7. Accessed 05/30/17.

(3) Goodall, A. Physician-Leaders and Hospital Performance: Is There an Association?. Discussion Paper No. 5830 July 2011. Accessed 05/30/17.

(4) Goldman, J. Wallace,R. The Dual MD/MBA degree: Then What?. The Franklin Society Business of Medicine. Accessed on 05/31/17.

(5) https://www.indeed.com/salaries/