The doctor with an MBA...good career planning or leader by accident?
September 17, 2013
Recently an article was published in the Financial Times about doctors that follow an MBA. 'Just what the doctor needs' was the conclusion. The MBA student, a rarity in the past, has acquired a permanent position in the healthcare sector. The question remains whether the MBA is the answer to the ever increasing requirements that are imposed on today's current healthcare manager.
There are quite a few different MBA courses. The fact remains however that many doctors have become leaders by accident. This 'promotion' sometimes 'happens' to them as a result of their exceptional scientific research. They suddenly find themselves head of a department with 140 FTEs with all the associated concerns related to strategy, vision and finance. In other cases they represent a department's only acceptable (political) option.
An MBA is too infrequently part of a carefully planned career step or career plan. There is also a ruling perception that doctors with an MBA are not 'care doctors'. The latter is a genuine misconception. The impact of general management decisions are often severely felt by the individual. Knowledge of 'healthcare' is therefore essential in order to continue to offer healthcare on a human level in the Netherlands. Personally I notice that doctors and nurses in a management team are a must in today's healthcare sector and we must adopt a more targeted approach to this development. The MBA doctor is a specialist with a plus, just like the internist oncologist or the anesthetist intensivist. This can only improve the level of care.
Management lessons are just what the doctor ordered, FT.com (2013)