The health care management field is expanding, just like the rest of the health care industry, with a predicted growth rate of 22 percent by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, currently there is research indicating that doctors make better health care leaders than business executives, so aspiring health care managers considering a traditional MBA program should aim for the programs in the country to improve their chances.

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

“U.S. News & World Report” considers the health care MBA at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor Ross School of Business to be the best program of its ilk in the United States. Students can pursue a dual degree combining the MBA with a master’s degree in health services or nursing, or alternatively, a medical degree. The school’s Multidisciplinary Action Projects courses allow students to assess real health care facilities and present business solutions to their challenges, while the annual Crisis Challenge allows teams of students to compete in responding to an intensely simulated challenge.

University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

The University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management established its Medical Industry Leadership Institute in 2005. This unique program, ranked second in the nation by “U.S. News & World Report,” is tailored to each student-leader’s experiences, providing training in a host of medical industry functions, including finance, marketing, operations, and IT. In the institute’s valuation lab, students work on multidisciplinary teams to turn medical research into products and strategies that create measurable value for patients. (Sources 3, 6)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Ranked third in the nation by “U.S. News & World Report,” UNC’s Kenan-Flager Business School offers a concentration in health care for MBA students, in which MBAs can work closely with students and faculty from UNC’s highly respected school of medicine to pursue “medical entrepreneurship and innovation.” The MBA program offers a fellowship to its medical school faculty so that they may develop business leadership skills, and all students take core courses in “Pharmaceutical Economics,” “Healthcare Marketing,” and “Design and Delivery of Healthcare Systems.”

University of Pennsylvania

Ivy League UPenn’s Wharton Business School, which “U.S. News & World Report” ranks fourth in the nation for health care-focused MBAs, grooms its students more for the health care services industry than for actual hospital and facility management. MBAs at Wharton study the law, policy, ethics, and decision analysis surrounding the management of pharmaceuticals companies, biotech health services firms, government agencies, insurance companies, HMOs, and health care consulting firms.

Alabama and Virginia

“U.S. News & World Report” ties the MBA health care programs at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Virginia Commonwealth University for fifth place in the country. The School of Business at the University of Alabama works in conjunction with the university’s School of Public Health so that MBA students can obtain dual master’s degrees in either public health or health administration. Meanwhile, MBAs at Virginia Commonwealth University can combine their health care concentration with a concentration in business analytics, corporate finance, entrepreneurship and innovation, global business, human capital, information resources management, investments, real estate, and supply chain management.

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