My Thoughts on Choosing an MBA Program

Published by Michael Brown, M.D.

I sometimes get asked about how a clinician should choose an MBA program.  I usually respond by asking questions.  What are you hoping to accomplish with an MBA?  Some clinicians want to better understand the business of healthcare, some have an idea for a new business they wish to start, others are pursuing leadership positions in their organization, while others are tired of clinical practice and are now looking for an alternative career.   Depending on your situation, my advice varies.  For some, I feel an MBA will be helpful.  For others, I feel it is not needed or might even be a distraction.  I often also discuss alternative degrees (eg. Masters in Public Health, Masters in Healthcare Management) and focused courses (eg quality improvement, information technology).   What I can provide as general advice is to work backward from where you want to be in 10 years, and then think about what education would be most helpful in getting you there.  All alternatives should be considered in light of your long-term goal and evaluated accordingly. That may sound simplistic, but too often I do not see it being done.

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Michael Brown, MD, MS, MCHM, CHCIO is a certified executive coach (Center For Executive Coaching) and Chief Medical Officer at Acesis, Inc. He was an instructor at HSPH for 8 years after graduating from HSPH in 2007. For the 12 years prior to joining Acesis in 2014, Michael was the Chief Information Officer for Harvard University Health Services.  He can be contacted at mbrown (at)