How an MBA could boost your healthcare career

At first glance, an MBA might not seem like the most obvious qualification needed for a high-flying career in healthcare. But, healthcare itself has evolved dramatically over time to become a sector that requires professionals to possess a far broader set of skills than in previous years.

Both global life expectancy and the prevalence of lifestyle-related non-communicable conditions (such as heart disease and diabetes) are rising. Charged with looking after increasing and aging populations, healthcare systems the world over are under increasing pressure to do more with less. 

In its 2019 Global Heath Care Outlook, Deloitte predicts that global healthcare spending will reach $10.059 trillion by 2022. The report asserts that developing new health technologies, implementing mergers and partnerships, and generating alternative revenue sources will all be key in achieving financial sustainability moving forward. 

A global healthcare industry that’s more challenged, complex and multi-layered than ever needs professional managers and leaders with keen strategic, financial and commercial acumen – all of which can be developed through an MBA programme.

Innovative problem-solvers needed 

The value of an MBA to those within or looking to join the healthcare arena hasn’t escaped the participants on our online MBA; nearly 14% come from backgrounds in the healthcare industry, making it the second most prevalent vocation amongst our current cohort.

These participants are looking to progress in the kind of career paths often associated with traditional business – consulting, finance, HR and marketing – roles healthcare organisations need to meet current industry challenges. Whether it’s commercialising services or bringing new medical interventions to market, the healthcare sector is calling out for professionals who can work through problems and find solutions, without losing sight of the bigger picture. 

Pascal Vranckx, an intensive care cardiologist and Online MBA participant, is hoping to be one such professional. “Postgraduate business training opens up new horizons and prepares for management positions in large health care organisations,” he says.

“The skills gained on an MBA programme can also translate to improved patient relationships. By taking business education as seriously as medical training, physicians can put both themselves and their patients in the best possible position to succeed.” 

An MBA is ideally-suited to honing this holistic, strategic mindset. Our online programme helps participants develop analytical decision-making skills on courses such as Leadership Development, which focuses on people management, and Strategy, an exploration of how to use the resources at hand to maximise opportunity. Designing efficient managerial processes is a key feature of the Operations and Supply Chain Management course too, which includes a case study on workflows at Leuven University Hospital in Belgium.

Studying these key areas can help healthcare professionals deepen their understanding of business principles for more impactful care provision. Online MBA participant Maaike van Craen, who worked as a medical advisor at Novartis during her studies, agrees. 

“What I am lacking is knowledge in economics, business thinking, leadership or marketing or management,” she says. “So to distinguish myself from all the others who fit this same profile I realised I needed to do an MBA.”

The skills to put patients first 

Like many other industries, modern healthcare is shifting to become increasingly consumer – or rather, patient – centric. Consumers now expect more from services across every industry, and healthcare is no exception.   

To echo Pascal’s point about patient relationships, professionals working in healthcare must be able to devise operational approaches that improve the quality and experience of care at every opportunity. This emphasis on consumer needs is a key component of our online MBA’s Digital Strategy, Innovation and Marketing courses, the last of which covers the transition from a product to a customer-orientation model.    

A major aspect of consumer-focused healthcare is diligent cost control; budgets that are carefully distributed in order to best deliver positive outcomes for patients. Online MBA participants can prepare for the challenge of subsidising healthcare with the Corporate Finance and Financial and Management Accounting courses, which shed light on solving practical business problems through financial management and frameworks, such as costing systems, decision making processes and responsibility centre structures. Participants can gain the skills they need to join the dots and develop strategies that maximise resources for patient benefit.  

What’s more, as more start ups and private organisations are established to respond to the growing demand on healthcare systems, the need for professionals with strong commercial and consumer dexterity is likely only to intensify. Both national healthcare infrastructures and smaller, more agile medtech, pharma and biotech start ups require business-savvy individuals capable of finding multi-faceted solutions.

Using business sense to raise healthcare standards 

Healthcare offers a rewarding pathway for any business-minded professional who wants to make a real difference. As the health and corporate worlds continue to merge and overlap, there will be rich opportunity for industry professionals with cutting-edge business expertise to put their skills towards a higher purpose within patient-focused roles. There is huge scope for business insight to improve the experience of healthcare services for both patients and healthcare professionals alike.  

Giving participants the freedom to manage their own study schedule and apply their learning in real time, alongside a full-time career, our online MBA is a flexible route to the strategic business knowledge needed for a senior role in healthcare. 

“I chose the Vlerick Online MBA because I wanted to learn at a top-ranked international business school focused on globalisation and international business, that also offered a multitude of opportunities to network with fellow students around the world,” says Pascal.   

This online programme offered a unique learning experience best customised to my personal preferences, schedules and goals.” 

To discover more about how this thought-provoking programme can equip you with robust business aptitude, fit for a managerial career in healthcare, simply complete our form on the right.

Accreditations & rankings

  • Association of MBAs
  • The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Financial Times