The MD/MBA Bubble

September 2, 2016

There are presently 141 accredited MD-granting institutions and 31 accredited DO-granting institutions in the United States. Here is a list of the programs that offer MD/MBAs. The list seems to be growing each year.

There are presently 141 accredited MD-granting institutions and 31 accredited DO-granting institutions in the United States. Here is a list of the programs that offer MD/MBAs. The list seems to be growing each year.

Like management MBAs and law degrees, the degrees have become commoditized and lack any real differentiation. Some argue the same holds true for medical degrees. There are other problems as well.

1. We don't know how much value the graduates contribute to the sick care system.

2. The programs are usually not domain specific. Some think that's a good thing, encouraging exposure to how other industries have solved generic problems Others feel sick care is so unique, that the lessons are not applicable.

3. Medical students are already up their waists in debt, most of which is taxpayer subsidized. Should additional debt be added to their student loans?

4. Few of the programs address the needs of physician entrepreneurs.

5 There are many substitutes for physician entrepreneurs around the world and US schools are no longer the mecca.

6. Content has become generic and offered for free on the Internet.

7. Connections are easily to make using social media.

8. The MBA is losing credibility, given the large number of places that offer them, particularly those below the first tier schools.

9. Employers can see through the credentials

10. Costs continue to escalate and the programs do not accommodate the specific needs of busy clinician students.

Rather, if the purpose of graduate business and management education is to educate and train medical students to create value in the sick care system, we should be thinking differently by:

  1. Offering MBEs not MBAs
  2. Create entrepreneurial medical schools
  3. Tracking and monitoring MD/MBA outcomes
  4. Rethinking providing student loans to cover graduate business education
  5. Require more work experience from medical graduates before admission.
  6. Stop using the programs as cash cows for business schools who are feeding the needs of doctors who want to get off the clinical track rat race for an administrative job and be a "sick care influencer"
  7. Do a better job of integrating STEM schools with business schools with arts and sciences during undergraduate and graduate education
  8. Define medical practice entrepreneurship competencies as part of ACGME accreditation of residency training programs
  9. Rewarding faculty with promotion and tenure credit for hte scholarship of innovation
  10. Stop deceiving ourselves that innovative medical schools are entrepreneurial medical schools

The MD/MBA bubble has burst and the degree no longer has legitimacy. They provide expensive connections, credentials, credibility and content, in that order of perceived worth. We need to redefine our learning objectives and create educational programs with a structure, content, and price that meet market needs. We need to kill the MD/MBA cash cow recognizing that vested interests won't sit idly by while we do it.