B-schools at the forefront of healthcare

As the healthcare and biotech industries rapidly expand, B-schools are doubling down on specialized healthcare programs and certificates in hopes of offering innovative solutions and training the leaders of tomorrow.


From supply chain management to resource allocation, business plays an integral role in the healthcare industry. And B-schools are at the forefront of reshaping the way the healthcare system operates and grows.

“Business schools are in a privileged position to catalyze the reengineering of the health system by disseminating this know-how,” says Leslie Breitner, Academic Director of the International Masters for Health Leadership (IMHL) at the Desautels School of Management, McGill University Forbes.

At McGill University, the IMHL program is designed specifically for healthcare professionals, from business consultants at large pharmaceutical companies to dental practice owners.

“The main intention is to create a more efficient, responsive system that can use business acumen,” says Breitner. “Healthcare facilities and medical schools now appreciate the value of teaching solid management skills.”


Here in the US, a number of top B-schools are also looking to make an impact in the healthcare industry.

The Wharton School offers an MBA in Healthcare Management (HCM), a program designed to draw students from nearly every sector of healthcare, from pharmaceuticals to venture capital.

And students show great interest in the health programs of B-schools. According to Fortuna Admissions, a leading MBA admissions coaching firm, more than 15% of clients applying to Wharton cite the B-school’s HCM program as an important factor in their decision to choose the school.

At the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the new joint MBA/MS Biomedical Sciences (BMS) program offers students the opportunity to combine business experience with basic biomedical knowledge. Applicants take 14 Booth-only courses and LEAD, an experiential leadership development course, as well as six MS-only courses within the two-year program.

“Given the tremendous need for innovation in both healthcare and biomedicine to improve human health, having qualified professionals who are well-versed in the language of biomedicine and healthcare and ready to lead change is critical for the future,” Vineet Arora, MD, Herbert T. Abelson Professor of Medicine, Dean of Medical Education and Founding Director of the BMS Program, says. “It’s exciting to be a part of training a workforce that can help transform our areas.”

At Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, the new Healthcare at Kellogg (HCAK) deep dive program combines rigorous academic discussion and case studies with high-level industry practitioners. The new M.B.A. in Healthcare program builds on the B-school’s signature management training with specialized healthcare courses. It’s the longest-running health business program in the country, says strategy professor Craig Garthwaite, an economist and Kellogg’s director of health care. In recent years, the program has shifted its emphasis from concentrating on the hospital and health services sectors to focusing on the business aspects of the industry.

“The United States is not a national public health program. We recognize the fact that no matter what people think, the US healthcare market is dominated by private companies and they need to create and capture value,” says Garthwaite. “It requires taking the tools we teach in our regular strategy and finance classes and all the things you need to run a business and combining them with the unique nature of healthcare.”

Sources: Forbes, McKinsey & Company, The Wharton School, The University of Chicago, P&Q, P&Q

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