Career opportunities for MBA graduates are wide-ranging. From the excitement of running a startup to the rush of managing a big project, there are hundreds of unique ways to use the degree. Right now, one of the most dynamic industries—healthcare—is also the number-one sector for job growth, making it an ideal place for any MBA-holder to launch a career or make a strategic shift.
Talk to anyone in healthcare, and you'll quickly understand that the industry is focused on problem-solving—and not just any problems. They're complex, layered, moving problems, like developing a cohesive brand strategy for a global audience or making sure a national sales team has up-to-date information on new advances in product technology. These problems require innovators who can create transformative solutions—solutions that have the power to move markets, shape policy, and improve millions of lives. That's where MBA-holders come in.
"Getting an MBA is in essence about strategic decision-making, staying ahead of the curve, and understanding what levers to pull while working toward the ultimate goal of growing your business," says Corinne Nobili, MBA, an associate brand manager at Abbott. "It is analytical, strategic, creative, and financial. In healthcare, an increase in sales means an increase in patients treated. The metric is financial, but the impact is personal."
Making an Impact
And the field is only becoming more personal as the consumerization of healthcare forces the worldwide industry to catch up to sectors like retail and banking that have already adopted consumer-centric mindsets. This focus on delivering patient-centered, value-based care is driving a need for people with MBA-acquired skills, like strategic orientation, respect for cost controls, the willingness to tackle complex systems, and a focus on outcomes. MBA-holders have the skills to step away from yesterday's disconnected thinking and transition into an interconnected world, which is essential for today’s healthcare industry.
"Like any industry, there are emails to send, policies to follow, and meetings to attend, but in healthcare, we get to see our efforts directly contribute to improving people's lives," says Tom Hubka, MBA, senior product manager at Abbott. "For example, I oversee the creation of training documents that help doctors and professionals in the field use our products, meaning I'm making it easier and safer for them to administer life-changing treatments to patients. That is one of the reasons I get up in the morning."
Many larger healthcare companies are international organizations that offer MBA-holders opportunities to harness their creativity, global perspective, and awareness to be forces for positive, life-changing solutions. Not only that, as multi-national companies continue to grow, emerging interests and changing priorities are paving the way for new, specialized departments that operate with the agility of smaller organizations. This presents an opportunity for MBAs to bring their fresh perspective to a startup culture with corporate resources.
Healthcare Career Paths
Healthcare needs business-focused professionals with strong backgrounds in marketing, operations, finance, accounting, management, and strategy. From hospitals to insurance C-suites, startups to government agencies, and even in specialized consulting firms, the demand for MBA-holders is sweeping.
"When you think of healthcare before you're in healthcare, you might think it's just doctors and patients, but there are so many other players. I get to work cross-functionally with sales, regulatory affairs, researchers and developers, and so many more to drive success for my company, " says Hubka. "No two days are alike, and getting an MBA was essential to prepare me for this job."
Candidates educated in the sciences will have even more opportunities available to them. This isn't just because of the complex nature of industry challenges, products, and services—the teams and decision-makers in this field are highly educated and well versed in their areas of expertise.
Experts switching from a previous career to one more driven by business and strategic decisions will have the advantage of skipping over the steep learning curve that even experienced business professionals encounter upon entering healthcare. A person with a background in machine learning will be able to step into the population health discussion with a broad understanding of advanced data analytics applications that many healthcare natives are only now working to acquire.
Other healthcare career opportunities that require or prefer an MBA include:
Of course, the healthcare industry isn't limited to the United States, and career opportunities for MBA graduates span the globe. MBAs can advise on everything from ICD (International Classification of Diseases) transitions to the training and development of professionals who work across borders and languages.
Changing the Future
Healthcare is an industry in constant motion, and while there are countless opportunities to positively impact people’s lives, they won't be realized without the help of big thinkers and dedicated problem solvers who are ready to tackle real-world challenges. MBA programs are the door to the skills, experience, and connections that will continue to support and advance the healthcare field.
This post was sponsored by Abbott.
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