MHA or MBA – Which Is Best for You? - Health Tips Galaxy


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Tuesday, 30 November 2021

MHA or MBA – Which Is Best for You?

Should a person get an MHA or an MBA as his or her advanced degree in health care?

A number of students have been asking that question as they contemplate their future. Physicians who want more management knowledge and skills have also been wondering the same thing.

Is there a definitive way to gauge which choice is best for a particular situation?

The simple answer is — it depends. It depends on your current level of knowledge about health care and it on how you intend to use the degree. While there are no hard and fast rules, a few simple guidelines might help in deciding which route is the best one for you to take. Here are five:

1. Current Health Care Knowledge. How much do you already know about health care? Is it already a fair amount, having spent the past ten years in the industry or are you new to the industry and want to break in? A master in health administration (MHA) program is likely going to have most, if not all, of its coursework specifically related to health care. Thus, even a financial management course is going to teach you the principles of finance in the context of health care. For some people, that immersion in health care is important; for others it may not be all that crucial. Not surprisingly, a “traditional” MBA program is not going to have that industry focus (unless it’s specifically designed for health care).

2. Health Policy. MBA programs generally don’t tend to spend much time on health policy issues, while most MHA programs either have specific classes in that area or cover the same material in a variety of different classes. Health policy is significant for health care professionals for several reasons. First, so much of health care is scrutinized and regulated by government entities. Second, policy decisions often wind up driving business decisions. Thus, the more knowledgeable one is on the complexities surrounding health policy, the better one should be in making executive decisions.

3. Peer Learning. Some of the best learning takes place between and among students. The usual advantage of being enrolled in an MHA program is that you are surrounded by peers who are either currently employed in health care (and thus bring a different perspective than yours) or who have a strong interest in the industry. Either way, there’s much to be gained from interacting with your peers. And while peer learning will also take place in any MBA program, the knowledge gained is more diffused.

4. Commitment to Others. Most MHA programs have a history of service to others, which goes back to the early days of non-profit hospitals and other medical services. And while more and more health care services are being run either as a for-profit venture or like one, there is still that “service to people” thread that weaves through the industry and MHA programs. MBA programs are actually playing catch-up in that regard as they now offer courses and programs dedicated to social entrepreneurship. Still, if you are most attracted by money and wealth, the MBA is probably the best place to go.

5. Competitiveness. There a lot more people applying to get into a top MBA program at a top school than those trying to get into an MHA program. For example, more than 1,200 people will compete for openings in the MBA program at the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Meanwhile, on average, about 120 students apply to the residential MHA program. If you’re worried about your chances of getting in or you are looking at the odds, then you might look at the MHA degree. Of course, some students wind up getting a dual MBA/MHA degree, but those are rare and require a much greater commitment of time and energy.

Each situation is different. Perhaps where you live the MBA program is your best bet because it’s high quality, affordable and convenient. On the other hand, perhaps the MHA is your best route because you clearly intend to be the CEO of a health system and you need all the knowledge and skills you can find in health care to be considered for the job.

Whichever degree works best for you, get that degree. An advanced degree (whatever it is) will likely do more to boost your career, especially in the early years, than anything else you can do. It’s become the required listing in most executive-level job searches.

Source by Gene Pinder

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