Thoughts on Having an MBA in Medical School

Entering medical school after completing my MBA has been both an advantageous and challenging transition. The MBA Program at the Rotman School of Management – University of Toronto – taught me to be a big picture thinker. In studying Health Policy and Healthcare Markets, I explored areas of healthcare reform within Canada, while drawing from international markets that offered potential solutions. The ability to wear this analytical hat, while in medical school, has proven quite beneficial in enriching our small group discussions with an alternative perspective. As an example, while discussing universal health care in Canada, I offered the dissenting opinion that healthcare was not, in fact, a birth right, and substantiated this claim by citing evidence of several countries, where healthcare is a privilege – one that can only be accessed in the highest quality by the highest payers.

In completing courses, such as Health Sector Strategy and Strategic Change and Management, I studied systems-level changes using frameworks of cost-benefit analysis, feasibility vs. impact models, etc. Having this toolkit available to me has allowed me to contribute a realistic understanding of process change in healthcare and policy implementation, when for example participating in quality improvement or advocacy initiatives.

The final major way having studied in an MBA has served quite valuable in medical school is that it has moulded me into a realistic professional, that sometimes separates me from the more idealistic medical student. I have had the opportunity to work within both the public and private spheres of Ontario healthcare after completing my MBA, and the totality of experiences truly rounded out and broadened some of the perspectives I had as an undergraduate Health Sciences student. I now have a better understanding of the constraints that will become a reality when I am a practicing physician and the likely demands of balancing a work and home life.

At times, however, the transition from the corporate world to the world of medicine has been challenging for me. Notably, my ability to pay attention to details while studying is a little out of practice. I’ve trained myself to look for trends and find summary tables or diagrams key to understanding concepts, but am still honing my ability to study, understand, and remember some of the finer concepts of a particular disease state, for example.

My career thus far has had notable shifts along the way, all of which I am very grateful for and know will be influential in shaping my future career as a physician and a professional. I anticipate being able to integrate my expertise in both fields while delivering excellent patient care, and hopefully achieving macro-level change in our future healthcare system.

Looking for additional resources or have more questions on alternative and different pathways to medicine? Book a 1-on-1 consultation with a medical student who has been admitted to medical school after taking the non-traditional route to get there!