The 5 Best Healthcare MBA Programs

Discover the best MBA programs for healthcare, offering top-notch education and specialized training to excel in the growing healthcare industry. Find your perfect program today with our school deep-dive, including employment and salary info.

Posted May 28, 2024

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Choosing the right MBA program for a career in healthcare is crucial for advancing your opportunities in this rapidly evolving industry. With numerous programs available, finding the best one can be challenging. In this article, we’ll explore the top five MBA programs for healthcare management that stand out for their exceptional faculty, cutting-edge curriculum, and strong industry connections. Whether you're looking to specialize in healthcare management, policy, or innovation, our comprehensive guide will help you identify the best programs to achieve your professional goals and excel in the healthcare sector.

The Top Schools for an MBA in Healthcare Management

Here are our selections for health management MBA programs that are worth considering if you’re interested in combining skills in business management and healthcare.

Duke University – Fuqua School of Business

  • Location: Durham, North Carolina
  • % of Graduates in Healthcare Industry: 6%
    • Biotech/Pharma: 20%
    • Pharmaceuticals - General: 20%
    • Providers/Payers: 20%
    • Other: 20%
    • General Healthcare: 10%
    • Medical Devices: 5%
    • Pharmaceuticals - Manufacturers: 5%
  • Median Salary of Healthcare Graduates: $135,000

Duke Fuqua's traditional (“Daytime”) MBA program is known for its healthcare offerings, which are supplemented by a highly customizable curriculum of 100+ electives in addition to its 13 core classes. MBA candidates can get certified in Health Sector Management by taking a select number of required courses, and can even specialize beyond that.

Read more about the MBA program at Duke here: Duke University Fuqua School of Business — MBA Program & Application Overview

University of Pennsylvania – The Wharton School

  • Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • % of Graduates in Healthcare Industry: 5.4%
  • Median Salary of Healthcare Graduates: $157,500

Wharton's MBA features a flexible curriculum with a strong business foundation and numerous electives. The program stands out with one of the highest median salaries for healthcare graduates at over $150K. Wharton also has a variety of majors its MBA candidates can choose from, including Health Care Management. Note that this major differs from others at Wharton in that students must declare their interest in it at the time of application. For aspiring healthcare leaders, the program at Wharton offers many advantages, including support in mentorship through an alumni program, finding summer internships and permanent employment positions, and research opportunities across different colleges at the University of Pennsylvania.

See more: The Wharton School — MBA Program & Application Overview

University of North Carolina – Kenan-Flagler Business School

  • Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • % of Graduates in Healthcare Industry: 8%
  • Median Salary of Healthcare Graduates: $127,500

The STEM-designated MBA program at UNC Kenan-Flagler provides business and analytical knowledge, leadership experience, and practical opportunities. Full-time MBA candidates can choose from fourteen concentrations, including Healthcare. Students pursuing this concentration benefit from a partnership between Kenan-Flagler and UNC’s School of Medicine, as well as a curriculum grounded in experiential learning through STAR and case competitions.

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor – Ross School of Business

  • Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • % of Graduates in Healthcare Industry: 5.7%
  • Median Salary of Healthcare Graduates: $135,000
    • Median Signing Bonus of Healthcare Graduates: $30,000

The MBA program at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business offers a robust Healthcare Management concentration designed for students aiming to excel in the healthcare industry. This concentration provides a comprehensive curriculum that bridges business acumen with healthcare expertise, leveraging Ross's strong connections with the University of Michigan's top-ranked health system and medical school. Students benefit from hands-on learning experiences, including internships, projects with healthcare organizations, and case competitions that tackle real-world challenges. Additionally, the program emphasizes leadership development and innovation in healthcare, preparing graduates to navigate and impact the evolving landscape of healthcare management effectively.

Read more: University of Michigan Ross School of Business — MBA Program & Application Overview

University of California, Berkeley – Haas School of Business

  • Location: Berkeley, California
  • % of Graduates in Healthcare Industry: 7.5%
  • Median Salary of Healthcare Graduates: $150,000
    • Mean Signing Bonus of Healthcare Graduates: $24,091

The MBA program at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business offers an exceptional pathway for students interested in healthcare. The program combines rigorous business education with in-depth healthcare knowledge, supported by Haas's strategic location in the San Francisco Bay Area, a hub for healthcare innovation and technology. For example, students can access coursework, workshops, internships, and more at Berkeley’s healthcare research centers, including the Berkeley Center for Health Technology (BCHT). Students can engage with the healthcare sector through experiential learning opportunities, including the Haas Healthcare Association and annual Haas Healthcare Conference. Additionally, the program fosters connections with leading healthcare companies and startups, providing students with invaluable industry insights and networking opportunities.

Which Program is Best for You?

The best program for any individual depends on a variety of factors, including location, test scores, personal circumstances, and much more. Andrew Lancaster, director of Lerna Courses, highlights the diversity of choices: "There are dramatic differences in the choices available. The best programs are generally considered to be two-year full-time degrees from the leading business schools," Lancaster explains. "A premium degree has advantages in terms of your resume, the learning experience, and networking opportunities."

For those needing flexibility, online degrees are a solid option. "Online degrees are generally cheaper in terms of tuition fees and can be completed without time off work. The opportunity cost can, therefore, be much lower," says Lancaster.

Lerna Courses offers advice for students making education and career choices, including a guide to online healthcare MBA programs in Australia. Most Australian MBA students are now online learners. However, the on-campus experience is still favored in the US, in part for the networking opportunities and access to campus resources.

Read How to Choose an MBA Program: The Discerning Student's Guide for more.

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Why Get an MBA in Healthcare?

Pursuing an MBA in Healthcare can significantly enhance your career prospects in this rapidly growing and dynamic industry. An MBA program with a healthcare focus equips you with a unique blend of business acumen and industry-specific knowledge, essential for tackling the complex challenges faced by healthcare organizations today. Here are key reasons why you should consider an MBA in Healthcare:

  1. Career Advancement: An MBA in Healthcare opens doors to leadership and executive roles within hospitals, healthcare systems, pharmaceutical companies, and biotech firms. It prepares you for positions such as healthcare administrator, policy analyst, and healthcare consultant.
  2. Industry Growth: The healthcare industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors globally, driven by an aging population, advances in medical technology, and increasing emphasis on healthcare access and quality. This growth translates to abundant career opportunities for MBA graduates.
  3. Interdisciplinary Skills: Healthcare MBA programs provide a curriculum that combines core business principles with specialized healthcare courses. You will learn about healthcare economics, policy, management, and ethics, giving you a comprehensive skill set to address industry-specific challenges.
  4. Networking Opportunities: MBA programs offer extensive networking opportunities with peers, alumni, industry leaders, and faculty. Building a strong professional network can be invaluable for career development and staying updated on industry trends.
  5. Impactful Work: Working in healthcare allows you to make a meaningful difference in people's lives. With an MBA, you can lead initiatives that improve patient care, streamline healthcare operations, and contribute to the overall health and well-being of communities.
  6. Adaptability: The healthcare industry is constantly evolving, and an MBA program teaches you how to navigate and adapt to these changes. Whether it's through innovative healthcare delivery models or advancements in healthcare technology, you will be well-prepared to lead and innovate.

By obtaining an MBA in Healthcare, you position yourself at the forefront of an industry that is vital to society and brimming with opportunities for growth and innovation.

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