Hey friends! My name is Kamali. I am a dual degree MD/MBA student at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey. I have already completed my business degree, just finished my 3rd year of medical school, and I am beginning a research year in orthopedic surgery. Clearly I’m in favor of pursuing non-traditional avenues in medical school! Business degrees are rarely seen as an option for medical students, but my experience definitely developed a mentality that will help while working with patients and building my career. I loved every second of business school and would do it again in a heartbeat! Feel free to ask me any questions about dual degree opportunities and follow my journey as a medical student and international fencer on my blog, Saber & A Stethoscope!
Be Your Own Boss: Doctors With an MBA, it’s a New Trend!
Long before medical school, I dreamt of becoming a pediatrician with my own practice. I wanted to be my own boss, set my own hours and be completely in control. The only problem was my lack of business experience. Junior year of college, I contemplated a business minor, but decided on psychology because it better aligned with the sciences.
Upon arrival to Robert Wood Johnson Medical School for my interview, I was sweating bullets, of course, but eager to see what this school had to offer. We sat through an introductory PowerPoint that listed Alma matters of the current students, diversity statistics, and finally, dual degree programs. Remembering my dreams of entrepreneurship, I perked up immediately. The MD/MBA program partnered with Rutgers Business School (the #1 Public MBA school in the NYC area) and would only take one year! Walking out of my interview, I knew RWJMS would be the school for me.
During my second year of medical school, I was pursuing the 2016 Olympic fencing team and knew the following year would be the perfect time to get an MBA. Thus far, I gained tons of medical knowledge, but it was clear when it came to business comprehension we were left to our own defenses. How does insurance and billing work? Why is everyone always complaining about Medicaid? I was eager to learn about the inner workings of the healthcare industry.
Business school was comparable to learning a new language. My classmates had years of experience and could utilize phrases such as consumer behavior and strategic pricing. I just spent two years mastering words like hyperbilirubinemia and was back at square one. But I loved every second. Finance, econ, and accounting taught the basics of entrepreneurship: how money was lost, how it was gained, and how to manage it appropriately. My professors encouraged me to consider purchasing stocks, retirement plans, and real estate to start building investments. Second semester was dedicated to my healthcare management concentration. My classes focused on big pharma, pharmaceutical pricing, specific details of the Affordable Care Act, and consumer behavior in relation to private practices and hospitals. The following summer, I wanted to test my newfound skills and landed an internship at WebMD.
Walking across the stage at graduation, I couldn’t be happier with this decision. I felt more prepared as an adult eventually entering the workforce. In addition to becoming financially cognizant, I became business savvy enough to understand how to advance my career with networking and maintaining close connections. Once my medical education is complete, not only will I understand my craft, but can ensure sure my work is financially rewarding. More schools are offering 1- year dual degree MD/MBA programs (you can’t beat that!) and I encourage every medical student to consider this avenue. Besides learning valuable information, you can gain excellent life skills medical school may not provide.
Thank you Kamali for sharing your insight on a dual degree in medicine and business. We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours!