While you may think that everything that makes a student special enough to gain acceptance into medical school would also be enough to launch a successful start up, there are a growing number of opportunities designed to support the entrepreneurial ambitions of medical students. Truthfully, the MD degree combined with an MBA degree is one of the most versatile credentials in the world of higher education. Over the last 20 years, the number of MD/MBA programs has increased fivefold.

There is no shortage of highly-successful health care startups led and championed by MDs. And while there are physician entrepreneurs who do not complete MBA programs, there is no shortage of highly-successful healthcare startups led and championed by MDs. Naturally, students who are pursuing careers in medicine want to help people, make a difference in the lives of their patients or in the world of research. Some of these students follow their passion to do good for others through their commitment to their patients or their research efforts. Others see things a little differently and at some point are driven to “start something.” The number of medical students turning to dual-degree MD/MBA programs to prepare them for taking on entrepreneurial roles continues to rise and the interest for programs that offer students the opportunity to pursue the business side of things is steadily growing.

Whether it’s to get a better grasp around the business side of medicine or to prepare for developing their own venture, students can now choose from several MD/MBA programs across the US, according to the Association of MD/MBA Programs. What’s more, MD/MBA graduates reported mostly positive attitudes towards their training and often noted the benefits of career acceleration, and professional flexibility, according to a recent study led by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. “Our findings may have significant implications for current and future physician-managers as the landscape of health care reform will likely require leaders to have a better balance between clinical care and business savvy. Graduates with MD and MBA training could potentially fill this browning need within the sector.” The following is a list of MD/MBA programs – but not just any programs. Among the schools listed, you’ll find those which not only offer a medical degree but have joined forces with some of the most notable and distinguished entrepreneurial programs in the country. From recognized entrepreneurial cents and special conferences to curriculum specializations in entrepreneurship and business plan competitions, the following schools make our list of the top schools to consider if you’re a pre-med thinking about becoming a physician entrepreneur.

Jones Graduate School of Management


This 5-year program offers entrepreneurship courses for student who have the desire to have the option of becoming an entrepreneur by either starting a new venture or purchasing an existing business. Specific courses consider entrepreneurial opportunities in biotechnology and life sciences. Students have the option to take courses in managing growth, develop- ing a business plan, and venture capital. Students spend the first two years taking courses at the medical school with the third and fourth year split between the medical school and the business school. The fifth year is spent taking final courses at the medical school.

Boston University School of Management


This 5-year program is designed for students who are specifically interested in the business aspects of medicine. According to the school’s website, recipients of this degree generally intend to practice medicine, but have long-term entrepreneurial or management interest that they want to pursue simultaneously with, or subsequent to, their clinical careers. The school has an Entrepreneurship concentration which promotes the effective use of knowledge and skills gained from an MBA in creating value in an entrepreneurial venture.

Fuqua School of Business


Created in 1999, Fuqua’s Health Sector Management (HSM) Program was created and now ranks among the top health industry business school concentrations in the world. In addition to HSM, students have the option to complete the Entrepreneurship & Innovation concentration which involves a broad set of electives and includes one course that provides hands-on experience.

Harvard Business School


The Harvard Medical School and Harvard Business School established this 5-year program in 2005. It is designed to educate prospective leaders of a wide range of health care organiza- tions, such as those that finance and deliver health services as well as those that develop and market pharmaceutical, medical devices, and other health-related products. Specifically, the program requires a course called “The Entrepreneurial Manager” which “addresses the issues faced by managers who wish to turn opportunity into viable organizations that create value, and empowers students to develop their own approaches, guidelines, and skills for being entrepreneurial managers.” Then in the fifth year, students can choose from elective curriculum courses including but not limited to: Entrepreneurship and Global Capitalism, Entrepreneurial Leadership in Creative Industries, and Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovation Education.

Stern School of Business


This 5-year program is an immersive program where students enrolled in the program spend the first three years at NYU School of Medicine. The summer of the third year through the spring semester of the fourth year, students spend their time at NYU Stern to pursue MBA coursework. Then students return to the medical school for the summer and fall of their fifth year, followed by a final semester at NYU Stern in the spring of the fifth year. Students who pursue the MD/MBA degree take 9 less credits than if they were to complete the stand-alone MBA. In addition, students can take advantage of the credit-sharing benefits of the program which allows them to receive credit for certain aspects of the medical school curriculum. Another nice benefit for those applying to the MD/MBA program is that the GMAT or GRE, which are normally required for the MBA program, is waived and applicants need only complete the MCAT to be considered for the program. All MBA electives and specializations, including Entrepreneurship and Innovation which offers courses like Business Start-Up Practicum, Entrepreneurial Finance, Marketing for Entrepreneurs, and New Venture Financing, are available to MD/MBA students.

University of Buffalo School of Management


This five-year program leads to both an MD and an MBA de- gree. In addition to the 27 hours of core courses, students in the program complete 18 hours of MBA electives. The school offers an array of opportunities for entrepreneurs through innovative programming and strategic partnerships including the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, the Allstate Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs program, and the Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition.

Smeal College of Business


In December 2013, the Smeal College of Business and the Penn State College of Medicine admitted its first student to the newly developed MD/MBA program. For the program, students spend the first three years at the College of Medicine to complete the standard medical school curriculum. Then during the fourth year, students move to the Smeal MBA Program to participate in the standard first-year MBA curriculum. The fifth year consists of a mix of both business and medicine. Aside from the standard MBA curriculum, the school has an open-enrollment program called Launch Pad: Mastering the Essentials of Business Start Up, which is designed for individuals with the desire to start their own business or those who wish to be in a position to advise others. The Launch Pad is a two-day program, taught by faculty leaders who are experienced, accomplished entrepreneurs in their own right.

Northeastern University College of Business Administration and Heller Graduate School at Brandeis University
Wikipedia/John Phelan

Wikipedia/John Phelan

The Tufts MD/MBA program is one of the oldest and largest MD/MBA programs in the country with the program’s inception in 1994. Unlike most dual degree programs, this program is integrated to make sure you finish both degrees in 4 years. Students do however occasionally take a fifth year to do research in business or management if they so chose. When it comes to entrepreneurial opportunities, the third year of the program entails students taking a Entrepreneurship Boot Camp course which is designed to provide an intellectual and practical framework for combined degree MD/MBA students interested in exercising their entrepreneurial energy to solve problems in healthcare and will explore the process of launching a new venture, particularly in the healthcare sector. The MD/MBA program also organizes weekend get together such as the Tufts 3-Day Startup MedSTART events.

The Paul Merage School of Business

bestschools_UnivofCaliforniaIrvine_Hoang Xuan Pham UC Irvine

Students in the program complete a five-year combined curriculum leading to an MD from the UC Irvine School of Medicine and an MBA from the UC Irvine Paul Merage School of Business. Healthcare-related courses previously offered at the business school included: Healthcare Entrepreneurship: From Physician to CEO which is a course structured to build business development skills to create and manage a medical practice or a science-based enterprise and Development of New Ventures in Healthcare Services which is designed to introduce students to the process of developing a medical services company. The business school is also home to the Don Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship which serves as the hub of thought leadership in the important science of innovation management.

Anderson School of Management


The MBA/MD program allows current UCLA/UCR/ Drew MD students to participate in a combined 5?year program. Students successfully completing the program will be awarded both the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and the MD degree. The core goal of the combined MBA/MD Program is to create educational opportunities for students to become effective “bilingual” leaders in both clinical and business environments. Students in the program have the opportunity to choose from several advanced electives that focus on entrepreneurial or emerging ventures. These courses include venture initiation, small business management, financing emerging enterprises, and business plan writing. In addition, the school has an entire center dedicated to entrepreneurial studies; one that is a recognized leader in entrepreneurial education and research, oversees all teaching, research, extracurricular, and community activities related to entrepreneurship at the Anderson School of Management.

University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Photo by Tom Rossiter

Photo by Tom Rossiter

Students complete the first two years of medical school before taking a yearlong leave of absence to pursue full-time coursework at Chicago Booth. Following the year of full-time MBA work, students return to the medical school for their clinical clerkship year. During their fourth and final year of the MD degree, students take electives at both the Pritzker School of Medicine and Chicago Booth. Among the 14 concentrations offered by Chicago Booth is Entrepreneurship which offers a curriculum designed to integrate all business areas including marketing, finance, operations, and strategy. From New Venture Strategy to Commercialization Innovation, students will have the option to take courses that address their individual interests. Chicago Booth’s entrepreneurship curriculum integrates all business areas including marketing, finance, operations, and strategy, and takes students beyond the classroom, allowing them to test themselves in real-world settings. Students have the option of taking courses that address individual career choices. Sample courses include: New Venture Strategy, Commercializing Innovation, and Entrepreneurial Finance and Private Equity.

University of Connecticut School of Business


The Doctor of Medicine program is offered at the University of Connecticut Health Center. Usually, students complete the first two years of study in the School of Medicine, enroll in the full time MBA program for the third year, and then return to the Health Center to take electives in both the School of Medicine and the MBA program. MD/MBA students are required to complete 42 credits in the MBA program. As a full-time participant in the MBA program, students have access to UConn’s Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation which offers many programs including, Business Plan Competition, Startup Weekend Storrs, seminars, and mentoring services.

Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona


The Eller College is home to the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, a recognized leader in entrepreneurship education designed to give students the tools needed to launch an enterprise or innovate from within an existing company. The program is five years in length with the first two years in the UA College of Medicine, the third within the Eller College of Business, and the final two years at the UA College of Medicine with a continuing connection to the resources and classes at the Eller College of Management. The Eller College is home to the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, a recognized leader in entrepreneurship education designed to give students the tools needed to launch their enterprise or innovative idea. MD/MBA students are offered elec- tives such as Industrial Analysis and New Venture Development, New Venture Finance, Planning of New Ventures, and Social Entrepreneurship.

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth


This 5/6-year combined MD/ MBA program is offered by Dartmouth Medical School and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. The MD/MBA degree offers students diverse career opportunities in areas such consulting and entrepreneurship. The five year program is tightly scheduled to allow further medical training or accelerated progression into a career, saving one year’s tuition. The six year track allows students to experience the full impact of both programs, including the Tuck Summer Internship Program. Course work with the program is individualized and determined by the student, with guidance from the MD/MBA directors. Educational plans vary, though students typically spend the first three years at Dartmouth Medical School, acquiring a thorough grounding in the basic sciences in the classroom and laboratory,

and intensive clinical training at the Darthmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. The fourth year of the program is spent at the Tuck School of Business, where the school’s innovative core curriculum provides training in the broad integrative skills that are the hallmark of organizational leadership. In the fifth year, students complete their medical clerkships and required courses, as well as electives for both schools, integrating the experience of the previous four years and applying it to areas of their own special interest. For students who have chosen the six- year option, years five and six are divided between medical school and business school, which allows the student to participate in the Tuck Sum- mer Internship Program, as well as spread their electives out between the two schools.

Marshall School of Business


This 5 1?2 -year combined MD/ MBA program is offered by the Keck School of Medicine and the Marshall School of Business. Students admitted into the program begin a year of core MBA courses following the successful completion of the first two years of medical school. During the last two and a half years of this dual degree program, students participate in their clinical clerkships at Keck School of Medicine, and students will get the opportunity to take elective courses at the Marshall School of Business which offers a wide range of entrepreneurial-related courses.

Creighton University College of Business


This 5-year combined MD/MBA pro- gram is offered through Creighton University’s School of Medicine and the Creighton College of Business. The MBA degree is largely completed during a yearlong absence from medical school. Students in the program complete the MBA curriculum as full-time students between the second and third years of medical school. Prior admission to medical school and the MCAT score implied by that admission is accepted in lieu of a GMAT score submission for this program. One hallmark of the program is its flexibility – as long as students take at least 15 credits during their year-long absence from medical school between years 2 and 3, they can complete the remaining 14 hours for the MBA degree in a number of different ways. This flexibility will give students the opportunity to work at jobs or internships, conduct research, and engage in other activities that enhance their practical experience. Through this MD/ MBA program students have the opportunity to delve deeper into bioscience entrepreneurship courses such as Technology Commercialization and Bioscience Entrepreneurship.

University of Lousiville College of Business


This program is designed to prepare students whether they involve managing their own practice or developing and marketing discoveries and medical devices. “Combining a second degree with medical education helps to experience health through the lens of diverse disciplines including the humanities, business, policy, public health and other diverse disciplines.” What’s more, the College of Business was selected as the National Model MBA Entrepreneurship Program and their programs in entrepreneur-ship are regularly ranked among the best. The school’s Forcht Center for Entrepreneurship offers a suite of programs that are designed to develop and nurture entrepreneurial skills, experiences, and opportunities. The nationally ranked Entrepre- neurship MBA gives students provides training to launch new businesses. The 20-month program is ranked #18 among the best Entrepreneurship MBA programs in the country. Additionally, students who are accepted into the Entrepre- neurship MBA program by the priority deadline receive $1000 scholarship.

Carlson School of Management


The MD/MBA Dual Degree program was developed for students who have already been enrolled in the University of Minnesota MD Program. This program serves students who wish to earn an MBA degree as well as their MD. Students apply to the Full-Time MBA Program during fall of their second year of medical school, but do not begin the MBA program until the fourth year of this five-year dual degree program. Both degrees are completed in five years. To complete in this time frame students carry a very demanding course load. After acceptance into the dual degree program, students meet with both their MD and MBA advisors to be sure that their study plan satisfies both degree requirements. While the dual degree MD/MBA enables students to complete the two degrees in a shorter time frame than they would if the degrees were pursued separately, it does not diminish the cost or number of credits required for each program. MD/MBA graduates go on to working in healthcare entrepreneurship and new device development, pharma- ceuticals, and direct care in professional settings. They also become key advisors in policy and government, able to balance the concerns of individual health needs and organizational and institutional constraints.

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

bestschools_UnivofPennPerelman School of Medicine

This 5-year combined MD/ MBA program is offered by the Perelman School of Medicine and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. While the majority of students who matriculate in the MD/BA program enroll in the Health Care Management major at Wharton, other majors like Entrepreneurial Management, are also available. The Entrepreneurial Management major provides MBA students with skills, analytical tools, perspectives, and experiences that prepare them for careers as autonomous entrepreneurs, family-business entrepreneurs, or entrepreneurs in corporate settings. Whether a student wants to start a business while in school, join an emerging business, or set the groundwork to launch a new firm later in his or her career, the program aims to provide preparation for all of these exciting options. The program combines theory with practice, providing students the opportunity to test the theories, models, and strategies learned in the classroom by creating real business plans, working on other field projects, and gaining access and insight from leaders in the entrepreneurial business community.

Owen Graduate School of Management


Vanderbilt’s joint MD/MBA program seeks to equip innovative physician-leaders with an interwoven expertise in both management and medicine to help achieve those future imperatives. The joint MD/ MBA degree takes five years to complete, a savings of one year compared to the length of time required to earn the two degrees separately. Students spend their first three years in the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. They then enroll in the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management for year four and take courses in both schools in year five. Vanderbilt MD/MBA graduates may pursue a broad array of career paths, including entrepreneurship.

The Johnson School of Management at Cornell University

This 5-year program offers students the option of earning an MBA degree in 12 months and is designed for students who want to pursue a career in medicine and business, preparing them for leadership roles in major health organizations, pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology firms, and other health-related businesses. Students who will receive a dual degree will begin their program in the medical college and take a one-year leave of absence between the third and fourth years. They then join the Johnson School’s Accelerated MBA (AMBA) program in May of their third year of medical school and complete the MBA degree requirements by the following May. The MBA degree is granted after the student completes the fourth year of medical school and obtains the MD degree. Each year, one medical or graduate student is granted a full-tuition scholarship for the Johnson School portion of the Accelerated MBA program. Many of our alumni who have earned an MBA in addition to an MD have developed entrepreneurial ventures in medically related fields such as drug delivery, diagnostic processes, biotechnology, and nanotechnology.

Stephen M. Ross School of Business


The MD/MBA Program is a five-year integrated program. Students accepted into the Program will spend their first three years in Medical School, completing the M1, M2, and M3 course work. These students will then matriculate in Michigan’s Ross School of Business complete the full first year MBA course load as their fourth program year, and complete an MBA summer internship, if desired, between the fourth and fifth program years. In the fifth year, students will spend one semester completing the MD requirements, and the other semester completing the MBA requirements. The business school offers a variety of entrepreneurial-related electives including, but not limited to, Legal Aspects of Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship via Acquisitions, New Venture Creations, and Entrepreneurial Management.

Drexel University LeBow College of Business


This joint degree program is geared towards addressing the growing need of physicians to have the business skills for managing corporate medical prac- tices, hospitals and related organizations, as well as contribute to health policy development. The Institute connects students to funding and legal resources and is designed for students to provide the infrastructure they need to get things done. Ad-ditionally, students have access to incubation space, accounting and tax resources, and help to secure funding. What’s more, mentors are available to meet with any Drexel student and companies incubating in Baiada are also assigned a dedicated mentor that provides personalized support throughout the venture development process.

A.B. Freeman School of Business
Tulane University

Tulane University

This 5-year combined MD/ MBA program is designed to train physicians with expertise in management practice and principles, expertise in marketing practice and principles, and expertise in financial management. Students in the program save a year of training when compared to getting both degrees separately. In addition, scholarships are available for qualified MD students who pursue the additional MBA degree. Accepted students spend the fourth year of the program in the Freeman School. The 5th year of the program is divided between the medical school and the Freeman School. Although not specific to the health care sector, students in the combined program are able to use their clinical experiences gained from their third year of medical school to effectively participate in teams formed as part of the business curriculum. Students have the opportunity to take elective courses in the Freeman School to further their education in areas of entrepreneurship. The School of Business offers a variety of courses for students of entrepreneurship, including but not limited to, Management of Technology and Innovation, Negotiations, Social Entrepreneurship, and New Venture Planning.

This article was published in the July/August 2014 issue of PreMedLife Magazine.