Biotech MBA Programs and Health Care MBA Programs

Updated Dec 13, 2013. 

First, a disclaimer: I am missing a lot of schools that should be considered. The goal here is not to provide a comprehensive list of schools to apply to; rather, my goal is to give a few examples of what MBA Health Sector Management programs can offer for people interested in healthcare/biotech to help ignite the school research process. Many of these programs are highly ranked. Indeed, the strength of the school's brand is one aspect to consider when choosing an MBA program. However, what's most important is to find a program that is the best fit for you - your background and your goals.

Fuqua (Duke)

Median GMAT: 700
Median undergraduate GPA: 3.5
Median work experience: 5 years

MBA Program length (full-time): 2 years

Duke Fuqua's Health Sector Management (HSM) is a concentration in the MBA program with dedicated resources. There are many healthcare-specific electives and a specially designed curriculum. Students attend the Fuqua HSM bootcamp early in summer and can utilize the resources offered by a strong brand. Roughly 90 of the 400 full time Duke MBA students are in the HSM program (~20%), making it the largest healthcare focused program in both absolute number and percentage of total among top business schools. 

One attractive aspect of Duke's MBA curriculum is the short term schedule, allowing core courses to be finished in fall semester of the first year. This allows the spring semester to be filled with healthcare electives, which is great preparation for the internship during the summer. The other programs on this page also offer this flexibility (Wharton began allowing electives in first year in 2012), but it appears Duke's is the most flexible. The next 2 years of my blog will be focused on my experience in this program.

Wharton (U Penn)

Median GMAT: 715
Median undergraduate GPA: 3.6
Median work experience: 6 years

Program length (full-time): 2 years

Similar to Duke, Wharton offers a specific Health Care Management (HCM) major. It provides a ton of electives specific for healthcare and the curriculum is tailored for focused training in the industry. A significant portion of the MBA class is in the program (69 out of 834 enrolled, or 8.3%). Combined, this environment would help researchers gain a broad understanding of the entire healthcare realm to supplement strong R&D expertise. There is also an annual healthcare conference and a healthcare club for extracurricular immersion. One thing to note is that all top schools offer a healthcare conference and club, so this should not be a determining factor for any of the schools on this page.

One attractive aspect for people who do not have Ph.D.s is the MBA/MB in biotechnology joint degree program. It is meant to be finished in 2 years, so it is fairly intensive. In addition, students need to be admitted to both the the business school and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Regardless, it should mesh well with people who have experience in research and want to stay in the biotech industry.

Haas (UC Berkeley)

Median GMAT: 710
Median undergraduate GPA: 3.6
Median work experience: 5 years

Program length (full-time): 2 years; 2.5 years for joint MBA/MPH program

In many aspects Haas makes sense for someone interested in a healthcare and entrepreneurship focused business education. It is located just outside San Fransisco, making it close to major biotech firms and the best start-up environment. It features many healthcare-specific electives and a famous MBA/MPH joint degree program. The MBA/MPH program consists of 2 summer internships, whereas the 2-year MBA programs have only 1. For those who only want to do the MBA, there is the option to do a Health Management Area of Emphasis.

The MBA program is relatively small, with a class size of roughly 200, of which 15 or so are in the joint-degree program. Like the other programs, there is flexibility in the curriculum and there are many healthcare resources such as clubs and conferences. 

Kellogg (Northwestern)

Median GMAT: 710
Median undergraduate GPA: 3.69
Median work experience: 5 years

Program length (full-time): 2 years
MBA Program website
Health Enterprise Management Major website

Kellogg has a well-known Health Enterprise Management (HEMA) major in its MBA program. In fact, one of the eBooks I reviewed shared some insight into the program. Students are required to take 4 healthcare classes to complete the major, including one introductory cornerstone course (similar to HSM bootcamp, I'm assuming). According to the HEMA profile book, 38 out of 484 (7.9%) students in the Class of 2013 were in this healthcare major.


The thing about MBA Health Sector Management programs is that probably any top-20 program will help you achieve your career switch. Other schools not included on this page include the other 2 schools in the top 3 (Harvard and Stanford), MIT Sloan, U Mich Ross, etc. One should also consider the school brand, location, and culture in addition to its curriculum and academic resources.

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