How to Choose the Best Online MBA Degree

This article offers comprehensive information about earning an online MBA, as it applies to the healthcare space. You will learn why you would want to earn this graduate degree, possible healthcare-related specializations with the most promising outlook, and the best online MBA programs currently available.

A Master of Business Administration or MBA helps business professionals to develop more advanced skills in business management, which apply to many different fields and industries in the healthcare field.

What an MBA Can Do For You

An MBA will provide you with a strong business foundation in best practices in business management with coursework in accounting, marketing, finance and management. The MBA is one of the most beneficial degree choices for business professionals who want to hone their business management skills to improve their marketability and salary in the long term for many healthcare-related fields.

One of the biggest advantages of earning an MBA is that there are literally dozens of specialities you can pursue in many online MBA programs that can be applied to the healthcare field. This is a good thing for your career: According to US News and World Report, healthcare remains as one of the biggest bright spots for newly minted MBAs. And there are many different job possibilities for MBAs in healthcare organizations, regardless of your concentration.

Most Common MBA Specializations

The exact specialties that are available depend upon which online MBA program that you select. It is a good idea to choose an MBA program with a particularly strong reputation in the field in which you are most interested. The specializations you see most frequently are the following, most of which are often needed in the healthcare industry:

  • Healthcare administration: While healthcare management and administration do not get as much press as a top MBA specialization, the fact is that with the tremendous growth in health care jobs in the next decade, having business management skills in the healthcare field will be very important. In fact, it is believed that healthcare jobs overall will grow 19% by 2024. So, there will also be a strong need for effective business managers in health care facilities.
  • Marketing: Marketing is an important part of any healthcare related enterprise. Pharmaceutical and medical device companies need to have marketing MBAs who have advanced skills in marketing healthcare related products. Some healthcare organizations also hire marketing MBAs because they have to compete for patients and business just like any other private organization.
  • Economics: Many economic variables have an effect on health care organizations, and economics MBAs are needed to focus on the economic variables that are unique to the healthcare sector.
  • Finance: This is one of the most popular MBA specializations over the years. Corporate investment and accounting are always complex, and there always will be a strong need for expert business finance professionals to lead the finance department of health care organizations and medical product companies.
  • Information technology: IT is a vital part of any growing business in the 21st century, and it takes up to date business IT expertise to keep the productivity of health care organizations high. And with medical privacy laws, IT MBAs are needed to keep these organizations compliant with all relevant state and federal laws.
  • Supply chain management: Some companies have extremely complex supply chains today, given how the marketplace really is global in scope. This is also the case for drug and medical device companies, as well as hospitals and medical facilities. You can have your headquarters in the US, with suppliers all over Europe, and manufacturing plants in Asia.This specialization provides you with the foundational skills to manage these types of complex supply chains in the healthcare field.

Hot Healthcare MBA Occupation

As noted above, many types of MBA specializations can be applicable to the health care space. One of the most popular healthcare jobs for many MBAs, however, is that of a medical or health services manager. This position also can be called healthcare executive or healthcare administrator.

It is possible for medical and health services manages to have an MBA background in many different areas, as well as a background in healthcare administration.

A medical or health services manager with an MBA could run the business operations of an entire facility, a certain area of a medical facility or even provide business expertise to a group of medical professionals in an office.

Many MBAs with a finance, accounting or healthcare background find that they are a good fit for this position at a health care facility, due to businesses courses that focused both on management and health care disciplines.

This field is expected to expand by 17% by 2024, so there will be many healthcare management positions available as more health care services are offered, and more health care professionals are hired.

The Importance of Accreditation

As you are researching a possible online MBA program for your future, it is important for you to understand that proper accreditation of the program is critical. One of the most highly regarded MBA program accreditation agencies is AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). It is the largest business education accreditation organization in the world.

When you see that your online MBA program is accredited by the AACSB, you can feel a sense of confidence that the program is of very high quality. Not only do you know that you are learning critical business management skills; your potential or current employer also know it.

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Online MBA Program Options

University of North Carolina

As you keep the above information in mind, you should have a good idea of the type of online MBA that may interest you. Our research has indicated that the below online MBA program is worth your consideration:

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Earning your online MBA from a top-ranked MBA program such as the University of North Carolina will put you in line for the best career advancement opportunities. This two year, AACSB-accredited online program combines highly interactive online modules, self-paced classes, and in-person learning into one of the best MBA programs in the US.

The MBA program at the University of North Carolina features:

  • Highly rigorous and engaging courses: Your classes are delivered through several multimedia offerings. The program features a mobile app so that you can finish your coursework from anywhere, 24/7, even if you do not have an Internet connection.
  • Live classes: While many classes are self-paced, once per week you will have live, video collaborative discussions with your instructors and fellow students. These interactive sessions are very important to the quality of the program, as you will develop strong networking connections with many of your peers and professors. The student to faculty ratio is never higher than 15:1, so you will always get plenty of individual attention.
  • Global immersive experiences: You have the option of attending several hands on learning immersive experiences that are held in cities around the world.

This online MBA program consists of 66 credit hours that most are able to complete in 18-36 months, depending upon your personal and professional obligations. You can choose from eight concentrations, most of which can be applied to healthcare-related occupations:

  • Corporate Finance
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Global Supply Chain Management
  • Marketing
  • Investment Management
  • Sustainable Enterprise
  • Management Consulting
  • Data Analytics and Decision Making

This program is all about results as well; according to the University of North Carolina’s MBA program statistics:

  • 76% of students were promoted or changed jobs into a higher position
  • 29% average salary hikes after graduation
  • 500+ job changes or promotions since the program’s start in 2011

The curriculum consists of eight core classes that will build your foundational business skills and knowledge. You also will have the chance to take elective classes that you can use to craft your MBA experience for your specific healthcare-related position. Core classes are:

  • Analytical Tools
  • Business Communication
  • Business Strategy
  • Economics
  • Financial Accounting
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Operations Management

After you graduate, you can continue to take MBA classes if you like for a very low cost. This is a unique benefit of the UNC program that allows alumni to continue to refresh their business knowledge. Also, there are new electives developed every year, and you may find a course that appeals to you long after you graduate.

Online MBA Program – Temple University

The Fox School of Business at Temple University has been ranked as Best in the Nation by US News and World Report for the quality and convenience of its online MBA program.

temple-university-mba

This program has a very rigorous and interactive approach to give you the tools, skills and knowledge that you need to be a successful MBA manager or executive. All online MBA learning in this program is organized by teams. Most of the assignments that you complete are collaborative in nature so that you can leverage all of your skills and talent and experiences together as a team.

The main goals of this two or three year online MBA program are:

  • To learn cutting edge analytical and quantitative problem solving
  • To learn effective management skills for an international business environment
  • To learn how to be a more effective business communicator
  • To know more about pressing ethical issues and implications in health care business decisions
  • To learn how to be a strategic business thinker
  • To discover how to work as a team on business projects and to work as a team player

The online program is designed so that students, staff and faculty are able to work together to create a highly supportive learning community. To help get these relationships started, you will start your MBA program with a one week residency at the main campus in Philadelphia. You will complete your first class on the campus, network and engage in professional team building work. .

The core courses in this AACSB-accredited online program are:

  • Financial Accounting
  • Leadership Development
  • Quantitative Methods for Business
  • Industrial Organization for Business Strategy
  • Managing Risk
  • Business Strategy for a Global Environment
  • Financial Analysis and Strategy
  • Operations Management
  • Information Technology Management
  • Marketing Management
  • Law and Ethical Foundations

Your six areas of concentrations that you can choose, all of which can be applied to the healthcare sector:

  • Business Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • HR Management
  • Marketing Management
  • Strategic Management

Summary

Earning your online MBA degree will provide you with many important skills that can translate well into virtually any business environment. What is especially important to remember is that if you are strongly interested in a health care business career, you can apply most of the major MBA concentrations in some way to the healthcare field.

If you currently hold a business management position in a health care-related organization, you will be able to easily translate most of what you are learning in your MBA program to your job. This is the case whether you specialize in finance, health care, accounting, marketing, or another specialty.

Written by Robert Sanchez
Robert Sanchez is HealthGrad.com's Chief Editorialist. Robert Sanchez has over 10 years experience in the Healthcare field and more recently has become an avid writer advising on career and job topics in this exciting field.

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