Can I do an MBA after CSE?

MBA for Clinical Doctors: Understanding More of Business

More and more clinicians are acquiring economic knowledge. The Master of Business Administration is an option for those who want to do so with a view to top management positions.

Doctors who want to make a career in hospitals today have to be able to demonstrate far more than just professional expertise. When filling medical management positions, hospital managers or board members expect leadership qualities and business skills. “In the medical service”, so the study “Future for the Hospital”, published by the Robert Bosch Foundation in 2007, “has already achieved an MBA qualification in addition to the habilitation in the announcement of new chief physician positions”.

The postgraduate degree Master of Business Administration (MBA) is proof of interdisciplinary qualification. What still has the character of something special in Germany is already commonplace in Austria: "The fact that the Austrian chief physician (primary) qualifies with an MBA is sometimes even an entry requirement," says management consultant and coach Jens Hollmann, who works at universities in Germany and Austria teaches.

Currently, like the Hanoverian Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Hellmann states that, with regard to the target group of hospital doctors, a distinction is made primarily between industry-specific (health care) and facility-specific programs (hospital). The first-mentioned group includes the MBA Health Care Management and Master’s programs in health economics, often with a focus on health services research and ethics and less hospital-specific, as well as the Master of Health Business Administration (MHBA). A facility-specific program is the MHM / MBA of the universities of Hanover and Neu-Ulm with a specific focus on senior physicians. Generalized programs on questions of general corporate governance (e.g. Anglo-American programs) are neglected in this article.

According to Hellmann, three co-ordinates are often decisive for the MBA Health Care Management: Quality improvement in the health system, cost savings through business management-oriented management and process optimization, with the gradual move away from the functional process and structural organization towards process orientation. A development, according to the human biologist, “which is associated with flatter hierarchies, equivalence of professions and services and larger investments that depend on the current level of process orientation. In Germany, however, this development is still in its infancy. "

The MBA Health Care Management programs are aimed at doctors, employees in the pharmaceutical industry and employees in hospital administrations. After ten years of experience in the cross-sector MBA, Danube University Krems has also designed the six-semester MBA course "Management in Healthcare Management (specialization in hospital management)", also with a view to the requirement profiles of the clinics: In the Vienna Hospital Association, for example, one of the largest health facilities in Europe, senior physicians are required to complete a three-semester university course in Healthcare Management. The background is the measurability of qualifications in the application process. In the “Hospital and Health Management” course in Krems, occupational group-specific courses are offered, for example only for doctors, for nursing or rescue services, but some modules must be completed together. "A very useful practice room," says department head Dr. Andrea Gruber, “in order to also get into dialogue in the hospital”.

The MBA course in Krems includes a core curriculum that includes leadership qualifications, methodological and social skills as well as business administration, controlling and project management. One module of the advanced curriculum focuses on hospital management and process optimization. Operating theater management and clinic marketing are offered as electives. Finally, the students work on case studies. Around 80 percent of the course requires attendance, accompanied by blended learning (virtual seminars). ECTS points are credited to students across Europe based on the European Credit Transfer System. After four semesters, the student can graduate with a Master of Science degree.

The only distance learning course within the scope of postgraduate degrees is the MHBA at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Nürnberg-Erlangen, which is geared towards health care. The main target group are doctors in managerial positions who want to acquire health economic competence while working. Chief Physician Dr. med. Michael Schmidt completed the four-semester distance learning course with precisely this objective. "Neither during their studies nor in training and further education, doctors are given the background on how to run a clinic," says Schmid. “On the other hand, they are constantly confronted with questions about the budget.” The doctor applies for a new device, the buyer refuses: “No, you won't get that now.” Usually the doctor then applies the rejection as a person and is offended, the conflict programmed. “Thinking economically in the interests of the hospital as an organization is alien to most doctors,” summarizes Schmidt. “Understanding the language of the management” was an important motivation for the chief physician to complete his studies parallel to his professional involvement as senior physician.

The transferred learning material is checked in the homework to be sent. In the first three semesters there is an attendance weekend with lectures and an exam. The master's thesis is written in the fourth semester; the topic is selected in coordination with the institute. The students can make their own suggestions. In terms of content, aspects such as the development of the hospital landscape, the interlinking of outpatient and inpatient care and the financing of the health system are dealt with. “For many doctors, it is new territory,” says Schmidt, “how a hospital regulates its income and expenses in order to even make a profit at the end of the year. We doctors have no idea about that. It would be so important to have knowledge about this in order to be able to have a competent say and participate in decision-making. "

The hospital-specific MHM / MBA program Hannover / Neu-Ulm includes a special approach. Here, the graduates can acquire the postgraduate degree of Medical Hospital Manager after just two semesters and then an unrestricted MBA from the University of Applied Sciences Neu-Ulm - all at the Hanover location. Addressees are specialists, senior physicians and chief physicians as well as medical directors. The content of the MHM course with a total of almost 400 teaching units is centered on hospital and integrated care management for doctors.

The first semester is characterized by a generalist approach with the basics of corporate management including marketing, personnel management and aspects of leadership behavior. The second semester follows hospital management with medical and hospital law, health policy and economics. The third and fourth semesters for attaining the MBA focus on applied project management, IT-supported structure and process organization with an excursion abroad. Graduates with the MHM degree can have 60 percent of the course hours credited to the three-stage quality management curriculum of the German Medical Association. “Actually, everything that is important for the clinician is already included in the MHM,” says Hellmann. However, the MBA has a signal function to the administration: "This senior doctor knows something about our business."

Whether a clinician with career ambitions chooses face-to-face or distance learning is also a question of the graduate's expectations. Human biologist Hellmann defends compulsory attendance: The basics of business administration can also be mastered online, "Communication and leadership also have to do with the exchange of experience, that only works in the face-to-face seminar." Department head Gruber from Krems also emphasizes the advantages of being present: Due to the concentrated preparation, perhaps even optimized in comparison with a distance learning course, in which the student always has the pressure on his neck to have to devote himself to the course content again. ”Above all, however, learning with simulations of concrete events from the home screen is not makeable. And: “There is a high added value in networking.” A less important moment for chief physician Schmidt: “I didn't miss networking. I went there with the premise of becoming head physician in my hospital, for me the content-related training was important ”.

As a lecturer in the MBA course in Krems, Jens Hollmann sets two priorities: “How do I manage effectively as a chief physician? And how can the organization of the clinic be appropriately led into the future? "The general management qualifications that the chief physician of the future will need extend in the lecturer's seminars and training courses from managing individual employees and leading teams to self-management -" Field skills that the chief physician should have, ”says Hollmann.

Prof. Hellmann, on the other hand, sees a profound change in the work of the chief physician: In the external relationship, he will probably increasingly be a manager and leave the operative business to the senior physicians. The chief physician is the contact person for corporate communications, conducts negotiations with the medical services of the health insurance companies, manages audits and creates strategic overarching conditions for the department and for the hospital. To what extent this new "mission profile" will establish itself more widely remains to be seen, because the possibility of implementation naturally depends on the size and structure of a house. "

In his view, interdisciplinary treatment in centers is becoming increasingly important in hospitals. “Here the chief physician has to come to terms with the chief physician colleagues from other departments. He needs social, communicative and business skills in a special way, ”says Hellmann

Must be an MBA? Are there not also economically oriented internal training courses offered by private hospital groups? Hellmann is skeptical: “It may be that the graduate can only use the knowledge acquired there to a limited extent in another house,” he says. He recommends a complex, generalized MBA program for clinicians aiming for a career outside the hospital. St Gallen, for example, offers this, as does Trier, Toronto, Krems. However, the costs for this can quickly run into the high five-digit range, which is why such courses are only suitable for careers in the pharmaceutical industry, insurance companies (risk assessment of hospitals), medical associations or renowned management consultancies.

Lecturer Hollmann advises to carefully check curricular focuses, but above all to see whether problem-oriented learning is offered, whether case simulations are used and whether the topic of self-regulation is taken into account. “The combination of project work and case studies in addition to classic lectures and seminars is interesting and really beneficial.” The choice of speakers should also be a quality criterion. Certifications from international agencies are good proof of quality zTo ensure university quality, such as the FIBAA ( and the Central Evaluation Agency ZEvA,

Katharina Daniels


The six-semester MBA in Krems costs 14,500 euros including examination fees. Contact and study brochure: [email protected]

The fee for the two-semester MHM course in Hanover, including all materials, is 4,270 euros. There is a brochure for the course, information on the Internet: www.fh-hannover, de,

The four-semester MHBA distance learning course in Nuremberg costs 5,400 euros including all materials. Info: