Partners in health
University of Florida launches dual M.B.A./M.H.A. degree
By Jill Pease
As the daughter of physicians, Mary Kate Flynn was always drawn to a career in health care. Because her interests were less in direct patient care and more in management, Flynn completed a UF master’s degree in health administration in 2011. Then she went on to finish a UF’s master’s degree in business administration.
“Some of the top programs in the country offer the M.B.A./M.H.A. degree so I wanted to be able to compete with those graduates, plus I wanted the extra exposure,” said Flynn, an administrative fellow at UF Health. “Having both degrees has allowed me to look at issues from a lot of different angles and see things in a different light than someone who may just have an M.B.A. or may just have an M.H.A,” she said.
Now students like Flynn will have the option to pursue both degrees simultaneously with a new dual M.B.A./M.H.A. program offered by the UF Warrington College of Business Administration’s Hough Graduate School of Business and the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions’ department of health services research, management and policy. The dual program coursework has 15 shared credits and students can complete both degrees in three years.
“We are very excited to offer another degree option for students,” said Arch Mainous, Ph.D., the chair of the department of health services research, management and policy, and the Florida Blue Endowed Chair. “A joint M.H.A./M.B.A. degree and learning opportunity can provide that extra content for students. By linking with the business school we create a synergy that may not exist if students pursued the two degrees separately.”
The dual M.B.A./M.H.A. degree will enable students to combine training in health care finance and economics, patient quality and safety, and health policy, with business courses in accounting, capital structure and risk, and marketing. A dual degree may also provide additional career options. Graduates with an M.H.A. typically work for health care provider organizations, health insurance companies or in health care consulting. A dual M.B.A./M.H.A. may allow graduates to explore management opportunities in other health-related companies, such as pharmaceutical or medical device corporations.
“The health care industry is one of our nation’s most important sectors, and it continues to grow,” said Alex Sevilla, M.B.A., an assistant dean at the Warrington College of Business Administration and the director of UF M.B.A. programs.“Partnering with the College of Public Health and Health Professions to offer this dynamic joint degree will provide health care professionals not just a basic understanding of business, but a fully-developed knowledge of its principles to excel in health care administration.”
Chad Eichel, who graduated with a UF M.B.A. in 2009 and a UF M.H.A. degree in 2011, decided to pursue both degrees so that he could add industry-specific education in a complex and unique field to his business knowledge base. “While I was doing my M.B.A. I looked at different industries and thought about where I wanted to work when I graduated,” said Eichel, an administrative resident at Florida Medical Clinic. “I gravitated toward health care and having the M.H.A. seemed like a really good strategic path to enter the field.” The dual M.B.A./M.H.A. degree program is a traditional on-campus program. Applications for the inaugural class are now being accepted. Students must apply and be accepted independently by both the M.B.A. and the M.H.A. programs. For more information, including application requirements, please visit hsrmp.phhp.ufl.edu/academic-programs.