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Want To Be A Hospital Administrator? An MBA Can Help.

Hospital Administrator MBA

The idea of a hospital may be especially foreboding for some, but for many others it represents endless opportunity, along with a true chance to help those in need. And while a hospital typically is seen as a home to medical personnel such as doctors and nurses, such facilities simply couldn’t run without the help of someone with the skills to organize, manage and efficiently operate such a complex and interdisciplinary workplace.

If a hospital setting and the chance to help others with your leadership skills is appealing, you may want to consider a role as a hospital administrator. Given the broad business knowledge this position requires, it can be a perfect job for those with an MBA degree—acknowledging this, many schools even provide MBAs with concentrations or specializations in healthcare administration.

What is a Hospital Administrator?

A hospital administrator is essentially responsible for maintaining the complex infrastructure of a hospital, whether overseeing an entire hospital, specific departments, or clinical units. The hospital administrator serves as the head of operations for their distinct unit, managing personnel, facility practices and finances as well as staying current with new laws and advancements in the industry. A hospital administrator may also be responsible for representing their institution within the greater community, whether meeting with investors or through governing boards.

There can be a great variety in the work environment and type of work performed by hospital administrators, depending on the type of hospital or facility they serve.

Hospital Administrator Necessary Skills

Among the most important skills for a hospital administrator is the need for problem-solving, analysis, and creativity. In charge of such a complex facility with many moving pieces and so many relying on the organization’s success, the ability to maintain effective leadership and management through problem solving is of utmost importance. Hospital administrators should also be detail oriented, which can help them to balance cost efficiency with a commitment to delivering the best healthcare possible. Interpersonal skills are also an important skill for hospital administrators, as the decisions they make often have far reaching effects. Between staff and patrons, a hospital administrator must be able to effectively motivate and navigate through people from various cultural and educational backgrounds.

How Can An MBA Help?

An MBA is not a requirement for all hospital administration roles, but it is often necessary for those looking for a position at a larger facility or for higher-level management or executive positions. Many business schools offer students the chance to pursue an MBA with a major or concentration in healthcare administration which can prepare them specifically for such a career. Prospective students may refer to the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education to check the accreditation status of a particular program.

For some hospital administrators, particularly those employed at long-term care facilities, additional licenses are required. Many hospital administrators also will get a board certification from the American College of Healthcare Executives, though not required by law, to prove competency and maintain their professional standing within the field.

Best MBA Programs for a Career as a Hospital Administrator

Harvard Business School

The Harvard Business School (HBS) offers an MBA partnered with the Healthcare Initiative, a program created in 2005 to facilitate healthcare research, education, and entrepreneurship across all sectors of the industry. The MBA with Healthcare Initiative combines the HBS community of MBA students, staff, faculty and more to create healthcare leaders which can help expand access and reduce costs for those in need.

Wharton School of Business – University of Pennsylvania

The Wharton School at UPenn offers a specialized MBA degree in Healthcare Management to prepare students for a number of careers in the healthcare industry. Graduates of the program will have the necessary skills to take on management and executive roles in a wide variety of healthcare settings. Many Wharton graduates currently hold roles in chief executive officer and director roles, making key decisions for their healthcare organizations.

Kellogg School of Management – Northwestern University

The Kellogg School of Management offers courses through their Health Enterprise Management (HEMA) major to prepare students to work in the services or product side of the healthcare industry. The major, which begins with a core course focused on knowledge necessary for management in the healthcare sector, prepares graduates for high-level management roles in hospitals and other healthcare organizations.

Haas School of Business – University of California, Berkeley 

The Haas School of Business offers an MBA in Health Management which teaches students to contribute both innovative and practical solutions to the healthcare industry. Together with the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, Haas has created an effective interdisciplinary program which allows students earn both their MBA and Masters of Public Health Degree in just two and a half years.

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About the Author


Alanna Shaffer

Staff Writer, covering MetroMBA's news beat for Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas.

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