Hot MBA Jobs: Becoming A Healthcare Consultant
Consultants with MBA degrees are in high demand—and they’re often well compensated as a result. One of the fastest-growing industries for MBA Consultants is healthcare, thanks to a combination of a rising elderly population, affordable insurance (for now) and technological advancement. In an interview with U.S. News, Phil Miller, Assistant Dean of Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, says, “A lot of consulting jobs have grown because a lot of firms need help in advising.” Recent UMN grads reportedly earn up to $150,000 without signing bonuses, according to the article. Let’s take a closer look at what becoming a Healthcare Consultant actually entails.
Simply put: healthcare consultants keep their respective organizations running like clockwork with patient safety as the primary goal. Consultants are employed—typically by hospitals, rehabilitation centers, public health organizations, charities and elderly care facilities—to develop new strategies for streamlining company infrastructure. According to the Career Project, healthcare consultants “work with client companies to do organizational studies and evaluations; design new systems and procedures; and prepare manuals to help healthcare clients to manage their healthcare organization in a more effective fashion.” Academic Invest offers a quick run-down the major responsibilities of a healthcare consultant:
- Identify operational problems and inefficiencies
- Perform preliminary research and examine existing data related to the problem
- Analyze employment numbers, revenue and interview personnel
- Find ways of saving money or improving operational efficiency
Payscale reports that the average salary of a Healthcare Consultant is north of $75,000. It also notes that, “experience has a moderate effect on income for this job. The skills that increase pay for this job the most are Strategic Planning, Consulting Management, Process Improvement, SAS and Business Development.” Glassdoor reports the national average as $71,758 while U.S. News reports median salaries of $96,000 and average salaries of $126,919.
Working as a Healthcare Consultant
George Thomas Mathew, who happens to have both an MD and an MBA (Duke Fuqua ’03), wrote extensively about his day-to-day life for Bloomberg as a Customer Black Belt Consultant at GE Healthcare, where he leads and drives hospital operations projects.
“My projects allow me to gain experience by either facilitating teams of a client’s employees or working with my GE peers in getting statistical analyses and recommendations for addressing specific client goals.”
In a typical week, Mathew explains, he will usually travel from his Milwaukee home office to New York City on Sunday nights or Monday mornings. “I typically work there through Thursday or Friday and then return home again for the weekend.”
Do you need an MBA?
Mathew concedes that an MBA is not essential to healthcare consulting but it’s “definitely helped to understand some of the basic accounting and finance concepts when I’m talking to hospital management.”
The Healthcare Management major at the Wharton School is an excellent program that prepares graduates to “respond to the many critical problems now faced by hospitals, government agencies, group practices, pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, insurance and managed care organizations and consulting firms” through an interdisciplinary curriculum that draws on “behavioral and applied social sciences, biomedical sciences and social policy.”
Many professionals use their MBA to pivot to healthcare from a career in an unrelated field, where business school can help consultants get a wide-angle view of the industry landscape. On the other hand, people who are already embedded in the healthcare industry perhaps in a medical or scientific capacity may find that the skills an MBA imparts will give them a competitive advantage when it comes to stepping up to a managerial position.