MD/MBA InterviewsIn this section, we will be profiling and interviewing MD/MBAs to highlight the variety of roles, professions, and career paths the dual-degree allowed these successful men and women to pursue.
Mark A. Bloomberg, MD, MBA, FACPEChief Medical Officer, HealthNEXT
Lecturer, Harvard School of Public Health
President, The Bloomberg Healthcare Group
- Can you describe your background?[+]Solo practice in internal medicine and being put on the hospital’s Quality Committee led to an early interest in improving health care delivery. When the hospital medical staff started an IPA-model HMO in the early ‘80s I was asked to be its Medical Director due to my role as Quality Committee Chair.You don’t learn how to be a physician by attending medical school, but rather by the hard-earned experience of taking care of patients. Likewise, you do not become a businessman by attending business school, but rather by the hard-earned experience of working in a business environment.Mark A. Bloomberg, MD, MBA, FACPE
As I became more involved in admin tasks, doing both full-time practice and admin became more difficult and when I was offered a full-time position as Corporate Medical Director of Tufts Health Plan in Boston, I took a leap of faith and accepted the role. After 12 years of clinical practice I was now doing administrative work full-time. After 10 years at Tufts I became Chief Medical Officer of a national PPO health plan. After 5 years there I took on greater teaching roles, culminating in developing a course in health care Quality Improvement at Harvard School of Public Health. Now mostly retired, I continue my teaching as well as occasional entrepreneurial work in the health care field.
- Why did you decide to pursue an MD/MBA?[+]With my full-time role at Tufts, I became aware of the unique knowledge base and language of business of which I had no direct experience. Obtaining an MBA degree was a very reasonable way to correct those deficiencies in my background. I enrolled in an 18-month Executive MBA program at Northeastern University which allowed me to continue working at Tufts and earn my degree.
- How has the MBA affected your career?[+]Taking the MBA classes while I was working at Tufts was the only time in my career that I was able to immediately apply the lessons I was learning each week to my actual work environment. It was very rewarding as it afforded me an opportunity to apply those teachings in each meeting and encounter I was having at Tufts. The quality of my work accelerated and I was rewarded with increasing responsibilities and involved in many new strategic projects.
- What specific skills that you frequently use did you gain from the MBA?[+]The most useful skills were those related to strategic planning, organizational behavior and marketing. The ability to think more globally and not just from a clinical viewpoint gave me a much broader and valuable perspective which was immediately recognized and made use of by my colleagues in the Tufts executive leadership team.
- What advice would you give current MD/MBA students?[+]You don’t learn how to be a physician by attending medical school, but rather by the hard-earned experience of taking care of patients. Likewise, you do not become a businessman by attending business school, but rather by the hard-earned experience of working in a business environment.
For this reason, as you move through your years of clinical training and the first years of clinical practice, it is very important that you seek out and volunteer for opportunities to apply your business school education to the issues facing your hospital/medical practice. Step up to join committees and participate in administrative projects which will hone your business skills and add value to your organization. You will then find yourself in greater demand for such efforts and can at that time make your own educated decision as to how much time you want to devote to admin roles as opposed to clinical ones. The dilemma will be that if you excel at both, you will be torn as to how to proceed in your career, but there are much worse issues to have in one’s life! Best of luck and enjoy all you do.
To read more about Mark A. Bloomberg, MD, MBA, FACPE read his chapter in the Physicians' Pathways to Non-Traditional Careers and Leadership Opportunities book, which can also be purchased via Springer Publishing