Posted by: Alison Damast on June 8, 2010
A group of leading business schools is capitalizing on students’ growing interest in careers in the health care sector by forming a new alliance that will focus on improving the quality of health care management programs. The new Business School Alliance for Healthcare Management was launched in late May by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Harvard Business School and the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Other alliance members include the Yale School of Management, Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management, Boston University School of Management, Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business and the University of Colorado Denver Business School.
The recent passage of the health-care reform bill, coupled with growing enrollment in health care management programs, spurred the schools to create a more formal organization to examine best practices, says Fuqua’s Health Sector Management Director Kevin Schulman. Fuqua has about 180 students in its health sector management program and about 150 in the executive education program, making up about 20% of the MBA class, he says.
“This is long overdue on the business school side,” says Schulman. “We’re all sitting here wondering whether or not our programs could be part of the solution to the health care problems we face as a country.”
So far the alliance has held just a few introductory meetings, but the group has ambitious plans, says Schulman. Members plan to organize a case competition for business school students in the alliance where they learn to use their management skills to address health care issues around a specific case. Another goal is to try to get hospitals to recruit directly from MBA programs, rather than hiring consultants to work on long-term projects, Schulman says. The alliance members also plan to conduct a peer review of each other’s programs, with faculty from five different schools traveling to alliance members’ campuses to critique and evaluate their programs.
The formation of the alliance comes at an opportune time; many schools are reporting increased enrollment in their health-care management programs and this year, health care was one of a small handful of industries generating a surge in recruiting on campus, according to a fall survey conducted by the MBA Career Services Council.
Readers, do you think this new alliance is a positive step forward for management education? What else would you like to see the members of the alliance do in this area?