Exploring Human Potential

Johns Hopkins MBA Bets Future On Ever-Expanding Medical-Industrial Complex

Posted on | January 23, 2020 | 2 Comments

Mike Magee

What do you do if you are a highly ranked university, with one of the best nursing, medical and public health schools in the country, and applications for entry into your traditional 2-year MBA program have declined 14% over the past 5 years?

Well, the obvious answer is, you go out and hire a consulting firm. That’s what Johns Hopkins University did last year. The firm didn’t have to wander too far to diagnose the problem. They went to big employers and perspective (but hesitant) students and asked “What’s up?”

Students, according to the Wall Street Journal, “questioned the wisdom of taking two years out of a hot job market to go back to graduate school, especially if it requires taking on a large debt load to do so.” And employers said, give us “M.B.A.s with data-science and data-analytics skills.”

Alexander Triantis, dean of the Carey Business School at Hopkins noted that “There was a recognition that employer taste or needs for M.B.A.s may be changing over time and that prospective students may be sort of re-evaluating, based on the cost, based on opportunity cost.”

Clearly, rigor without relevance, especially at the cost of tuition and delayed opportunity, wasn’t going to cut it. So Triantis and his team went to the well.

Where Warren Buffett saw disaster (“Medical costs are the tapeworm on American economic competitiveness.”), the Dean saw opportunity. The MBA program, after all, doesn’t have a storied history or tradition dragging it down, like a Harvard, or Wharton at Penn, or Tuck at Dartmouth.  The Business School only opened in 2007, and its full-time MBA program is less than a decade old.  As a McKinsey consultant noted, “The M.B.A. marketplace was not behaving as it usually did coming out of the tough times in 2008.”

So what do buyers want. The consultant told the Hopkins Dean, “employers want to see an emphasis on science, technology and math skills in combination with softer skills like leadership.” Will it work? Time will tell, and much depends on whether the Medical Industrial Complex, which now consumes 1 in every 5 American dollars, will continue its wasteful and ineffective expansion.

If it does, Johns Hopkins program, designed “to capitalize on the university’s existing prestige in the medical field”, may be the place for you.  In your first year, you’ll have the opportunity to partner with a hospital chain or pharma company in data heavy “problem solving” – a statistical boot camp if you will. Over the next 24 months, your curriculum with be sprinkled liberally with health care case studies.

Patient focus? Not so much. But maybe that’s not the point. What is? As one student said in praise of the new strategic shift, it could be just what the doctor ordered, “especially as more big tech companies, such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Inc., pursue initiatives in health care.”


2 Responses to “Johns Hopkins MBA Bets Future On Ever-Expanding Medical-Industrial Complex”

  1. jonn
    January 30th, 2020 @ 3:38 pm
  2. reena desoza
    April 16th, 2020 @ 7:13 am

    nice post

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