March 06, 2017
2 min read

Is an MBA necessary for every ophthalmologist?

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Savak “Sev” Teymoorian

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MBA is worth it

The landscape of medicine is changing significantly. Physicians increasingly need to rely on their business acumen to be successful, so getting a business degree is worthwhile and something that would be financially recouped. However, for any business venture, you need to assess the return on investment. I personally completed a 5-year combination MD/MBA program.

Inherently, we always think about the actual tuition of business school, which can vary widely but typically is about $60,000. But there are also added costs such as housing and extra supplies and materials (laptops). There are also opportunity costs. Instead of being in the workforce and producing income, people lose the opportunity to make that income while they are away at business training. Overall, there is a fair amount of investment.

For me, the investment in an MBA is absolutely valuable. I use my business skills throughout the entire day. I am able to look at financial statements and costs, including capital costs and employee costs, to see how we can save money for our organization. There are also other ways that I use the skill sets that I learned in my business training that you cannot put a value on, such as human resource skills, operational skills and marketing skills. This usually makes the cost of getting a business degree totally worthwhile.

When doing a cost analysis, not everything from a business degree can you attribute a dollar value. There are all these extra soft benefits that you should take into account.

Savak “Sev” Teymoorian, MD, MBA, is an OSN Glaucoma Board Member. Disclosure: Teymoorian reports no relevant financial disclosures.


Business courses sufficient

Business education is a small investment in the long haul, with returns on many levels, including the ability to oversee your practice and determine if your employees are honest, productive and worthy. Being able to smartly make decisions, not only about your own practice, will result in savings, which over time will supersede any investment in higher education. In addition, if you have any ideas to grow another avenue, you will be equipped to handle it, hire the correct people, and be more secure in your choices to create and manage a successful practice or any other enterprise.

Sheri L. Rowen

Operating a medical practice is no different than running any business enterprise, except we are even more highly regulated. How can we be expected to have such an extensive knowledge of medicine but have no idea of what is happening in the business of our practice? Business education is needed to run the practice, manage employees and handle our patients with respect and consideration. Understanding the financials of a practice helps us make better business decisions in health care and smart acquisitions, once we truly understand return on investments. For instance, knowing how to manage employees and gain the best out of them will save money.

Short of an MBA, Physician CEO filled this bill for me. I believe we all at some point spent money where we should not have, hired the wrong people and kept them too long, have not truly understood social media, and have been time inefficient in the ways we have run our practices. By having an earlier education in true sound business practice, we can apply that to what we do medically and save and recoup all the investment in this form of education and then some. For example, the opportunities abound for consulting. Likewise, by having a knowledge of business, we make opportunities for ourselves to invest in early startups and can contribute to that with our medical knowledge. I now understand the principles behind the business decisions that are being made and the costs of doing business.

Sheri L. Rowen, MD, FACS, is director of cataract surgery, NVision Eye Centers, Newport Beach, California. Disclosure: Rowen reports no relevant financial disclosures.