Date of Award

January 2017

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)



First Advisor

Howard Forman


Background: Over the past decade, the landscape of healthcare has changed

dramatically, demanding the close integration of business and management with the

delivery of clinical care. In response, there has been a continuation of the trend towards

additional training for physicians through an MBA program that has been seen over the

last thirty years. However, some medical students have encountered some negative

perceptions voiced by senior physicians about MD/MBA training. As most MD/MBA

joint-degree candidates consider clinical careers, it is vital to understand the views of

residency program directors who hold the gates to graduate medical education.

Purpose: Therefore in this paper, we will investigate the following hypotheses:

Completing an MBA as a medical student will be perceived positively by residency

directors, and the global opinion of MD/MBA candidates has changed over the last


Methods: An electronic survey was sent to residency directors in most major

specialties across the United States to ascertain their opinions of MD/MBA residency

candidates. A Likert score was tabulated corresponding to the level of MBA-favorability

of each program. Statistical correlations were performed based on medical specialty,

demographics, geographical region, the experience of the program director with an MBA

curriculum, faculty with an MBA, or residents with an MBA. Data were compared with

a similar survey by Lyssy et al performed in 2006.

Results: 578 residency program directors responded to our survey, a response rate

of 22.2%. No statistically significant difference was found in the calculated Likert score

of MBA candidate favorability across the medical specialties. A statistically significant

difference in the proportion of program directors with interactions with faculty and

residents with an MBA was found among the medical specialties; however, no

statistically significant difference in the proportion of program directors who personally

hold an MBA was found. Program directors who had direct experience working with

residents with an MBA reported higher Likert positivity scores compared to those who

did not. Additionally, departments with a higher number of faculty with an MBA were

positively correlated with a greater number of residents with an MBA in that program.

Residency program director age was negatively correlated with the Likert MBA

candidate favorability score. Compared to the 2006 dataset, there were minimal changes

in the Likert-type question scores in 2016.

Conclusions: Residency directors across multiple specialties positivity regard

MD/MBA candidates and the candidates’ training for their residency programs.

Moreover, this regard has remained generally stable over the past decade.


This is an Open Access Thesis.