MHA or MBA-Which to Pursue?

Students preparing for leadership positions in the healthcare industry sometimes wonder whether they should earn a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) or Master of Business Degree (MBA).

The University of Minnesota offers the MHA degree through the School of Public Health, and a MBA degree with a medical industry focus through the Carlson School of Management. The University also has a three-year, dual degree program for those interested in earning both degrees.

Distinguishing Features


  • Provides a deep understanding of the operational aspects of health delivery organizations.
  • Extensive use of cases focused on the organization and management of healthcare organizations faced with the delivery of life-saving and enhancing medical care.
  • Facilitates early career access to professional associations and networks for mentoring by senior health care delivery leaders through post-graduate fellowship programs.
  • Incorporates public health aspects including impact of population health, health promotion/prevention strategies on health care organizations.
  • Promotes collaborative learning and socialization opportunities through interactions with health students and researchers in related health professions programs.
  • Offers opportunity for more extensive course preparation and access to careers in long term care, health policy, hospital and consulting services, managed care (including disease management firms), medical malpractice, international health, health care reimbursement by public and private insurers, health care quality and treatment outcome measurement, and medical group practice.

Distinguishing Features

Medical Industry Focus MBA

  • Creates a pathway for careers in investment banking or consulting through medical industry practices with these firms.
  • Develops core business skills in finance, marketing, accounting, strategy, operations, information systems and management.
  • Offers a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship, new product development and technology management.
  • Provides exposure to a broad array of business cases that enable the cross-fertilization of effective management innovations and business practices between the medical industry and other areas of the economy.
  • Develops capacity to see a broad view of the entire medical industry—one of the most regulated and interconnected—from the development of care to the delivery of care.
  • Prepares for career opportunities across multiple industries including the medical industry.
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