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A Year in the Life of the Master of Management in Health Care

Feb 22, 2018
Director of Health Care Programs Burch Wood answers frequently asked questions about Vanderbilt's MMHC program

By Kara Sherrer

The Master of Management in Health Care (MMHC) is designed to transform practicing physicians, nurse clinical leaders, and non-clinical administrators into business leaders in only 12 months. The program is scheduled to accommodate working professionals, so they can gain business knowledge without hitting pause on their careers. Burch Wood, Director of Health Care Programs at Vanderbilt Business, answers the most frequently asked questions about the MMHC program.

What exactly is the Mod system?

Rather than using fall and spring semesters, Vanderbilt Business separates the academic year into sections known as Mods. Each Mod involves seven weeks of classes, followed by a week of exams (for a total of eight weeks); the MMHC program encompasses six Mods. There is a break in between each Mod of at least a week to allow for travel, holidays, and other events.

I’m working full-time. When do I take classes?

The MMHC 1-1-1 model is designed for working professionals: class are one night a week, one weekend a month, for one year. Classes meet each Thursday night from approximately 5-9 pm. The weekend classes meet on Friday night from 5-9 pm and again on Saturday from 8 am to 5 pm.

When does the program start and end?

The program begins in mid-August and ends in mid-September of the following year. Students have a four-week break over the winter holidays, which accounts for the 12 months of total classroom time.

Who should apply to the MMHC program?

The Master of Management in Health Care is open to anyone working in the health care industry with at least five years of experience; the average MMHC student has 15 years of experience. “We’re looking for people who want to stay in health care and have a better understanding of how health care works as a business,” Wood said. “We expect people to have a general knowledge around health care (coming into the program).”

Is the program open to all health care professionals?

Master of Management in Health Care Burch Wood

Burch Wood

On average, the student body is equally divided between physicians, clinicians (such as nurses), and administrators. Unlike some other programs, Vanderbilt Business deliberately seeks out students from all health care professions to create a diverse classroom environment where they can learn from each other. “When you’re trying to change something in the health care business world, you usually come together in multi-disciplinary groups,” Wood said. “(Separating people by profession) is contra to the way health care is actually done.”

What classes will I take?

Generally speaking, students take core business classes on Thursday nights, while the health care immersion classes are taught during the weekends. For the most part, the core classes parallel those in the MBA and Executive MBA programs. “I think that we give something close to an MBA-style learning experience, and we manage it in one year,” Wood said.

Who teaches in the MMHC program?

With a few exceptions, the Thursday night classes are taught by professors who specialize in those core fields and also teach in Vanderbilt’s MBA and/or Executive MBA programs. Weekend classes are usually taught by practicing experts in the field. “People know us as a health care school. It’s a unique program that we can offer with the professors we have in house (teaching on Thursdays) and with the connections (we have in the health care industry teaching) on the weekends,” Wood said. “It allows us to do some things that you couldn’t do in other places.”

What’s the capstone project?

From January through the end of the program, students work in teams of 4-5 people on real-life projects for health care companies, from ideation to implementation. The capstone project allows students to put their classroom knowledge into action, including strategy, operations, and finance. Both students and companies regularly cite the capstone projects as a highlight of the MMHC program.

What I will I gain from an MMHC degree?

Students often come away from the MMHC program with a heightened level of credibility with executive teams. On average, 85% of students receive a promotion, greater responsibility, or leadership roles after starting the program. Students have ample opportunities to build connections with fellow students and industry experts. And of course, graduates receive an advanced degree from a prestigious university located in one of the country’s health care capitals. “You get to walk away with a Vanderbilt degree for one year’s tuition,” Wood said.

To learn more about the Master of Management in Health Care at Vanderbilt Business, visit the program page or request information.

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