MD student earning dual MBA degree gains business credentials and valuable insight

José Mitjavila, MD, MBA’19, discovered he wanted to be a doctor during his undergraduate studies at Indiana University, but it was during a clerkship rotation while at IU School of Medicine that he knew what kind of doctor. He chose family medicine thanks to the experience in a rural primary care clinic in northern Indiana.

“I loved it. Family medicine is a very intimate setting in which you get to work one-on-one with patients who maintain relationships with their family physician throughout their lives,” he said. “You see the whole spectrum of patients and disease types. I enjoy the process of working through diagnosis and connecting patients with other medical professionals to move their care forward.”

Alongside his love of biology and helping others, José always had an interest in economics and business. He “dabbled” in business courses during his undergraduate studies.

“I wanted to pursue my interest in business, but because I’d chosen to pursue medicine, I didn’t know how I could do both. It turns out I had a chance encounter at just the right time.”

During his third year of medical school, José ran into an old friend, Ruvi Chauhan, MD, MBA’18.

They discussed his curiosity about physicians who also had MBAs. Fortuitously, Ruvi was a student in the MD/MBA dual degree program offered through the Kelley School of Business Evening MBA Program in partnership with the IU School of Medicine. She encouraged José to apply with some urgency, as applications were due in two months.

“Immediately, I got in touch with my medical school advisors, and Ruvi connected me with advisors at the Kelley School,” he said. “I just happened to have a planned vacation month coming up, so I had time to study for the GMAT and consider the dual degree route. It was very serendipitous.”

Not only would an MBA alongside his MD prepare José for a position in hospital administration later in his career, he also felt the MBA would help him better understand the business of healthcare.

This level of planning and foresight helped José earn an MBA from the top-ranked Evening MBA Program while also completing a rigorous IU medical degree. The dual degree program adds one year of schooling to a medical student’s schedule in order to fit in the 24-month MBA. José said it was a challenge, but one made easier by careful planning.

“I looked ahead to see which months I had clerkship rotations and which months I could load my MBA schedule,” he said. “It’s manageable if you plan ahead and work with your advisors, who are very helpful. Even my professors were accommodating when I had to switch shifts or do makeup work. Everyone was very supportive when I explained I was earning dual degrees.”

Not only would an MBA alongside his MD prepare José for a position in hospital administration later in his career, he also felt the MBA would help him better understand the business of healthcare.

“Clinical practice is fascinating, but I wanted to understand how all of this care is organized and orchestrated in a way that allows patients to receive care in an office, get medications at a pharmacy or undergo a procedure in an operating room,” he said. “All of those processes are incredibly complex. I pursued the Kelley MBA to fully understand how the healthcare system operates and also to position myself for healthcare administration at some point. Being in that space allows you to affect positive change for patients on a larger scale.”

José always had an interest in healthcare policy. He’s involved in the student sections of the American Medical Association and Indiana Medical Association. He felt the MBA would provide him with greater insight into the financials and operations of policy.

“Without an MBA, I felt like I was missing a big chunk of knowledge that policy people in the room understood,” he said.

While spending half his time studying medicine and the other half studying business, it was important for José to gain relevant knowledge directly applicable to his work in healthcare. He says a Kelley course taught by David Hormuth, MD, MBA’15, a cardiac transplant surgeon and alumnus of the Kelley Business of Medicine Physician MBA Program (a physician-only program for doctors with three years of post-residency experience), offered phenomenal training. Dr. Hormuth provided personal insight from the healthcare industry, and he presented in-depth cases with applicable takeaways.

“The courses at Kelley provide very applicable lessons,” he said. “Learning the language of operations, marketing and finance was insightful because those are subjects I never considered in medical school, but they all have huge value in delivering healthcare.”

Most medical students haven’t had the opportunity to hold full-time careers because they have spent most of their adult lives in school. The Kelley Evening MBA Program allowed José to work with experienced professionals (Most Evening MBA students work full time and attend classes part time.) from many different backgrounds to solve a problem.

Learning the language of operations, marketing and finance was insightful because those are subjects I never considered in medical school, but they all have huge value in delivering healthcare.

José Mitjavila, MD, MBA’19