I was very interested in hearing more about physician executive MBA programs.  It's something that commonly comes up when speaking about nontraditional careers for physicians. As I talk with physicians who are early in the process of career transition, one of the bits of advice they often receive from friends and family is to “get an MBA, it will help open doors.”

However, committing to an MBA is a serious decision, not to be taken lightly.

Sure, there are some good reasons for pursuing one. But it’s time-consuming and potentially very expensive. So, we don’t want to jump into a one- to two-year commitment that keeps us from pursuing our ultimate career choice.

Completing an Executive MBA

For this episode, I wanted to talk to someone with intimate knowledge of an MBA program, especially someone who has worked with physicians.

Luckily, I was already introduced to such a program by one of my previous podcast guests. I interviewed Atish Jaiswal in the third episode of this podcast called Seeking an MBA. When the interview was published, he was about 2/3 of the way through his physician executive MBA program at the University of Tennessee.

physician executive mba student

Photo by Marcos Luiz Photograph on Unsplash

Then, while I was attending the SEAK Nonclinical Careers Conference last fall, I met the Executive Director of the Program. After some correspondence, she was kind enough to agree to join me on the podcast.

Introducing Dr. Kate Atchley

Kate Atchley, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the Executive Programs in the Department of Graduate and Executive Education at the James A. Haslam College of Business. During our conversation she explains more about how the physician executive MBA program fits in with what they do there.

You’ll hear that the program has graduated more than 650 physician executives. So, other than the individual physicians completing the degree, nobody knows more about the impact of an MBA on a physician’s career than Kate Atchley.

You’ll find that there’s much to learn about an MBA program before jumping in. But for some of you, if the timing is right, it might be just the thing to boost your career trajectory.

What Did We Learn?

Some of the  topics we cover are:

  • Kate's background and 18-year career at the U. of Tennessee College of Business;
  • The history of its physician executive MBA program;
  • The difference between a traditional MBA, an executive MBA, a physician executive MBA, and how different programs use “distance learning”;
  • Why physicians might consider an executive MBA and how it would enhance their careers;
  • The answer to the question: Is it true that getting an MBA will open doors for me and help me to figure out what I want to do?;
  • How to evaluate different MBA programs that you might be considering;
  • The typical curriculum, and why certain courses are important to the physician manager or executive;
  • Examples of the work that previous graduates are now doing; and,
  • The cost of an MBA.

Coming Up

I have one more bit of news to share today. I’m putting the finishing touches on a Free Guide that I’m calling “Five Nonclinical Careers You Can Pursue TODAY.” As soon as it’s completed, I’ll let you know, so you can get a copy.

As mentioned in previous podcast episodes, I am promoting a fantastic online course produced by the White Coat Investor, Dr. James Dahle, called Fire Your Financial Advisor. It is the best and most convenient way for high-income professionals to learn about: handling student loan debt; creating budgets and financial plans; selecting the right disability, life and housing insurance; investing for retirement; asset protection; creating an investment portfolio; estate planning and much more. To learn more and to purchase with a money-back guarantee, go to vitalpe.net/money. All physician leaders should look at the course materials. As an affiliate promoter, I do receive a small stipend that does NOT affect your cost, if you purchase through my link.

In Closing

I really enjoyed this conversation. Kate provided so much useful information and encouragement. You should visit the website or contact their office if you're considering the pursuit of an MBA.

You can send inquiries to Dr. Atchley's office by email at pemba@utk.edu.

You can visit the web site at Physician Executive MBA at University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Let’s end today’s episode with this quote:

physician executive mba quote mahatma gandhi

Next Time

Next week, I’ll be presenting a review of my first 25 podcast episodes and what I’ve learned from them. I’ll be distilling much of the wisdom from my thirteen guests into this one episode, so don’t miss it.

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