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Health Care Industry Career Description

The health care industry is the largest industry reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and with 15% of the nation's GDP being spent on health care, it has tremendous growth potential.   The MBA will find opportunities through out the health care industry.   There will be opportunities in finance (corporate and investment), marketing, strategy, consulting, business development, operations management and administration.  


The health care industry is comprised of different segments that are clustered geographically. These include payers, pharmaceuticals, medical device, biotechnology, specialty services and information technology.   Though there are opportunities all over the country, the major heal care markets are the Northeast, California, Atlanta, Minnesota, Nashville/Memphis, Chicago and Central Texas.   Where the MBA is most valued with vary by segment.   Key areas for a hospital or managed care company might be in operations management; for a biotech or pharmaceutical company marketing; for a medical device company manufacturing.   MBA career options will depend on the health care segment and the business strategy of the individual company.  

Health Care Providers

Patient care providers include hospitals, surgery centers, long term care facilities, specialty acute care clinics and primary care physician practices.   An MBA might start as an administrator or an internal corporate analyst with a career path to a COO or CFO position.   Hospitals and other health care providers find previous experience in health care desirable, but also understand the value of operations experience in other industries that demonstrate the ability to reduce costs and increase revenue.  Hospitals are less reliant on the marketing function and typically rely on a PR approach to get exposure in the market.   Therefore, financial and operation management sills are most desirable.  Hospital firms include:  HCA, Kaiser Permanente and St. John Health.   Other care providers include MedCath, Psychiatric Solutions, AmSurg and United Surgical.

Health Care Plans/Payers

These are managed care plans and insurance companies.   Major players include Humana, Cigna, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Health Care Products This group consists of biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device companies.   These companies have greater need for product and brand management skills.  In biotech/pharma companies there is a high demand for candidates with science backgrounds; however MBAs with little experience in the sciences can find opportunities in sales, marketing and business development.   On the marketing side of this segment prior sales experience is extremely desirable.   Many companies like to see that managers have experience "carrying the bag."   With these product-base companies, there is the manufacturing side of the business, and MBAs will find opportunities in operations and supply chain management.   Biotech firms include Amgen, Genentech and Applied Biosystems.   Big Pharma includes:  Pfizer, Abbott, Merck, Eil Lilly and Roche.   Medical device firms include Medtronic, Stryker, Boston Scientific, GE Healthcare and Smith & Nephew.
Specialty Products and Service Providers There are a number of emerging sectors in the health care industry.  For example, disease management companies need strong data analysis, information technology and marketing communication skills.   MBAs will also find opportunities in corporate in corporate finance roles throughout the industry, or with venture capital firms evaluating the feasibility of bringing new health care products or services to market.   Other specialty service that support the industry's growth would include companies that compile market intelligence and provide data analysis tools.  Firms in this group include:  Healthways, AIM and WebMD.

Most major consulting firms have specific health care practices, and there are boutique firms that specialize in health care strategy and information technology.   Large corporations will have internal consulting groups.   Major consulting firms include:  McKinsey, Navigant and PricewaterhouseCooper.  Boutique firms include The Advisory Board and ChapterHouse.

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