What is the Difference Between an MBA and MHA?
Both a master of business administration (MBA) and a master of healthcare administration (MHA) can help professionals advance their career opportunities and move into leadership positions. They provide professionals with an advanced business toolkit, a comprehensive professional network, and an increased average salary upon graduation. While the two degrees have similarities in admissions requirements, coursework, duration, and structure, fundamental differences exist between them.
An MBA is a generalist degree. Its core curriculum covers all business fundamentals, including finance, accounting, marketing, economics, and management. Students explore these topics through case studies and collaborative exercises that teach them how to apply their new skills in a variety of different contexts. While most MBAs focus on general business fundamentals, some offer students the opportunity to specialize or concentrate in a particular area of focus, such as accounting, information technology, and healthcare, allowing students to gain additional industry-specific insight. Those who earn an MBA can slot themselves into leadership roles across a full spectrum of industries.
An MBA goes wide, while an MHA goes deep. Its core curriculum covers many of the same business fundamentals that an MBA does, but with a specific focus on healthcare. Every class in an MHA program is viewed through the lens of the healthcare industry, diving deeply into the unique nuances of a rapidly growing field. Unique healthcare-related specializations and concentrations allow students to dig in to even further into the sector and emerge as experts. Those who earn an MHA are committed to working and taking on leadership roles within the healthcare industry.
That is the short version. More subtle distinctions exist. Read on to learn about the similarities and differences between MBA and MHA programs.
|What is It?||The MBA is a graduate-level degree in business administration, where students learn core business fundamentals that they can apply to a wide range of roles and industries. In its standard form, the MBA is a generalist degree, but specializations and concentrations allow targeted exposure to different sectors that intersect with business.||The MHA is a graduate-level degree in healthcare administration. It is a targeted business degree where each class focuses on healthcare. While MHA students learn business fundamentals throughout their studies, such topics will be addressed within the scope of their application to the healthcare industry.|
While requirements vary from school to school and from program to program, some common ones include:
Many schools request some combination of above and have different methods for weighting the importance of those requirements. Some schools may eschew a GMAT or GRE score in favor of more work experience. A convincing personal statement may make up for a poor GPA. It is best to carefully read a program’s specific admissions requirements and contact an academic advisor at the program for further information.
MHA programs often have similar requirements to MBA programs. The most common difference is a deprioritization of GMAT or GRE scores and more emphasis on work experience. Common requirements include:
Admissions requirements will vary from program to program and applicant to applicant. Considering the MHA is a targeted degree, candidates who can demonstrate a commitment to or expertise in healthcare may be able to overcome any deficit in other admissions requirements. It is best to contact an academic advisor for any program before applying.
|Typical Duration||A standard MBA typically takes two to three years to complete, depending on the school and course load. Other options do exist. An accelerated MBA can be completed in as little as a year, while a part-time MBA may take up to six years to complete.||A standard MHA typically takes two to three years to complete, depending on the school and pace of study. Accelerated programs graduate students in as few as 18 months, while part-time programs may allow working professionals up to six years to complete their studies.|
|Coursework||MBA programs focus on a core curriculum of strong business fundamentals, where students will build their knowledge and skills in finance, marketing, accounting, economics, and management, and then apply them to a variety of contexts. The program encourages critical thinking, communication, and leadership through collaborations and case studies. Electives, specializations, and concentrations allow students to dive deeper into a specific area.||MHA programs cover many of the same essential topics as MBA programs, but the core classes in finance, accounting, marketing, and management are taught within the context of healthcare. The same collaborative spirit and academic rigor exist in both programs, but MHA classes avoid wider applications to drill down into nuances unique to healthcare. Electives, specializations, and concentrations allow students to explore areas of interest within the healthcare sphere.|
|Specializations or Concentrations||
The world of business is vast, so MBA programs offer a wealth of specializations and concentrations for students to who wish to target their education in a particular area. Some of the most popular MBA concentrations include:
MHA programs offer a variety of specializations and concentrations through which students may bolster their education in a specific area of healthcare, including:
|Who Can Benefit From This Degree?||MBA degrees are for those looking to widen their career opportunities and improve their business acumen. Entrepreneurs, human resource professionals, financial analysts, accountants, and marketing executives can all benefit from an MBA degree, no matter the sector in which they choose to practice.||MHA degrees are for those committed to taking on leadership roles in the healthcare industry, whether they are just starting their career or looking to move into leadership positions. Medical facility managers, healthcare policy analysts, and healthcare consultants can benefit from this programs overview of the landscape.|
|Salary Prospects||Salary prospects for MBA graduates depend on academic performance, work experience, and the prestige of the program from which they graduate. Data suggests the median salary for MBA graduates is $100,000 per year and $147,000 per year starting three years after graduation. MBA grads earn on average 50 percent more than their non-MBA counterparts.||Salary prospects for MHA graduates depend upon academic performance, work experience, and the reputation of the program from which they graduate. What’s more, the numbers can change more dramatically according to geographical placement. Data suggests that the average starting salary for MHA graduates is $75,000 a year.|
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|The Bottom Line||An MBA is a passport to the world of business. MBA graduates can hop from industry to industry as they see fit. While they may at times feel like a visitor, they can thrive because by earning an MBA, they have gained fluency in the most widely spoken language on the planet: business.||Earning an MHA is like gaining citizenship in the healthcare industry. MHA graduates speak the language, know the history and traditions, and have a say in how the field grows. An MHA degree is for those who have pledged their allegiance to the healthcare industry and are committed to becoming experts within it.|