Courtesy- The Economic Times

MUMBAI: For professionals, an MBA is just what the doctor would order for career advancement. Now the same holds good for doctors themselves. With corporatisation of hospitals and rapid growth plans, doctors are finding it useful to have a management degree simply to run hospitals effectively.

Large hospitals like Wockhardt and Apollo have clocked in a jump of 49% and 25% in sales respectively for 2007-08. Further, these hospitals are ramping their presence in Tier II cities too.

For eg: Apollo Hospital plans adding 10 new hospitals in tier II towns in the next year and 1,700 beds in other cities over the next three years.

Mr Vishal Bali, CEO, Wockhardt Hospitals foresees good management practices coming in to the sector since growth in sector has raised the bar for competence too. This has not always been the case as traditionally doctors have been running hospitals without any management degrees.

Mr Bali, an MBA from Mumbai University, says that growth in healthcare will create a demand for such professionals in the next decade. “If a leading corporate plans to set up 15 hospitals a year and 10 such corporates undertake to do so, after 10 years we will have 15,000 new hospitals that will require 15,000 new CEOs,” he says.

Though masters in hospital administration (MHA) has been a visible route to administrative functions, a doctor armed with an MBA enjoys a better standing.

“A management degree ensures the manager has business competence whereas MHA inculcates the administrative function,” says Mr Bali. The way hospitals are making investments and setting sale targets, the business competence is definitely important. Also, private hospital chains have announced around Rs15,000 crore of investments by 2010.