Bulletin of Dental Education

New D.D.S. and M.B.A. Dual Degree Program Enhances Indiana University SD Students’ Business Expertise and Leadership Skills

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The Indiana University School of Dentistry (IUSD) partnered with the Indiana University Kelley School of Business to offer a new dual degree program that combines predoctoral dental education and the business of health care. Students completing the program will receive a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) degree from IUSD and a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree from the top-ranked Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis.

In addition to IUSD’s predoctoral curriculum, the D.D.S./M.B.A. dual degree program requires students to complete 42 credits in the M.B.A. program, combining courses from Kelley's Graduate Certificate in Medical Management, which have been specifically designed for health care, with traditional M.B.A. courses that have broader industry coverage. Dual degree students begin their business training in the summer beginning the third year of dental school and take two years to complete the D.D.S. and M.B.A. concurrently.

Laura Romito, D.D.S., M.S., M.B.A., Associate Dean of Education and Academic Affairs at IUSD, understands the need to provide business and leadership foundations to prepare future dentists.

“It is advantageous to understand the business aspects of the dental profession beyond what is provided in the predoctoral curriculum,” said Dr. Romito. “An M.B.A. provides the business skills and knowledge needed to manage and grow your own dental practice or to take on leadership positions in large organizations or corporate dentistry. A D.D.S./M.B.A. dual degree better prepares students for an ever-changing world that increasingly requires dentists to be adept in both clinical knowledge and business skills. I am proud and excited to offer this dual degree to help equip our dental graduates to meet these needs.”

Each of the three third-year dental students forming the initial D.D.S./M.B.A. cohort expressed enthusiasm for the program and their perspective on its value. “My experience in the program has been incredibly positive,” said Johnna Snider. “Beyond the knowledge I have gained from the M.B.A. curriculum, the opportunity to network with people from so many different professional backgrounds has truly enhanced my learning experience and broadened my perspective on the intersection of healthcare and business."

On choosing the dual degree, Oliva Robertson explained, “I am interested in merging my clinical experience and business expertise to optimize dental practice management, drive innovation and ensure financial sustainability while maintaining excellent patient care. I hope to make a meaningful impact on the health care industry by bridging the gap between clinical excellence and administrative efficiency.”

"I chose to tackle the D.D.S./M.B.A. dual degree in order to gain knowledge of the business side of dentistry, which is not thoroughly covered in a conventional D.D.S. program,” added Cara Smith. “With the goal of one day owning and managing my own private practice, the knowledge offered in this dual degree will ensure I have the necessary tools to not only be a great dentist, but also a great businesswoman.”

The D.D.S./M.B.A. program aims to build students’ skills in operations, management and entrepreneurship, accounting, finance and marketing. In addition, students learn to approach problems differently, translating to quality patient care and better dental outcomes. Ms. Smith agrees. “Throughout my first year of the M.B.A. program, I have been challenged in new ways,” she said. “I have learned to communicate innovative business strategies, develop new marketing ideas for local businesses, as well as understand complex financial statements. I have had to develop my communication, analytical and collaborative skills. As I progress through the final year of the dual degree program, I am hoping to integrate the knowledge I have learned thus far to help prepare me to build a successful dental practice in the future."

IUSD is currently accepting applications for its second cohort of D.D.S./M.B.A. students.

Published on March 13, 2024

Courtesy of the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine

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