An Executive MBA for a medical doctor: Is it worth it?

The slogan of the Executive MBA at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam (RSM), “Be a force for positive change,” had a profound impact on medical practitioner Remko Schats. While speaking to him, we attempted to discover the importance of an Executive MBA for medical doctors and how the program transformed him as a practicing clinician.

In short

Why it’s important for medical professionals to understand business

For any modern doctor, the main motivation to pursue an MBA is to add a new dynamic to their existing career – satisfying their entrepreneurial drive and gaining credibility in business. It undoubtedly provides fresh perspectives and new opportunities. 

For Remko Schats, it was no different. In his words, “We, as medical doctors, usually treat patients and work in hospitals or in GP practices, but we don’t usually know anything about doing business [and] about leadership and I think medical professionals could gain a lot of benefit from leadership development and how to run a business.” (01:09

Remko Schats is a medical doctor who specializes in tropical medicine. He also works as a general practitioner in the Netherlands. After acquiring his degree in tropical medicine, he went to work in Africa and Asia. Upon returning to the Netherlands, he joined the Malaria Vaccine Research at Leiden University where he did his PhD. However, he began to realize that he was unable to connect the dots in his career and found that all his previous experiences could have been integrated better. That’s when he decided to join Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands. Reflecting on his experience, he says, “I am really happy I did this program as this is highly transformational. I was really a different person when I started the MBA compared to [who] I am today.” (00:18)

A self-starter and trailblazer in the making

MBAs can be highly inspirational and motivating if you want to create meaningful global impact. Having worked as a doctor in the rural areas of Africa and Indonesia, witnessing the severe health crisis in these developing countries, Remko realized that the world is in dire need of a generation of innovators in medicine who are able to reflect, be creative, and most importantly, use a collective approach to serve people from around the globe. Aside from the personal growth that Remko experienced, the RSM EMBA helped him to develop a global perspective as an entrepreneur.

The slogan of RSM – “Be a Force for Positive Change” – instilled in him the urge to do something more meaningful than just having a career as a medical practitioner. Remko had always wanted to start his own MedTech company and the RSM EMBA equipped him with the right tools. He shares, “It resonated with what I later want to do when I want to set up my own E-Health platform. I think I can contribute by being a force for positive change in the world, to other patients, by starting the E-health platform.” (02:01)

A platform where global communities meet

RSM has a global student network, where more than half of the Executive MBA students at RSM are from outside the Netherlands. On this diversity, Remko shares, “It can be a challenge to work with all these cultures together. We’re all highly motivated [and] we all have the desire to perform. It is interesting to learn from each other. It’s not about competition but collaboration.” (01:34)

The Executive MBA at RSM provides ample opportunities for the cross-pollination of ideas during discussions with peers – and the intellectual exchanges facilitated by professors pushes students to expand the horizons of rigorous business thinking.

The perfect setting to improve interpersonal skills

The Executive MBA program at RSM fosters personal growth and development, as it not only brings the leader [and] the professional out of you, but it makes you a better person. While the course can be grueling, there is luckily a lot of room for introspection. “On one hand, this MBA is packed with assignments and full of work, but at the same time it’s also a pause in your life,” Remko says. “Within these two years you will get to know yourself 100%.” (02:22) 

When you as a professional are empowered to be your happy and confident self,it is this fulfillment that will allow you to make the greatest and most positive impact in your career and eventually you will become the true “force for a positive change.”

If you want to know more about Rotterdam School of Management and its  Executive MBA program, don’t hesitate to contact past students directly through MBAGRADSCHOOLS Ambassador Page.

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