Have you ever thought of pursuing both a master’s in business administration (MBA) as well a medical school degree? For Chicago area-based ophthalmologist Dr. Julie Pearlman, M.D., having an MBA means she has useful skills that can help her relate to clinic staff and patients.

Julie Pearlman, M.D. (photo courtesy of Julie Pearlman)

Julie Pearlman, M.D. (photo courtesy of Julie Pearlman)

Dr. Pearlman completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan Honors College, and graduated from the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Dr. Pearlman felt there was a similarity between studying for medical school and business school. “I found that studying accounting was a lot like gross anatomy. There were so many specific details you had to memorize, then you had to apply them to new diagrams on tests; it was hard and confusing and frustrating, but in the end you realized you’d learned a vital skill,” she said.

How can an MBA help you in Chicago? We ask Dr. Pearlman to give us an inside look.

As a doctor, what is the benefit of having an MBA?

“It is a helpful credential to have, and it made me more desirable for residency programs. It also helps me with decision-making. The degree also gives me useful skills relating to staff.”

How do you apply your MBA to your career as an ophthalmologist?

“Whenever you decide whether to add a new piece of equipment or to provide a new procedure in your practice, you need a business plan for it, and an MBA teaches you how to plan for these things. Another skill stressed in the MBA program was teamwork, which is an essential skill for having an efficient office that serves patients well. Another important skill you learn in business school is networking. And when helping patients decide on LASIK corrective surgery, contacts or glasses, you can do a cost-benefit analysis with them.”

How do you keep your skills up to date?

“I need to meet certain standards for my medical license. I also read a number of newspapers, like The Wall Street Journal, and I keep up with the medical field by reading medical journals. I also attend medical conferences.”

Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

Watch & Listen LIVE