For David Washer, who knew he wanted to pursue a career serving the social sector and striving for social justice, a joint MBA/MPH (Master of Public Health) degree seemed like just the ticket. In the post that follows, he shares why the Dartmouth Tuck Joint MBA/MPH degree made the most sense for him—as well as why he believes adding the MBA is a valuable option for social justice advocates considering graduate study.
This following post has been republished in its entirety from its original source, the Tuck 360: MBA Blog.
Why I Pursued a Joint Dartmouth Tuck Joint MBA/MPH Degree
by David Washer T’17
I knew coming into Tuck that I wanted to dedicate my career to serving the social sector and striving for social justice. In my work prior to Tuck, I found that many of the social problems my teams attempted to address often intersected with health, at the individual and community levels, and the U.S. healthcare system. As such, I decided to pursue an MBA/MPH in order to better understand how economic, political, and social forces impact our health and welfare. Dartmouth has the most integrated MBA/MPH program in the country and offers generous aid, through the Wilson Scholarship program, so that MBA/MPH students can receive both degrees without incurring additional debt or time out of the workforce. Given all of this, and that my wife was already pursuing her MD at Dartmouth, my decision to come to Tuck was easy!
Studying in both degree programs has been intense at times, but also immensely rewarding academically. At Tuck, I have had the opportunity to round out my consulting toolkit and general management skills, and as a result, feel better equipped to rigorously identify, analyze, and solve organizational problems. Additionally, I now better understand some of the financial forces that drive income inequality in the United States. After leaving Tuck, I’ll be able to draw upon this knowledge to more effectively challenge the status quo to help create more equitable win-wins. At the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice (TDI), I have been able to sharpen my data analysis and impact measurement skills all while starting to make sense of our infinitely complex health care system. The data analysis skills I have developed will help me to better assess social interventions across a variety of domains (e.g., traditional health care, child welfare, education, etc.) while the more specialized health care knowledge I have gained will enable me to help design better health care systems that do not marginalize vulnerable populations.
For those social justice advocates out there considering whether or not to add an MBA to their grad school plans, I say go for it! Tuck and other business schools are becoming more socially conscious and you can help them on this mission while also gaining some valuable skills. Yes, you’ll (rightly) have your thinking challenged by classmates who think differently from you, but you’ll also be surprised to find like-minded students who very clearly want to use business as a force for social good. I am very grateful that I have had the opportunity to pursue both degrees; the pragmatism of the MBA coupled with the heightened social awareness of the MPH has helped me to become a better social sector leader. I look forward to drawing upon both degrees (and the famous Tuck alumni community!) to serve the social sector as it continues to bring about positive change.