Proposed Mba Program Takes Studies Overseas

Felicia Whatley

A new UMB International Life Science master degree program is being proposed to integrate various medical schools with a requirement that students do a portion of their studies abroad. While the proposal is being put the table, Assistant Dean of Graduate and International Programs in the College of Management William Koehler wants feedback from UMB students.

“The whole Life Science field is international. Professionals in the medical field need to get a sense of how things are done differently in other countries, especially in the pharmaceutical or research standpoint,” said Koehler.

There is a large network of schools and medical centers involved in this endeavor, including the European Medical Schools International Academy of Life Sciences (IALS) in Berlin, Germany; German Heart Medical Center; Free University of Hanover, Germany; St. Petersburg University, Russia; the University of Illinois, Champaign and the University of Massachusetts Boston.

“The idea is for physicians, researchers, and lab technicians who lack management skills but want to move up in their field, to have an edge,” said Koehler.

The program can be completed as quickly as one year with 10-15 courses depending on prior experience, and will be open to both Americans and Europeans. The idea is to recruit domestically, but the program will embrace international students as well. The core classes will include general finance, accounting, human resources, information technology, and operations.

In Europe, becoming a physician takes only about two to three years less than it does in the United States. A residency in the U.S. is not a requirement, but graduate students will be strongly encouraged to do internships in our local hospitals, so they too can get an understanding of the technology and cultural differences in the medical field.

This program is deemed important for the booming biotech industry in Massachusetts. Companies often develop work and clinical trials in Europe or Asia for the market worldwide, said Koehler. Koehler also explained how drugs have different applications in different parts of the world, such as Hepatitis B or Tuberculosis medications being more prevalent for different areas where it is needed more. This is why the program will stress an overseas education component.

“This is just the proposal stage. What do students think?” said Koehler. Koehler will be meeting with the director of IALS in Germany in a few weeks to discuss the program. The new major is envisioned to launch at UMass Boston in 2010.