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Beyond credentials: examining the potential of MBA training to cultivate clinical leadership
  1. Ahmed Rashid,
  2. Deborah Gill,
  3. Jane Dacre
  1. Medical School, UCL, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ahmed Rashid, Medical School, UCL, London NW3 2PF, UK; ahmed.rashid{at}

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The National Health Service (NHS) Long Term Plan, published in 2019, set out the pathway for a new service model fit for the 21st century.1 It highlighted the importance of visible senior clinical leadership in enabling and assuring the delivery of high-quality care, both within organisations and the wider system. In a linked report by NHS Improvement, current chair Dido Harding highlighted the importance of providing the right support to ensure clinicians are able to realise their potential as senior leaders.2 The historical reluctance for UK doctors to get involved in leadership roles has been driven both by a discouraging professional culture, and a lack of training. If we are to aspire to maintain and enhance our NHS, we need training solutions that will help to prepare high-quality clinical leaders.

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is a long established postgraduate programme designed to provide candidates with the necessary skills to take senior leadership and management roles within organisations. Although historically it has been considered a route into the business world, in recent years there has been a greater recognition that these skills are necessary in a wide range of industries and sectors, leading to the development of specialised MBA degrees in areas such as finance, marketing, human resources, information systems and law.3 A number of different types of MBA programmes exist, including those with full-time study on campus, those completed exclusively online and those with distinct ‘Executive’ streams designed for those already in senior roles. Further information about different course structures and methods is updated and published annually.

Healthcare organisations and systems rely on effective leadership. Policymakers around the world are increasingly recognising the importance of engaging clinicians into leadership …

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  • Contributors AR wrote the first draft and DG and JD made intellectually important contributions to the content.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests All authors are leading health-themed modules for the Global MBA (Health) by the University of London.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.