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First UMass Medical School student to complete dual-degree MBA program in June

SOM student Arnav Chandra passionate about synergy between business and medicine

By Kylee Denesha

UMass Medical School Communications

March 02, 2021

When Arnav Chandra, SOM ’21, graduates from UMass Medical School in June, he will be the first student to earn MD and MBA degrees in the dual-degree MBA program created in partnership with UMass Lowell and launched in 2019.

The program allows students in the School of Medicine, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Graduate School of Nursing to complete a Master of Business Administration while simultaneously completing their UMMS coursework.

Chandra, who earned a bachelor’s in business administration at UMass Amherst, said he values a business education as a future practicing doctor.

“I think UMass Amherst was the first time I got a glimpse into understanding how two things that are seemingly different are actually related. My internships at both IBM Inc. and Massachusetts General Hospital opened my eyes. Now at UMass Medical School, I’m taking coursework that drives home the idea that there is a strong relationship between business and medicine,” he said.

Justine Cameron, program director of the dual-degree MBA program, said it provides an interprofessional learning experience.

“Not only does this program allow students to engage in a learning experience with their peers across the GSN, GSBS and SOM, but it also provides an opportunity for them to collaborate with UMass Lowell graduate students, which is unique,” said Cameron. “Additionally, the program offers a health care pathway/focus for our students who are interested in health care management.”

Since starting medical school, Chandra has worked as a health care analytics intern at Alivia Analytics and a data analysis intern at Wellframe Digital Health Management. He also took classes in marketing strategy and management strategy, both of which were favorites of his.

“These were wonderful courses because they immerse you in real life application of your skills,” Chandra said. “I participated in different simulations where I’d compete against classmates to sell the most of a product, while thinking of my own strategy to actually make it all come together.”

In addition to his classes, he undertook a variety of extracurriculars to diversify his UMMS experience, including helping lead the Emergency Medicine Interest Group; co-founding the UMass Peer Mentoring Task Force; serving as a student representative for the UMass Learning Communities; and volunteering at the UMass Memorial Medical Center DCU Field Hospital, providing care to COVID-19 patients.

He was also involved in the Learning Contract Advisory Group, a community of administrators, faculty and students that determines alumni loan forgiveness eligibility.

“I’ve discovered through my education that there is an awesome synergy between what is good for people and what saves money, and how those can make a difference in health care,” he said. “I would like to one day grow systems that are focused on true behavioral change for patients who don’t have access to resources. I believe we can make an impact on people’s habits and also have them live better lives.”

Chandra is applying into both internal medicine and internal medicine/emergency medicine programs for residency. He hopes to work as a clinician while also pursuing startup work in digital-based preventive care.

“I’ve worked closely with my mentors to help find programs that fit my interests in how to improve the patient experience at a hospital. This ranges from developments in electronic medical records to insurance policies. I look forward to fulfilling my passion for both areas in the near future,” Chandra said.

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