Hands-On Experience

Actively engage in real-world health care settings.


The Vanderbilt Health Care MBA offers a groundbreaking approach to educating health care business leaders with its focus on experiential and integrative learning. Students “learn by doing” instead of just passively receiving information. Through immersion courses, students are encouraged to discover and create, integrate and interpret knowledge from different disciplines, and apply what they learn within real health care organizations. This unique learning experience is designed to educate the whole person, encouraging a broader outlook, the ability to see connections, and make sound decisions.

Following are several examples of how you many experience first-hand the challenges of health care:

  • hands-on experience Change into scrubs and head to the operating rooms at Vanderbilt Medical Center. Stand right next to doctors and nurses and watch surgeries being performed. Procedures include open heart surgery, brain surgery, tumor removal and more.

  • Watch and learn from radiologists as they scan and interpret the results of x-rays, CT scans and sonography.

  • Sit behind a surgeon's console and operate the remote robotic arms of the multi-million dollar da Vinci Surgical System, “feeling” how surgeons can perform complex and delicate procedures through small incisions with precision.

  • Work alongside nursing students as they use life-size “Sim-Patient” mannequins-including realistic heartbeat sounds, breath, veins and more-to learn how to care for patients in emergency situations.

  • Work with a team of your classmates to design a solution to a critical issue for a local health care company.

  • Go on rounds with nurse case managers and social workers, who function as a bridge between severely ill patients and the hospital staff.

  • Visit a community clinic, which primarily serves low-income patients at a highly subsidized rate.

  • Experience LifeFlight, the critical-care helicopter service supporting the Level 1 Trauma Center at Vanderbilt hospital.

  • Tour the Vanderbilt Center for Integrative Health and learn about alternative health methods such as acupuncture and massage.

  • Spend a 12-hour night shift at either the Vanderbilt adult emergency room or the pediatric intensive care unit.

  • hands-on healthcare MBATour a biotech company that develops products to repair orthopedic injuries to bone cartilage, ligaments and tendons.

  • Visit Vanderbilt's Mass Spectrometry Research Center, where state-of-the-art research aims to improve pharmaceutical care.

  • Learn how Healthways, a disease management company, helps consumers take control of their health care issues, such as diabetes or cancer, as well as prevent disease through education and support.

  • At a dialysis center, watch patients with kidney failure receiving dialysis treatments and learn about patients who have been trained to complete their own dialysis at home.

  • At the Vanderbilt billing center, learn about critical financial concepts such as the revenue cycle, physician billing, patient registration, encounter forms, insurance collections, claims processing and reimbursements.

  • Spend your summer internship working for a health care company, either in Nashville or beyond.

  • Travel to Washington, DC, to meet health care policymakers and get a better understanding of how policy, regulations and governmental reform impact the industry.

  • Learn about health care companies from the ground up by valuing a pharmaceutical or biotech start-up.

Trevor HsuTrevor Hsu
MBA 2010
Senior Consultant
ECG Management Consultants

I’ve heard my brother talk about all the surgeries he’s performed during his medical residency, but I never truly appreciated his craft until I saw brain surgery firsthand. During our week-long Health Care Immersion course, the first-year Health Care MBA students went on a whirlwind journey through the lenses of physician, nurse, patient, scientist and payor (insurance) eyes. For many, it was a first look at the steamy underbelly of an industry so easily misunderstood. I think most of us didn’t understand the fragmented nature of the health care system going in, and left with a better appreciation for the challenges in the health care space. More importantly, it confirmed my desire to make a mark in this challenging industry.