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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Rachel Davis


You are wrapping up your time in the dual degree MBA/MSPH program at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and Gillings School of Global Public Health. What made you choose a dual degree, and how has being in both programs enhanced your education?
I chose to pursue the MSPH/MBA dual degree to explore my passion for Public Health while gaining a new Business perspective. The combination of the two degrees has had a greater impact on my personal and professional development than I could have imagined. I have had the chance to learn from a range of perspectives and seek out a wide variety of opportunities, enhanced by my time spent in two different programs. I feel well-equipped to reenter the workforce with newly refined critical thinking and technical skills, which have been uniquely honed by the joint degree.

Tell us about a favorite class or professor.
One of the most interesting parts of the MSPH degree was concurrently taking courses on healthcare cost-effectiveness and health law. In the cost-effectiveness class I learned about the societal benefits of cost-effectiveness analyses when developing and implementing various public health initiatives and setting a standard of care for medical testing and treatment. The course stressed the importance of recognizing that many public health programs and healthcare systems operate with limited finances and resources, so it is critical to determine the health benefit while considering cost. Meanwhile, I was enrolled in a health law course where I learned about the liabilities healthcare practitioners and health systems take on while treating patients, particularly in regard to treating patients at or above the standard of care. Taking the two courses illustrated to me how medicine and public health operate far differently at the societal and individual levels, and it is critical to consider both perspectives, as they often compete with each other.

What advice would you give incoming students?
I would recommend students take classes outside of the traditional track of their program, should time permit. Through the MBA program, I have had the privilege of taking several non-healthcare electives focused on corporate taxes, real estate, start-up strategy, and energy, among others. These courses have played a critical role in my development as a student, allowing me to learn to think in a different way and gain new perspectives, both of which are transferable to my healthcare career.

What has been your most memorable experience during your time at Carolina? 
One of my favorite aspects of Carolina is the tightknit community, rooted in the towns surrounding UNC. I noticed this one night when I went to a small pizza shop in Carrboro. As I walked into the restaurant I saw eight tables, seven of which had diners, and I knew folks at six of the tables. The friends were a mix from my two degree programs, one of my summer internships, and friends of friends I’d befriended. Reflecting on this experience has helped me recognize the strong community and support system I have been able to build through UNC, and the value of living in a small town allowing frequent connections with my classmates and friends.