Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Charting New Territories: Business Degree in the Medical Industry

While it may seem unlikely for a business degree to contribute to a medical career, the story of UIC Business Alum, Michael Martinez, proves otherwise. His educational and professional journey demonstrates how business skills can positively impact the healthcare system. Read the inspiring story of Michael, who aspired to become a physician while exploring innovative approaches to combine financial principles with the compassion physicians provide to patients.

Michael Martinez

Michael is pursuing the Medical Degree (MD) at New York University, Grossman School of Medicine, with a solid commitment to enhancing future management practices within the healthcare system. Upon graduating in May 2024, he will begin his residency training in the combined Internal Medicine and Dermatology program at Harvard Medical School, where he will be trained to treat patients with complex medical dermatology and autoimmune skin diseases.

In 2019, he completed a dual-degree program at UIC, earning a BS in Biological Sciences from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a BS in Finance with a Minor in Economics from the College of Business Administration, both with Summa Cum Laude, the Highest Departmental Honors.

Michael studied Finance on a full-cost scholarship as part of the Business Scholars Program, tailored for high-achieving undergraduates. Moreover, he served as president of the Collegiate Association of Business Scholars (CABS). During his tenure, CABS had 40 participants and focused on extending professional opportunities for students. He recalls organizing fundraisers for Business Scholars students, even though the amount of money raised was relatively small, possibly only a few hundred dollars. This support was meaningful as it provided students with the opportunity to invest in textbooks and professional clothing.

The Business Scholars Program offers several advantages for students, including specialized sections for core business courses, simulation courses, and experiential learning.

“In one of our accounting projects, my group mates and I had to create a hypothetical business, such as a new pizza shop, and showcase all the accounting and financial aspects involved in running such a venture. We delved into details such as projected rent and other operational expenses. Engaging in  small group course works, in which teamwork and problem-solving were central, was invaluable. It is something I cherished about the Business Scholar’s experience and continue to appreciate every single day.” – shares Michael.

Michael Martinez in 2015 with fellow Business Scholars (left to right) Abraham Perez ‘19, Yari Velasquez ‘19, and Noemi Ibarra ‘19

Business Scholars also benefit from industry experts, academic advisers, and faculty mentors-led seminars. Michael also highlighted the immersive support of his adviser, Angela Prazza-Winters, Assistant Dean for Online Programs, who played a pivotal role in launching his initiatives across the college.

Michael always knew that he was destined to become a physician. His passion for medicine was unwavering, and his experience with the Business Scholars Program continued to shape his journey.

Reflecting on his time with the Business Scholars, Michael expresses gratitude for the holistic support he received: “Another reason why I like the Business Scholars so much is because they knew that I wanted to pursue medical school, and they were very appreciative of that, and they supported me throughout that.” With the help of the Business Career Center, he secured an internship at the Center for Healthcare Innovation, where he engaged in initiatives bridging business and medicine.

Michael’s vision is to bridge the gap between good medical practice and effective management of health systems, hoping to inspire high-value care in health practices. “We have a lot of leaders in patient care that know wonderful things about taking care of people, but they know nothing about business,” he explains. “And I am just so thankful that the Business Scholars Program helped me from a very early on in my career journey to learn the language of business and apply strong management and organizational skills in my practice.”

His experience in the Business Scholars program equipped him with essential skills in business communication and innovation, which he now applies to his medical research. Michael recently co-authored an article published in JAMA Network Open, exploring ways to inspire innovation in medical systems.

The Business Scholars Program at UIC has been instrumental in cultivating collaborative skills and fostering innovative thinking. Through the program’s comprehensive support and immersive learning experiences, students like Michael Martinez have the skills needed to excel in diverse fields. As Michael’s journey demonstrates, the program prepares students for success and empowers them to make meaningful contributions to society.