Physician Executive MBA (PEMBA)

Master the business of care.

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Program overview

Physicians face new challenges in our healthcare systems that require a business acumen not found in the traditional medical school curriculum. We designed the Physician Executive MBA (PEMBA) at the Haslam College of Business to prepare you to lead healthcare forward with an agile suite of core leadership principles. In less than one calendar year, the PEMBA will equip you with valuable business insights to become an informed healthcare leader proficient in advancing organizational and patient health.

An MBA in One Year

We designed our Physician Executive MBA so that you can earn your MBA in just 11 months, with only 25 days out of the office. The four, one-week residence periods take place on the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville, Tennessee, and are reinforced with distance learning sessions.

Applied Learning

Build the expertise to lead your healthcare organization with an industry-specific MBA curriculum. As a PEMBA student, you’ll study business principles in the context of patient care so that you can conceptualize the real-world application of your coursework from day one in the program.

Healthcare Connections

Join a network of physician leaders and expert clinicians representing top healthcare organizations in every state and overseas. Our alumni cite these relationships with their classmates as one of the most pivotal aspects of our program, and one that endures long after graduation.

Leadership Development

Develop the business and executive competencies to guide your teams with confidence as both a clinician and healthcare leader. Our students undergo extensive leadership training with a dedicated coach to become capable and strategic physician leaders.

Most Relevant Executive MBA Worldwide


2018 Economist WhichMBA

Alumni Satisfaction Among U.S. Public Institutions


2020 Financial Times

Largest Among U.S. Public Institutions


2021 Modern Healthcare

Designed for Physician Leaders

The Physician Executive MBA is ideal for full-time physicians with a medical doctorate who plan to continue working while earning their degree. We designed our degree for medical professionals with clinical expertise who want to assume a greater scope of leadership, but need a solid foundation in traditional business acumen. From establishing a virtual private practice to driving patient throughput to eliminate clinical burnout, our program will prepare you to strategically solve challenges at the intersection of clinical care and the C-suite.

To maintain a supportive learning environment and allow for close faculty connections, our program is limited to an average of 40 students per cohort. The typical PEMBA student has 7-20 years of clinical experience, including residency.

As a designated 2021-2022 Military Friendly Gold School and Military Spouse Friendly School, our program also offers a broad range of resources to support students in the military and their families as they pursue their educational goals.


Percentage of PEMBA Alumni in Physician Leadership Positions

Over 800

Alumni Worldwide

Longest Running

Physician-Only Executive MBA in the World

Program Structure

Participants complete the Physician Executive MBA in less than a single calendar year, spending roughly one week per quarter out of office. The average time commitment is about 20-25 hours per week for readings and assignments, with distance learning classes one day a week. Assignments relate directly to the work you perform in your job to help you best retain the information, immediately apply new concepts and return value to your organization.

Quarterly In-Person Residencies

Invaluable learning takes place during four one-week residence periods (RPs) on the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The program breaks from the traditional academic format where you complete a collection of required and elective courses, and instead integrates business topics in the classroom to replicate how leaders make decisions in the healthcare environment.

Academic Year 2023

  • Classes Start: January 7, 2023*
  • Residence Period 1: January 7-14, 2023: University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Residence Period 2: April 29-May 6, 2023: University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Residence Period 3: August 5-12, 2023: University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Residence Period 4: December 2-8, 2023: University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Graduation Date: December 8, 2023

*Optional Computer Boot Camp: January 5-6, 2023: Offered in-person and virtual

Distance Learning

Between each residence period you will participate in regularly scheduled Distance Learning (DL) sessions, complete relevant and applied assignments, have access to recorded course content and work on your year-long Organizational Action Project (OAP). This combination of in-person residencies, online sessions and direct application of concepts to your work allows for the program's compressed duration.

2022 Cohort Distance Learning Sessions:

  • Saturdays, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. EST

Organizational Action Project

During the program, PEMBA candidates participate in an Organizational Action Project (OAP) targeting issues of major importance to their organization. Each student designs their own project and works in concert with the organization’s leadership team. They also work with a faculty advisor who provides mentorship and assesses deliverables throughout the program year.

Similar to a thesis, the project is graded independently of other assignments. Across our programs, our Executive MBA students routinely generate millions in return to their companies through the Organizational Action Projects.

Leadership Development Program

The Physician Executive MBA helps physician leaders develop the vision, communication and leadership skills necessary to succeed in transforming their healthcare organizations and patient care at large.

Students work with a Haslam coach to create a personalized leadership development program targeting the student’s individual strengths and weaknesses. This coaching relationship supports the student throughout the year and beyond graduation to experiment with new approaches, reflect on their discoveries, and see real-world improvements as a leader.

Peer-to-peer relationships contribute significantly to leadership development throughout the program. Students spend a year in communication and collaboration with other physician leaders in their cohort, exchanging ideas and best practices.


Haslam’s PEMBA is the longest running and most highly respected physician-only MBA worldwide.

All residence periods include curricula specifically geared toward physician leadership, including courses in:

  • Accounting, finance and economics
  • Quality improvement, lean operations and change management in healthcare settings
  • Customer value, strategy, business planning in healthcare

Within two years of graduation, our candidates often see significant return on learning in the form of promotions and meaningful strides in their respective health systems. What makes this Executive MBA unique is the dedicated cohort of clinicians who come together to advance the quality, access, affordability and financial performance of their healthcare organizations while moving patient care forward.

Core Executive Competencies

  • Apply Business Acumen

    Physician Executive MBA graduates will be able to implement leading business principles into practice due to a robust understanding of finance and accounting, marketing, analytics and more.

  • Create Operational Excellence

    Physician Executive MBA graduates will be able to drive organizational excellence by understanding and adapting strategic business models to fit the needs of their patients, providers and healthcare organizations at large.

  • Prioritize Systems Thinking

    Physician Executive MBA graduates will be able to assess and improve the health of their organizations through integrated care, value-based and risk-sharing service models, and continuous monitoring of individual and organizational performance.

  • Lead Holistically

    Physician Executive MBA graduates will be able to empower their teams and stakeholders while creating initiatives and open communication models to alleviate healthcare provider burnout.

Applied Learning

Applied learning is emphasized throughout the year with individual and team assignments. This means students have the opportunity to immediately translate course concepts into action in the workplace.

Instead of teaching standard courses or classes on traditional business disciplines, professors address real-world problems from multiple perspectives and focus on common challenges that executives share across all segments of the healthcare sector.

During each residence period, participants take classes, meet with faculty advisors and leadership development coaches, and work on project teams with peers.

Frequently asked questions

Key Dates & Deadlines

The Physician Executive MBA admissions team reviews applications on a rolling basis. Cohorts are limited, so the earlier you complete your application, the sooner you can get an admissions decision to reserve your seat.

July 15, 2022

Early Review Deadline

September 30, 2022

Priority Review Deadline

November 30, 2022

Final Review Deadline


Are you ready to commit to leading in the business of medicine with the Haslam College of Business? Request more information or contact Tom Brown at 865-742-1596 (mobile) or 865-974-1772 (office) to learn more about the Physician Executive MBA.


Request Information

Learn more about our Physician Executive MBA.