A little less than a year after announcing the launch of a fast-track MBA-MPH program, the first class jointly enrolled at the Yale School of Management and the Yale School of Public Health is just over a semester into the program.

Announced last October, the program is one of the first of its kind to offer a Masters of Business Administration and Masters of Public Health degrees in such a short period of time — 22 months, as opposed to the traditional 3 years. The inaugural class comprises four students, and the three interviewed said that while the workload is intense, the compressed program — which will only require them to take two years out of their careers and costs a year’s tuition less — is well worth the tradeoff.

“It’s an invaluable opportunity for anyone interested in health care management,” said Divya Srinivasan SOM ’16 SPH ’16.

The inaugural class recently completed the first summer semester at the School of Public Health and will spend the next academic year taking core courses at the School of Management. To fit the typical 36 months of course content into only 22, the program adds a summer semester, has five semesters of academic classes instead of the usual six and slightly compresses the course work in the second year, said Anjani Jain, senior associate dean at the School of Management.

All students interviewed said that the program’s course load was significant. The classes they took over the summer — biostatistics, epidemiology and social and behavioral sciences — are usually completed in an entire academic year, Srinivasan said. The four of them completed the classes in only seven weeks.

“Some people give us their well wishes and say, ‘I don’t know how you’re going to do that,’” said Udani Kadurugamuwa SOM ’16 SPH ’16.

But those interviewed said that Yale provides ample faculty support for its MBA-MPH candidates, making the workload less stressful.

Kadurugamuwa said she does not know if she would have enrolled in a traditional three-year MBA-MPH dual degree program because of increased cost and time commitment.

Courtney Bannerot SOM ’16 SPH ’16 said that although completing the same program in 22 months means some aspects of the traditional program, such as certain electives, are left out, she does not mind the tradeoff.

“We need people in healthcare, and leaders who are going to do it today,” she said.

Before enrolling in the joint degree, Bannerot worked as a strategic planner at a health-advertising agency in New York developing commercial strategy for drugs and vaccines. It was during this time that she became interested in public health.

When Bannerot graduates, she hopes to find a job at the intersection of management, healthcare and public health solutions, she said. Srinivasan and Kadurugamuwa, too, hope to work at the intersection of health and management.

While the class is small, the program will not expand significantly in the coming years, Jain said.

But Jain does expect a significant increase in interest in this type of program. Employers in the health sector are increasingly realizing the importance of employees who have skills in both management and health.

“I think that’s what’s attracting some students to the pursuit,” Jain added.

To enroll in the accelerated MBA/MPH program, students must be admitted to both the School of Public Health and the School of Management independently .