Running a successful veterinary practice requires a broad knowledge base, clinical expertise and business acumen. Veterinary schools traditionally do a good job developing veterinary knowledge and clinical skills in their students, but often lag in basic business education.
Ashley E. Craig, DVM, an associate at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Kentucky, spoke about a student-led effort to remedy the deficiency in business education in veterinary school curriculums at the American Association of Equine Practitioners Annual Conference on Dec. 7-11, 2013.
The Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA) was established by veterinary students at the University of Pennsylvania in 2001. Three years later, the VBMA had grown into a national organization with 16 chapters. The organization now boasts 32 chapters (28 in the United States), with more than 4,600 members. The VBMA was conceived as a student-managed organization, and it remains so today. In addition to the educational benefits offered by VBMA, students receive complimentary subscriptions to EquiManagement and Veterinary Economics, along with networking opportunities. (VBMA members can register on EquiManagement.com and check the VBMA box to receive printed issues of the magazine courtesy of Merial.)
Craig explained that VBMA members have access to a wide variety of business-related educational opportunities in business finance; business operations, management, and ownership; leadership skills; and career and personal development. Students completing 32 hours of business education earn a Gold ranking in the VBMA’s Business Certification Program, while students completing 16 hours earn Silver recognition.
The Business Certification program benefits employers as well as students. Craig added, “When employers see the gold or silver VBMA certificates on a resume, they can see evidence of a student’s knowledge and interest in business issues.”
Such an interest in business might be the element that sets one applicant above the others when an employer is evaluating resumes.