SUNY College of Optometry: Getting an MBA Just Got Easier!


At the beginning of this month, SUNY College of Optometry entered in to an agreement with SUNY Empire State College to offer an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Optometry Business Management. This certificate entails 6 courses worth 18 credits that can be put towards earning a Masters of Business Administration from SUNY Empire State. The proposed curriculum will have two courses administered to optometry students at SUNY College of Optometry while the other four courses will be online through the SUNY Empire State website. The agreement and curriculum still need to be approved by multiple authoritative boards, but getting to this point has taken some time.

Dr. Jeffrey L. Philpott Ph. D. and Vice President of Student Affairs at SUNY College of Optometry told,

“About a year ago, the college conducted a critical student focus group. During the course of this event, we learned that many of our students do, indeed, want to receive advanced training in business, but they may or may not wish to finish an entire MBA program at this time. Our students provided the insight to develop a flexible certificate program, one that can be fully applied to the MBA should they choose to pursue it now or in the future.”

Dr. Philpott was also very pleased that the school was able to have a role in developing the certification process.

I was also able to get a word with Matthew Geller, SUNY 2013 optometry student who had this to say.

“For me, SUNY was a phenomenal experience and the clinical knowledge I picked up over 4 years has set me up to be a top new graduate O.D. with the ability to handle almost any case thrown my way. One thing I always wanted more of at SUNY was business experience and education in this area. So when I see that SUNY has stepped up offer this program I can’t help but smile and grow excited for the future graduates at SUNY. If they had this program when I was in SUNY you could bet your last penny I would be there. I urge all future SUNY students to take advantage of this program, the future of optometry will need students with this degree.”

As a current 3rd student as Southern College of Optometry, I am very excited about the prospect of getting an MBA while in optometry school (maybe not the school work so much). If we look at the trends of the medical schools over the last 10 years, many medical schools are offering MD/MBA programs to their students. This trend is now being seen in other medical professions such as optometry and SUNY is leading the way. Optometry is an art and a science but often we forget that it is a business as well, and the business-end of optometry will demand your attention more than you expect.

Many students are terrified by the idea of having to run a small business while trying to keep every patient they see happy and healthy. This is the reason so many students are willing to go to school a little longer and be in debt a little more. Adding to your competency as a small business owner will not only benefit yourself financially but also will help to further the profession of optometry by ensuring highly qualified ODs succeeding in an ever-changing medical world. My favorite saying is “Anything worthwhile isn’t easy,” and in this case it may not be easy to take some extra classes on top of a very hard curriculum, but in the end it definitely is worth it.

Ross Chatwin
Director of Financial and Business Content;
Southern College of Optometry Class of 2014

Thanks you to Dr. Jeffrey L. Philpott Ph. D. and Dr. David A. Heath O.D., Ed. M. for their input for this article.


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