Submitted by dasko2 on Thu, 03/19/2020 - 14:57


Business Management and Entrepreneurship in Veterinary Medicine

VCM 617

Contact Information

Instructors: L.D. Firkins, C.M. Zulauf (217-333-2907)

Course Description

Being a successful businessperson or entrepreneur in any field requires an understanding of a straightforward set of skills and the desire to define and fulfill a customer’s need.  In this course you will be introduced to the principles of successful businesses and learn how you can apply those principles in a veterinary business.  

The learning activities in this course will provide students with a model foundation of competency and confidence, which they would need to contribute to veterinary businesses. Teamwork, critical thinking and effective communication are the foundations of success in almost every endeavor and students will have the opportunity to practice those skills during this course through a variety of daily learning activities.

The competency foundation will include:  

  • An understanding of effective organizational design 
  • An understanding of the sales and marketing process  
  • An appreciation for and ability to interpret simple financial statements for a business 

Course Goals

This course will provide students with the opportunity to understand the business principles behind a successful business. By participating in this course, students will acquire a deeper understanding of the of the "whats and wherefores" of running a business and how they as new graduates can contribute to the success of a veterinary business.

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Find reliable sources of business information and critically evaluate them.
  • Describe and apply the key components of effective organizational design.
  • Describe and develop the core components of an effective marketing plan.
  • Describe and develop best practices for effective client communication and sales.
  • Describe and interpret the data necessary to measure business performance.
  • Describe the required data and select the correct analytical tools to determine if a business investment is advisable.
  • Effectively summarize, analyze and communicate complicated medical/scientific issues to the general public and other professionals.

Daily Activities

  • Monday
    • Who am I as a veterinarian?
  • Tuesday
    • Who is your customer?
    • Understanding your professional vision and aligning it with customer needs
  • Wednesday
    • How do I meet customer needs?
    • Organizational management
  • Thursday
    • Who will help me meet my customer needs?
    • Understanding strengths in hiring
  • Friday
    • How do I know if I am meeting customer needs?
    • Measurement of business performance - profit

Course Overview

9-10am: Introduction to that day’s topics – Guest Interview and assignment of questions for the day

10-12pm: Work in assigned groups to solve the questions presented by morning session

12pm-1pm: Student teams check in with graduate assistant/instructor

1-3pm: Students continue working on daily project

3:30-4:30pm: Synchronized class discussion with small groups and content experts to discuss day’s activities and answer questions.

Course Requirements

  • Required Textbook

Strengthsfinder 2.0, Tom Rath.

  • Technical Requirements

Knowledge of and operation of a computer is the students’ personal responsibility.

You will need:

  • A reliable device.
  • High-speed internet connection: e.g. DSL or Cable.
  • Supported web browser: e.g. a recent version of Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.
  • Access Microsoft Office 365 (Net ID and password needed) & have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed.
  • Minimum technical skills: At a minimum, students must possess the ability to navigate Blackboard.  This includes accessing course content, posting to a discussion board, and completing online assignments, quizzes, self-assessments, and exams.


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