Foundations of Veterinary Business Program

Foundations of Veterinary Business Program FAQs


What are the key goals of the program? 

The goal of our program is to help participants develop both the general and veterinary-specific business knowledge to successfully start, purchase, and operate veterinary practices.

Who is this program intended for?

Our program is designed to appeal to veterinarians and hospital administrators working in the profession who may not have the time or budget to pursue a full MBA program, as well as veterinary students with a strong interest in future practice ownership or leadership. Participants will learn how to analyze a practice to improve operations or consider purchase. There is a heavy emphasis on small animal practice, however individuals from other areas of practice will also find value.  About one-third of attendees are veterinary students and two-thirds are working professionals in the veterinary field.  

What makes this program different?

Our program is a unique collaboration between two highly-regarded schools—the UC Davis Graduate School of Management (GSM) and the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM). Our program also differs from many others by providing both online and in-person learning. This allows us to provide a cost- and time-efficient learning opportunity for busy people. Attendees can work through the online content at their own pace and continue to have access to this material after completing the program. Our program is also unusual in offering both business fundamentals and veterinary-specific business information.

What does it cost?

We’ve worked hard to ensure this program is an exceptional value with a strong return on investment for our attendees. The registration fee is $3,500, which includes access to the four comprehensive online learning modules created by GSM business experts, the equivalent of four full in-person Continuing Education (CE) days delivered by veterinary business experts, catered breakfasts and lunches, materials, and education fees. We are able to offer this value thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. Each year we offer additional tuition subsidy for veterinary students. Travel and lodging costs are not included in the tuition fee. Enrollment is capped at 40 attendees to ensure an intimate learning experience.

Are scholarships available for students to attend?

The Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA) will fund scholarships for five qualified student applicants, who receive up to $2,500 in tuition support and $500 toward travel costs. Request a scholarship by emailing: VBMA scholarship applications are due Feb. 15, 2020. Download brochure for more information.

What knowledge is required to participate?

No specific business or mathematical knowledge is required to participate in our program, though a basic familiarity with Microsoft Excel is helpful. If you’ve never worked with Excel, we suggest taking a short online course (there are many inexpensive options) prior to this program. Participants who are currently practice owners usually have more advanced knowledge than others, however they have still found the course very valuable.  

What documentation will I receive upon completion?

Graduates will receive a Certificate of Completion from the UC Davis Graduate School of Management as well as documentation of 21 hours or California CE credit in the area of practice management. This program is not RACE approved, but many states will accept CE credit provided by a university.  If you reside outside of California and CE credit is a concern, please check with your state veterinary medical board. 

Please note: Continuing Education (CE) hours cannot be provided for the online coursework and participants do not receive college credits. Participants must attend ALL in-person sessions to receive a Certificate of Completion. If you can’t make all of the in-person sessions, you are still welcome to join the program but we cannot provide a completion certificate.  

Who are the instructors?

Instructors include faculty from the Graduate School of Management and experienced practice owners and consultants from the veterinary field. See the speaker page for instructor biographies.

How is the online curriculum organized and how much time is required? 

The online curriculum is organized into four core areas of business competency: 1) Managerial Accounting; 2) Finance; 3) Marketing; and, 4) Strategy & Human Resources. Each of these is divided into 3-6 key topics, which are further organized into subtopics.  Participants gain access to the online materials in mid-May and have approximately six weeks to complete all of the modules prior to the first in-person meeting. The time invested varies significantly among participants. In general, each of the four core modules requires approximately 10 – 15 hours to complete. During the five weeks between the two in-person meetings, participants should schedule several hours each week to work remotely with their small group on the capstone project.

Are there tests?

The online curriculum includes quizzes for most topics, but these are just intended to help learners gauge their level of understanding. Otherwise, there are no exams. The time you invest in the online modules is up to you. This allows you to tailor your time based on what you feel will be most helpful. Obviously the more time you invest, the more you’re likely to get out of the program.    

What is the Capstone Project?

The Capstone Project is a highlight of the program for many participants.  After developing a foundation of business knowledge via the online curriculum, participants are placed into small, diverse groups of six to eight people. Each small group is provided with extensive data on a real-life veterinary practice, each of which is facing different challenges. Small groups meet during the first in-person weekend session to determine a plan for working through the case. Over the next five weeks, groups interface remotely to analyze their practice and make recommendations for improvement. Each group then presents to the class and an expert panel during the final weekend session.

Will I meet new colleagues with shared interests?

Yes, this is one of our goals. Each day of the in-person sessions includes interactive learning opportunities where you’ll get to know others. We encourage a lively dialogue during class sessions, as there will be lots of wisdom in the room. You will also work closely with a small group on the capstone project.