Eye on Education

University of Alabama, School of Optometry’s First Dual OD/MBA Student Graduates

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Taylor Phillips has graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry with the school’s first dual-degree Doctor of Optometry/Master of Business Administration. The degree is offered in a partnership with UAB’s Collat School of Business.

The first program of its kind in the nation, UAB’s OD/MBA dual-degree program is intended to give future Doctors of Optometry a strong business foundation and education that will help them navigate their future as potential private practice owners and health care providers.

Phillips, a native of Gilbertown, Alabama, in the southwest part of the state, pursued the OD/MBA path to have a stronger understanding of the business side of optometry. She plans to enter private practice in rural and underserved Choctaw County upon completion of a yearlong residency in Tuscaloosa this coming year.

“In school, we learn clinical skills, develop strong patient interactions, understand the management of diseases and care, but we only learn about the top-line business aspects of our future career as optometrists,” Phillips said. “The completion of the OD/MBA program gave me the confidence to enter private practice, and I know it will help me give back to my community in a stronger way.”

Phillips completed her MBA courses in conjunction with her optometry curriculum and with students from other schools on UAB’s campus. Collat offers similar dual-degree paths for dental, medical, public health, engineering and health administration graduates as well.

While Phillips is the first OD/MBA graduate, several other students are currently enrolled in the program, and the collaboration between the School of Optometry and Collat School of Business has a bright future.

“The UAB MBA prepares professionals to lead and manage a business enterprise in today’s dynamic marketplace,” said Eric P. Jack, dean of the Collat School of Business. “Research shows the MBA has been one of the most effective educational programs for changing the world by enabling leaders to build strong, high-performing organizations and by leveraging the power of markets. We’re proud of this novel collaboration between the School of Optometry and the Collat School of Business.”


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