Pfizer consultants complete a portion of the multi-day program at the Krannertt Center for Executive Education and Research on Purdue's West Lafayette campus. (Photo provided by KEEP)
G. Logan Jordan, associate dean for administration, who teaches the capstone strategic thinking class in VMI, says Krannert’s experience in teaching business strategies to veterinarians and practice managers was appealing to Pfizer.
“If you hopped into a time machine now in the U.K. and went forward 10 or 15 years, veterinary practices then would look more like U.S. veterinary practices now,” Jordan says.
One major difference is the aspect of the human-animal bond. In the U.S. pets are treated like family members and owners are looking for the latest and best technology when it comes to treating Fido or Fluffy. This notion is just catching hold in Europe.
Professor Charlene Sullivan teaches VMI’s finance module. Although the core concepts presented are the same in Pfizer’s program, she says there have been special challenges.
Unlike VMI participants, who are primarily working veterinarians or practice managers, the Pfizer group must understand the business concepts and be able to communicate best practices clearly to its clients.
Selling a veterinarian inventory doesn’t necessarily solve their problem, Sullivan says. A veterinarian may tell a consultant that they can’t sell a product or service, so it’s up to the consultant to dig deeper to elicit information that will be helpful in suggesting solutions.
Veterinarians have the same characteristics here as in Europe, she says. Many entered the field out of a love of animals but may not understand the importance of making a profit so they can reinvest in their business and provide retirement income when they sell their practice.
Through best practice models and case studies, Pfizer reps are taken into an “as-is practice” to learn the finance, marketing and human resources skills that will make them a trusted advisor for their clients. Visiting area veterinary clinics helped to apply classroom knowledge and tools to real-life challenges, Boucher says.