Pharmacy students win national title, first time in UT’s history

Sunny Kim

The Tower glowed burnt orange Wednesday to celebrate a team of pharmacy students that won UT’s first national title at a business competition on Oct. 16. 

“When I found out our team placed top three I was pleasantly surprised,” pharmacy student Heather Rozea said in a text message. “[But] I was so unbelievably excited when we got first place. The outpouring of support and accolades from alumni, faculty, staff, our dean and the students was heartwarming and I never felt more proud to be a longhorn.”

The student team included pharmacy students Jennifer Ma, Rozea, Brittany Corbell, Taylor Dean and Jigar Satasia. They were all enrolled in a class titled “Pharmacy Business Plan Development” during the spring semester, which helped them learn the business aspects of independent community pharmacies. The team, along with their regular coursework, submitted its business plan to the Good Neighbor Pharmacy NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition in early May. In October, the team and faculty advisor Nathan Pope attended the National Community Pharmacists Association’s annual conference in New Orleans for the final presentation.

The competition consisted of teams representing 46 schools nationwide, according to UT News. Each team had to submit a written business plan to either buy an existing independent pharmacy or establish a new one.

The NCPA student chapter received a cash award of $3,000 for their victory, while an additional $3,000 will be given to the College of Pharmacy.

“We are very committed to student pharmacist professional development, and the funds will be used for that purpose,” said M. Lynn Crimson, dean of the UT College of Pharmacy, in an email.

Ma said the biggest challenge to prepare for the final presentation was working around everyone’s busy schedules.

“It took a lot of time and dedication to put our presentation and speech together,” Ma said in a text message. “We scheduled weekly video conference meetings [on Google Hangout] that eventually became daily meetings.”

Ma said she learned important skills in the competition that will hopefully help prepare her for a future career in the pharmaceutical business.

“Team work, leadership skills, financing and marketing are all important skills that will enable me to be a successful pharmacist, and possibly pharmacy owner one day,” Ma said.