Univ. of Arkansas Students Reflect on NCPA Business Plan Competition


On October 13th, students from three pharmacy schools will vie in a live competition to be the 2012 winner of the Good Neighbor Pharmacy National Community Pharmacists Association’s (NCPA) Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition. For the first time, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Pharmacy is among the three finalists. NCPA recently asked the schools’ representatives for their insights and feedback on the contest.

NCPA is profiling each of three finalists on The Dose prior to the NCPA 114th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition in San Diego October 13-17. (To learn more and register, click here.) Our previous Q&A, with the University of Kentucky School of Pharmacy, is available here.

In 2004, NCPA held the inaugural pharmacy student business plan competition in which six schools submitted entries. Just 9 years later, this competition has grown in popularity and participation with 40 schools entering in 2012. Click here for more on the competition.

Our Q&A with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Pharmacy (UAMS) team, comprised of Kevin Barton, Brandyn England, Blake Johnson, and Tyler Shinabery, follows.

NCPA: What made you consider a career in independent community pharmacy and to ultimately enter this contest?

UAMS: Living in Arkansas, all of us have a passion for small community pharmacies. Arkansas is one of the only states in the union with more independent pharmacies than chain pharmacies. The NCPA business plan competition offered us a unique opportunity to delve into the business aspects of independent pharmacy that a normal college of pharmacy curriculum usually overlooks. We believe this competition will help us one day make our dreams of ownership a reality.

Our team attended the annual meeting in Nashville last October. After watching the live business plan competition last year, we set a personal goal as a team to compete this year in San Diego. We could not be more excited to not only share our business plan but also to listen to some of the sharpest young minds in pharmacy compete against us.

NCPA: Can you sum up the highlights of your proposed plan to purchase or start an independent community pharmacy?

UAMS: We are transitioning an 84-year-old, goods-based pharmacy to a modern service-based pharmacy through a junior partnership.

NCPA: What makes the independent community pharmacy that you propose to purchase or open stand out from other retail pharmacies in the area?

UAMS: The competition of our pharmacy is strictly goods-based, giving us a unique opportunity within our current location to capitalize on this untapped revenue source.

NCPA: What made you consider a career in independent community pharmacy and to ultimately enter this contest?

UAMS: Community pharmacy has always spoken loudly to each of us as one of the best ways to practice pharmacy as we have advanced through pharmacy school. Being your own boss allows you the flexibility to practice in a manner to truly hone in on the needs of your patients.

NCPA: For those who are unfamiliar with the competition, can you describe the time and effort that went into writing your business plan?

UAMS: The amount of preparation for this plan cannot accurately be summarized in one paragraph. We have actively been working on this plan for over a year, starting the summer before our third year of school. In the fall, we put together an entire plan, and then in our spring semester we completely dismantled and re-wrote every last word in our plan one last time. Hundreds of hours, countless meetings and many late nights led us to our final product.

NCPA: What else would you like to tell people about the competition?

UAMS: This has been the most rewarding academic endeavor of our pharmacy careers. We learned the ins and outs of successfully running an independent pharmacy, which is more of an art form than a science that we originally believed.

NCPA: What advice would you give students who may be interested in entering the business plan competition?

UAMS: Pick a team that has very diverse strengths and weaknesses. Undertaking a project of this magnitude with a singular mindset will surely lead you to failure. You must be able to collaborate with your peers in ways that you may not think are possible in order to come up with a completed business plan.

NCPA: Anything you’d like to add regarding your pharmacy school or NCPA student chapter?

UAMS: We would like to take this time to thank not only the support of our chapter but also our NCPA advisors who have guided us through the entire process of developing this plan. We have received nothing but support from our peers in our student chapter and could not have developed such a comprehensive plan without their support and the support of the UAMS College of Pharmacy.

Editor’s note:

Each of the three finalists will receive an award based on where they place:

  • First Place—$3,000 to the NCPA student chapter and $3,000 contributed to the school in the dean’s name to promote independent pharmacy.
  • Second Place—$2,000 to the NCPA student chapter and $2,000 contributed to the school in the dean’s name to promote independent pharmacy.
  • Third Place—$1,000 to the NCPA student chapter and $1,000 contributed to the school in the dean’s name to promote independent pharmacy.

As an added bonus, a profile of the winner will appear in the January 2013 issue of America’s Pharmacist as well as a full-length feature in the April 2013 issue.

2 Responses to “Univ. of Arkansas Students Reflect on NCPA Business Plan Competition”


  1. 1 kathy rothrock September 27, 2012 at 7:05 am

    GO UAMS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. 1 University of the Pacific Team Shares Thoughts on NCPA Business Plan Competition « NCPA's The Dose – The Voice of the Community Pharmacist Trackback on October 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm

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