St. Louis College of Pharmacy President John Pieper (left) and University of Missouri–St. Louis Chancellor Tom George sign a course exchange agreement Thursday. The new agreement will allow students from STLCOP to take graduate courses within UMSL’s College of Business Administration and UMSL students to take courses in pharmaceuticals at STLCOP. (Photo by August Jennewein)

A new course exchange agreement signed last week by the University of Missouri–St. Louis and St. Louis College of Pharmacy will give students from both campuses an opportunity to take courses at either.

“We have a mosaic of higher education offerings here in St. Louis, which lends to great opportunities to partner and strengthen program offerings for students,” UMSL Chancellor Tom George said. “We’re really excited about this partnership and think it will be beneficial to students from UMSL and St. Louis College of Pharmacy.”

The five-year agreement will allow STLCOP students to take graduate-level courses through UMSL’s College of Business Administration. In exchange, MBA students at UMSL can take pharmaceutical courses.

STLCOP student John Love said the benefit of the exchange is one he’s excited to take advantage of and feels having an MBA as a pharmacist will help him better serve his patients.

“Having an MBA can give me an advantage from the business side to help with everything from inventory to marketing,” Love said. “There are so many aspects that can apply and help you get ahead. I feel like having both a Doctor of Pharmacy and an MBA will give me the best of both worlds. I imagine a scenario where someone with only a business background may decide to only offer one particular medication because it will increase profit margins. But as a pharmacist, I’ll look at the research to see if switching medications is in the best interest of the patient. To have knowledge of both perspectives when approaching a problem like that would be very beneficial.”

STLCOP President John Pieper said Love’s feelings are similar to many of his students. When Pieper became president three years ago he wanted to see what he could do to meet those needs of students.

“As I began to talk to our 1,350 students, all of them talked about their desire to have other degree options, and as we surveyed them, the MBA program was number one on their list,” he said. “Our students need the kind of financial  insight, leadership and management skills that we think this program will give to differentiate them in this highly sought-after field.”

Jen Hatton

Jen Hatton