Background Image

News & Events


PharmD/MBA Joint Program Opens Many Doors for Recent Clarkson University Grad

Clarkson University graduate Erika Swits always knew she wanted to go into management, and she's heading that way with two degrees that are tailor-made for her goals. To top it off, the journey has been boosted by a NYS Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) graduate scholarship.

Erika SwitsA native of Burnt Hills, N.Y., Swits graduated from St. Lawrence University with a bachelor of science degree in biology, and then pursued an MBA in Healthcare Management at Clarkson University's Capital Region Campus (formerly Union Graduate College) in Schenectady, N.Y., at the same time as a doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS).

"I've just started a job at a pharmacy in Albany," says Swits, who graduated May 14 from ACPHS and June 11 from Clarkson. "Down the road, I want to work in healthcare administration, maybe at a hospital."

She will have plenty of professional options, says Associate Professor John W. Huppertz, director of Clarkson's Healthcare Management Program. Pharmacy school takes six years, and the joint program path allows those who are interested to add an MBA course after their second or third year.

"Some students who want to expand their horizons beyond pharmacy careers choose this route. Many of them go to work for pharmacy companies or health systems. Some go into a variety of business settings, consulting, or technology jobs," he says. "The MBA makes them very marketable."

Several students in Swits' class of 160 chose this intensive dual program. For her, the MBA program provided an opportunity to hone presentation and "people skills."

The program has a 20-year relationship with the ACPHS, adds Huppertz, which continues since the February merger of UGC into Clarkson. There are now additional options for healthcare collaborations since Clarkson also offers doctor of physical therapy, master of science in physician assistant studies, and master of science in occupational therapy programs.

"We're very proud of all the students who go through this joint program. They’ve distinguished themselves," Huppertz says. "We're especially proud of Erika for how well she's using her MBA and analytical skills along with her pharmacy education. She's exactly the kind of student who thrives in the program."

Swits used part of her $2,500 HIMSS graduate scholarship to attend a conference in New York City, where she met practitioners and researchers in the health informatics field, made connections, and learned about the challenges and opportunities of big data in healthcare. She also intends to use a portion of her award to fund her pharmacy board exams.

Her advice to students who are interested in management careers is "get involved, network, and meet a lot of people, because you never know down the line who you'll work with."

Clarkson's MBA in Healthcare Management degree is a 16-course program, but the PharmD/MBA joint program reduces the number of required MBA courses. Most joint program students complete the MBA course requirements over their final three years at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, New York, and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

[A photograph for media use is available at .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

Calendar View the full calendar >>

Full Calendar RSS Feed