November 29, 2010

AEM Introduces New Business Minor for Life Science Students

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Directors from both the Charles Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and the Office of Undergraduate Biology announced a new business minor for the life sciences last Friday, Nov 19. The minor will be offered for biology majors in the College of Arts and Sciences and life science majors in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.  Administrators said that the minor will provide life science majors the opportunity to supplement their scientific studies with a strong foundation in business and entrepreneurship.The new minor is being funded by a gift from Dr. Jonathan Levine ’76, Stacey Levine, Dr. David Levine ’88 and Davena Levine ’88.According to the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management’s website, the minor will help future doctors and dentists hoping to enter private practice learn the techniques to help better manage their employees and understand the economics of health care. It will also be useful for students wishing to manage research facilities in the future, where they may be responsible for lab budgets worth millions of dollars.“As the world becomes a more technologically advanced place, your background in biology will need to be supplemented with a discipline that corresponds to the economic environment of our time,” Prof. William Lesser, applied economics and management and director of the Dyson School, said to a group of students gathered at the Nov. 19 meeting to announce the minor.Divided into three segments, the minor is composed of one class of introductory microeconomics, four core business courses and two life science classes that emphasize business applications.The business core courses provide a basic understanding of business theory and practice, ranging from introductory business management and accounting to marketing and finance. The courses present students with an overview of management and business as well as an introduction to financial concepts and techniques.  They also provide the fundamentals of marketing and the necessary strategies for success in managerial decision-making and personal-financial investments.The minor applies these fundamental business skills and techniques to fields relevant to life science majors through two specialized classes.  The first is a lecture series that focuses on the study and practice of entrepreneurship in the life sciences.  Through weekly seminars and guest lecturers, this single credit course gives students tips on turning scientific discovery into business opportunity and success.  The second course focuses on biotechnology, and explores its international marketing from an economic perspective.At the meeting to announce the new minor, Dr. Jonathan Levine and Dr. David Levine spoke about the value of the minor for future life science and health professionals.Dr. David Levine –– now an orthopedic surgeon, who specializes in foot and ankle surgery –– said that after only taking biology and microbiology courses as an undergraduate, he felt unprepared to deal with the economic aspects of owning a medical practice.“I found that I was really well-trained in the biology of my profession, but what I was not well-trained in was the business side of medicine, [such as] the managing of employees, the dealings with insurance companies and the understanding of health care reforms and how it affected my own practice,” he said.Dr. Jonathan Levine, too, has firsthand experience about combining entrepreneurial endeavors with the health sciences. Well into his career as a dentist, he decided to try something more entrepreneurial and co-founded the teeth whitening company, GoSmile. He said that because he never had the training to manage a business, it was at first very difficult for him to market the company strategically. He said his company did not become successful until he learned how to adequately market and manage. He currently runs Jonathan B. Levine and Associates in New York City.He added that he hoped that the new minor would prevent students from enduring the on-the-job training that he needed.“If you’re involved with any aspect of health sciences, whether you’re a doctor, dentist, pharmacist, or researcher, you’re essentially running a business,” he said. “And the knowledge and understanding of business and how it works will be a benefit to you.”­­

Original Author: Nicholas St. Fleur