Today’s Spotlight installment proceeds my post on the value of a postgraduate degree for optometrists (click here) For Dr. Gerald Eisenstatt, a 1984 graduate of the Southern College of Optometry, his recent MBA has placed him in the unique position of enhancing his directorship of the Hayes Center for Practice Excellence and his assistant professor duties at the Southern College of Optometry (SCO), his alma mater. Dr. Eisenstatt received his MBA from Christian Brothers University in 2011. Dr. Eisenstatt is also the managing partner of the Memphis Family Vision Practice, a multi doctor / multi location private practice.
Q1: What prompted you to pursue the postgraduate degree that you selected?
I had a couple of reasons I wanted to pursue a postgraduate business degree. First, I wanted to improve my business knowledge so that I may provide a better quality educational experience for the students. I had 28 years of practical experience, but needed the business vocabulary and knowledge. Secondly, since I was the managing partner of my private practice, I needed to improve my business skills in an attempt to improve my bottom line. Profit margins were being squeezed by managed care plans and the overall cost of doing business.
Q2: If someone asked you which degree to pursue, what would you say?
I would strongly suggest an advanced business degree. Most optometrists are not properly educated in the basic business skills needed to become a successful business person. Learning how to prepare a budget, develop a business plan and marketing plan, building a SWOT analysis and understanding basic accounting and finance all can be very helpful in taking your practice to the next level. Most optometrists fly by the seat of their pants and practice without much business guidance.
Q3: What or how has your degree benefited you?
Earning my MBA degree has been a win-win. I have started to better manage my practice and improve our bottom line. I was offered a promotion at the college which took advantage of my MBA and knowledge obtain during my higher level education. The students in my practice management class are now receiving a more comprehensive optometry business curriculum.
A postgraduate degree can precede or proceed your optometry doctorate. Either way, it can further enhance your career or business options in later life that you might not be apparent to you presently. As your career matures, there will be a moment when you know why, what and when you will want to pursue that postgraduate degree.