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Washington State University
Dividend - Fall 2019 Graduate Education

MBA/Pharmacy Student Pushes the Bounds of What’s Possible in Health Care

Story by Sue McMurray • Photos courtesy of Frank Nenninger
Frank Nenninger

Frank Nenninger has a pretty big goal in his sights: improving health care of thousands of patients around the world through pharmaceutical and health care technology. An online MBA has already opened the gate to his future success in this arena.

Nenninger earned his online MBA in 2018 and will receive his pharmacy degree in 2020 at WSU Spokane, thanks to a partnership between the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Carson College of Business that allows students to take the programs concurrently.

“My pharmacy classmate Peter Tang knew I was working on an MBA and asked me to join a business plan competition team with him and Chad Schmitt,” Nenninger explains. “The experience I gained in the MBA program allowed me to assume the responsibility of team captain as we developed a business plan to serve rural and underserved patients in the Yakima Valley, where there is a severe shortage of health care providers.”

The team’s business plan won first place in the National Community Pharmacists Association’s (NCPA) 2018 Good Neighbor Pharmacy Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition. The competition drew participants from 34 schools and colleges of pharmacy across the United States and were judged by more than 50 NCPA members, Good Neighbor Pharmacy business coaching consultants, and various business leaders from across the country.

Serving the Underserved

The team’s innovative business plan included a suite of online self-service options and a mobile app for custom prescription compounding, diabetes management therapy, and education service. They also incorporated customer service and community engagement to maintain trust and familiarity of their pharmacy name in the community.

“Advancing patient care and supporting entrepreneurial aspirations have long been key areas of emphasis for our program. We are so proud to have such exemplary students representing both of these elements on a national stage,” says Linda Garrelts MacLean, WSU pharmacy professor. MacLean served as a WSU faculty advisor to the team.

Parents Fuel Life-Long Entrepreneurial Spirit

Nenninger was born in Frankfurt, Germany, and moved to South Florida at the age of 10. He says early on, his parents instilled in him an entrepreneurial spirit that stayed with him throughout his life and fueled his passion to push the bounds of what’s possible in the health care industry.

He completed his undergraduate degree at Florida State University before starting the pharmacy program at WSU.

“When I had my interview at WSU, I immediately loved the program. The flexibility of the online MBA program and its culture of support and teamwork really stood out to me,” says Nenninger.

Quality Program Paves Road to Pharmaceutical Career

“The WSU Pharm.D./MBA program offered me a great opportunity to learn critical business and management skills,” says Nenninger. “The things that struck me almost immediately about both areas were the welcoming atmosphere and helpful attitudes of the faculty and staff. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to enhance their education.”

After graduation, Nenninger will pursue business intelligence and digital healthcare as a next step toward his career in health care.