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Matt Hopp, EMBA-MOT 2011, became president/co-owner of Guardian Pharmacy of Atlanta during his Executive MBA studies.

Executive MBA Profile: Matt Hopp Gains Skills to Start Own Pharmacy

Developing his entrepreneurial skills through Georgia Tech's Executive MBA in Management of Technology program gave Matt Hopp the confidence he needed to start his own business.

Ten months before completing his MBA in December 2011, Hopp left his position as general manager of Walgreens Long-Term Care Pharmacy to become president/co-owner of Guardian Pharmacy of Atlanta. He found the program's New Product and Service Launch Project particularly helpful to his own career goals.

"We had to develop a business plan for a proposed Internet company, figuring out our vision and finances and how to attract investors," Hopp explains. "In a business plan competition at the end, we pitched it to entrepreneurs. The whole process was an excellent exercise, preparing me to approach Guardian about investing in a new branch."

Hopp, who earned his BS in healthcare administration/gerontology at Ithaca College in 2001, says, "It was important for Guardian to see that in addition to my work experience, I was getting a formal education in business." Though not a pharmacist himself, Hopp has managed pharmaceutical operations since 2005 at not only Walgreens, but also Georgia Pharmacy Company and Pharmerica.

Technology Focus Important

Because technology is increasingly important to his industry, Hopp was drawn to Tech's 17-month Executive MBA in Management of Technology program (a focus on Global Business is also available). "My branch is very technology-focused," Hopp explains. "We’ve invested heavily in online tools, medical records, and robotic technology."

Now employing 11 people, Hopp's Guardian branch is contracting with a growing number of assisted-living, skilled nursing, and other institutional facilities to provide all of the medications their residents need. "We have a machine that dispenses all the pills that residents need into multi-dose bags," Hopp says. "A nurse might have to give meds to 50 people over two hours, so we need a system to make that distribution as efficient as possible."

Hopp's close relationships with his grandparents attracted him to study gerontology and serve the elderly. "I've always felt that's an underserved and neglected population that deserves more attention," he says. "I think there's a lot that we can learn from older generations."

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