Externships at Veterinary Business Advisors

Practical, hands-on experience for veterinary students

Are you a third- or fourth-year veterinary student who wonders how non-medical issues may affect your career? Are you interested in the business side of owning or running a practice?

Business Corporate Management Planning Team Concept

What Problems We Solve

The Veterinary Business Advisors Externship program will expose you to many of the legal and business issues you could face while working in a veterinary practice. During our intensive three-four-week program, you’ll be immersed in a plethora of real-life situations such as:


Employer/employee contract negotiations

Buying and selling of veterinary practices

Veterinary partnerships and relationship challenges


Conflict resolution

Construction/expansion/lease negotiation
Client issues

And much more

Externships Career Path

We are proud that many of our former externs have gone on to innovative and successful careers, including:

Board-Certified Veterinary Radiologist
Science & Technology Advisor for National Pork Producers Council
Director of the Animal Welfare section of the Agricultural Policy Division in Australia
Adjunct Professor at University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine
Chief of Veterinary Services for a U.S. military base
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Meet Previous VBA Externs

“It would be tough to give a full and proper listing of all the things I learned with my 4 weeks at VBA. Dr. Lacroix and Kellie were unbelievable in letting me ask all sorts of questions throughout the day and I felt so welcomed by the entire VBA team from day one. Throughout the externship, I gained an exponentially-better understanding of practice/sale agreements, non-compete clauses, succession plans, tax implications, and more. VBA’s clients were very willing in allowing me to listen in on their conference calls, meet in person, or visit their hospital. Each day was varied and, along with client communication, I was able to research many aspects of the profession, of which I had previously known very little. The value of the externship at VBA cannot be overstated. And this is not an externship exclusively for future practice owners; for anyone interested in practicing veterinary medicine in any capacity, spending time with VBA while in school will provide incredible insight. I am so grateful to VBA for the wonderful perspective I developed on the future of veterinary medicine during our 4 weeks together.”

Benjamin Donati (2016)

“Throughout my time in veterinary school, I have always been interested in the business aspects of the industry. I have always found the perfect outlets to participate in the business focused activities involving veterinary medicine and I believe that participating as an extern at VBA during my fourth year helped me continue that trend. During my time, I participated in practice sale agreements, employment contracts, partnership agreements, employee management, as well as a countless number of other integral aspects of the veterinary profession. The externship experience at VBA allowed me to experience the veterinary industry that I will be entering very soon from a unique perspective. This exposure will allow me to foster a competitive advantage as I enter the veterinary field. I believe that a large amount of my ability to gain all this new profound knowledge stemmed from the welcoming and warm environment created by the entire VBA staff. The staff made me feel as if I were part of the team from first day and I am very grateful for the environment fostered. I cannot thank all the VBA team enough for all the great times and profound knowledge obtained from my externship.”

Jill Giunco (2017)

“VBA is a must-do externship for anyone in the veterinary field! Future owners will find this an invaluable experience as you will learn about how to value and buy or sell a practice. Even if you don’t want to own a practice, you will benefit from knowing the inner workings of employee contracts, client accusations, and workplace disagreements. I appreciated learning how to successfully navigate the industry I am about to enter, and I feel better prepared to find a quality workplace. VBA provides a unique experience that supplements traditional curriculum in a very practical way.”

Anna-Marie Struble (2019)

“My externship at VBA has been invaluable. I learned more about business in three weeks than I have in all other business courses combined. Charlotte and the whole staff are so welcoming and willing to answer any of my questions. They got me involved with the real work that needs to be done. I worked on contracts, all the way from a single associate veterinarian’s employment agreement to the buying and selling of multi-doctor practices. Before this experience, I did not realize all the aspects of a veterinary business that I truly did not know. This experienced taught me how to think critically and gave me the skill set to spot issues that can often go unnoticed. I am truly grateful for this experience and would recommend it to all veterinary students across the country.”

Lance Brody (2019)

“If you are looking to become savvier in the business of veterinary medicine, the externship at Veterinary Business Advisors is a must-have experience. With the majority of our formal education focused on medicine, veterinary students are not always exposed to the nitty-gritty such as contracts and negotiations. The team at Veterinary Business Advisors is fabulous and committed to the learning process. I loved my time here!”

Jennifer Zhang (2021)

“My externship at VBA was full of fantastic various experiences. I was able to experience first-hand practice sales, practice acquisitions, employment contracts, hiring/firing employees, and on-site human resource practice audits. VBA made it their priority to involve me and answer my many questions. They gave me the respect of a colleague and instilled much dedication into my progress. I had a wonderful time and have gained insights, and connections, I will carry long into my veterinary career, especially as I work toward practice ownership.”

Danielle Esplin (2018)

“Vet students cannot pass up an externship with VBA. If you want to learn the latest on contract negotiations, how to buy or sell a practice with all the details involved – a VBA externship is what you need to do. Contract negotiations can be intimidating, but this externship gives you the tools you need to face that intimidation and negotiation head-on. In fact, Dr. Charlotte Lacroix empowered me to negotiate my first job contract coupled with my due diligence, and I was able to successful attain all aspects I was looking to improve in my contract. She and her dynamic team made me feel included in all facets of working with her clients which helped me develop a strong, tangible skillset in negotiating employee agreements whether as a future Associate or practice owner! They strive to make sure you feel you are getting the most out of your experience. I’m so grateful to have had this experience!”

Marie Bucko (2021)

“The externship at VBA was truly eye opening. I felt warmly welcomed by everyone there and was immediately introduced to the legal side of veterinary medicine. I am grateful that Dr. Lacroix took time out of her busy schedule to explain concepts that were very applicable to my future. By working through contracts and taking notes on calls, I began to recognize issues that were worth discussing. I was taught to have confidence in my skills and not be afraid to stand up for myself! I loved how no two cases were the same, yet Dr. Lacroix was able to solve their problem in a practical and easy to understand way. I am very thankful for this experience and for everyone’s hospitality and kindness at VBA. I highly recommend this externship for everyone in the veterinary field. I consider myself lucky to have gotten this experience and am very grateful.”

Pooja Patel (2020)

“My externship with VBA was an eye-opening experience. During my time as an extern, I had the opportunity to participate in calls with clients regarding a variety of topics, such as employee contract negotiations and the sale of veterinary practices. As an aspiring practice owner, participating in these discussions was invaluable. I was able to learn more about the wants and concerns of both the employer and employee as well as the buyer and seller; this will help me better understand the other party when I am negotiating in the future, no matter what side of the table I am sitting on. No other externship I have completed thus far has had such an obvious and positive direct return. I will be entering the veterinary workforce in a year and this externship has armed me with the knowledge to effectively issue spot an employee contract and the confidence to negotiate it. Because of this, I would highly recommend this externship to all veterinary students, regardless of their level of interest in the business side of veterinary medicine.”

Jack Perkins (2018)

“My time at VBA was completely unique. I had exposure to so many topics that will be relevant throughout my entire professional career. I learned how to navigate through various contracts such as employment agreements, operating agreements, asset purchase agreements, non-compete agreements and many more. Charlotte and I also discussed the legality of up-and-coming issues such a telemedicine in practice, the use of cannabis in pets, and corporate consolidation, all topics which have broadened my awareness and knowledge of current events within the veterinary field. I also had exposure to various human resource affairs such as how to create a cohesive and emotionally intelligent team and dealing with sexual and verbal harassment within a practice. Charlotte, Kellie and the whole VBA staff were amazing and I couldn’t thank them enough for this wonderful experience!”

Stephanie Rey (2019)

“From the beginning of my first day as an Extern at Veterinary Business Advisors I have experienced the pacing and immersion into the world of veterinary business and legal matters that has surpassed my expectations. This efficient and passionate company effectively handles a diverse array of veterinary practice issues: employment agreements, asset purchase agreements for the sale of a practice, non-compete clauses, the proper handling and aftermath of the termination of an employee, along with other uncommon but important problems. During my time spent with this company I was charged with developing a presentation on the proper consideration of reference laboratory contracts, which opened my eyes to this rarely discussed aspect of practice ownership. I considered myself fortunate to receive business and legal information through my curriculum at UC Davis veterinary school, but the experiences and lessons gained from my time with VBA added a much more personal experience and understanding. All of the employees at this company have been very welcoming and inclusive which helped me to quickly become comfortable with my role and achieve their expectations. There is no lack of work here; Dr. Lacroix, Mrs. Olah, and the rest of the team are continuously moving throughout the day as they endeavor to provide exceptional client advocacy and superior customer service. I came into this externship hoping to finally determine my level of interest in veterinary business matters and practice ownership, to which VBA confirmed the exciting possibilities and armed me with knowledge for my future career.”

Ryan Adams (2017)

“Working as an extern for VBA was such an amazing and worthwhile learning experience! I felt fortunate to be exposed to a vast array of consultations that educated me on the many potential legal issues and business considerations that veterinary professionals may face while out in practice. What was most amazing and enlightening for me was bearing witness to Dr. Lacroix’s advisory work and how her expertise (of more than 20 years of veterinary industry experience) greatly benefited each and every veterinary professional she helped, from retiring veterinarians selling their practice to newly minted DVMs nervous over their first employment contracts. I’m also grateful for the privilege of having learned from the entire VBA team, whether it was about practice culture and employee management from Kellie Olah or legal due diligence from Kara Cobb. It was also a blast to work with executive assistants Isaac and Lysa as well! Despite the dense legal language and heavy business rhetoric, a sense of down-to-earth care, genuine thoughtfulness, and warmhearted attentiveness really shined through every consultation VBA had with each of their clients. Everyone seemed like an “old family friend” to Dr. Lacroix, and she advocated and defended their rights and interests just as if they were family. Although I’m only about to graduate veterinary school, I already know the legal and business advisory team I’ll be working with for the rest of my career as a veterinarian!”

Ed Unay (2021)

Discussion with a real estate agent at the office

Do you care where the veterinary profession is going? Do you enjoy learning about the effects of changing laws, health insurance reforms, and pharmaceuticals on human medicine and how they impact veterinary medicine? Do you plan to own your veterinary practice and navigate the world of human resources on your own? Do you plan to work in a veterinary practice? Do you want to gain concrete experience in what makes a successful associate or veterinary practice? If so, we invite you to apply for an externship with Veterinary Business Advisors (VBA).

The externship is a three-four-week hands-on opportunity for third- and fourth-year veterinary students, working alongside Dr. Charlotte Lacroix and her team on issues affecting veterinary medicine, including analysis of emerging business and legal issues, employer/employee contract negotiations, the buying and selling of veterinary practices, and the relationship between practice owners. Whether you are considering attending law or business school in the future, hope to learn more about running a successful practice, or simply want to learn about the challenges confronting the veterinary profession, your externship will broaden your view of veterinary medicine, the business, commercial, legal, and ethical concerns it must address, and teach you about the practical “business” of being a veterinarian.

Besides working closely with Dr. Lacroix, you will research and write about a current hot topic. Recent projects have included preparing for natural disaster, vaccine liability, electronic medical records, business ethics and profit-making, the emergence of holistic veterinary medicine, competing with internet pharmacies, and pet guardianship vs. pet ownership. Depending on the length of your externship, you may write an article suitable for publication in a veterinary journal or develop a PowerPoint presentation.

Since we are so close to New York City, many of our externs have enjoyed occasional weekends sightseeing. VBA is committed to teaching and endeavors to involve students and promote their participation in an interesting, diverse, and eye-opening practical learning opportunity. In addition to receiving unique exposure to the business and legal aspects of the veterinary profession, you will be provided with free room, board and parking, and depending on your school, you may also receive credits for the externship. If interested, please complete the following form along with your resume and a 3-5-page writing sample from the past year.

two young veterinarians talking while examining red cat on table

VBA Extern Application (online form)

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