Peter Koo ’92, PharmD started working in a pharmacy when he was 12 years old. Watching the pharmacist interact with his patients and build relationships helped Dr. Koo establish a framework for his future career: human interaction in a health care environment.
Relationships have always been the cornerstone of Dr. Koo’s professional life. As a student he was involved in the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists, Kappa Psi, the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) and the American Pharmacists Association. His favorite memories of Pacific involve networking with alumni and fellow students, many of whom he keeps in touch with today.
“I always emphasize to all students and young professionals, even my kids, that your success in your career is determined by three things: your network, your grit or drive, and your leadership and communication skills,” said Dr. Koo. “Networking and relationships matter. Relationships create experiences that help you grow personally and professionally. My entire career is based on my network and leadership skills.”
Investing in others is also important. Dr. Koo mentors doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) students and stays involved with Pacific as a member of the Pacific Pharmacy Alumni Association board of directors.
“As alumni of Pacific and leaders in pharmacy we are obligated to carry things forward, which means we need to try and help out others as much as possible,” he said.
“Relationships create experiences that help you grow personally and professionally. My entire career is based on my network and leadership skills.”
Dr. Koo recalls how he used his second paycheck as a pharmacist to buy dinner for a group of 10 alumni and students at the Sardine Factory in Monterey during a CPhA event because he lost a bet. That memory carries a lot of meaning for him and he always advises new graduates to pay it forward after they start their careers.
“Your first paycheck goes to your mom to show how much you value her support through your pharmacy school journey,” he said. “The second paycheck goes to the people who helped you become a pharmacist.”
Dr. Koo spent most of his career working in various facets of retail pharmacy. Today, he is the vice president and general manager of pharmacy solutions at McKesson, where he focuses on executive leadership and organization management.
Dr. Koo’s advice to PharmD students is to make the most of their Pacific education and embrace the culture and experiences of Pacific by getting involved in professional and social events.
“This will be one of the most memorable times in your life, my Pacific experience laid the foundation of my career,” said Dr. Koo. “Students should realize a good solid foundation is the key for success.”
By Becky Perry ’01, ’09