Why Keck Graduate Institute? With Hardeep

Hardeep is doing his master’s studies at Keck Graduate Institute. He’s a frequent Happy Schools Blog reader.

He was kind enough to share some of his time between his busy schedule to answer questions related to biotechnology and give his views on the current biotech industry in the U.S. in the current recession.

Recently, there was as interesting discussion in Orkut Community about PSM vs M.S. in biotechnology between students who wanted to move away from research but still stay in the biotechnology field.

Hardeep has given a clear explanation of why he opted to move into business, but still stay in the sciences field.

What are you studying and where?

I am doing my master in bioscience studies at Keck Graduate Institute, Claremont, California. It’s part of a prestigious consortium of 7 Claremont colleges. (Most of them are ranked in the top 10 colleges.)

How many schools did you apply at and why did you decide to attend Keck Graduate Institute?

I applied at about 8 different colleges. I got into:

  • Univ. of Rochester – MS in biomedical engineering
  • UCLA – MS in cell and molecular engineering (Biomed eng’g),
  • USC (Medical device and diagnostic engineering with regulatory affairs concentration)
  • KGI (Keck Graduate Institute)

I chose to attend KGI over the others simply because of the demographic reasons and amazing coursework. As I see it, the only two places with high biotech and pharma concentration are Boston and California, although others do have some industry fragmented here and there.

I was never a research person. I always loved business but MBA was not an option for me since MBA would have taken me away from science.

KGI has an amazing coursework consisting of courses which are highly integrated version of business and science.

Our courses comprise of marketing, strategy, finance, bioethics, medical devices, pharmaceutical discovery and development, regulatory affairs, operations, computational biology, and molecular biotechnology.

It is heavily oriented towards the business aspects of science and all business courses are taught by industrial people in the life science industry.

Normally, a degree with business courses tends to be such that business courses are taken in the B school and are disconnected from the science aspect.

All our courses are taught from science perspective by hybrids who themselves did PhDs in science and then moved into the business aspect.

We get to listen to speakers coming from industry almost once or twice a month, so we get to stay in touch with these people. (We have business cards – cool thing, huh?) After the first year we go for a three month summer internship.

For the whole of second year, instead of a master’s lab research based thesis, we have a Team Masters Program (TMP).

In TMP, companies come to our college and pay us for being consultants for them for the rest of the year. This all gives us ample experience and contacts to get absorbed eventually.

It is a very small 80 student school so everyone knows everyone, which is another advantage.

The course is super intense (8-9 courses a semester). If you like a relaxed life or do not like a small school feeling, KGI might not be the destination for you.

In the next article, he will answer the following:

  • What are your thoughts on the biotech job market for students graduating with degrees in master’s in biotechnology.
  • How easy is it to find internship during summer?
  • Cost of living at your school
  • What are the chances of getting scholarship?
  • I’m confused between MS in biotechnology and PSM in biotechnology; I don’t have any work experience, so what would you suggest that I do?

Part 2 of the above interview is continued at MS or PSM Biotechnology is Stupid.