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JP Mac Donald: Expanding Global Awareness (Business & Bioprocessing)
"I felt inside that I could do and give more and I was being held back by not having enough opportunities at home. Money comes and goes but you have to do what you feel sometimes."
International student Juan Pablo (JP) Mac Donald takes an hour from his hectic schedule to sit with me and share his story of how he came from his own start-up company in Uruguay to the MBS program at KGI.
A diagnostics company focused on identifying transgenics in crop samples seemed like a lucrative niche to three newly graduated biochemistry students from Uruguay. However, a lack of entrepreneurial experience paired with the economic downturn, caused the three to part ways after three years in business. Performing duties ranging from writing, developing assays and analyzing samples to customer service, marketing, and even maintaining the website, JP recalls "I was wearing a lot of different hats with really no experience." The venture, as stressful as it was, did serve to spark JP's interest in the business side of science.
Recognizing that he wanted to stay close to the science but obtain a business profile that would not be attainable with a Masters in Science, JP began a search for professional science masters programs. In the end he ultimately chose KGI because, to him, "it seemed like the most integrated program."
After making the decision, it was a mad rush getting paperwork ready in time for enrollment in a few short months. Luckily, with the help and support of his family as well as the KGI Admissions office, JP managed to sell his car and obtain a student visa in time to attend KGI in the fall. Since then, JP has declared a double focus in the business of bioscence and bioprocessing and completed a successful internship in Marketing Tactics at Life Technologies. Currently, JP is working to complete a technology assessment on digital PCR for Life Technologies as a part of his Team Master's Project and has accepted a full time position upon graduation as an Associate Consultant with Campbell Alliance.
Although JP acknowledges that there are challenges involved with being an international student, he also notes that "the benefits outweighed [his] fears." For international students considering a career in the biosciences and contemplating making the leap to study in the states, we at the KGI admissions office suggest that you take the time to consider these benefits.
"Take any opportunity to travel because the way the world is moving, business will always be multicultural. Anyone who wants to pursue an opportunity that is related to leading people or interacting with a lot of different cultures will benefit from an expanded awareness of the world."
Contact your admissions counselor if you have any questions about student life, applying to KGI, or if you would like to speak with a current student. You can also email the admissions office at admissions[at symbol]kgi.edu.
By Christina Lai (MBS '11)