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Rachel Knight: Choosing an MBS over a PhD (Business of Bioscience)
“The assumption that you need a PhD to contribute to science, I believe, is a failed assumption and one that KGI is continuing to challenge.”
Second year, Rachel Knight, stops into the admissions office to elaborate on her decision to pursue an MBS over a PhD. Rachel spent 3 years obtaining her bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in Biological Sciences with a specialization in endocrinology. Afterwards, she spent a year working with a robotics company in various capacities including accounting, MATLAB programming, and grant writing. Upon completion of this gap year experience, Rachel began investigating PhD programs that would allow her to develop her skills specifically in the field of bioinformatics. It was during this search that she Googled programs in applied science and stumbled across KGI.
“KGI was a lot of what I didn’t expect … knowledge into the whole industry, integrated and collaborative, comprehensive, a lot of stuff that I couldn’t have gotten on my own or within a specialized PhD track.”
It didn’t take long before Rachel discovered her interest in the business of bioscience. Through her summer internship at Campbell Alliance in South San Francisco, she was able to explore broad industry issues with a quantitative focus in her work with managed markets. In this position, Rachel was also able to implement the integrative KGI curriculum in her daily work as it gave her the ability to “pull in concepts from different areas.”
Now in her second year, Rachel is serving on the Eli Lilly TMP creating scenarios for the future of personalized medicine, specifically by applying network theory to developing data-driven marketing techniques. After continuing her internship through the fall semester of her second year from Campbell’s Thousand Oaks office, Rachel accepted an offer from L.E.K. Consulting as an associate consultant.
Confident in her decision to pursue an MBS over a PhD, Rachel acknowledges that there is much work to be done in getting drugs to market and the growing pharmaceutical and biotech industries are desperately in need of science-minded professionals who are also well-versed in business.
“KGI is the perfect area for people who want to be involved in the science but don’t want to be at a bench or in medicine.”
So if you find yourself with an interest in an interactive view of the industry as a whole and a desire to learn on the job rather than learning and then acquiring a job, you might want to consider a career in applied life sciences consulting.
By Christina Lai (MBS '11)