12 5 16 Slider Biocon 1000x698px

Students Transition From Certificate in India to KGI Bioscience Master’s Program

In 2014, Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) launched a bioscience certificate in India in collaboration with Biocon, the country’s largest biotechnology company. Now, two graduates of that technical training program are in Claremont, the first to pursue KGI’s Master of Business and Science (MBS) degree.

Ishan Billore and Faizan Ansari chose the MBS to learn more about the business side of bioscience. Both had worked for Biocon after completing the certificate program, Billore in process quality assurance and Ansari in a technical role at a manufacturing facility.

“Once I started working, I realized that not only technical expertise was required and that I should also have knowledge of business and operations,” says Ansari. “I need a master’s degree because it will expose me to more perspectives.”

He and Billore were able to apply academic credits earned in the Indian certificate program toward their graduate degrees. But that was only one benefit the MBS program offered them. Meghana Joshi, who directs and teaches in the Biocon-KGI certificate program, explains, “In India, it’s very difficult to move from a technical position into management. Here, they’ll learn more in a much shorter time. They also want to work in a U.S. setting for awhile, so the MBS program will be an advantage.”

Neither student had ever visited the United States before arriving at KGI. Yet their new school was familiar in some ways: For example, Billore notes that he’d already seen KGI faculty in video lectures during his certificate program. Now he’s able to meet them in person.

Joshi adds, “They have an edge because they’re already familiar with KGI’s teaching style. There’s less of a learning curve. They’ve worked in teams and on similar projects, which will help them. That they have experience in industry is another major advantage.”

Ansari has already accelerated his coursework, seeking to complete his MBS degree a semester early so he can begin working sooner—ideally in a consulting firm at first and eventually in a company of his own. He says, “My preference is to work in a fast-paced environment and to get to know a lot in a short time.”

Billore hopes to resume working in the quality assurance area of bioscience after graduation. In the meantime, he’s enjoying both the California scenery and his KGI education. Billore says, “The courses are demanding, but in a good way. I’m learning about parts of the bioscience industry that I wasn’t aware of before—medical devices, the business of bioscience. I’m also getting to meet students with diverse backgrounds—engineering, biology, pharmacy—and learning a lot from them and their experiences.”

Now that Ansari and Billore have made the transition from India to the KGI degree program, Joshi hopes others will follow. Once an Indian student new to the United States herself, she says, “As an international student, it’s a big challenge to completely change your life, and you can only anticipate so much. But at the same time, it’s exciting.”