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Shaili Patel has family members involved in engineering, biology and business, so she has studied a mix of those areas.
Shaili Patel has family members involved in engineering, biology and business, so she has studied a mix of those areas.

Biology and business

Photo courtesy of Shaili Patel | Photo illustration by Julie Morin

Shaili Patel is pursuing a challenging combination of graduate degrees

Shaili Patel is a dual biological sciences doctoral and MBA candidate at the University of Delaware. Patel, who plans to graduate in 2021, shared her experience choosing this Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics graduate program and how it has impacted her both personally and professionally.

Q: Why did you go back to pursue your graduate degree? Why did you choose Lerner College for your studies?

Patel: Since I was a child, I was always curious about how different species develop and how things work inside the body. I was tied between engineering, biology and business since my parents and grandparents were all from different professional backgrounds. Being exposed to all these backgrounds, I decided to do my undergrad in civil engineering, but soon I realized that biology was something I was driven to. However, after pursuing an undergraduate degree in biological sciences and now being in the biological science doctoral program, I was still very interested in the business world. My department, here at UD, was offering a dual degree with a Ph.D. and MBA, therefore I decided to pursue both.

Q: What did you learn through this opportunity that you wouldn’t have learned anywhere else?

Patel: I’ve seen first-hand use of accounting and marketing from my Dad, however, I loved that when I took my MBA classes, it was an amazing experience how one can apply so much from theoretical knowledge to practical applications in the real world. The MBA classes helped me do just that.

Q: What is an example of a course or concept that you were able to apply directly to your life and/or career?

Patel: Currently, I am a Ph.D.-MBA student and haven’t had a chance to do many application-based things from my classes. However, one thing I can definitely say is that I learned and applied. I am getting really good at managing my finances, analyzing company data sheets, their yearly reports, etc. This helps me manage my finances better, for sure.

Q: Can you describe an important connection you have made through your graduate program?

Patel: When I took the marketing class, I made a great connection with one of the professors in the Lerner College, Dr. Sundaram. Outside of UD, I have met many people at conferences and networking events who are from the business background and I always have fun and learn so much by interacting with these people.

Q: If you were to describe your classmates in one word, what would that be?

Patel: I had a good experience in the program with everyone I have worked with in group projects. It’s interesting to always interact with people that are so different and come from different backgrounds, but are all driven towards the same final goal!

Q: Fill in this sentence: “My graduate program helped me become…”

Patel: More independent with my finances and think more like an entrepreneur.

Q: What was the most impactful hands-on project or case competition that you were able to participate in?

Patel:  I really enjoyed the projects in my marketing class, financial management class and  fundamentals of analytics class.

Q: What are your plans or next steps for the future?

Patel: I’ve been very driven towards biology and public service. Therefore, I want to work in the field of science policy and learn more about it. I am sure my MBA will help me a lot moving forward no matter what I end up doing.

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