Claudia Pienica (MSBA 2022) - How my background in science and consulting led me to HBS
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Hi my name is Claudia Pienica between my 1st and 2nd year doing an M. S. M. B. A. Biotech at Harvard. So this is a new joint degree award, the first cohort where I'm doing both the NBA at Harvard business School, but I'm also doing a master and biotechnology at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Medical School. It's a little bit about who I am. I grew up in Belgium in antwerp, very much grew up in western europe, I'm also jewish by background. So when I finished high school it was important for me to go to Israel um and to experience my jewish in identity in a different setting. My four grandparents are holocaust survivors. So there was always this very strong push of being in Israel in the country where jewish people are the majority and the minority. And I did my undergraduate degree at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. I felt that I grew a lot in Israel. So I stayed there. So I did a joint degree in life sciences and psychology where the focus was many neuroscience and understanding the biological mechanisms underlying behavior and so the course itself was amazing but I also got to spend a lot of time in academic labs, I spent about a year and a half in a psycho terminology which is a lab where you evaluate the impact of stress on the immune system in the brain. So worked with mice and a lot of interesting findings and I said I wanted to do something slightly more tangible. So I switched to a bioengineering map where the main focus was evaluating the impact of mechanical forces on differentiation of stem cells. So I love that I loved being part of research, so I got to touch what it feels like when academic labs collaborate with industry and they are slightly more impact oriented or output oriented and I really really loved that. But I felt that a PhD for me at that time was maybe not the right I wanted to go to. I am very curious and impatient person and I felt that the lab said it might maybe not be the best one. So I know that in the U. S. Consulting is a fairly common route but the way that I learned about consulting was actually I was walking on campus and I suddenly saw a poster. Um And I was like well this sounds interesting, I have no idea what this really is, but let me let me go to a recruiting event and see what it is. So I went to recruiting event to to recruiting events. One was an Israeli consulting firm and the other one was Mackenzie. Uh And I still remember being like I have no idea what this is, but it's international work, you get to learn about a lot of industries and the people look very impressive, let me apply. So I joined Mckinsey in this La Vive office and got to spend the nine first months, I was very lucky that at the time that I was there I see a lot of health care projects happen, so I got to work with governmental agents, but also private institutions on healthcare projects and others. And then after those 9 10 months I started working abroad and that's how I spent the last two years at Mackenzie before coming to school where I was working in western europe on a wide variety of healthcare projects. So I didn't very much specialized in biotechnology. At that point, I was doing work with, providers, work with regulators, work with global health agencies, work with pharma companies, so really got to see like a very wide spectrum of things, of elements of the health care system. And I finished the last eight months of my time and Mackenzie focusing on global health, which was also when the pandemic hits. So I actually got to do my last project related to Covid, because I was working in Geneva, where a lot of global health agencies were in the social sector uh was an amazing experience, very tough, uh an intense experience. Yeah. Then I was still, you know, at home with my parents the pandemic. We're locked down. And I got the note that I got into the