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Turning Biology Expertise into Business Savvy

Raj Majumder visits ‘unfamiliar terrain’ to chart a new career path

Raj Majumder
MBA Intern (Commercial Leadership Program), Amgen

Vanderbilt MBA 2019

After earning a master’s degree, Raj Majumder worked as a scientist and an adjunct professor of biology. But then his career reached a crossroads. “I am passionate about science and I loved teaching,” he says, “but the only options (for advancement) are to go to medical school or get a PhD and become a full professor. I didn’t feel like my personality ‘fit’ behind a lab bench or in the clinic, so I decided to take my experience in the scientific world and combine that with a business degree.”

Raj chose Vanderbilt in no small part because of the program’s distinctive health care concentration. “I also felt like they would understand my background and experience and help find like-minded people who could guide me in my career path,” he says.

When he arrived for classes, he found himself on unfamiliar terrain. “Coming from an academic background,” he says, “I had a lot to learn about corporations, recruiting and networking, and what paths are available for someone with my experience. I didn’t even quite understand things like the difference between a product and brand manager, or why companies decide to go public, or how people commercialize a scientific idea. Through both classes and out-of-class activities, I learned terminology, industry trends, and how to understand P&L statements.

And having great classmates and being around other students from different backgrounds allowed me to learn and pick up an incredible amount of knowledge.”

As the program was shaping Raj’s knowledge base, it also shaped his career direction. A finance class with Professor Joshua White helped Raj finalize a decision to concentrate on health care and finance as he sought to create a path for himself in the biotech field.

By late in his first year, the student who knew almost nothing about business when he arrived the previous August was well on his way. He landed what he describes as “an awesome internship” in Amgen’s Commercial Leadership Program in California.

Fun Fact: Raj, who minored in Jazz in college, played sax for eight years (and in more than 650 shows) in a Boston-based funk band called The Van Burens.

“I didn’t even quite understand things like the difference between a product and brand manager.”