Gaurav Sen

2012 Major: Biology; Minor: English

Currently: Deloitte Consulting LLP — New York, New York

How has being a Biology graduate from Duke helped shape your professional success?

"My Biology degree has made a tremendous difference in my career, through two principal ways: 1) Biology allowed me to develop a scientific approach to problem solving. When I tackle a management consulting problem, I use a hypothesis-based approach driven by evidence-based research and analysis. This kind of analysis is second nature to me due to my Biology background, but the surprising thing is that few of my non-scientist colleagues were trained to think this way; 2) Biology allows me to approach professional situations with a different toolkit. When I'm working with Fortune 100 clients, most of the people in the room have finance or economics backgrounds. As a Biology graduate, I think differently: as odd as it may sound, I look at most professional situations in terms of evolutionary biology (for example, allopatric speciation is a nice analogy for why separate company divisions develop different cultures; ecological niches help explain why competing companies in the same industry can coexist). My range of perspectives from the natural world allows me to see problems differently than me MBA peers, and also allows me to entertain my colleagues with stories from Stephen Jay Gould books."

What advice would you give students in Biology?

"Do scientific research! My research with Professor Bernhardt was one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career. There is nothing that matches the thrill of experimental analysis and working on real-world problems. Also, those analytical skills will be very useful in management consulting and in your MBA program."