Meet Washington Olin’s MBA Class of 2019

Rina Amatya

Washington University in St. Louis (Olin)

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Aspiring pediatrician interested in infectious diseases. Also a major germophobe. A study in irony.

Hometown: Marina Del Rey, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was a cheerleader in high school and college.

Undergraduate School and Major: Princeton University, A.B. in Molecular Biology, Certificate in Neuroscience

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Washington University School of Medicine, Researcher in virology lab

Epharmix, Clinical researcher on project to improve breastfeeding adherence

Duke – National University of Singapore, Researcher in bat immunology lab

University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Researcher and Lab Manager in microbiology and immunology lab

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Contributing to scientific research. Every year since my junior year of high school, I’ve spent at least a summer doing research. I like asking questions and being the one to try to answer them. I enjoy working on a project and doing experiments that very few people, if anyone else, in the world are doing at that moment. To date, I have presented posters at a number of conferences, published one book chapter and five non-first author papers, had one first author paper accepted, and have one co-first author paper in submission.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? Talk to mentors often and early. Get advice and ask for feedback.

My first job ever was as a high school summer intern at NASA, where I did risk management engineering and operations research for flight missions. I truly loved every minute of the work, even the traditionally mundane tasks like paperwork and meetings. However, I felt like there wasn’t enough basic science there for me. When I looked for a career that I would find fulfilling, I decided on pursuing medicine to help people directly, and consequently tabled operations and management-type careers.

Fast forward to my first job out of college. I was a researcher and lab manager for a multimillion dollar microbiology and immunology lab. I worked really hard during those two years and, as an administrator, put systems in place that are still in use today. One day, my boss called me into his office to chat. I was well into the medical school application process at this point. He suggested I look into the MD/MBA dual degree. Once I did, I realized I could both see patients and run operations via healthcare management. Talking to my mentor then was invaluable for how I envision my future career now.

I strongly believe in the importance of seeking advice from others. At the medical school, there was no formalized way to get insight from physicians with non-clinical careers, so I started a class on alternative careers for MDs. We invited 10 speakers to talk about their lives and career paths. All had MDs and came from non-clinical careers spanning law, business, pharmaceuticals, entrepreneurship, and more. Setting up this class made me realize how generous people can be with their time and experiences. It never hurts to ask if it’s possible to chat with someone. Hearing from people with such a diverse array of interests and experiences actually clarified what I want out of an MBA and how I can achieve those goals.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Olin has amazing connections and opportunities in healthcare. During my first two years at WashU School of Medicine, I got to see this first-hand by taking an Olin class on business and healthcare, and attending Olin healthcare talks. I was impressed with the professors and speakers, as well as with the students.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? Since I’m doing the dual degree program, my situation is a bit different. I’m coming to the business school after finishing the first two years of medical school, which are classroom-based. After the first year of business school, I will go back to the medical school to finish my 3rd and 4th years. This is when I will finally get to see patients and work as part of a healthcare delivery team. I would consider it a success if I could transfer skills I learned from Olin to improve patient care. In fact, I chose to do the MBA before my 3rd year of medical school in order to hone skills like critical thinking, effective communication, and teamwork. Also, I hope to continue to keep in contact with friends, colleagues, and mentors after my first year of business school and beyond.