A Day in the Life: UPenn/Wharton Dual Degree Student

A Day in the Life: UPenn/Wharton Dual Degree Student

October 15, 2019 13 By Stanley Isaacs


(upbeat music) – Hi, my name’s Rahul
Soud, and I’m class of 20, University of Pennsylvania,
studying neurobiology in the college and statistics at Wharton. (upbeat music) So welcome to the chapter room, this is a chapter room
of Feegee here at Penn. So Feegee’s the short
name for my fraternity, Phi, Gamma, Delta. And Penn’s quite unique
in that fraternity life’s quite popular, I think
like 30% of undergraduates join a fraternity or sorority. Me personally, I didn’t
have a lot of interest or even knowledge about fraternity life and social life in America, because I was from New
Zealand, born and raised there. So I kinda walked into
the whole social scene and fraternity life, kinda just curious, interested, went to a couple
of events, met some brothers, and yeah, just liked the people. And I think at the end of
the day that’s what it is, just a bunch of like-minded people who share similar interests, but come from a diverse
set of backgrounds. And yeah, life living here is, I guess, like any other dorm room, except it’s 20 of your best friends. In this house here, yeah, we have about 20 singles and
a couple of shared doubles. Yeah it’s a really unique house. I think we’re really privileged to be able to live in this space, I
think this house goes back to the founding of the university. And the fact that we can
just live here and kinda be ourselves amongst the history, the books, the wooden tables
that’ve been here longer than our grandparents, I think
is a huge, huge privilege. (gentle music) (lively music) So one of my favorite things about Penn is just the vast array of
food trucks we have on campus. Super cheap food, amazing food, hot, fast, everything you want. One of my favorite’s is
Terry’s, they treat you right, I just come here, give them the nod, they give me my usual
sandwich every morning. Some people have differing opinions, some say Lins makes the
best breakfast sandwiches, I beg to differ, Terry’s is where it’s at. So if you’re ever around,
definitely hit up Terry’s. (lively music) It’s a whole wheat toast,
bacon, egg and cheese, all standard, salt and pepper, secret ingredient – sliced avocado, secret secret ingredient
– buffalo hot sauce, Frank’s buffalo hot sauce
with some mayonnaise and there you go. (lively music) So this is Leidy labs, this
is the main biology building, so most of my biology classes throughout the three years have been here. And behind it, they’ve
made a new building, Levin lab, which is the
neuroscience building, so let’s on through and
see what it looks like. (lively music) Yeah so this is the Leidy lab 10, I think it’s the main auditorium
in the biology building. So any like big class with more than like 50 people would
be in this auditorium. – [Interviewer] Have you
taken classes in here? – Yeah, actually most of my biology lectures have been in here. – Very cool. So how would you describe
the academic culture at Penn? – I would describe it as pretty intense, I think it’s just a
product of who comes here, selects for a certain type
of people that are very, you know, interested in what they’re doing and want to do the best
of their abilities. But it’s also, there’s
a ton of opportunities, which is what I really like. Whatever you’re interested
in, whatever niche, you know, within biology there’s neuroscience, within neuroscience there’s neurobiology, whatever that is you can find it and you can find the best professors, people who are equally
interested in it as you are. – So you have two majors right,
statistics and neurobiology. So how does that work and how
are those majors structured? – Sure so there are a couple of dual degree programs here at Penn. So the one I’m part of is the Vagelos Program in Life
Science and Management. So the philosophy of my program is to teach scientists to also be
able to delve into business. So in that regard, people in
my program get two degrees, one from Wharton and you can concentrate on whichever subject you like,
I chose statistics and then also in biology, and in that
case I chose neurobiology. – Oh cool, so you actually, you get degrees from
two different schools? – Yeah, and it’s cool because
you don’t have to do all the requirements that are
required by the separate degrees. Since it’s an integrated
dual degree program. – [Interviewer] Right. – So they try to double count classes, or you take classes that are life science and management-esque rather
than just business or science. – Gotcha, so it’s really cool. So is the statistical
work related in anyway to like biostatistics or is it really like more of a business centered statistics? – It’s a bit of both,
and I think that’s why I chose statistics because
it works so well with biology and as a scientist
statistics is a major tool and a very useful one. But it’s also cool to apply
it to business problems. So I was taking like a data
mining course this semester and it was awesome to, in class, we would see how it would
apply to like stock prices, and how to price different assets. But then I could use those same
skills to apply it to my lab in the psychiatry department
looking at different disorders. (funky upbeat music) – So how do you see your
majors either combining or separately applying to what you are looking to do after you graduate? – Sure, so I think on a broad level, business and science go hand in hand. I think a huge problem scientists have is trying to think broad picture and see how their discoveries or what they’re interested in
can be practically applied. So what I’m interested
in is very much that, how can I apply my interest in
psychiatry and neurobiology, think of therapeutic potentials
of different indications and how to apply that
in a business setting. Yeah, yeah. – So is that why you’re not just limited to only being on the science side, you can also be part of,
how do we scale this? How do we make this functional? – Exactly, yeah, and it uses
different parts of the brain. Right, so in the lab you’re
very focused on the minutiae and the small mechanisms,
whereas when you think about business you have to
think of the broad picture in a more managerial sense
rather than a scientific one. – Right, so outside of
those, are there any courses that you need to take that
aren’t a part of either major, like general requirements? – Yeah, I think that’s the
beauty of schools like this, the liberal arts aspect, so
there are free electives, you have to take around I
think 15 free elective classes, so that can be any class that
doesn’t go toward your major. And there’s also sector requirements like you have to take a humanities class, you have to take a cultural class. So for example, this semester I was taking an arabic percussion
class, and we had a… – Oh cool. – Yeah, it was really, really cool, it was something different. – Yeah, that’s not very
sciencey or very statisticy. – Yeah, it changes the
rhythm quite literally and we had a final performance
a couple of weeks ago which was just fun to do. – Yeah. – With friends, yeah. – That’s so cool, so do
you think that’s a benefit or a drawback, like do you like that you have to take
courses that don’t apply to your major or is it like I really wish I didn’t have to do all this extra stuff? – Oh, I think it’s a huge benefit. I think if you wanna be
a truly informed citizen and think clearly, you
should be able to do a variety of fields and
see how different fields use different lenses to approach sometimes even the same problem. (fast upbeat music) – Okay, so what you
see happening behind me is a procession of
juniors, so this is heyday, this symbolizes the
juniors becoming seniors. So they walk, they start
walking at the end of one campus and they finish out just
over here at College Green. And it happens once a year,
and it’s always a fun time. (fast upbeat music) – Why did you decide to come to the US for school instead of say New Zealand? – Yeah, that’s a great question. I think when you live in New Zealand, like New Zealand’s amazing
but it’s so far away from the rest of the world and
also in terms of opportunity we only have four million people, so we do a lot with our weight,
but there’s only so much. So especially as a young person, I wanted to see the big, scary world, so this is one of the ways
I thought I could do that. – What advice would you
have for other students from New Zealand or from other countries who are thinking of coming
overseas for school, particularly to the US? – I think the biggest
point that I overlooked is visiting the campuses,
the schools I got into I actually didn’t even
come visit each of them, and I think knowing the
vibe and just walking around and not even just one day,
maybe on different days, different times of the
academic schedule, gives you a huge feel for what it
would be like to live here. And I think it’s easy to overlook
that, looking at, you know more on the prestige or
what subjects are offered. That might overshadow the
simple day to day life which is, at the end of the
day, the most important part. (lively music) If you liked this video and
what to learn more about top colleges around the world, please like and subscribe. (lively music)