The USA has undoubtedly been a popular choice for budding educational aspirants for many years now. The fact that it takes in 30-35% Indian students is a living proof to the fulfillment of promises of better lifestyles, experiences, and exposure to cultures, along with significant opportunities. With low tuition fees and affordable cost of living adding to the relaxed atmosphere existing across the country, universities and educational institutions strive on quality education irrespective of the educational stream, attracting lakhs of Indian students each year. Thereby, emphasizing on many such educational havens of the USA who strive each day towards offering innovative PG degrees and certificate programs, staying well in-sync with the market trends and demands – Keck Graduate Institute, comes out as a prime contestant in this race towards educational excellence.
Functioning as a place where intensive focus is laid on team projects and hands-on industry experience, and at the same time integrating life and health sciences, and the various branches of business, engineering, pharmacy, and genetics, KGI provides pathways for students to become world-leaders and experienced professionals. Founded in the year 1997, by the President Henry E. Riggs, through a generous grant of $50 million from the W. M. Keck Foundation, KGI was started as an important member of the Claremont Colleges. And since 2003, under the able leadership of President Sheldon Schuster, KGI continues to grow both in terms of its number of enrolled students and in its reputation for excellence.
Consisting of four different schools, operating under its umbrella, namely – Henry E. Riggs School of Applied Life Sciences, School of Medicine, School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the Minerva Schools, all the degree programs are regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), along with having additional accreditations for other PG programs. Each institution has its own campus, its own students and faculty, and its dedicated and distinctive mission. Located on more than 560 acres of land, KGI is perhaps known for its rigorous academic curriculum, compact classes, distinguished professors, and personalized attention, all packed in a vibrant residential community of learning and growth.
Strengthening collective futures
“The soul and the spirit of KGI is innovation and entrepreneurship, and this is clearly reflected in our teaching methods”, stated – Dr. S. Krishnakumar, the Associate Program Director for Master of Business and Science and an Associate Professor of Management, who also specializes in researching and teaching the topic of Organizational Behavior and Leadership at KGI. To understand thoroughly the whole functioning of KGI and all its constituent schools, we interviewed Dr. Krishnakumar, and posed questions pertaining to the gen-z students and their needs and demands. Literally taking us on a virtual tour of the graduate institute, he took us through every aspect of running a successful higher educational hub and showed us how KGI excels through and through. Thereby, adding to his above statement and continuing the same point of faculty excellence, Dr. Krishnakumar stated – “The role of teachers here is to inculcate the basic principles and foundational aspects of different subjects and then help students apply those principles to real-world issues and problem-solving exercises”. Additionally, through the conversation we also learnt that – having passionate and well-learned onboard faculty members firmly believing in the mission and values of KGI gives the institute a welcome boost to sustain active debate and discussion in every class, helping students become regular participants and capable learners.
Being that place where every individual on campus is committed to enriching society via their varied approaches and translational research, KGI strives on student-centric experiences through every endeavor carried out. Welcoming students from diverse backgrounds, cultures, disciplines, identities, and thoughts, KGI aims towards forming an endless community of collaboration and excellence in all their pursuits. Moreover, the homely environment existing across all corners of the institute results in students to think creatively and critically, motivating them to communicate and interact effectively, in turn, becoming responsible, ethical, and respectful professionals of tomorrow. Also, the active and open-minded engagement of every member of the community is vital to achieving the goals of the institution.
In addition to the teaching and learning activities at KGI, students are encouraged to take part in several co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, which, include being part of such student clubs as the KGI Investment Club, KGI Consulting Club, and Supply Chain Management and Biotech Operations. Students are also actively engaged in extracurricular activities that benefit the community. They play key roles in student government, KGI Cares, KGI Fishing Club, Good Games Club, and KGI Empowering Youth. International Students have organizations that hold activities and celebrations specifically related to the culture in the parent countries, for example, Indian students celebrate Diwali by holding a KGI Diwali Talent Show every year.
A win-win situation for all
Due to the varied student and faculty interests and needs, KGI believes in catering an equal mix for all, thus has curated the best infrastructural facilities that meet the demands of a 21st century student. From the on-campus housing complex, Oasis KGI Commons, which include an open outdoor plaza, student lounges, a swimming pool, fitness center, BBQ area, and 10,000 square feet of classroom space, KGI also houses several research labs and centers. KGI is also home to the Amgen Bioprocessing Center, Center for Biomarker Research, Center for Rare Disease Therapies, Center for Training in Applied Genomics, and the Science Heritage Center. Subsequently, KGI’s IT infrastructure has also expanded greatly over the years, which helped the institute overcome the hassles which came along with the pandemic, giving access to library and online resources, including several leading databases and journals, along with smooth utilization of SAS/SPSS (Statistics Software) for effortless and effective online learning.
All in all, the one thing which makes Keck Graduate Institute stand out when compared to all its peers is its close and engaging partnerships with the industry. At KGI, its ensured that several staff members and faculty that are closely working with leading companies through extensive academic programs (e.g., Team Master’s Project with leading pharmaceutical and medical diagnostics companies), end up establishing research grants (e.g., the Amgen Bioprocessing Center), and participate in other activities (e.g., alumni speakers, panels). Internships and work placements are regularly handled very effectively despite the pandemic just as it was done before, although most business or regulatory internships were done remotely. Many courses at KGI also have significant content that deals with actual companies and/or business cases that are used to actively involve industry through its highly engaged alumni in the life sciences industry, totaling over 2,100. Lastly, aiming to cater to students irrespective of their socio-economic backgrounds, at KGI students are eligible for merit, need, and endowed scholarships at time of admission, and are eligible to apply for the KGI International Loan annually, sending out a clear message to all, that – education and learning can’t be quantified or price tagged at Claremont.
Dr. S. Krishnakumar – Associate Program Director & Associate Professor
A man of great experience and vigor, Dr. Krishnakumar has taken part in several research-endeavors which were focused on studying the importance of socio-emotional abilities such as emotional intelligence in the prediction of job performance and deviant behaviors in the workplace. Additionally, his research has expanded to the role of consumer decision-making in healthcare and other prosocial activities. He has published in such leading journals as Emotion, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Human Performance, Journal of Business Research, and Journal of Personality. Dr. Kumar also teaches courses in Organizational Behavior, Leadership, and Statistics.