Beginning a New Relationship with Extension
As we get closer to the 361st commencement at Harvard, we asked several degree candidates to look back on their time at Extension School. I spoke with David Anderson, a 2012 degree candidate in the Biotechnology Graduate Program. David worked at Pfizer as a talent acquisition manager while he attended Harvard Extension School. We talked about what he learned while finishing his degree and his post-graduation plans.
What is something you're taking away from your education at the Extension School?
One thing I always highlight to potential candidates is the network you develop. I now have a much deeper network of industry professionals. There are also LinkedIn groups and members of one of the engineering classes I took get together once in awhile. It helps us maintain a strong connection in the biotechnology field.
What are you looking forward to after graduation?
More free time! I’m also looking forward to staying connected with the Harvard community. The Extension School has a strong alumni presence, and I’m excited to get to participate in that.
What's your advice to people who are just entering the biotech graduate program?
Time management is critical, and it’s almost never too early to start thinking about your thesis. I found the thesis the most challenging and most rewarding part of my degree.
I honestly didn't do a good job with time management. In fact, I almost ran out of time with my thesis. It's hard to juggle your personal responsibilities with schoolwork, and I worked full-time while completing my degree, so time management is key.
Students should remember to work with the Extension School staff. They are very accommodating. It can be intimidating to walk on to the Harvard campus, but if you go in with a positive and can-do attitude, it will help you.
Are there are any unique or special memories you have from your time at Extension?
The proseminar was a really good experience, and it was at the beginning of my time at Extension. I got to work with likeminded scientists and evaluate publications. It was very engaging, and I became friends with some of my classmates.
What does it mean to you to have a degree from Harvard Extension School?
I like the Extension's mission of outreach to the community, and it's very rewarding to be part of the Harvard name.
The degree has made me more of a well-rounded professional in the industry. I didn't focus on my business classes when I was an undergraduate, but now I've been able to apply the skills I’ve learned in class at my job. It’s definitely made me more successful.
Any last thoughts on your time and experiences at the Extension School?
I didn't have an appreciation for the resources Harvard Extension School could provide before I began my time here. I quickly became impressed by the amount of opportunities available. The libraries, professors, and staff of the Extension School have all been valuable to me during my education.
The depth of the program continues to impress me as well, and now that I'm graduating I hope to make it a lifelong mission to stay connected with Extension. It isn't the end, but it's the start of a new relationship with the Extension School.
Graduation is almost upon us. You can see a schedule of events for graduation day on our website.
Congratulations to all our graduates, enjoy the fruits of your labor!