Rishabh Chandak

We are very proud to recognize Rishabh Chandak as our Outstanding Consultant of Fall 2018.

Originally from India,  he came to Washington University as an undergrad and continued as a graduate student in biomedical engineering program. His current research focuses on using insect models to elicit common principles in olfaction-based memory and learning - for example, how do the neurons in our brain decide that we love the smell of coffee and hate the smell of spoiled milk? ; by combining behavioral and electrophysiological techniques with machine learning, he hopes to understand how our brains can decode and encode complex sensory cues with such ease

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What motivated you to join BALSA? 
Prior to joining BALSA, I was always intrigued by what the world of consulting was all about. My eventual goal is to join industry, and I hoped that BALSA would give me some real-world exposure and perspective. 

What have you learned so far by working on BALSA projects? 
Through BALSA, I have gained a strong grasp of the various aspects of consulting - most importantly, the expectation that you must become an expert on something you had probably never heard of (and the believe that you can do it!). Through the different projects, I most value the ability to work as part of a team and learning from others how to present my work in a way that is very different from academia. BALSA projects have helped me learn a lot about the innovations taking place in life sciences and about the people and companies bringing them about.

What did you hope to accomplish by working with BALSA? Were these goals fulfilled? 
I would like to join industry after my PhD, and consulting is definitely one of the options I am considering. BALSA allowed me to gauge whether or not consulting would be a good fit for me. Through all my projects, I have had a great time being a consultant and I've realized that this is definitely something I would love to do full-time.

What do you envision your career to be in 3-5 years and how do you think your BALSA experience will help you with your goal?
I am currently about midway through my PhD and aim to go into industry directly after. Over the next few years, I hope to continue working with BALSA at different levels to complement the skills I learn through my graduate work. Having such long-term industry exposure will hopefully make me a lot more confident and comfortable when I venture out of the academic bubble of graduate school.