The insider's guide to the Jerome Fisher Program at the University of Pennsylvania

Welcome!: A Transfer Student’s View on New Life as an M&T

Each year, the M&T Program accepts a small number of transfer students. Admitted transfers are notified over the summer and start the next academic year as sophomore students in M&T. One of our newest transfer students, Spencer Weiss, shared his experiences from his first official M&T event of the semester.


A Sweet Start to Sophomore Year

The M&T Ice Cream Social this year welcomed a new semester, a new freshman class and a new office space to the Program. Returning and incoming M&Ts got the chance to explore the building and take a break from the first day of classes – with some ice cream to sweeten the deal.

I heard about the event when it was shared via email and Facebook. As a sophomore transfer into the M&T program, I was excited to meet more people in my year and looked forward to meeting the freshman with whom I will take OID 399 – the new M&T Freshman Seminar. I was happy to get started as an official M&T!

Why M&T?

During my freshman year, I was struck by the gradual convergence of the structure of the biosciences industry towards an engineering discipline, as opposed to a scientific one. After working in biochemistry in both academic research and startup settings, I was convinced the current model for biotechnology development is isn’t suited for the future of the field. Large amounts of time and money are lost when phenomena are studied academically, transitioned to industry and re-evaluated for real-world use.

I realized I want to use an engineering approach to a parallel, consumer-oriented biotechnology development by going into Product Management for biosciences applications. The M&T program offered the unique opportunity for me to concentrate in management while continuing my bioengineering and computer science studies, and will best prepare me for such a role.

Life as an M&T

I am looking forward to starting my new M&T curriculum and being an active part of the M&T community. It all started during the first week of classes when we had our inaugural session of OID 399, the new M&T Freshman Seminar.

In addition to an introduction to the Program and each other, we got to hear Dr. Allon give an overview of some of his research and have an engaging discussion about it.

Spencer (second from right) and fellow Class of 2021 members

One of the most memorable aspects of Dr. Allon’s research was that after publishing on the cost of fast food wait times in the Chicago area, he was asked a contribute to a court case surrounding Milo’s, a local Alabama fast food chain. The judge was considering making servers take seven seconds to give customers a disclaimer about the ownership of the eponymous Milo’s tea, but after learning of the potentially large revenue loss from Dr. Allon, instead decided that they should simply put up a sign. I’m excited to hear from the rest of the purportedly all-star cast of speakers from around the university in the coming weeks.

In my short time in M&T so far, I have already seen many cases of the mutual help and support the students provide to each other. In addition, being surrounded by others with similar interests and goals provides a constant forum for ideas and interesting discussion.

Spencer is a bioengineering major and computer science minor concentrating in management. He is a member of the Class of 2020 and plans to go into biotech product management after graduation. One of his favorite things about being an M&T, besides the tight-knit community, is the access to free online journal subscriptions like Stratechery, the Economist, and the Wall Street Journal.


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