This is part of a series of profiles introducing graduate students at Minerva University. If you would like to learn more about our programs, please visit our website.
In the realm of higher education, a student’s journey toward a higher purpose often intertwines with a desire for interdisciplinary learning and a commitment to effecting positive change. Rayyan Chanda, a first-year student in the Minerva’s Certificate in Decision Analysis (CDA) program at Minerva University, exemplifies this narrative through his multifaceted academic and professional pursuits.
Rayyan embarked on his academic journey at Quest University’s Bachelor’s program with a distinct focus on sustainability and environmental sciences. His undergraduate years were marked by interdisciplinary coursework, which spanned a diverse array of subjects, ranging from chemistry and data science to behavioral economics—reflecting his passion for holistic learning.
Rayyan's interest in environmental concerns and inventive economic models manifested in his university projects. Recognizing the profound influence of economics on today's world, he focused his efforts on addressing the pivotal question, "How can we reshape economics in the 21st century?"
Rayyan's exploration extended to areas such as circular economies and automotive industries, leading to his publication of several papers and an upcoming release on supply chain management. Further delving into mathematical modeling, he also showcased one of his projects at a U.S. mathematics conference. The convergence of economics, life sciences, data science, anthropology, math, and history influenced his viewpoint, establishing the foundation for a comprehensive problem-solving approach.
Post-graduation, Rayyan ventured into the professional realm, joining Tetropath, where he worked on projects aimed at enhancing circularity in the company's economy.
In the pursuit of advanced education, Rayyan sought a program that would offer valuable and applicable skills. Researching the most innovative institutions in the world, Rayyan discovered Minerva and learned more about the Habits of Mind and Foundational Concepts (HCs), a core of Minerva’s pedagogy.
“HCs are what I feel like was lacking the most in my other educational experiences. All those concepts were applied in various contexts, yet never defined. The system at Minerva allows for not only navigating, but also intentionally applying those concepts.”
The interdisciplinary nature of Minerva courses, together with small seminars and passionate professors, is what encouraged Rayyan to apply.
“I knew Minerva had what I was looking for in higher education. The whole structure of the program and teaching seemed like something that would benefit me not only in the present, but also in the future.“
Rayyan envisions applying the skills gained at Minerva to his future pursuit of a Ph.D., combining anthropology with environmental sciences—an intersection often overlooked but crucial for sustainable business.
In Rayyan's perspective, decision-making skills are paramount for today's leaders. Understanding the intricacies of decision-making and problem-solving, breaking them down to look for feasible solutions, and acknowledging their potential flaws are crucial aspects of effective leadership.
According to Rayyan, Minerva distinguishes itself not just through academic rigor but also through deliberate instructional design. Engaging with individuals from diverse backgrounds offers perspectives on distinct value systems, biases, heuristics, and decision-making approaches. Additionally, it provides insights into various professional approaches, considering the diverse career backgrounds of students.
“It is one thing being an interdisciplinary student and another thing having exposure to interdisciplinary professional lives in the real world. The world is increasingly interconnected and having a chance to look at things from different perspectives is extremely important.”
Rayyan acknowledges the value of Minerva’s Coaching and Talent Development (CTD) in guiding his professional journey and shaping his Minerva experience so far in the program. Working closely with a personal mentor, he has been learning to seize emerging opportunities, maximize their potential, and create actionable plans to achieve his goals, fostering connections with like-minded individuals.
"For those seeking a challenge—both in content and thinking—and are ready to take risks, Minerva is an amazing program. Embrace challenges, be willing to put in the work, and step out of your comfort zone. This might be exactly what you're looking for."