Infinite Careers is a new collaboration between Career Services (CAPD) and the MIT Alumni Association to explore career paths and the non-linearity of career decision making. Read profiles of alumni with unique career paths, hear their stories and network at a series of talks.
- MIT, SB 6-7 and 9, 2013
- Stanford, MD, 2017
Hamsika Chandrasekar graduated from MIT in 2013 as a dual major in Course 9 and Course 6-7. She went on to earn her MD degree from Stanford School of Medicine and subsequently completed her pediatrics residency at Boston Children's Hospital. She is currently working as a hospitalist in the cardiac intensive care unit at Stanford's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.
What influenced your choice of undergraduate major? How has it shaped your career choices and professional ability?
Even before MIT, I was interested in going into the field of medicine. The combination of course 9 and 6-7 not only gave me a great foundation for my subsequent medical training but the incorporation of course 6 skills also gave me a very useful engineering perspective on medicine.
What influenced your choice of graduate programs? How have they shaped your career choices and professional ability?
As noted above, I had always been interested in pursuing medicine. I had also always enjoyed working with children and my experience at MIT with Camp Kesem only highlighted that interest. Pediatrics felt like a natural next step for me.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently or more of while you were at MIT?
I wish I had spent more time exploring in and around the city of Boston -- there are so many nice places to visit nearby, like Acadia, Providence, the White Mountains, and more. It was only when I came back to Boston for residency that I did more of these trips.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of your career?
I absolutely love working with my pediatric patients and their families. Children are just so resilient, even when faced with significant medical illnesses.
What motivates you to do the work that you do?
Similar to above, my patients and families make my work worth it. I love taking care of children of all ages and being a resource for families.
What is the biggest challenge you've encountered in your career? How have you managed to overcome it?
The biggest challenge has been balancing work and family. I have a young daughter who brings both my husband and me so much joy, but with our busy jobs, childcare has been difficult. We've managed to make things work with a lot of support from family and friends.
Making decisions, especially important-feeling career decisions, is really challenging for people at all stages of their career. What strategies have you used to make career decisions?
I rely on a group of mentors who I go to with all questions, both work- and family-related. They have been an incredible resource to me.
What professional development experiences or opportunities shaped your early career?
Among other things, IAP activities were so helpful to me -- I spent one IAP doing some healthcare consulting work and another IAP doing EMT training. Both were helpful in refining my career choices within medicine.
What professional development activities do you find really useful these days?
I enjoy attending women-focused career development events, as I do find that women face unique challenges within the work environment, particularly when it comes to balancing family and work.
What's the best piece of career advice you've received?
It sounds so cliche but: do what you love.
What career advice do you have for current MIT students, or those interested in entering your industry?
Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Talk to individuals who you find admiring and whose lives you might want to emulate. Don't shy away from new experiences -- you never know what you might enjoy until you try it.
Do you have any tips for networking or job searching for current students and recent graduates?
The MIT alumni network is filled with inspiring individuals. Don't hesitate to send people you've never met an email -- most people are overjoyed to help mentor an interested student.
What do you like to do outside of work for fun/relaxation/inspiration?
I love to read fiction, go on hikes, and hang out with my daughter.
Do you participate in any volunteer/community service activities? If so, how do you balance your professional and personal responsibilities?
I don't currently but I hope to soon -- for instance, Camp Kesem was such an important organization to me during my time at MIT. I hope to get involved with local Camp Kesem chapters here in the Bay Area.