From Engineer to Change Maker: Nick Forsch
Nick Forsch, Bioengineering, Ph.D. Grad Year ‘19
San Diego, Calif., June 8, 2016 - Drive innovation from concept to commercialization – that’s the goal of one of the first initiatives - a four-course management training program for engineering students - of the new Institute of the Global Entrepreneur at the University of California San Diego. Nick Forsch, a bioengineering Ph.D. student at the Jacobs School of Engineering, is part of the new program that aims to turn engineers into change makers.
“I caught the startup bug when I participated in a biomedical design competition - I love the innovation that comes out of small groups of people working towards a common goal with limited resources,” said Forsch. “The nature of startups forces product design to focus on the essential components for meeting the needs of the target market.”
Upon arriving at UC San Diego after his undergraduate education at Washington University in St. Louis, Forsch joined bioengineering professor Andrew McCulloch’s cardiac mechanics lab. McCulloch’s research focuses on understanding the development of heart failure using models of cardiac electromechanics. When he’s not in class or the lab, Forsch is on of the vice presidents of the Bioengineering Graduate Society and enjoys playing soccer.
Why did you decide to apply for this program?
My current research relies heavily on the feedback of the clinician, since I am developing computational tools that will enable a clinician to better understand a patient's disease. Just as the engineer cannot develop a solution without understanding the problem, the business strategist cannot accurately market the product without understanding the technical motivation behind its design. I want to close the gap between these roles.
How do you imagine this course helping you be impactful?
This course is a discussion of topics that are not usually part of an engineering curriculum. I hope to learn about the many concepts that pertain to business strategy so that I can apply them in a startup or small business setting. Being able to translate an engineering concept to marketing strategy is a key part of a successful company.
What is it that you want to do?
My hope is that someday I will be a part of an innovative group in the field of biomedical technology as an engineer, a designer, and possibly as a project manager creating low cost solutions to common healthcare problems. I especially enjoy filling all of these roles at the same time.
What are some of the things you've learned already?
In my past experiences, product design was about considering the needs of the market, and this course has provided more tangible ways of analyzing and meeting those needs. It’s no longer enough to have a great idea - you need to be able to differentiate your company from others, and add value to the market, all the while putting your company in the exact position that will let you succeed.