The Best College Major is No College Major

David Sable
2 min readSep 11, 2023

from The Entrepreneurship in Biotechnology Shadow Curriculum

My twenty-first-century doctor needs to be a super-competent generalist.

And I want to back entrepreneurs that have no college major.

I ask all incoming students what they are studying, Most of the undergrads are in hard science or engineering; some of the grad students are in the applied sciences, biotechnology, and bioengineering. When they pitch, I focus on their sentence structure and the logic of their arguments. This semester I have Mehdi Hasan’s “Win Every Argument: The Art of Debating, Persuading, and Public Speaking” on the reading list, and I want to arm the students with an intuitive understanding of how to place a precise recreation of the world they want to create in the minds of their listeners.

Few come to class knowing the persuasive powers of logos plus pathos plus ethos. For some, it may be the difference between a good business and a funded good business plan.

My fearless humanities majors often ask if their thin backgrounds in chemistry and biology place them at a disadvantage in the classroom.

My response: “I hope so. You should take the course anyway.”

And then we walk through quantitative intuition. Motivated poets pick up the difference between normally distributed and skewed data within seconds, given the right example, and while they may be a little less fluent in equations that describe sampling variation than they are in the Nicomachean Ethics, they learn fast that if your raw numbers and your percentages tell very different stories, you probably can’t trust your p-value.

The intellectual world is not divided into a quant/data camp and a paint outside the lines team. As the world accelerates its journey from the analog to the digital, as we layer machine learning and artificial intelligence on top of human learning and organic intelligence, we need our innovators to be native to both worlds.



David Sable

bio fund manager, Columbia prof, ex-reproductive endocrinologist, roadie for @PriyaMayadas. I post first drafts.