With unique skill sets and experience in a variety of fields, veterans are equipped to inspire changes in the world with exciting innovations. But not every veteran has the option to enroll in an MBA program to learn the stages of how to get a new business off the ground – a gap that a new program developed at the Rady School of Management aims to fill.

To support veterans embarking on entrepreneurial journeys, the Rady School of Management joined forces with the UC San Diego Basement, an entrepreneurial center on campus, to create Veteran Ventures, an accelerator geared toward helping veterans turn business ideas into functioning enterprises.

Vish Krishnan, faculty advisor of Veteran Ventures and professor at the Rady School of Management, worked with Mike Hayden (MBA ’15) and Brianna Weisinger, a UC San Diego Startup Advocate, to develop courses suited to the needs of veteran entrepreneurs. The program, which is free of charge was developed to assist veterans at all levels of entrepreneurship, from an initial idea to a fully formed concept.

Launched in April, the accelerator program recently wrapped up its initial cohort, graduating 24 participants with business ideas ranging from enhanced cybersecurity technology to better ways to deliver healthcare.

“Veterans have given our country and their communities so much, so we see this as a way to give back to them,” Krishnan said. “We wanted to develop a program that was beneficial and free of charge for veterans not just at UC San Diego, but in our community.”

Throughout the ten-week program, participants come to campus to participate in courses with topics such as idea development and business model discovery and definition. With a strong emphasis on mentorship and training, Veteran Ventures has enlisted a talented group of successful San Diego Veterans and professionals to help the participants throughout the process. Talent and experienced mentors, including Richard Coleman, Colonel USMC Retired and co-founder of Optimal Veteran Enterprises; Matt Harper, Commander USN Retired and COO of Think Tank Innovation; and J.D. Davids, Sargent USMC Veteran and Founder of SmartMoneyStartups all bring diverse skills and backgrounds to advance and assist in idea generation, business development and funding.

“We have some amazing, dedicated and successful veteran and civilian mentors that selflessly integrate and support our Veteran Ventures members,” Hayden said. “The mentorship doesn’t stop once the program is over – we continue to work with the veterans to help support them and continue to build their businesses.”

In addition to top-notch support and mentorship, participants have the opportunity to earn funding for viable ventures.

“Thanks to state grant money and private donations, we are able to provide teams that have proven viable ideas with some initial startup funding,” Hayden added.

The program culminates with a pitch to potential investors, followed by an idea contest with the opportunity to win funding for the best innovations.

The success of the initial cohort and amount of positive feedback from participants set the stage for the program to continue. Veteran Ventures is currently supporting a new group of eager veterans with exciting ideas for future commercial opportunities.

“Veteran Ventures at UC San Diego has been a great way for me to practice pitching my idea and listen to others pitch their ideas,” said Robert Sweetman (MBA ’19), Navy Petty officer. “The network of mentors gives us professional feedback and a resource for improvement. The networking within VV has already opened up several doors. When I first arrived at Veteran Ventures at UC San Diego, I did not have a solid plan. Now, with the mentorship, our funding award, and space to grow, I feel like we have hit a major mile marker for our business.”

Would you like the opportunity to attend the next Veteran Ventures at UC San Diego? Sign up now for the April 2018 cohort: http://goo.gl/AWBzNp

January 19, 2018 0 comment
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The start of a new quarter signifies the start of a brand new cohort of innovative thinkers. The StartR Accelerator housed at the Rady School of Management admitted a new batch of startups in the fall who will be working throughout the next few months to develop business, marketing and pitching skills. At the end of the program, teams will pitch their companies to  investors, industry experts and the San Diego community at the StartR Demo Day event.

Fall 2017 StartR teams

Utilizing patent pending electrical biomarkers and machine learning, CReATE provides patient-specific electroanotomical heart models to aid physicians with the diagnosis of ventricular dyssynchrony, program CRT devices and predict patient outcomes to CRT treatment.



E-Way is developing the technology to safely electrify the roads using solar panels.



Key is a platform that enables professional labor partners and doula agencies to build, manage and support their birth clients, within a growing business. We are first-to-market, industry-creating infrastructure, transforming a freelance-based lifestyle market into a profitable industry, delivering an essential pregnancy and birth service.



Kibots reduces the cost, time and risk associated with food safety compliance and enables food establishments to monitor compliance across multiple sites in real-time.


Viking Scientific
Viking Scientific, Inc. (“VSI”) has created a groundbreaking delivery system for pharmaceutical agents, by using drugs as molecular building blocks to construct biodegradable materials. This proprietary “hydrogel prodrug” platform allows measured release of active agents and optimizes management of patients who require regular and consistent dosing.


Wasim the Dream

Wasim The Dream is a platform for motivational speaking services, book sales, career and fitness coaching.

January 18, 2018 0 comment
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The Rady School of Management was home to the recent Global Interdependence Center Money, Models, and Digital Innovation conference – an event dedicated to exploring current trends and their effects on portfolio management, big data and machine learning and crypto-digital currencies.

The conference brought together Rady School academics and practitioners to discuss exciting innovations, the current economic climate and trends that are shifting the world of finance.

According to Michael Melvin, Executive Director of the Master of Finance program: “We are delighted that the GIC chose the Rady School of Management as their partner to host this important conference and bring 75 distinguished finance practitioners to our campus. This reflects the growing stature of our School in the eyes of the global finance community.”

Rady School professors participated in the event as moderators and lecturers. Allan Timmermann, Professor of Finance, presented a talk titled “Quantitative Methods and Judgment: Competitors or Complements?”Michael Melvin served as a moderator for the panel. Finance professor Ross Valkanov gave a lecture detailing different strategies to optimize portfolios. Accounting and finance professor Harry Markowitz — who started the modern portfolio era with his pioneering work on risk and portfolio selection — gave a presentation about his life and the theory that earned him a Nobel Prize in Economics.

The conference also served as a platform to award Eric Rosengren, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, with the Fredrick Heldring Award for Global Leadership. In his keynote address titled “Considering Alternative Monetary Policy Frameworks: An Inflation Range with an Adjustable Inflation Target,” Rosengren discussed the current United States economic climate and suggested alternative frameworks for Federal Reserve inflation targeting policy.

“We were honored to host the GIC Conference,” said Rady School of Management Dean Robert Sullivan.  “The Rady School’s increased focus on quantitative finance and data analytics was perfectly aligned with the theme of the conference.”

About the Global Interdependence Center

 The Global Interdependence Center is a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization with a global reach. Its mission is to encourage the expansion of global dialogue and free trade in order to improve cooperation and understanding among nations, with the goal of reducing international conflicts and improving worldwide living standards.


January 17, 2018 0 comment
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The Rady School of Management is home to a number of innovative startups launched by students and alumni with the goal of changing the world for the better. One of these companies has been making waves since its inception in 2014, recently launching a partnership with one of the world’s leading ridesharing services.

Aira – an operating system that enables individuals who are or visually impaired to navigate their world with instant access to information – recently secured a partnership with Lyft to ensure transportation is accessible for blind or visually impaired individuals.

So how exactly does this unique company operate? A customer of Aira – dubbed an explorer – uses Smart Glass technology in conjunction with a smartphone device to connect with a network of highly trained people, called Aira Agents, allowing the agents to see a real-time video feed of the user’s surroundings. These agents stay on the line with the explorer to help locate items at the grocery store, navigate through crowded airports, and even compete in marathons.

The partnership with Lyft allows explorers to connect with a driver while staying on the line with an Aira agent, rather than ending an Aira call, contacting Lyft and getting back in touch with an agent once the Lyft request is placed. Aira agents can help explorers navigate to designated pick-up spots, identify vehicles and drivers, provide ETAs, cost estimates, and other ride details.

Aira’s commitment to encouraging explorers to embrace autonomy pairs perfectly with Lyft, which supplied 160 million rides to users in 2016. The new partnership supports Lyft’s commitment to increasing accessibility for their diverse community of riders.

“Lyft is an extremely popular service used by a large number of Aira explorers,” said Amy Bernal (MBA ’14), Vice President of Customer Experience for Aira. “This integration makes it easier for explorers to identify their ride in a busy location, or know which car theirs.”

“Lyft is committed to be a model for the type of community we want our world to be: diverse, inclusive, and safe,” says Suman Kanuganti, Aira Founder and CEO. “Aira’s mission is to give people who are blind or low vision the power of information. I am psyched about this partnership as it’s designed to provide an end-to-end enhanced experience that makes transportation more accessible to all blind and low vision people, anytime and anywhere.”

Suman Kanuganti (MBA ’14) launched Aira during his time as a student at the Rady School of Management as part of the Lab to Market sequence which helps students transform ideas into functioning startups.


January 12, 2018 0 comment
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We all get the same 24 hours, so why do some people accomplish so much more with their time than others?  The answer is good time management. It’s a shift in the way we look at things. Being busy is not the same as achieving results. In fact, the opposite is often true.

Having a frenzy day of activity slows most of us down because we’re dividing our time between so many different tasks.

Time management is the process of organizing and planning how much time you spend on specific activities. Start by tracking where your time goes this week — you might be surprised.

How often do you run out of time?

Are you getting everything done on your to-do list? Do you feel you need another Saturday to keep your head above water?  If so, welcome to the human race — now let’s find our way to sanity.

To start managing time effectively, you need to set goals. Once you know where you’re going you can figure out what needs to be done, and in what order. Without clear goals our time gets used up, thanks to conflicting priorities. By taking time to set goals you’ll quickly spot distractions that can often lead you astray.

The foundation of good time management is setting goals, then backing into the activities needed to make those goals a reality. Here’s where you start if goal setting is new to you.

  1. Start with the big picture. What do you want to do with your life over the next 5 to 10 years?
  2. Next, break these down into smaller targets that you must hit to achieve your big goals. Look at what you can do to start moving towards them. Look at what things you can do in the next year, what could you do in the next month, next week and today.
  3. Last, once you have your plan, start working on it to achieve your goals.

Managing interruptions

How do you manage your time when you’re continually interrupted? If you’re a manager it can be very challenging to work on your top business priorities. For some of us, our employees have new questions and unexpected problems that need to be dealt with right away. Ultimately, that can be a barrier to success. If that’s you, do what you can to minimize those interruptions without scaring people off when they need help.

One step is to realize your day only has so many hours in it. A number of small interruptions can eat up time you need to achieve your goals. With each interruption comes time that you must spend to refocus to successfully complete complex work.

Get control over interruptions by knowing what they are and plan for them in your daily schedule. If the interruptions are to a point where you are frequently pushed off schedule and causing delays in completing your work, start to record the interruptions you experience throughout the day. Do this for a week noting if the interruption was urgent of could have waited for a better time. Once you have recorded your interruptions for a week, analyze the information.

Which interruptions are valid? Ask yourself, “Could some of the valid interruptions be eliminated with a weekly meeting for increased training and clearer communication? Could some of the non-urgent interruptions have waited to be addressed at the same weekly meeting?”

Last, plan how much time is taken up by the urgent, valid interruptions. Block the appropriate amount of time into your schedule needed to handle interruptions and only take on as much work as you can fit into the remaining time.

Nancy Drew teaches Time Management at the Rady School of Management’s Center for Executive Development. Drew is a dynamic business speaker with over 15 years high-level business expertise who is recognized internationally in the United States, Canada and Europe. The course takes place on Jan. 18 and runs from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

January 9, 2018 0 comment
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Research conducted by Michael Callen, Rady School of Management Assistant Professor of Economics and Strategic Management, is being used in Afghanistan to combat government corruption and ensure government workers receive payment for their work.

To combat lost wages and corruption, Callen and his fellow researchers conducted a pilot study using mobile salary payments (MSPs) to pay workers at the Ministry of Labor in Afghanistan. MSPs allow employees to receive their salaries directly via mobile money. Callen’s research is critical for the strengthening Afghan state institutions and guaranteeing service delivery, factors viewed as critical for creating peace and stability in the country.

The preliminary results of that study indicate that using MSPs to pay workers could save the government hundreds of thousands per month, reduce travel cost associated with getting paid and provide salaries in a timelier manner. Because of Callen’s research, the use of MSPs is being written into agreements for future aid and is driving international policy.

Callen’s research is especially important because the U.S. sends more money to Afghanistan than any other country, yet there is little accountability for how that money is spent. The Afghan government spends 59.5 percent of its annual $7.3 billion (in U.S. dollars) budget on salaries. The international community covers about $5 billion of the Afghan annual budget, with most of the remaining $2.3 billion coming from domestic revenue. It is estimated that 40 percent of this money is lost to corruption. This is especially problematic with the payment of government workers, such as police, military and administrators. These agencies often pay “ghost” workers – fake employees added to the payroll so that others can capture their salary.

Delays in payment, garnishments, and payments to ghost employees are common problems in paying government employees in Afghanistan. Many of these issues stem from the fact that most of the salary payments outside urban centers happen in cash as part of a “trusted agent” system. In this system, instead of paying employees directly, the governments make a transfer to a bursar, who is in charge of then distributing cash. The problems using existing trusted agent system are widely recognized, but transitioning all government workers to bank transfers is a challenge. Only four percent of Afghans use a bank account, however, 74 percent of Afghans have a mobile phone. This makes public employee payments in Afghanistan ideally suited for MSPs.

Callen’s research has proven that MSPs are effective for government workers in Afghanistan and the Afghan government is implementing a large reform to start paying all government salaries with mobile money. The goals of this wide-scale reform are to eliminate ghost workers, reduce salary leakage, improve the payment experience and create an inclusive digital payment system appropriate for Afghanistan. The reform has been approved by the President’s High Economic Council, and milestones in the reform are being added as conditions for future assistance from the U.S. and the World Bank. The hope of using MSPs for all Afghan public employees is that in addition to saving the money and fighting corruption, the ability for the government to more accurately deliver payment will strengthen the delivery of services and effectiveness of the Afghan state.

December 14, 2017 0 comment
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My Name is Kambiz “Kam” Zardouzian and I am privileged to have graduated from Rady’s inaugural MSBA class in 2017, which was my second master’s degree.  I have also earned an MBA from the University of San Diego.  I’ve been an entrepreneur most of my career having been involved with a number of technology startups, and have also worked for more established companies such as WD-40, Electronic Data Systems and more. I co-founded Analytica Data Company (ADC) with my fellow student Christopher Armstrong while we were students in the MSBA program. We provide scalable data analytics services to progressive organizations across a number of industries including retail, cyber security, marketing, manufacturing, healthcare and bio-environmental sciences.  Taking a lesson from Silicon Valley startups such as Apple, Google and Facebook, Chris and I recently moved into a house in North San Diego that serves as our headquarters. We currently have two paying clients and are working hard to scale our bootstrap startup.  Having support from everyone at the Rady School of Management means the world to us as we compete in a hyper-growth industry.

1) What impact has Rady had on your career progression?

The MSBA program has brought relevancy to my expertise.  I believe, wholeheartedly, that my 20-plus years of industry experience is packaged more valuably with my MSBA degree from Rady.  There is no door that I can’t open with my new-found knowledge and I owe this fresh start to the MSBA program.

2) Has your Rady MSBA enabled you to change industries or functional areas or even achieve a promotion?

I’ve had several job offers but as I mentioned I am more of an entrepreneur.  So, while I am repeating the startup organizations skills I already possessed, my MSBA degree has opened a lot more doors for me, helping me engage organizations and individuals whom I may not have access to in the past.  It was time for me to reignite my knowledge and reinvent myself by becoming more relevant with today’s business trends and the MSBA program has provided the opportunity for me to engage in discussions to solve impactful challenges facing our world today.

3) What event or realization served as a ‘turning point’ for during your Rady School and/or professional career?

Chris and I were waiting on Professor Nijs to start a tutorial session for his customer analytics class about half way through the quarter.  We had learned enough about the potentials of data analytics to engage in conversations on where and how we would apply our newfound skills post-graduation.  It was during that conversation and the brainstorming of what we could do that Chris and I came to realize that consulting engagements would offer us the best opportunity to sample the world of data analytics from which Analytica Data Company is launched from.

4) Tell us a fun fact about you, or something people may not know about you.

I was introduced to the Rady MSBA program by MBA Alumni Rady Chung, with whom I practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  During a training session in early 2016, Brady told me about Rady’s new MSBA program and brought me to school to meet Professor Nijs.  I sat in on his diet customer analytics class for MBA students (diet because he toned it up for the MSBA cohort!) and I found the subject fascinating.  I applied and was accepted from the more than 450 applicants, for which I am truly grateful for because I was on my way to law school and, well, I don’t think the world needs another attorney! Also, Lei Cong and I teamed up with two MBA students (Juliana Brasil and Sabrina Qutb) from Rady to take fourth at last year’s NetImpact business competition. And finally, I am a former collegiate tennis player, accomplished former triathlon and cycling racer, current Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner, as well as standup and regular surfer!

5) What was your favorite class and why?

This is a tough question to answer because I appreciated all the classes because they built off one another.  However, if I had to choose one, it would be Professor Balac’s Big Data class followed closely by Professor Coggeshall’s Fraud Analytics class.  I choose these two classes for their practical application as I am currently using some of the code we wrote for class assignments in real life.

6) What is the most memorable moment from your Rady School experience?

The most memorable moment was when the bobble head doll of Professors Nijs and August that I had made arrived 3 months before graduation.  I waited patiently during that time to finally present them with their dolls on behalf of our cohort.  That and our Nice Decision Tree T-shirts that we had made after the first quarter.

7) How have you applied your studies to your career?

Absolutely … without question! Chris and I are working with a couple of clients for whom we leveraged some of the code we developed during the program. I can’t stress enough for students to keep all their work in a well-organized fashion for this very reason. This becomes even more important as students graduate and are removed from the daily opportunity to practice their knowledge — use it or lose it becomes relevant quickly.

December 4, 2017 0 comment
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Sustained performance is an often overshadowed component of successful narratives. Doing the difficult task, day in and day out isn’t what comes to mind when most people think of triumph. Our society is drawn to the “overnight success” or the “immensely talented,” ignoring that the “overnight success” was probably years in the making. Successful completion of an MBA program is certainly a proud moment, but it won’t come without a commitment to its daily requirements. As an MBA student, I’ve developed some best practices on getting the most out of my degree and would like to share a few suggestions for your journey.

Do the work

The MBA environment is collaborative. Everyone is bringing in their strengths and the goal is to make the best use of them for everyone involved. This can create an avenue for you to shy away from things that you don’t do well, opting to let those “more experienced” handle tasks you haven’t surmounted just yet. Learning is what the experience is all about. Maximizing strengths is a part of the process, but so is mitigating weaknesses. Stepping up to lead a portion of a project that is uncomfortable for you will build and improve necessary new skills for taking the next step in your profession.

Go to the events

The education in the classroom is only a portion of the value added by pursuing an MBA. Getting in front of people currently working in your desired or current field is invaluable. In a world dominated by machines filtering resumes, what will be your edge to getting that next job? A great hire is more often located via a relationship than a job website. How do you meet said people? At events! The Rady School hosts events catered to students at various stages in their career. From panels, to mixers, to the incredibly popular breakfast speaker series, there’s no shortage of opportunities to make the connections needed for professional growth.

Schedule your time

As a working professional, time management was my biggest challenge with going back to school. The work requirements don’t stop, the family requirements don’t stop, but you’ve elected to introduce this new experience that requires its own level of dedication. The requirements are surmountable, with planning. Some of the best advice I received before starting at Rady was, “Work on something for at least two hours, everyday.” It is very easy to feel overwhelmed and behind. ‘Chunking’ my productivity, at a minimum, to a couple hours a day has aided my success.

Marshawn Williams is a member of the FlexWeekend ’18 cohort, a representative for the Rady Student Board, a Student Ambassador and serves as the Vice President of Marketing for the Rady Veterans Association. He currently works as a Government Contractor for SPAWAR. 



November 20, 2017 0 comment
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This week, the Rady School of Management’s commitment to a quality business education and  entrepreneurship was recognized by two prestigious organizations — Bloomberg Businessweek and The Princeton Review.

Bloomberg Businessweek ranked the Rady School of Management’s MBA program as the top program in San Diego, ranking 6 in California and 73 nationally. This is the third year in a row the Rady MBA program has been selected as the top program in San Diego.

“The Bloomberg Businessweek ranking recognizes the quality of our Full-Time MBA program and the extraordinary accomplishments achieved by our students and alumni,” said Rady School Dean Robert S. Sullivan.

The Princeton Review included the Rady School of Management’s MBA program in the “Top 25 Graduate Schools for Entrepreneurship of 2018.” The Rady School was recognized for its commitment to entrepreneurial education in its MBA programs. With 150 student and alumni companies launched since 2006, in-school accelerator programs such as StartR and mystartupxx and the Lab to Market courses – which focus on turning ideas into market opportunities – the Rady School is dedicated to providing entrepreneurial experiences to every student’s MBA experience.

As the Rady School continues to expand and grow to fit the needs of current students, recognition from top tier publications and ranking among the top business schools charts the course for future success.

November 17, 2017 0 comment
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Rady School of Management Professor Uri Gneezy was named a 2017 Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate Analytics, the global leader in trusted insights and analytics that accelerate the pace of innovation. Gneezy — who is an expert professor in behavioral economics, field experiments and the use of incentives — received the prestigious honor by conducting research that ranks among the top one percent of most cited works in economics during its year of publication, earning the mark of exceptional impact.

Gneezy is the Epstein/Atkinson Endowed Chair in Management Leadership and Professor of Economics and Strategic Management at the Rady School. His research focuses on applying behavioral economics to real world applications. Gneezy’s research has been published in renowned journals, such as Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of sciences, the American economic Review, Quarterly Journal of economics and Econometrica.

Some of Gneezy’s research on the topic of incentives include charitable giving and consumer price models, gender differences in competitiveness, and workplace and organizational norms. His work has been featured in prominent publications, including Quartz, TIME, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

In addition to Gneezy’s impressive publications portfolio, he penned a popular book titled “The Why Axis” in conjunction with John List which asks the question, “Can economics be passionate?” The book, which was a national and international bestseller, details ways passionate economics can play out in our day-to-day lives and how taking this approach can benefit society.

Before joining the Rady School, Gneezy was a faculty member at the University of Chicago, Technion and Haifa. Gneezy received his Ph.D. from the Center for Economic Research in Tilburg.

November 17, 2017 0 comment
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