Amy Bernal (MBA ’14) is the Vice President of Customer Experience at, a local startup that is changing lives of individuals who are Blind or Visually Impaired through the interaction of smart wearable devices, artificial intelligence and real, remote people, called Aira Agents. Founded just over two years ago by CEO Suman Kanuganti (MBA ’14), the company has grown quickly, with almost 200 users, and plans to scale to over 2000 this year. Aira was recently awarded “Best New Technology” from PCMag, “Bet Accessibility Tech” from CTA, as well as “Most Innovative Product” by CONNECT San Diego.

Prior to Aira, Amy was a Senior Program Manager at Intuit in the Consumer Tax Group. Before moving into tech, Amy worked for West Health and the Gary and Mary West Foundation, partnering with organizations to reduce the cost of health care for older adults through technology or preventative care. She is a proud alumna of UC San Diego Rady School of Management, Flex Evening class of ‘14. In her personal time, Amy promotes women in technology through her involvement with Athena, Women Give San Diego, and the Rady Alumni Board. During her time at Rady she was part of the first US/Israel Center for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship trip.

What impact has Rady had on your career progression?

Rady has changed my career path in three major ways: allowed me to break out of the “non-profit” sector, something I felt was going to be extremely challenging to accomplish without a new network, it brought me into tech, and most recently, it brought me into the Startup Sector.

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

All of the above! My first answer covers the high points but I would say when I started Rady I intended to get into the marketing field, however in the Evening program it is hard to swallow when someone’s advice is to quit your job and get an internship with the hopes you get hired on. I didn’t find a path to marketing, and when I graduated felt a bit dismayed with the ability I would have to radically change my career. It took almost 3 years but I did just that through joining Aira.

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

Half way through the first year I went from a Foundation to Intuit- that transition helped class material come alive for me, it felt relevant from operational costs to innovation frameworks.

Why did you decide to come to the Rady School?

I knew it was the best, and if I was accepted, I needed to challenge myself and go. I seriously feared how math and science heavy I perceived it to be, and I felt that it would be the only way I could actually challenge myself to get the new skills I was seeking.

What was your favorite class and why?

Strategy Planning — I had never thought this way before. I felt like a whole new world was opened up, a new conversation, that clearly had always been happening without me participating. I was fascinated by the ability to see industries a decade ahead, and the balance in planning for that future state and current state.

What is the best thing about being a Rady alumni?

You go to school to become an Alumni — you get an MBA to connect yourself to the best and the brightest, the Rady School offers deep, meaningful connections and resources that I would never achieve on my own.

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

I am from a really small town outside of Yosemite National Park, the elevation is higher than the population.

July 14, 2017 0 comment
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Dear Rady School Community,

July 1 marks the 14th birthday of our Rady School. It’s hard to believe it has been 14 years; it’s even harder to grasp all the growth and successes for a school still in its infancy.

A little over a week ago, approximately 300 students graduated from our MBA, Master of Finance, and Master of Science in Business Analytics degree programs. Our alumni population now exceeds 1,600 – amazing and innovative individuals on paths for impact and professional success. And our faculty ranks continue to grow with extraordinarily gifted scholars and educators. By any standard, they’re among the best.

You know that our Rady School remains successful and growing because of its community – all of our faculty, students, staff, advisory council, alumni, and many more who have committed to excellence and impact. Many of you have persevered with us during these years.

Thanks to all of you for your contributions, and congratulations on an amazing 14 years!

With best wishes,

Bob Sullivan, Dean of the Rady School of Management

July 14, 2017 0 comment
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The Rady School of Management’s commitment to advancing innovation and entrepreneurship was recently recognized by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) by earning an extension of accreditation from the prestigious global business education alliance.

The Rady School, which is among the youngest business schools to receive AACSB accreditation, earned the coveted status in 2011. To achieve initial accreditation, an institution’s business program must undergo a meticulous internal review and evaluation process.  Less than five percent of business schools worldwide have merited AACSB International accreditation.

“AACSB commends each institution for their exemplary work,” said Robert D. Reid, executive vice president and chief accreditation officer of AACSB International. “During this peer-review process schools must demonstrate alignment with AACSB’s global accreditation standards, as well as how they encourage engagement, innovation, and impact across the communities they serve.”

To be reaccredited, business schools must go through continuous improvement reviews, which are conducted on five-year cycles and include peer review and self-assessment. These standards require excellence in areas relating to strategic management and innovation; student, faculty, and staff as active participants; learning and teaching; and academic and professional engagement.

The Rady School has identified specific learning goals and objectives for each program that correspond directly to the Rady School’s mission.  Those learning goals and objectives are further broken down to specific skills and knowledge.  Collection, analysis, and dissemination of the assessed data is a key component of maintaining accreditation and essentially ensuring that our students are learning the goals and objectives for the program set forth by the Rady School.

“By once again meeting the rigorous standards for accreditation outlined by the AACSB, the Rady School has earned its place among the most elite business schools in the world,” said Rady School Dean Robert S. Sullivan. “The accreditation is a recognition of the extraordinary quality of our faculty and academic programs as well the commitment from the community to support the school and its mission.”

About the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego

The Rady School of Management at UC San Diego is a business school that develops ethical and entrepreneurial leaders who make a positive impact in the world through innovation, collaboration and knowledge. The Rady School offers a Full-Time MBA program, a FlexMBA program for working professionals, a Ph.D. program, a Master of Financeprogram, a Master of Science in Business Analytics programExecutive Education and undergraduate courses.

About AACSB International

As the world’s largest business education alliance, AACSB International (AACSB) connects educators, students, and business to achieve a common goal: to create the next generation of great leaders. Synonymous with the highest standards of excellence since 1916, AACSB provides quality assurance, business education intelligence, and professional development services to over 1,500 member organizations and more than 785 accredited business schools worldwide. With its global headquarters in Tampa, Florida, USA; Europe, Middle East, and Africa headquarters in Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore, AACSB’s mission is to foster engagement, accelerate innovation, and amplify impact in business education. For more information, visit

June 27, 2017 0 comment
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Big changes are coming to the UC San Diego campus, and a Rady School of Management alumni is leading the charge.

It was recently announced that the Clark Construction Group was selected to construct the Living and Learning Neighborhood at North Torrey Pines. Carlos Gonzalez (MBA ’07) serves as the regional executive officer and senior vice president of Clark Construction Group California, and he and his team will lead the project’s implementation on campus. The unique design-build project will be the home for Sixth College, as well as the Social Sciences and Arts and Humanities.

Gonzalez recently visited Professor Vish Krishnan’s Project Management course to speak to students about his role at Clark Construction Group and the importance of leadership.

“As project managers, we are responsible for getting things done, and getting things done well,” Gonzalez said. “At Clark Construction, we don’t put shovels in the ground until we have done the proper planning, and we are truly prepared.”

During his presentation, Gonzalez shared the extensive Clark Construction project management implementation process, as well as the lengthy procedure the company went through to secure the award for the Sixth College project.

“We spent a ton of time researching the school and aligning with the University’s mission, challenging ourselves to think bigger and devising plans to maximize the potential of the space,” he said.

Clark’s team, in collaboration with its design partners, created a layout for the Living and Learning community featuring seven buildings connected with open outdoor spaces, underground parking for 1,200 vehicles, and public realm improvements that include pedestrian and bike-friendly pathways. The space will include student housing, academic buildings and research spaces, and community service programs to provide students, faculty, and staff with an immersive learning experience.

Gonzalez also emphasized the importance of leadership in his presentation.

“As a project manager, you have to treat people with respect,” he said. “You need to lead by example and treat people fairly. Communicate your expectations and goals, work ethically, provide feedback, and most importantly, listen!”

The project, which is designed to achieve LEED® Platinum certification, will begin construction in summer 2018 with an expected completion date slated for 2020.

“Being a part of the Rady School of Management was instrumental for my career success,” Gonzalez said. “I’m thrilled our team was awarded this opportunity because this project is special to me – I’m excited to return to UC San Diego to help shape the campus that gave me so much.”

June 26, 2017 0 comment
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The Rady School of Management hosted the 2017 Commencement ceremony, graduating 302 students on Sunday, June 18.  Of the more than 300 participating in the ceremony, 122 received MBA degrees, 135 earned their Master of Finance degrees and three were granted Ph.D. degrees. The inaugural Master of Science in Business Analytics cohort graduated 42 students.

The graduating class boasted an impressive group of students who have started their own medical device companies, consulting firms, organic breweries, an eco-friendly mobile detailing company and received offers to work for burgeoning businesses.

A number of students, alumni and community members were honored and recognized at the ceremony. Richard Atkinson, former president of the University of California system, was recognized with the Rady Founder’s Medal.

John A. “Mac” McQuown delivered the keynote address at the ceremony, alluding to the importance of innovation and scientific development. An accomplished entrepreneur, McQuown is a member of the Advisory Councils to the Dean of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, and to the Dean of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego.

Amy Bernal (MBA ’14) spoke to the newly-graduated Rady students about the value of a Rady School education and encouraged the graduates to embrace the school’s mission and stay involved moving forward.

“To the people on this stage, the faculty, supporters of the Rady School and the Alumni network – the Rady Community has built a business school that rivals the elite, and in many ways outpaces them,” she said. “They didn’t need another business school – they needed a business school that was built differently – one that produces talent that could not just discover disruptive science, technology and services, but  could then bring them to market. A mission built on innovation, collaboration, and ethics distinguishes our community and I’m asking you to make it your own.”

Ashmeeta Maharaj (MBA ’17) gave the student commencement address, encouraging her fellow graduates to accept uncertainty.

“Embrace what you don’t know, embrace those you don’t know, and explore paths that you’ve never seen,” Maharaj said.

“All of our new graduates are extraordinarily talented, motivated, and superbly prepared for the next important phases of their careers,” said Robert S. Sullivan, Dean of the Rady School of Management. “As graduates today, you join an elite group of approximately 1,300 Rady alumni who continue to make measurable, positive impact both locally and around the world.”

June 22, 2017 0 comment
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Brett Blazys (MBA ’14) is the founder, motivator and visionary behind He started his consulting career as a peer-to-peer consultant and his outstanding, global success within the biotech area launched him into corporate consulting.

What impact has Rady had on your career progression?

My time at the Rady School of Management gave me the startup bug. Without this experience and having amazing Professors such as Uri Gneezy or Terry August, I would not be successful with my company today. After witnessing the exact issues that had been discussed in different classes, I decided to create my own business that allows me to dictate how processes should be managed, rather than listen to how inefficient processes should manage me.

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

I began Rady as a financial analyst at a Fortune 500 biotech company in Sorrento Valley. I was able to move upward on the corporate ladder but felt unfulfilled in my work and was not able to gain the financial success desired. After another new position where promises where not fulfilled by upper management, I decided to take the plunge and create my own company. With that, the progression has been a roller coaster ride – all of my Professors were not lying when they said it would be.

How did your view of entrepreneurship/innovation change throughout your time at the Rady School.

Going to Rady gave me the startup bug, and I am happy to say that I will never work for corporate America again. I am now addicted to beginning new companies and having the capability to mold structures for the betterment of society and specific markets. I am not content with the current government and legal systems that have led to unfortunate circumstances; and with companies endorsed by I aim to only bring companies that better society as it changes faster than laws may allow.

What advice do you have for prospective students?

For current and prospective students, I say never give up and keep on your path of passion. No matter what it is that you like doing, you can do anything you want in the world; as long as you are unique and one of the best at it. Create your own businesses and ideas if you think they are not available and you will surprise yourself!

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

I played golf with Ernest Rady at the Rady Golf Classic in 2014, and to meet the founder of your MBA Business program was an amazing experience. The founders of our business school are happy to engage and network with students – and for this to happen at an incredible school with amazing programs is rare – I feel lucky.

How have you applied your studies to your career?

I have used every class in some form or another in the progression of my career since graduating from Rady. The amount of invaluable knowledge that I have attained helps in every meeting that I have had with different VPs and CEOs in San Diego. From Portfolio Theory with Harry Markowitz to Project Management with Vish Krishnan, I think of these areas every day and wish they were personally available to sit beside me in my important meetings.

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

Fun Fact: I was on Family Double Dare with Mark Summers when I was 11 years old. My next-door neighbor was an only child, whom I was close friends with, and two children were necessary for the show. It was an amazing experience getting ‘slimed’ and winning a Huffy Bike.

June 20, 2017 0 comment
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Three outstanding teams presented innovative endeavors as part of the 2017 Lab to Market graduating cohort presentation.

The three teams – DiarIO, South 8 Technologies and GemiNice – pitched their products to a group of entrepreneurs, potential investors and Rady School of Management students, faculty and staff.

While in the Lab to Market program, students are given the opportunity to identify scalable new ideas that fill a market need and that add social and economic value. Throughout the two-year program, the sequence aims to educate entrepreneurial, growth-oriented managers for both emerging and established companies.

Del Foit, the instructor of the Lab to Market program, commented on the success of the graduating cohort.

“It has been personally rewarding to work with these teams for two quarters as they identified emerging opportunity space in underserved markets, ideated solutions, evolved their ideas and innovations into realistic and actionable business models, and developed go to market strategies that will capture the value of their underlying innovations,” Foit said. “Their energy, enthusiasm and dedication to make their innovation a reality was inspiring to observe.  These teams, and their results, epitomize the Rady School of Management’s signature Lab to Market course sequence.”

Five esteemed panelists attended the event to offer advice and guidance to the budding ventures. Panelists included Robert Sullivan, Dean Rady School of Management; Greg Horowitt, co-founder of T2Venture Capital and an innovation system architect; Richard Campbell, a partner of Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves and Savitch; Jim Bixby, retired former CEO and chairman of SeQual Technologies; and Gioia Messinger, a tech entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Linked Objects.

Lab to Market teams


GemiNice is focused on developing aesthetic products that rejuvenate skin and slow the aging process through noninvasive topical Botox. The company’s approach does not use needles and is painless, as opposed to traditional wrinkle-reducing procedures currently used by dermatologists.

South 8 Technologies

South 8 Technologies has developed a breakthrough chemistry for batteries, allowing them to increase energy density at lower temperatures without compromising power. The South 8 Technologies team featured an engineering student from the Jacobs School of Engineering, as part of the Institute for the Global Entrepreneur – a partnership between the Rady and Jacobs Schools.


Diario is developing a wearable device paired with technology that enables children facing emotional and behavioral challenges to track and label their emotions throughout the day.

Lab to Market success

Since it began in 2005 Lab to Market has helped launch more than 130 companies. As it continues to evolve, Lab to Market is committed to working with students with diverse backgrounds, as well as developing partnerships across the campus.

“It’s rare for business and engineering schools to work together on the same campus,” Foit remarked. “But our partnership with the Jacobs School of Engineering proves that great things can happen when we work together.”

In addition to the successful Institute for the Global Entrepreneur integration, the graduating Lab to Market cohort also boasted the first lineup of all female-led companies.

Two panelists remarked that the 2017 graduating Lab to Market teams were the best yet, boasting both high quality pitches and commercializable products.

“I have been attending these pitches for the past few years,” Bixby said, “and these are by far the best pitches and ideas I’ve seen. I’m impressed with the high caliber of students and companies from this Lab to Market cohort.”

The 2017 Lab to Market cohort graduated from the Rady School of Management at a Commencement ceremony held on Sunday, June 18.

June 19, 2017 0 comment
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by Hallie Jacobs
June 6th, 2017

David A. Schkade, the Jerome Katzin Endowed Chair and a professor of economics and strategic management at the Rady School, was selected as the 2017 Battle Buddy Staff and Faculty Award. He was presented with the award on Monday, June 5th at the Military-Affiliated Graduation Celebration held at UC San Diego.

The Battle Buddy Staff and Faculty Award goes to one UC San Diego Staff or Faculty member who has dedicated time, effort, and passion to military affiliated students, and has demonstrated influential, outstanding, and long-lasting support for this unique population.

Chris Hamidzadeh (MBA ’17) nominated Schkade for the award given through the Student Veterans Resource Center at UC San Diego.

“On behalf of the veterans enrolled at the Rady School of Management, we want to acknowledge Dr. David Schkade for his unwavering commitment to serving the military community,” Hamidzadeh said at the event. For many, being part of his course was the highlight of our MBA program and as such, we are honored to recognize him with the 2017 Battle Buddy Staff and Faculty award.”

Hamidzadeh and fellow Rady veteran students acknowledged Schkade’s unwavering support and commitment to helping veteran students succeed.

“Professor Schkade, your dedication to helping veterans improve their lives has not gone unnoticed – thank you,” Hamidzadeh said.

About David Schkade

David Schkade specializes in the psychology of judgment and decision making, measuring subjective experience, and improving decision making.

The primary focus of Schkade’s research is on the psychology of judgment and decision making, and how decision making can be improved. His scholarly work includes over 60 published papers and two books, including his most recent, “Are Judges Political? An Empirical Analysis of the Federal Judiciary.”

He has studied a wide variety of issues, including the relationship between money and happiness, the design of information displays for decision making, how jurors make punitive damage decisions, the effect of ideology on the decisions of federal appellate judges, environmental resource valuation, valuation of health effects for cost-benefit analysis and why people choose to become organ donors.

June 13, 2017 0 comment
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September 2013 was the month that changed my life.

I had just graduated with an electrical engineering degree from the Princess Sumaya University for Technology in Jordan. To celebrate I went with my cousin to New York City for a short vacation.

Big tall buildings, noisy streets, and people everywhere – it was crazy! We toured all around the city and saw Central Park, the Empire State Building and Times Square. It was quite an adventure and we had a great time.

A week later my father calls me and asks,“Wasim, what’s your dream? What do you want to do in the future?”

“I have no idea what I want to do with my life,” I answered.

After a long conversation, he encouraged me to stay in the United States, “the land of opportunities.” I had 13 pounds of luggage, no job, plan, family or friends, and zero U.S. experience. I didn’t even have a driver’s license!

Several days later after thinking about it, he was absolutely right. I made the biggest decision that I ever had to make in my life by canceling my flight home to Jordan and booking a one-way ticket to San Diego, California!

I built a new life from scratch and it was very challenging, but I only focused on the opportunities here and envisioned three big dreams:

  • Get an engineering job at Qualcomm
  • Get accepted into the MBA program at the Rady School
  • Win a gold medal at the Olympia competition ( The Olympics of fitness)

When I told people about my plans they laughed and told me it is impossible. Here I am three and a half years later – and I am able to say that I have managed to accomplish my dreams.

In my journey, I stumbled upon many obstacles and failures, and faced rejection hundreds of times. During this period, my father passed away, which was the most difficult situation I’ve ever dealt with.

Throughout my journey, I learned many things, took notes and did a lot of research along the way. A few months ago I decided to turn all of it into a book: (Wasim The Dream, An Immigrant’s Journey From The Bottom To The Top) which I am working on with my publishing coach thanks to Linda Kurtz, the career advisor at the Rady School.

My main purpose is to inspire people from all over the world to go after their dreams and show them  tools and strategies needed to get there, even if you moved to a new country and started a new life from scratch.

I’ve been fortunate enough to accomplish my dreams through hardwork and dedication. I worked for Qualcomm, got accepted into the Rady School of Management and I qualified to become a professional athlete. In June 2017, I will be traveling with team USA to Italy to compete in the World Championships against 600 top athletes from all over the world.

Just because I accomplished my goals doesn’t mean I can rest on my laurels – it means that I’ve set new goals! My new dreams right now are:

  • For my book to be a New York Times Bestseller
  • To win two more gold medals at the Olympia
  • To become a professional speaker

My book is written to help encourage readers to go after their dreams by providing guidance and solutions to common life problems, including finding motivation, seeking new opportunities and steps to create change. Many of the lessons in the book were inspired by things I learned during my time at the Rady School of Management through my courses, interactions with professors and conversations with fellow students.

I got so much help from Rady classmates, professors, students from other cohorts and I am beyond grateful to be part of this amazing program. I will develop the book and other service packages into a consulting business and work on the details in the Lab to market and StartR programs. I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences with others!

June 5, 2017 0 comment
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From developing water conservation services, to developing a more effective and eco-friendly battery, to therapies that slow the aging process, Rady School of Management students are making a difference in the world.

The StartRmystartupxxLab to Marketand Institute for the Global Entrepreneur teams representing the Rady School at the annual Entrepreneur Challengeswept the competition, with two teams earning $60,000 worth of first place prize money in their categories. This year the competition housed three different tracks — High Tech, Life Tech, and Clean Tech.

Now in its tenth year, the student run competition and biggest pitch competition on the UC San Diego campus celebrates Triton student and alumni entrepreneurs and innovators through funding, mentoring and education. Participants in the challenge attend workshops in order to foster an effective business plan and implement

Throughout its decade-long tenure, The Entrepreneur Challenge has provided more than $1.3 million in cash and services to up-and-coming business ventures. This year, participants competed for the chance to win a portion of $300,000 worth of prize money shared among the three tracks.

Rady Success

South 8 Technologies, a team that was developed in the Rady School Lab to Market program, took home first place in the Clean Tech category. The company has developed a breakthrough chemistry for batteries, allowing them to increase energy density at lower temperatures without compromising power, won first place in the Clean Tech track. South 8 Technologies is part of the Institute for the Global Entrepreneur – an initiative between the Jacobs School of Engineering and the Rady School designed to help students gain business acumen through building new ventures.

MobeWash, a mobile application combined with a service that links waterless car wash services to consumers took third place in the Clean Tech track. MobeWash’s business model thrives on providing mobile car wash services at the convenience of the customer while saving millions of gallons of water.

Rady School teams won first and second place in the Life Tech category. First place went to Veocor, a StartR team that has developed a non-invasive diagnostic tool that can identify and quantify blood stasis in the left ventricle, thereby allowing physicians to assess the risk of cardiac thrombus and reduce the number of associated strokes through informed prescription of anticoagulant therapy.

Geminice, a mystartupXX and StartR team, earned second place in category with a focus on developing a non-invasive topical botulinum toxin (Botox) to help customers who are afraid of injections enjoy the benefits in a reliable, effective and safe manner.

StartR team BarStar earned third place in the High Tech track. The team developed a device that collects mechanical data about the users weightlifting session and sends this data to a mobile device for live time feedback and computation.

Rady student Alex Boone (MBA ’18) also had a hand in the event. As CEO of The Entrepreneur Challenge, Boone organized the event that hosted more than 200 attendees and entrepreneurs.

More about The Entrepreneur Challenge

The Entrepreneur Challenge is a fully integrated entrepreneurial development program. The goal of the organization is to provide aspiring entrepreneurs with the necessary tools and resources to both think logically and act practically to commercialize ideas. The yearlong educational program consists of engaging talks from the best and brightest entrepreneurs, professionals and investors.

In addition to this program, The Entrepreneur Challenge connects students with the professional services they need to succeed such as intellectual law firms, angel and venture investors and a broad spectrum of successful business people in the community.

The flagship events include the annual elevator pitch competition as well as the largest business plan competition in the San Diego community. These competitions award the best companies turning them into successful businesses.

May 31, 2017 0 comment
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