Four Tips for Facilitating Change in the Workplace

Lessons shared by male allies at the ASCEND Executive Women’s Forum:

“A year from now, we want to be able to say, ‘Yes, look at the changes that we were able to make in the community. Look at how we were able to put this into action.’” Tasha Ross, Director of Corporate Relations for the Rady School of Management addresses a room of 40 women at the recent ASCEND Executive Women’s forum.

ASCEND, a triannual event produced by and at the Rady School of Management gathers select women in executive leadership positions across San Diego to evolve beyond discussion of the challenges they face and move toward pushing boundaries and solving issues.

The January 2020 ASCEND Forum focused on engaging with male allies to change the conversation – to see more inclusive leadership across San Diego businesses.  First, Professor Uri Gneezy presented research about workplace inequities that he and his colleague, Professor Ayelet Gneezy, are conducting for a forthcoming book. For instance, most office spaces have the temperature controls set at a lower temperature, one that is often too cold for female employees. While this is a small example, it is one that most can relate to and highlights some of the questions posed in the book. 

Three others: Lenny Comma, CEO of Jack in the Box; Navy Captain Al Worthy and William Molloie, Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers were invited to speak on a panel as male allies.

Facilitated by Panthera Leadership CEO and Executive Coach, Felicia Lyon, and including questions from forum members, the panel offered actionable insights about what men and women of the workforce can do to acknowledge bias and facilitate change in the workforce.  

1. Don’t put the pressures of the world on yourself.

Tell us if this sounds familiar. Lunch time is approaching and you have a long to-do list before the next big deadline. You head to the kitchen to heat up your food, which you’ll eat at your desk while you work. In the kitchen, you run into a colleague who asks how your presentation went yesterday.

“Fine,” you say. “I’ll send you a recap before the end of the day.” The microwave chimes, you grab your food and keep walking.

Your interactions are brief and transactional. Who has time for anything else?

“The outcome is that relationships aren’t built within brief interactions, and if you just take a little pressure off of yourself, you may be able to build stronger relationships,” says Comma. “Trust and believe in yourself. No one is going to be perfect. Don’t put pressure on yourself just because you believe that the world is putting pressure on you. Instead, be yourself. People are most attracted to you and want you to do your best work for the organization because you are you. If you can’t do your best work there and be you, then go somewhere else.”

2. Expand your network.

In a recent study, LinkedIn reported that among people who applied for jobs directly on their platform, those who asked for a referral from one of their connections were nine times more likely to get the position.

The caveat here is that our networks typically consist of people who look just like us. “Ducks pick ducks,” said Captain Worthy. This perpetuates a lack of diversity as employees move—or don’t—up the ranks of an organization. And a lack of diversity is straight-up bad for business.

“When there’s a decision to be made, different perspectives only make it better,” Molloie said. “That requires breaking the mold of ‘I’m comfortable with people like me and we all get the same answer.’ Because that might not be the right answer.”

Comma adds: “When you have multiple women on a team, the conversation tends to get more real. Women have had to navigate through the ‘good old boy’ conversation. Women have figured out how to challenge and change the conversation more than men who haven’t had to go through as much adversity. The process tends to be richer.”

3. Don’t overlook the middle.

From 2011-2013, Captain Worthy served as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the Naval Aviation Enterprise. After every forum or program they produced, Captain Worthy said he always asked one question: What do we do now?

“We realized that the only time men were hearing this conversation was when they were already at the top,” Captain Worthy said. They were eager to get it done, but in a 100,000-person organization, how do you instill change?”

Realizing this, Worthy’s team began bringing men in middle management to the diversity and inclusion conversation. “The men in the middle need to grow with the women next to them so that the culture changes below and these managers effect change as they rise through the ranks,” he said. “It can’t just come from the top.” 

4. Practice transparency.

Years back as a manager working his way to partner, Molloie coached his child’s soccer team. Driving from the office to soccer practice took at least an hour and 15 minutes, which meant that three days a week, he needed to leave the office at 3 p.m. to get to practice on time.

After about a year of “sneaking out early,” Molloie found himself waiting for the elevator next to a PwC practice leader.  Molloie immediately thought, ‘Oh crap, I hope he doesn’t ask me where I’m going.’ The practice leader was anxiously hitting the button, and said, ‘If this elevator doesn’t come, I’m going miss rugby practice! I have to get home!’”

Molloie realized he need not hide where he was going. Seeing a leader in his organization take the time he needed—and not apologize for it—made Molloie realize he could do the same. 

“If you’re not transparent, you’re prolonging the projection that ‘this never happens,’” Molloie said. “Although this is hard, if it’s not acceptable , you don’t want to be there. So be transparent. Only good can come from that. It may not feel like that all the time, but only good will come from that.”

At Rady, we believe in community partnerships. If you would like to connect to discuss ways to engage with the Rady School of Management, please contact

February 18, 2020 0 comment
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Accounting Professionals Share Their Best Career Advice for Students

Career fairs can be nerve-wracking affairs. We all want to make a great first impression on potential employers. So, how do we do that? We asked several accounting professionals attending a recent Meet the Firms — an accounting career fair hosted by the Rady School to introduce undergraduate accounting minors and MPAc students to dozens of employers — to share their best pieces of advice for students.

What employers want to see at a career fair:

“Someone that we can get along with in the workplace and that would have a professional demeanor when we place them in front of clients.” – Natalie Allen, UC San Diego alum and audit associate at KPMG

“Come out, be your true self. Definitely be prepared. Have some questions prepared for us to give feedback so we can get a dialogue. But then also ask us about who we are.” – Nick Winicki, UC San Diego alum and senior audit associate at Deloitte

“Communication skills. Definitely. We always say that you can always teach someone something, but it’s hard to teach soft skills to students.” -Rey Bada, staff accountant at Weworski & Associates

Next steps after a career fair:

“I think the students should think about what they’re most interested in and what they’re looking for in a career. If they’re in accounting, think about whether you’re interested in tax or audit so you can find the right path for you.” – Megan Chatman, tax manager at Gatto, Pope & Walwick, LLP

“Make sure you get business cards and then follow up with them afterwards. So every follow-up email I sent, I tried to include something we talked about so they’d remember me.” – Nick Winicki

Best advice for a job interview:

“Just be yourself, be punctual. Do some research about the firm and come up with really good questions to ask the interviewer and just try to make an impact.” – Michelle Koh, tax content analyst at Intuit

“It’s fine to be nervous. It’s fine. It happens to everyone. But the opportunities are out there and you have to be a go-getter. Go for that.” – Jose Palacios, UC San Diego alum and commercial credit underwriter at California Bank and Trust

“Be yourself. I think we all have a tendency to get nervous during a job interview but do what you can to keep your nerves calm and just really be who you are.” – Megan Chatman

“If you don’t know kind of the ins and outs of the bank and have really looked into why you’re excited to work here, it’s hard for us to see you in those positions.” – Nicole Wells, campus recruiter at California Bank & Trust

How to advance in your career:

“Participate some way in the community, whether it’s through volunteering time in the nonprofit, or being able to have a little bit of background of what it is to be in the workforce and become a little bit more knowledgeable.” – Cynthia Solomon, UC San Diego alum and relationship banker at California Bank & Trust

February 11, 2020 0 comment
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This post originally appeared on AACSB.

When Suman Kanuganti (MBA ’14) arrived at the Rady School of Management, he knew he wanted to leave with an idea that would change the world—he just wasn’t sure where to start. An impactful course in entrepreneurship incited Kanuganti to pull from his experience to address a societal need. A question was posed to the class: How can entrepreneurship inspire positive change in the lives of others?

Motivated by a perseverant friend with deteriorating vision, Suman decided to use his engineering skills to help empower visually impaired individuals to achieve their full potential. Launched by Kanuganti in 2015, Aira was created to help visually impaired individuals navigate the world with more freedom and autonomy. By leveraging leading technologies, such as smart glasses and mobile devices, Aira connects users with a network of trained remote human agents to provide them with instant access to information and assistance in the physical and digital world, when and where they want it.

Aira is one of today’s fastest-growing assistive communities, revolutionizing travel, commuting, and shopping for visually impaired individuals. Aira users are able to connect to agents who are able to see a user’s location and surroundings, providing a clear, live auditory narrative of the user’s environment in virtually any daily activity.

Through partnerships with Lyft, airports, Walgreens, universities (including the University of California San Diego), sports stadiums, museums, and other lifestyle venues, Aira has brought its assistive service to millions across the U.S. and around the world. As the technologist and innovator who co-founded and serves as president of Aira Tech Corp., Kanuganti is reducing barriers and empowering people who are blind or have low vision to fully engage, explore, and experience the visual world.

Kanuganti is an active alumnus at the Rady School of Management, and has hired five other Rady School alumni to Aira. He has also worked with Rady School faculty to host two capstone projects for the Master of Science in Business Analytics. In addition, Kanuganti has spoken at several events to share his story with students, including a TEDxUCSD talk in 2017.

January 28, 2020 0 comment
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We all know the struggle of sticking to New Year’s resolutions. We start strong, and then by February, our willpower to resist a plate of french fries or commit to a gym routine is gone faster than, well, said plate of fries.

What can we do to make healthy habits actually stick?

Associate Professor of Marketing Wendy Liu has answers. Liu specializes in consumer judgment and decision making, focusing on the cognitive and emotional basis of consumer choice, social interactions, and well-being.

Her recent research topics include decision making under complexity, self control decisions, and the role of emotions and social motivations in customer behavior. She also studies consumer behavior in medical and health domains.

Watch the clip below for a quick tip on how to see your new habits all the way through December.

January 21, 2020 0 comment
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Full-Time MBA Students Share Their Reasons for Choosing Rady

How do qualified MBA applicants select which program is a fit for them? Their reasons are varied, layered and often deeply personal.

According to a 2019 survey by the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants, the five most important factors influencing an MBA applicant’s school selection are: reputation, ranking, school culture, career impact and city/geographic location.

So, how does the Rady School of Management distinguish itself? We asked full-time MBA students to share what influenced their decision.

Valerie Wiest, Class of 2021

Valerie (center)

Rady offers one of the best entrepreneurship programs in the nation and it focuses on having a positive impact on the world through innovation. This mission was made clear from the start when, in our orientation, one of the presenters led us through an activity that implored us to solve problems worth solving. That idea of entrepreneurship with a purpose is the very reason I wanted to obtain an MBA and why Rady is such a special place.

Small cohort size. Having a relatively small class means that I am able to connect with my classmates and teachers on a much deeper level than I would be able to in a bigger cohort.

San Diego weather and proximity to the beach! You really can’t beat La Jolla. I wake up every day and feel like I am on vacation. I love living and going to school here. 

Kartik Sanghi, Class of 2020

A very diverse and inclusive culture. We get an opportunity to work with people from around the world and grow our network globally. This also exposes us to various perspectives and help us broaden our thought process, which is a business skill in itself.

San Diego is a hub for entrepreneurs that offers exposure to innovation in industries such as healthcare and technology. Rady’s courses, programs and events provide multiple platforms to get hands-on experience with innovative ideas and work with like-minded people. Rady has a terrific record of [cultivating] successful entrepreneurs.

Rady has world-class faculty who are subject matter experts in their fields and are proactive in sharing knowledge and offering guidance to students. All of the faculty are easily approachable and open for feedback. They also make sure to modify the course structure as the industry demands to keep students up-to-date with the latest trends.

Paul Wynns, Class of 2020

Rady’s culture of innovation and collaboration resonates strongly with me. No entrepreneur goes it alone. I’m excited about the communities here where I can stretch my collaborative skills and find like-minded colleagues across a diversity of technical and life experience backgrounds.

The school is agile, responsive, and forward-leaning in its approach to its MBA program. Its relationships in the San Diego startup ecosystem are full of exciting opportunities for insight, mentorship, and connections with investors.

Ehsan Amozegar, Class of 2020

The spirit I got from its people. Since the very first email I sent to graduate programs, Rady staff answered me in detail. I could tell it was not copy/paste [correspondence] sent to everyone. I received a one-on-one Skype call and the admissions team helped me discover the school from thousands of miles away. I experienced the same level of support once I got into the school.

UC San Diego is among the best young schools globally and the Rady School offers you lessons in agility and creativity. Young schools in general, and business schools specifically, require those characteristics. After all, these are the qualities that their students need to be taught!

Takuya Onda, Class of 2020

Takuya (right)

People around Rady are collaborative and work with others in order to pursue something new. With its strong connections in the local economy, Rady has helped my startup access so many resources such as mentors, advice from professionals, and the opportunity to make a pitch.

I can develop a rich relationship with my cohort. The size of about 50 students allows me to get to know everyone well. Since the Rady community is really close-knit, you feel a responsibility to make our community better than ever.

San Diego is the best place to study with no stress thanks to the beautiful weather and ocean. Even if you are exhausted from studying long hours, the wonderful sunset from campus would make you feel great at the end of the day.

There is a cross-cultural environment here that [is important for business]. People around Rady are totally open-minded and willing to learn. 

Lorena Arellano, Class of 2021

The school is highly driven by innovation. Rady allows you to explore real-life scenarios in its Lab-to-Market course, which gives me the flexibility I am looking for to simulate specific mechanisms in my industry with help and advice from professors. Also, Rady is well recognized for its quantitative analysis expertise.

January 17, 2020 0 comment
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Five Questions to Ask Yourself If You’re Pursuing a Career in Data

For the fourth year in a row, the job search website Glassdoor reported that Data Scientist is the best job in America. “This is due to the high demand, high salary, and high job satisfaction,” Glassdoor Chief Economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain told CNBC. Several other data-driven roles also made the list: including data engineer at #8 and data analyst at #31.

There’s no denying that data is very much en vogue.

“All organizations are collecting more and more data. It’s never going to be less,” says Vincent Nijs, Associate Professor of Marketing and co-director of the Rady School of Management’s Master of Science in Business Analytics program. “In this competitive environment, what skill set do you bring?”

According to a 2017 report by IBM, 39% of data scientists and advanced analyst positions require a master’s or PhD. “I think of business analytics as data science specifically for business,” says Nijs. “Our curriculum is built on business problems that companies face in practice, those that companies are willing to pay people to help solve them.” And pay they do.

“Continually learning and adding new knowledge in the field of data science and analytics is a great long-term personal development strategy that pays,” says Forbes writer Louis Columbus. Indeed, that Glassdoor report shows the median base salary for a data analyst at $60,000, but a data scientist can expect to see closer to $110,000*.

“One piece of advice I always offer to students on the job market is to try and start at the highest level possible,” says Raymond Petit, Executive Director of the Rady School’s MSBA program. He has strong evidence to support that advice. “Among graduates who report, 100 hundred percent of our MSBA students are placed in jobs after graduation,” many of them in data scientist roles.

“These companies see how our graduates our fulfilling their needs and doing a great job at it,” says Terrence August, Associate Professor of Innovation, Technology and Operations, and co-director of the MSBA program.

The Rady School of Management is currently accepting applications for its full-time, 11-month Master of Science in Business Analytics degree program and its FlexWeekend MSBA program. The 12-24 month FlexWeekend MSBA program will cover the same curriculum as the full-time program, with classes offered on alternating Saturday-Sundays. This new program will be the first of its kind in California, making it possible for professionals to continue working full-time while they pursue their MSBA degree.

If you’re deciding whether or not to pursue your Master of Science of Business Analytics, here are a few questions to consider:

1. Do you want to earn a higher salary?   

*See above.

2. Do you want to be able to communicate data more effectively?

“When we developed the curriculum for the MSBA programs, we talked to a number of different large corporations in the area,” says Nijs. “We asked them what they’d be looking for from our graduates. They talked about a lot of things like looking at data, being able to analyze the data, but also very importantly—being able to communicate the insights from that data back to decision makers.”

This is a skill set that Rady MSBA graduate Josh Bhatnagar says he uses every day as a Data Analyst at Mazda North American Operations. In addition to supporting the company’s quantitative needs such as data accessibility, modeling and structuring, communication is critical to his job function. “I maintain ongoing dialogue with domain owners and IT to prioritize organizational data requirements, design strategic data solutions and implement those solutions,” he says. “Without my time at Rady, I would not have had the foundation necessary to be successful in my current role.”

3. Do you want more confidence in your technical skills?

Rady MSBA graduate Swagata Chakraborty was working as an analyst in Citibank’s Global Decision Management team when she found herself contemplating how to move forward in her career. “I felt that people who already had a specialization relevant to their role were somewhat more confident and had more clarity about their role.” After graduating, Chakraborty secured a Data Scientist position with Walmart Labs. “Concepts like the statistical significance of the data, sampling methods for training and test data, working with unstructured data, training machine-learning models and confidence interval analysis are some of the topics which I learned through my coursework at Rady and apply on a daily basis [at work].”

4. Do you want the opportunity to expand your network?

Whether you pursue your MSBA in the full-time or in the FlexWeekend program, the Rady Capstone Project provides the opportunity to solve real business problems faced by real companies such as HP, Petco, Target, and Thermo Fisher. Students work in teams of three-four for ten weeks, ultimately to present their findings to the company. “It’s an experience that very much feels like working for a company as opposed to just a school project,” says August. And better yet, the capstone can become the stepping stone to your next career move.

“Companies are setting up this capstone-internship-job pipeline with us so that they can start to build their analytics teams in a very safe, smart way and make sure they’re getting the right talent for what they need,” says Petit. That’s exactly what happened for Rady MSBA graduate Radha Srinivasan, who worked on a capstone project for Thermo Fisher, was offered a data scientist job upon graduation, and is now their Senior Data Scientist (one year after graduating).

5. Do you want to drive up value in an organization?

“It’s great if you’re able to program something interesting in Python that solves a problem, but if nobody wants to use it, we’re not creating any value for anybody,” says Nijs.

Let’s look at that another way. According to a 2013 McKinsey report, “By 2020, the wider adoption of big-data analytics could increase annual GDP in retailing and manufacturing by up to $325 billion and save as much as $285 billion in the cost of health care and government services … Big data promises big things—but only if organizations have the right people in place who know what to do with it.”

Hmm. Sounds like a job for a Rady MSBA graduate.

Learn more about the Rady School of Management’s MSBA program here.

December 17, 2019 0 comment
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These Companies Founded by Rady Alumni Can Make Your Holiday Shopping Easier

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! As the holidays approach, however, you may find yourself with a to-do list longer than Santa’s Nice List—and that’s why we’re here to help! Below you’ll find innovative gifts for your loved ones, all of which were created by companies founded by Rady alumni. We hope this guide helps make your holiday season bright, and we wish you all the best in the New Year!


Ciari Guitars

A must-have for musicians on the go, The Ascender guitar folds compactly enough to stow in a carryon.

G. Bryan Cornwall, MBA ’18

Evolution Smart Bag

The perfect purse doesn’t exist … until you create it! Each piece of the smart bag is customizable, and it can even wirelessly charge your phone.

Suvi Tanninen, MBA ’18

Kids on 45th

Last Christmas, you gave kids new clothes and the very next day … they outgrew them! Skip the store and save by shopping “pre-loved” finds, delivered to your door.

Elise Worthy MBA ’09


Introduce your friends and family to the calendar app designed to optimize your body’s circadian rhythm. 

Royan Kamyar MBA ’10


Breakouts become a thing of the past thanks to personalized skincare delivered monthly.

Lada Rasochova, MBA ’08

Wasim the Dream

Forbes contributor, former engineer and three-time bodybuilding champion Wasim Hajjiri shares his recipe for success in this inspirational read.   

Wasim Hajjiri, MBA ’18

Sterlings Mobile

Treat someone you love (or yourself) to some pampering—haircuts, manicures, beard trims and more—at the mobile salon that’s easily accessible to busy professionals.

Kush Kapila MBA ’10

Executive Oil Services

Take something off your loved one’s to-do list and book an oil change on their behalf! These automotive experts bring their services to office parks and businesses across San Diego for a quick and convenient change during the work day.

Andrew Zorko, MBA ’14

Uptown Bicycles

The bicyclists in your life deserve the best! From the latest in electric bikes to affordable and fast service, you’ll find it at Uptown.

Curtis Allen, MBA ’10

Everybody Solar

The gift that keeps on giving: your donation helps bring solar energy to power local nonprofits.

  Kian Salehizadeh, MBA ’11


Protector Brewing

Raise a glass at San Diego’s first organic beer company, which celebrated two years of operation in November.

Sean Haggerty, MBA ’17

Tequila Enemigo

A luxury spirit meant to be sipped and savored, this tequila (produced in Tequila, Jalisco in Mexico), is worthy of its own special occasion.

Robin Clough, MBA ’14

Tulua Ginger Shots

What’s missing from the menu at your holiday feast? A shot that your gut and guests will thank you for.

Zeyad Moussa MBA ’11


For the friend whose New Year’s Resolution is (always) to drink less caffeine, try Cascaraa, an antioxidant rich tea made from coffee fruit that contains about one third the caffeine of your average cup of joe.

Kabir Gambhir MBA ’10



No holiday season is complete without snow … shaved snow, that is! Get the family together for a creamy frozen dessert that would satisfy even Santa’s sweet tooth.

Robert Yang MBA ’11

December 10, 2019 0 comment
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Your Invitation to LinkedIn’s 17th Floor Terrace Awaits

At 3 p.m. on Fridays, employees at LinkedIn’s San Francisco headquarters step away from their keyboards and gather on the 17th floor terrace to enjoy each other’s company. They mingle with colleagues in different departments. They savor a drink or some snacks. And they soak up the glimmer and bustle of the SoMa neighborhood below. Doesn’t sound too bad, eh?

In late October, Rady School students had the opportunity to immerse themselves in LinkedIn’s culture (and others) during the Bay Area Trek organized by Rady’s Career Management Center. Over the course of two days, Rady students (primarily MBA students, but also those in other master’s programs) visited LinkedIn, Facebook, KLA, Komodo Health, Salesforce, AirBNB, Flex and Intel, touring the state-of-the-art office spaces, asking questions of the working professionals—many of whom are UC San Diego or Rady alum—and getting a clearer picture of where their degree from Rady School of Management can take them.

We caught up with two students who attended—Ping Gu and Sitong Liu (MFin ’20) to ask them about their most memorable moments and why they encourage more Rady students to make the trip.

Which companies did you visit and why did you select them?

Gu: I visited Facebook and LinkedIn. I saw the big names and I didn’t think too much! I knew I wanted to go visit these companies.

Liu: I went to LinkedIn, Komodo and KLA. I was exciting to learn about them all. They offered a broad range of experiences. I was curious to know what kind of career advice they would give us.

What left the biggest impression on you from these visits?

Gu: At LinkedIn, all three speakers were UC San Diego alum. They were so supportive of us and said they see Rady growing very fast. Eric Darwin (Head of Corporate Development) shared his story of transitioning from investment banking to working at Salesforce and now doing mergers and acquisitions at LinkedIn. It painted a picture for us of how we can navigate our own careers. After the session, we got a tour of the building. Because it was Friday, we also got to join in on their regular happy hour on the 17th floor. That was so cool! People from every floor of the building came up to join.  

Rady students enjoy the views at LinkedIn’s San Francisco headquarters

Liu: I did not know what to expect from Komodo, because they are a small firm, but they ended up being my favorite part of the trip! They have about 200 employees. There were three presenters—two were remote who are based in New York. They shared what it was like to move from a big company to a startup, and then grow in the new role from startup to small company. The employees were all very open. We had a short tour of their office and got to spend most of the time asking questions, even common interview questions, such as how to respond to “Tell me about yourself,” or what kind of opportunities I could be looking for based on my interests. One of their presenters, Brice, who is Head of Engineering, is also involved with recruiting, so he had a lot of great insight to share. I asked the question, “What can I do if I don’t like coding but I do like analytical work?” Brice followed up after the visit with a thoughtful email response to that question and it has really helped me in my career planning.

Komodo Health welcomes Rady students.

What interactions did you have with Rady alum during the Trek?

Gu: On Thursday night, there was an alumni mixer at Atwater Tavern in San Francisco. Dean Ordóñez was there too! I got to meet a lot of Rady alum working in the Bay Area. Some alum even drove from San Jose—almost two hours with traffic—just to come to the event. I talked to Jessica from KLA about Rady life and how much she loved it. I also met Jessica’s classmate Chiara (18). She’s doing consulting for the nonprofit sector and she told me about some really exciting job opportunities. In that moment I realized how networking can work for everyone. She said they needed someone with an accounting background. I studied finance and accounting as an undergraduate. Sometimes you don’t expect too much from just talking, but that is the magic of networking!

All of the alum shared an appreciation for Rady. They love Rady. They love San Diego. And they know what to expect from Rady graduates. They all showed a willingness to help one another.

KLA in Milpitas.
Rady students join alum Jessica Bonilla in KLA’s cleanroom.

Liu: At KLA, three employees—two who are Rady alum—made themselves available for a Q&A session. They offered us great advice about how to negotiate with a supplier. During their presentation, they showed us this video, The Monkey Business Illusion, to demonstrate that if you focus too much on one thing during negotiations, you end up ignoring some really important aspects of the transaction.

What did you gain from going on the Bay Area Trek?

Gu: The company visits allow you to not only learn what these employers do, but then you get to explore what you want to do and what direction you want to go after graduation. At LinkedIn, for example, each speaker had a different route getting to where they are today. Nobody had a typical path. Hearing about their processes and how they made it work opened my mind to what kind of career path I can pursue in the future. If you don’t go on a trip like this, you’ll never get to hear those stories. And if you weren’t attracted by the big company names alone, it’s also a great opportunity to meet Rady alumni and students from other departments.

Liu: Don’t underestimate what you can get out of visiting a small company, or a startup! [On the Trek], you really get to know the companies on a deep level. You can build personal connections with some of the presenters. This is a rare opportunity to take these tours. When you read online about what companies are like or what the culture is, the answer comes for a PR department, or maybe someone outside of the people who are doing the actual work that interests you. On the Bay Area Trek, you get to meet them. You get an authentic answer. 

December 10, 2019 0 comment
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Cancer Survivor Clay Treska Co-Founded an App to Help Patients Get the Support They Need

“As a marine, the reality is, ‘I’m going to war. I’m going to battle. I’m going to defend this country and if I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die. And then you die of a disease that you could do nothing about.”

In 2010, Clay Treska (MBA ’19) was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He had served since 1998 in the U.S. Marine Corps, most of that time spent as a counter intelligence agent. Treska’s propensity to ask questions and seek answers led him to challenge his diagnosis, research his options, and ultimately save his life. His experience surviving the disease—and witnessing it take his father’s life and the life of fellow marines—led him to co-found Family Proud, an app with a mission to connect patients to healthcare resources, and to foster a network of support so that no patient feels like they’re battling illness alone.

“I was able to beat my terminal diagnosis and I wanted to understand why that was. I wanted to be able to share that with other people,” Treska says. The same year he was diagnosed, he graduated from San Diego State University with the intention of becoming a physical therapist. After volunteering and interning with UC San Diego Health, where he helped advise cancer patients and counsel mourning families after loss, he decided that he wanted to pursue a different kind of career in healthcare.

“I saw that the amount of good that you can do from an executive perspective in healthcare is just so far sweeping. It takes one meeting and one decision and you can impact tens of thousands of people and the future of healthcare. I realized that getting an MBA and learning about business was the path that I wanted to take,” he says.

Treska researched graduate business programs across California including those at Stanford, USC, University of San Diego and San Diego State University. “All of the [other] programs that I saw were missing those key components towards helping my own business,” he says. Rady’s emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation appealed to him. “I made the decision that I need to go to Rady if I want to not only excel in the healthcare environment, but also have the opportunity to start up a company.”

Treska enrolled in Rady’s FlexWeekend MBA program and continued working full-time in healthcare. He met classmate and Family Proud CEO and co-founder Jaden Risner, and the two of them developed the business plan for Family Proud through Rady’s Lab-to-Market course sequence.

“[At Rady], you’re not just getting education from the class itself and from the course material, but you’re getting education from your peers. One of the greatest aspects of the program is how you realize that you can’t possibly know everything there is to know about business. But that’s not the point. The point is to understand it enough to be able to have conversations with people, find those people that are smarter than you in these specific disciplines and have them help you work on those aspects.”

As a young company with limited resources, only about a third of the Family Proud team are currently full-time employees. The rest are volunteers who give their time because they believe in the product, says Treska. “Everybody on this team, or someone close to them, has dealt with some type of an ailment or a struggle and thought that this is a service that would have helped them,” he says. “We’re all growing through our own challenges.”

Ultimately, Treska says that the goal for Family Proud is to help make high quality healthcare accessible to anyone. “Everybody should receive the highest quality medicine, the highest quality care, regardless of who you are, regardless of what type of insurance you have, what your pedigree is, what your job is, where you came from or who you know. This is our way of being able to make sure that everybody receives the highest quality care, inside and outside of their provider.”

It’s Treska’s desire to help other patients that motivates him to keep building the business.

“What more could you possibly ask from a program?” he says. “To take something from it that you can continue to grow and prosper, something other than the degree itself. That’s the most valuable thing that Rady gave me: to take a dream and turn it into a reality.”

December 4, 2019 0 comment
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Rady School Hosts Visiting Professional Fellow Arina Bogomolova

“My position in life is to take challenges as chances and try to use every opportunity that I have,” says Arina Bogomolova, a PhD in economics candidate from Lomonosov Moscow State University and data analyst with Usalitics Research. “My favorite phrase is ‘Why Not?’,” she says. In Moscow, Arina studies the commercialization of university research. Arina’s open mind and research background is what brought her to Rady School, where she has spent the past four weeks supporting the California Institute of Innovation and Development (CIID) as a participant of the Professional Fellow Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. As a Professional Fellow, Arina is here to share her expertise and gain an understanding of how research and development functions inside of American universities. We caught up with Arina to ask about her research, the similarities and differences she sees between universities and what she likes most about San Diego.

Describe the work you’re doing here as a Professional Fellow.

I’m here to explore the system and think about the ways to make scientists in Russia more active in the commercialization of their research. There are professors who sit in their room and research and tell nobody. They might publish, because they get bonuses for that, but they are not active.
At my job [in Moscow], I’m participating in writing strategies of development for Russian universities. I can only recommend on how to make science more competitive. Universities have some opportunities to support science, so it’s ultimately up to them.

What are some differences you’ve observed between U.S and Russian university systems?

As students [in Russia], we have more limited choices in courses. Here, you can rate your professors and lecturers, and they compete with one another for money and grants. In Russia, professors and lecturers have a guaranteed salary, but it is less than here.

Have you noticed similarities?

During a workshop for StartR students, I was surprised to hear the lecturer teaching Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas. It is the same thing I teach at my university.

What else have you observed?

Professors here interact with students a lot. We don’t have such a thing. Lecturers, they give information. They read their lectures. Here, I observed a class that was playing some games. It was unusual because I’m used to it being more serious. I would like to add some life in our classes too.

What have you enjoyed most about San Diego?

First one is weather. It’s already snowing in Moscow. My first host here was a really interesting woman Christine, who had traveled all around the world. She told us a lot of stories. I was there for two days with another girl from Ukraine. The first day, Christine took us to the beach. You can really feel how powerful the ocean is. It’s really calm there.

I also experienced my first real Halloween here. When I was walking around campus I saw people carving pumpkins and I asked, “What are you doing?” They explained and asked me if I wanted to make one and I said, “Why not?” So, this was my first Halloween pumpkin. At my host family’s house, I handed out candies. In Russia, there are no trick-or-treaters.

What do you plan to do after completing your PhD?

First of all, I’ll finish my Phd thesis and get a driver’s license. But I have no long-term plans. Russians more believe in fate than Americans. That’s a difference. Americans say you should take your life in your hands and achieve the American dream making sacrifices (like in the La La Land movie). In Russia, you should work hard, you should do your best, but everyone has a fate, so you shouldn’t be too nervous about the future because everything will work out how it’s meant to.

November 14, 2019 0 comment
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