Launched in 2014, the Master of Finance (MFin) program at Rady School of Management is a relatively new program. But despite its adolescence, the program and its curriculum has quickly become highly praised within the industry.  

Just last year it was ranked by the Financial Times as one of the top MFin programs in the world; a huge accomplishment after a mere four years since the program’s conception. It placed 14th in the U.S. and is expected to rise higher in the future.  

The highly-regarded ranking isn’t all that the MFin degree has to offer. The Rady School MFin program is a STEM-designated, CFA Institute-affiliated professional degree that delivers rigorous, hands-on training to prepare graduates to immediately contribute in environments where quantitative and analytical skills are at a premium.

Students learn leading-edge methods for analyzing big data for financial decision-making and risk management. The program’s emphasis on quantitative models and methods ensures that graduates are equipped to develop innovative solutions to the complex problems facing the financial industry.

The Master of Finance program at Rady is designed for the current needs of the finance industry. It incorporates class work that reflects what’s going on in the industry today and includes a heavy component of data science, which is presently very important for financial firms,” says Michael Melvin, the Executive Director of the MFin program at Rady.  

Michael Melvin, Executive Director, Master of Finance, Rady School of Management

As Melvin notes; “It’s a quant program, so students learn quantitative skills, including financial econometrics that they can apply throughout their coursework including the final capstone research project.

The MFin capstone is a project-based course that allows students to work with a prestigious firm within the finance industry. Students work together in teams of four and complete research that demonstrates the application of skills developed throughout the MFin program.

Our students work with a mix of local and global firms. From San Diego to London to Hong Kong, capstone project stakeholders present students with a particular idea to research, which may cover a range of financial topics.”

These topics can include anything from portfolio construction, cryptocurrencies and bitcoin, trading issues, payments, asset management, and risk management, among many others. What’s more is that students can learn from collaborating with respected industry professionals.

Examples of capstone companies that students worked with this year include some of the top financial firms in the world, such as Goldman Sachs and BlackRock. They also worked with companies that have finance groups within them, like ViaSat, and a local La Jolla firm, Alphacore.

 “Alphacore is a great example of a firm where we had students interning with them that were so successful in their research that Alphacore executives were interested in continuing the relationship and building upon what was started,” recalls Melvin.   

Melvin says that “students might do a project with one firm but then that experience will lead them to opportunities with other firms as well.” Opportunities for students to network and showcase their skills often lead to their ultimate goal; employment.

I think the MFin degree is a ticket into the industry. I used to be a Managing Director at BlackRock and we’re teaching students at Rady the skills that I wanted to hire for my teams at BlackRock, which were quantitative investing teams.”

The capstone increases employability because the students gain the skills and the abilities that firms want to hire. Not only that, but students can differentiate themselves from other job applicants because they’re able to highlight bespoke research on their resume.

When capstone teams are doing very well, which they often do, firms will request resumes from the teams so that they can interview students, which leads to internships and permanent jobs.”

For anyone looking to enhance their career within the finance industry, the MFin program at Rady is a great place to start.

For more information about Rady’s MFin program, please visit

July 24, 2019 0 comment
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A spotlight on Rady’s MSBA capstone

In today’s business environment, being skilled in analytics is becoming more and more of an advantage across many industries and corporations. Playing it safe with a basic understanding of business practices might be satisfactory, but successful businesses use data analytics techniques and models to make better decisions and gain a competitive edge.

At Rady School of Management, we equip our students enrolled in the Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program with the skills needed to thrive in these types of data-rich business environments.

Our MSBA program offers rigorous, hands-on training that prepares students how to identify business opportunities, generate business insights and create business solutions, all through data and analytics. It’s unique in the sense that it delivers a curriculum at the convergence of data science and business.

As Raymond Pettit, Executive Director of Rady’s MSBA program, notes, “Rady is one of the few business schools that has a strong and collaborative relationship with our data science colleagues on campus. Many other schools that offer MSBA degrees are often stand-alone, however Rady offers cross-discipline opportunities through our close relationship with the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute and the Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego and our world-class faculty in all these areas.

As part of the MSBA curriculum, students must participate in a capstone project, which consists of solving a well-defined business problem for a real life company. Each student pursues this experience as part of a team and must complete both written and oral exams to pass the course, as well as a complete report for the sponsor company.

With more companies seeking skilled professionals who can work effectively in teams to answer key operational and strategic business questions using data and analytics, the capstone project is crucial to position students for future career success. 

The capstone project isn’t just mandatory for students, it’s beneficial for them because it gives students the opportunity to practice what they’ve learned throughout the course and apply it to a real-world setting with an industry leading company,” says Pettit.

Every year, the capstone stakeholders include Rady School industry partners and big name companies such as Petco, Hewlett Packard, Becton Dickinson, Cisco, DIRECTavenue, Mirum, and Mazda among many others. These companies present students with an opportunity to obtain real industry experience that aids them in their job search and beyond.

It’s also not just beneficial for students, but it’s also valuable for the participating companies. Pettit added, “Many companies that our students work with see the capstone as a way to create a talent pipeline, so they can keep these students on as interns or they can hire students for permanent jobs afterwards.

Some participating companies have been involved with the MSBA capstone project for several years, meaning they can build off projects from the previous years. Not only that, but the capstone is growing tremendously with more than 25 companies submitting proposals to take part just this year alone.

For this academic year, Pettit and the rest of the MSBA faculty were overall very pleased with the capstone results noting that; “The quality of students emerged in the amazing work and reports the teams presented to the sponsoring firms. This group of students will be making sizable contributions as their careers continue to grow and evolve.”

It’s an exciting time to enroll in an MSBA program at Rady as there are many advancements on the horizon.

We’re going to expand the program and we can envision this expansion benefitting a larger number of companies based on the success we’ve seen so far,” says Pettit. “There is scope for the current capstone to develop into a joint-capstone in partnership with other disciplines on campus including data science undergraduates and our Master of Professional Accountancy program. To do this on the business side and work together would be huge and a new type of collaboration that nobody else is doing.”

If your organization is interested in participating in the MSBA capstone project, please contact Raymond Pettit at or if you would like more information about Rady’s MSBA program, visit

July 2, 2019 0 comment
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The Rady School of Managment Celebrates Graduation 2019

On June 16, 2019, the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego held commencement ceremonies for 344 students. The commencement ceremonies celebrated the graduation of the school’s Full-Time, FlexEvening and FlexWeekend MBA classes, Ph.D. students, and students from the Master of Finance and Master of Science in Business Analytics classes.

Family, friends and Rady School supporters joined the graduates for the ceremonies. The commencement keynote speakers were Julia Brown, a life science industry executive and Charles Brandes, an investment firm founder and visionary.

“Don’t be afraid to take a risk and try something new,” said Brown. “Decide what path you will take then go for it and don’t look back. Achieving a peak gives absolutely no assurance of staying there. We must earn it every day. What it took to be successful yesterday may be different than what will be required tomorrow. So we need you. We need your brain power, your talent, your energy and your leadership as you embark on your career. We wish you all the best. Whatever you decide to do, we wish you great success, great happiness and a long and gratifying career. So now let’s get out there and make things happen.”

Rady School Dean Robert S. Sullivan presided over the ceremony and emphasized the importance of remaining connected to the Rady School and its alumni after graduation.

“So to our graduates on behalf of this your Rady School community, we look forward to your successes and to your impact,” Sullivan said. “We look forward to confidently building our bridges and our support network. So please know that we will be here for you, our alumni, throughout your professional careers, not just now. If you had an issue five years or 10 years from now, this is the place to come back to keep the connections. And the network that you build as friends, they’ll go on forever.”

Students and alumni also took part in the ceremony, with Lauren Murphy (MBA ’19) and Robert Louis Beyer (MSBA ’19) delivering the student commencement addresses. Rady School Alumni Association President Bosco Lujan (MBA ’12) and Andrea Yoder-Clark (MSBA ’17) delivered the alumni addresses.

Retiring Rady School Adjunct Professor Dr. Harry Markowitz was honored with the Rady School of Management Founders Medal at the ceremony for his outstanding contributions to the school.

Markowitz is an esteemed economist, beloved professor and thoughtful philanthropist, His seminal work, “Portfolio Selection,” launched a distinguished career lauded with economics’ most prestigious accolades, including the Nobel Prize in Economics, the John von Neumann Theory Prize, and the Wharton-Jacobs Levy Prize. His lifetime of teaching ultimately brought him to the Rady School where he joined the founding faculty as an adjunct professor of finance and accounting in 2006 and continued to teach his groundbreaking theory to Rady students until his retirement this year.

In addition to his critical contributions to the establishment and quality of the Rady School, Markowitz has also dedicated himself to securing the future of the Rady School and its students through his timeless generosity. In 2017, Markowitz pledged a $4 million gift to the Rady School of Management to create fellowships for students. He placed his Nobel Medal at the UC San Diego Library in 2018.

June 18, 2019 0 comment
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Rady School Faculty Profile: Terrance August, Associate Professor of Innovation, Technology and Operations

As a child who grew up in a military family and having lived in nine different states, Associate Professor Terrance August was used to change. So, as a professor of Innovation, Technology and Operations Management, his familiarity with adaptation has come in handy to his ever-changing academic discipline of interest.

His research focuses on the level of security associated with software as a result of decision-making by individuals and larger firms.

“Think of your Microsoft Windows software for example,” August said. “Your risk with the software not only involves how much Microsoft invests in security, but also the patching decisions made by all of the other users.”

August said he became interested in the field during his time working within the Brita division of the manufacturing company Clorox, as he was frequently involved in the operations portion of the division. Afterwards, his role as a software engineer at a startup allowed him to combine his experiences while pursuing a Ph.D. of operations, information and technology at Stanford.

While his career interests did not initially begin in academia, August said he began to appreciate the freedom it gave him while working toward the end of his Ph.D.

“It was really a sense of having control over my projects and how I spent my energy that was most important to me,” August said.

In addition to his time as an associate professor at the Rady School of Management, August also teaches at the Korean University Business School located in Seoul, South Korea.

“It’s a win for me on several fronts in being able to teach the MS and Ph.D. students there,” August said. “I also have a lot of research colleagues over there.”

Aside from his academic career, August  previously consulted for several companies, including Honeywell, an American conglomerate, which designs aerospace systems, Herbalife, a marketing corporation that sells dietary supplements, and Time Warner.

August said he chose to come to the Rady School because of the startup business environment of the school, which emphasizes innovation and entrepreneurship.

“I was also really influenced by Dean Sullivan’s vision for the school,” August said. “I found his vision for the school quite compelling. Also, who wouldn’t want to come to an institution of UC San Diego’s caliber?”

Outside of work, August likes to spend time with his wife and two sons. He is also an avid golf player and basketball fan.

June 13, 2019 0 comment
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In China’s fast-paced technologically advanced market, autonomous self-driven cars, paperless transactions and digital grocery shopping are considered the norm. Two Rady School Full-Time MBA students, Adam Stallings and Eric Nouwen, experienced this first hand as part of the school’s China immersion trip. While on the trip, they learned China is a world of difference from what they had expected.

The students shared how much the trip opened their minds to new, cutting-edge philosophies they can now use in business ventures here in America. The trip left a significant impression on Nouwen. “You will have one of the best international experiences of your life,” he said.

Watch this video to learn more about the invigorating, educational and eye-opening experience these two students had in a country that is building faster infrastructure and technology than anywhere else in the world.

June 11, 2019 0 comment
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“I’ve Got a Golden Ticket…” in Biotech!

“Boehringer Ingelheim knows what it takes to be innovative and entrepreneurial. From the small factory in 1885 to today’s multi-billion-dollar global pharmaceutical organization, we know how important it is to nurture and develop young science and technology businesses. Our track record of bringing breakthrough medicines to patients starts with new ideas and new science. Collaborations with external partners play an essential role in helping us deliver an innovation-led portfolio…” From “Partnering Day with Boehringer Ingelheim,” Biocom, September 21, 2017.

Three young entrepreneurs from the University of California San Diego, knew the value of the Boehringer Ingelheim prize when they pitched their business ideas to investors, faculty and students. The prize includes a “golden ticket,” or one years ‘worth of workspace at bio-labs, an infrastructure office space for startups, located on the UC San Diego campus. It also includes mentorship and exposure to investors to help the companies get a kick-start to successful innovation and connections.

The Rady School is honored to have alumni who were the last three prize-winners of the three previous years. We wanted to find out how the prize affected them, and where they are today:

Cory Bentley

The 2017 winner of the first-ever Boehringer Ingelheim Innovation prize was RIFT Biotherapeutics, a biotech company founded by Rady alum, Cory Bentley (MBA ’10).

Tell me about your company?

I founded RIFT because I saw there was a critical area of cancer biology that hadn’t been addressed: Inflammation. I believe if the inflammation in cancer is targeted, cancer treatments can be improved.

Why did you start RIFT?

I didn’t see anyone addressing cancer in this way at the time. The immune system often sees cancer as a wound that should be healed, rather than something it should get rid of. The immune system will actually make cancer stronger by supporting it with blood supply and growth factors, components of inflammation. People become resistant to anti-cancer treatments because their immune system is protecting the tumor from therapy with this inflammatory environment. It is an essential mechanism of resistance to cancer treatment. RIFT discovered an antibody-based drug that may help the immune system switch from being pro-tumoral to anti-tumoral.

How has the Rady School of Management helped you achieve your goals?

Rady gave me the confidence to know some of the significant components of starting a business and moving a large project forward. Some of these components included financing, intellectual property, accounting and people management. I wouldn’t have known how to start or run a business if I hadn’t gone to the Rady School.

Eric Venn-Watson

The 2018 winner of the Boehringer Ingelheim Innovation prize was Epitracker, a biotech company founded by Rady alum, Eric Watson (MBA ’10).

Tell me about your company?

Epitracker is a San Diego-based life sciences company that discovers and optimizes small molecules to treat some of the world’s most devastating diseases. To date, Epitracker has analyzed millions of metabolomic, genomic and clinical data points from archived, longitudinal, serum samples collected over 50 years. Through this process, we have discovered novel small molecules that target longevity, neurodegenerative diseases, fibrotic diseases and pulmonary diseases.

Why did you start Epitracker?

Part of my background includes being a physician in the Navy. I have a passion for science, as well as the entrepreneurial and business side of the equation. I wanted to start a company and it has included both of those passions.

How has the Rady School of Management helped you achieve your goals?

Every business school has its area of expertise. The Rady School’s, is innovation, especially in the tech and biotech fields. I learned everything from the operational aspects of being an entrepreneur to handling finances as a business owner, and I was even able to grow my network within the San Diego area substantially. San Diego is an incredible city that has many key opinion leaders who are willing to help you and mentor you. The Rady School has amazing professors that will provide real-time feedback and help you develop your ideas. Knowing what you need to get started, and how to successfully develop and grow your technology, is essential.

The Boehringer Innovation prize provided lab space for a year. It helped us focus on growing the company more than anything. It also gave us credibility in terms of pitching our business to investors and experts in the field, as well as submitting for grant funding. Today, we have many compounds going through the FDA process, over 30 patents, and have raised just under three million dollars in private capital and an equal amount in grant funding. The Boehringer prize has helped us expand more rapidly by having access to a state of the art lab and a broad support network. It is an environment that is very conducive to advancing our research and our company.  The combination of a Rady MBA and Boehringer Innovation prize has enabled us to accomplish much in a relatively short period. Thank you, Rady and BI!

If you’d like to read more about Epitracker, click here:

Simon Bailey

The 2019 winner of the Boehringer Ingelheim Innovation prize was Darkwood Pharma, a biotech company founded by Rady alum, Simon Bailey (MBA ’11).

Tell me about your company?

Darkwood Pharma is a drug discovery company, focusing on developing novel therapies for fibrosis, with a particular emphasis on liver fibrosis due to advanced non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH is a progressive liver disease that affects millions of Americans, causing fibrosis and cirrhosis, and it will be the leading cause of liver transplantation by 2020. Darkwood Pharma’s mission is to discover and develop liver-targeted compounds which will halt and reverse fibrosis and prevent cirrhosis in this disease, for which there is currently no approved treatment, despite intense interest from the pharma/biotech world. By developing compounds that selectively act in the liver, our approach will both increase the effectiveness of the drug as well as minimize side effects which will benefit these severely ill patients.

We are hoping to have our first drug candidate molecule identified in 2020.

Why did you start Darkwood Pharma?

I’ve spent my entire career working in drug discovery, leading diabetes and oncology medicinal chemistry departments at a large pharmaceutical company then as head of research for a mid-sized biotech. I’ve been very fortunate to have led teams that have discovered many drug candidates, including two that been approved for use in lung cancer. So, if I ever started a company, it was going to be a drug discovery company.

The specific reason for founding Darkwood Pharma is that in NASH there is a compelling combination of unmet medical need and scientific opportunity that attracted me. I recognized that a small company that can be singularly focused on developing liver-targeted drugs, that can be flexible and nimble in a way that larger companies can’t, would be differentiated from the competition. Plus, I thought it would be fun.

How has the Rady School of Management helped you achieve your goals?

In a way, the Rady School led to me applying for the Boehringer-Ingelheim Innovation Prize. I went to the BI prize event in 2018 to support another Rady School company, long before I had founded Darkwood Pharma, and so it was on my radar to apply for it this year. The judging process involves a pretty rigorous evaluation by BI scientists as well as their “Research Beyond Borders” external innovation group, so it was pleasing to hear the positive feedback and validation of the science and the company concept after such a thorough process. We are continuing to explore a possible collaboration with BI since NASH is a focus area for them.

More generally, going to the Rady School allowed me to connect with and learn much more about the local San Diego biotech/entrepreneur ecosystem, than I ever had the opportunity to do during the 20 years I spent working for a large pharma company. This included venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and small biotech companies. I gained an appreciation of how that world works. Also, San Diego is an active environment for innovation, and we need people creating companies here, not in Boston or the Bay Area. The Rady School is a great way to make connections and get involved to continue to build the San Diego innovation community.

Find out more about Darkwood Pharma here:

May 20, 2019 0 comment
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1)    Why a Ph.D.?

My background in the natural sciences led to my interest in applying for a Ph.D. in the social sciences. Specifically, questions I encountered while working in conservation education at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA, sparked my interest in marketing and decision-making. I noticed that a lot of the efforts we had been making at the aquarium to encourage individuals to care about the environment and to make changes in their daily lives were not as effective as we had hoped. I started to wonder what we could be doing better and how to motivate individuals to engage in environmentally friendly practices.

2)    Why did you choose the Rady School?

While I was completing a master’s degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, I met Ayelet Gneezy, associate professor of behavioral sciences and marketing at the Rady School, who encouraged me to pursue a Ph.D. She saw my unique interest in understanding what motivates individuals to make decisions that are better for the environment and better for our society as a whole. The Rady School’s Ph.D. program was brand new at the time so there was no program history to go by, but there were exceptional faculty, like Professor Gneezy, whom I knew I might have the chance to work with if I applied.

3)    What was the focus of your research?

During my doctoral studies, I explored barriers and motivators of prosocial behavior within the contexts of pro-environmental choices, climate change and charitable giving.

4)    What was it like collaborating with Rady faculty?

I enjoyed my time collaborating with the Rady School faculty. There is a wonderful cache of talent at the Rady School. I felt fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from the faculty and fellow students, who both challenged and inspired me. The faculty has a welcoming, open-door culture that helped to encourage both asking questions, and learning from the answers.

5)    Most valuable experience at the Rady School?

The Rady School seemed to foster a culture of innovation, collaboration, and interdisciplinary pursuit of knowledge, which was essential in supporting the types of questions I was (and am) interested in. As a result of this openness, I had the opportunity to work with people across UC San Diego. I collaborated with UC San Diego’s Political Science and Psychology departments, as well as with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation as an IGERT Fellow, the National Science Foundation’s flagship interdisciplinary training program.

6)    Fun fact about you?

I was a contestant on the Family Feud two years in a row while in middle school.

7)    Post-Ph.D. career?

I am walking in the footsteps of my faculty advisors. I am an assistant professor in the marketing unit at Harvard Business School.

8)    One thing about the Rady School that you didn’t expect?

The endless supply of beautiful sunsets. I grew up in San Diego, so I am no stranger to sunsets, but the Rady School truly has an excellent view. It made working late worth it!

May 9, 2019 0 comment
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2019 Best 40 Under 40 Professors: Chris Oveis, University of California-San Diego (Rady)

What happens when someone with Ph.D. in psychology ends up in a B-school? You get fascinating research looking into how expressing emotions like compassion or pride in the workplace can create meaningful connections. Or how body language and nonverbal behaviors can impact first impressions and potential business deals. That is exactly what you get in Chris Oveis’ core Leadership courses at the Rady School of Management at the University of California-San Diego.

“Professor Oveis has a remarkable presence and unique teaching style in his Leadership class,” one student said. “He encourages every single of students to interact proactively and facilitate discussion to make us learn from the cohort. His lecture is extremely well organized, dynamic and attractive. Discussion point is very clear and the evidence introduced in class is well supported based on scientific research. He always embodies leadership when he teaches the class. I’ll definitely recommend his class for the next year MBA students.”

Oveis has won multiple awards in research and teaching. He received dozens of thoughtful recommendations and nominations from colleagues, current students, and alumni and was exemplifies exactly what this project sets out to feature. In his spare time, Oveis is hanging with his kids or taking advantage of the weather, outdoor playground, and brewery scene San Diego is famous for.

Current Age: 38

At current institution since what year? 2011

Education: UC Berkeley, Ph.D. Psychology; University of Virginia, B.A. Psychology

List of current MBA courses you currently teach: Leadership


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I wasn’t focused on working in a business school–UC-SD Rady was the draw. It’s a great environment—interdisciplinary, interactive, challenging, and fun. Across areas, the faculty are amazing at what they do and great to work with, and really talented new faculty show up every year. My work has benefited from and been shaped by new perspectives from my colleagues.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it?

My research focuses on the role of emotion in social interactions. Right now, I’m trying to understand how people deal with their anxiety in performance situations, and how this affects their teammates. To study this, my team and I constructed a “Shark Tank” in our lab in which pairs of teammates design and pitch products while their physiological responses are measured. We found that people who are trained to think of their anxiety/arousal as helpful rather than harmful show more efficient cardiovascular responding when pitching a product, and more strikingly so do their teammates.

If I weren’t a business school professor… I would form a band and play on Top of the Pops

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor?

I want all of my students to learn as much as possible, so I try and make each meeting memorable and attention-grabbing in a different way, and I try to make each assignment meaningful. I also want my students to have extremely active conversations where everyone gets involved, everyone listens to each other, and everyone constructively engages with each other, and I work really hard to facilitate these things. Finally, I try to identify what is important within each cohort to tailor the material a bit to help meet the students’ goals. Overall, I’m trying to make my course fun and useful for as many students as possible.

One word that describes my first-time teaching: Hot! San Diego had an unusual heat wave that week, which knocked out the air conditioning in the room. At first, I thought I was just nervous, but when I realized I wasn’t the only one sweating we found another room and carried on with an awesome first meeting.

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: That teaching MBA’s is a lot of fun! No two classes that I teach are alike, and every cohort of students keeps the material fresh by bringing in their own perspectives and concerns.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students?

The students at UCSD Rady are really engaged and intelligent and have such a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. I learn a lot from them. The most enjoyable thing is seeing how much effort our students put into helping each other achieve their goals.

What is most challenging?

The 5-day, 30-hour version of my leadership course is a fun physical and mental challenge for both me and the students. It’s also my favorite format, in part because it’s the first course they take. We all get to celebrate and commiserate with each other at the end of the week.

Using just one word, describe your favorite type of student: There’s not really a type. I care about all of my students, and can think of a lot of favorites with extremely different backgrounds, personalities, approaches to the course, etc.

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Fair


What are your hobbies?

These days I mostly get into whatever my kids are into. One thing I like to do is check out new breweries with friends. San Diego has more than 100 breweries — one great organic brewery, Protector, was even started by a Rady alum.

How will you spend your summer?

Learning all of the intricacies of the PJ Masks series. I have some theories about the origins of the Ninjalinos.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: I’m grateful to live in San Diego, where I’m a 15-minute drive from any number of beaches. Spending the day at Coronado with my family — morning on the beach, lunch at Miguel’s, eat an ice cream cone, and back in time for naptime — that’s a pretty awesome mini vacation.

Favorite book(s): The Gruffalo

What is your favorite movie and/or television show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much?

I’m pretty into the Ducktales revival, and Sharp Objects and Russian Doll were great. Also, The Great Mouse Detective is the most underrated Disney film of all time is a hill I will die on.

Favorite type of music: 2005 Indie Pop.


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… Free tuition, free coffee, and Dippin’ Dots.

Faculty and administrators say:

“Chris Oveis is a valued professor at the Rady School of Management, earning an ‘Excellence in Teaching’ award in 2016 from MBA students. His research focusing on emotions has been frequently cited by other scholars and he received a $1.1 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to study the social and emotional factors that make employees thrive in the workplace. In addition, his research has been featured in stories by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post and Psychology Today.”

“Professor Oveis has a remarkable presence and unique teaching style in his Leadership class. He encourages every single of students to interact proactively and facilitate discussion to make us learn from the cohort. His lecture is extremely well organized, dynamic and attractive. The discussion point is very clear and the evidence introduced in class is well supported based on scientific research. He always embodies leadership when he teaches the class. I’ll definitely recommend his class for the next year MBA students.”

“Chris Oveis has a passion for teaching leadership and researching the role of emotion, power and nonverbal behavior in social interactions. Students look forward to his classes in a way that is rare in an MBA program, never knowing what to expect. He mixes a healthy but appropriate dosage of humor with serious topics. One of his favorite techniques is to lecture to one side of the room, and, without breaking eye contact with that side, asks a question of an unsuspecting person on the opposite side. It always kept us on our toes. Chris teaches to inform the students, to make them empathetic to serious issues, to make them aware of the impact of their experiences on new situations and decision-making, and to provide positive leadership tools. Most importantly, Chris conveys a great deal of important knowledge in a way that his students are not inclined to forget.”

Written by Nathan Allen, find his blog here:

April 25, 2019 0 comment
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Jackie Lu (MBA ’12) is the founder and CEO of Yem Innovation, located in Shanghai, China. Yem Innovation is a SaaS cloud platform that encourages employee innovation. Jackie shared how his Rady MBA contributed to his journey of success with Yem Innovation.

What impact has Rady had on your career progression?

After years in a multinational and local stock listed company, I found the most important resources executives ignored is their own employees. There are huge opportunities to leverage employee talents and boost corporate profits by motivating employees. During my study and life at the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego, I learned about Marketing, Operations, Human Resources, Innovation & Technology and Lab to Market. All of these courses prepared me for launching my own business: Yem Innovation, which is a human resources SaaS cloud platform. The Yem Innovation platform can be used to stimulate, manage and monetize employee ideas, or simply put, it is a cloud platform for corporate internal innovations. The results of using our platform are three fold: to improve corporate revenues, boost employee engagement and lead a bottom-up management revolution.

Has your Rady MBA enabled you to change industries or functional areas? 

Before I joined the Rady MBA program, I had years of marketing and corporate communications experience. With the help from the Rady School’s Innovation & Technology and HR & Leadership courses, I made the pivot from marketing to human resources. Now with Yem, I am dealing with ABC technology leveraging AI, Big Data, and Cloud Computing to monetize employee ideas.

How did the Rady School help you create and launch your company YEM Innovation? The Rady School is not just about business; it is also about management. From here, I learned more about the problems of modern management. After some solid research, we found that there are six bottlenecks for corporate internal innovations, which are caused by a traditional management style. By tackling these problems, we built a human resources SaaS cloud platform to simulate, manage and monetize employee ideas. Using our product, employees can submit ideas on the Yem Innovation cloud platform, which is both compatible for PC and smart devices. Meanwhile we provide professional service and help to make the ideas happen, with the ultimate goal of creating innovative revenues to the client. Yem Innovation has been referred to as an internal incubator. Under the new era of uncertainty, we truly believe the power of enabling, and the power to unlock each employee’s potential. What makes us special is that those staff who submitted ideas are responsible to implement the ideas. When finishing the idea, employees will get 30% profit sharing, and the other 70% goes to the company. It is a win-win-win solution to drive new business revenues and to initiate a new management style of bottom up. So far, we have had a very successful case in a manufacturing industry. Our client used our platform to encourage employees to submit ideas and to implement their ideas. One idea saved 400,000 Chinese Yuan for the company. My Rady experience has helped every aspect of my business, especially when starting the new business. I needed to go through a business plan, and every class I attended during the school helped me a lot to make the business plan more reasonable, more practical and more convincing for the investors.

What event or realization served as a ‘turning point’ for you during your Rady School and/or professional career? Honestly, I would say there is no turning point for me, but a continuous adaption for change. Nothing changes overnight. By learning and adapting, I found my way to start a business that is unique and innovative. All of my clients and potential investors think it is new, special, and the right time to help companies to drive innovation. Currently, we are working with Fortune 500 companies and also middle to large size local companies. We are working with manufacturing, medical devices, hospitality, and consumer goods industry companies to help their product innovation, service innovation and process innovation. We even made our own turning point by creating a feature called Inno-Cube, which is a tool to stimulate employee ideas. This set us apart from competitors. With the whole platform innovation, we were awarded the Best SaaS Provider 2018 and a Top Digital 100 Award.

Why did you decide to come to the Rady School? What attracted me to the Rady School is its young, vibrant spirit and entrepreneurship. It is located in San Diego, which is indeed American’s Finest City. It  gave me the chance to walk along the beautiful beaches, and I met various people to talk about Random Act of Kindness. That inspired me to create China’s First Random Act of Kindness Happiness platform: Happiness100. Happiness100 is an non-government organization (NGO), open innovation platform to collect ideas. We have only one criteria for the idea, which is to make people feel happy, and we will provide funds to make the idea happen. I feel proud to have a charity and I include this as part of Yem Innovation’s corporate social responsibility. More than 10 creative projects have been carried out, and Happiness100 itself also got honorable mentions by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and Overseas Young Chinese Forum.

What was your favorite class and why? My favorite classes are Consumer Behavior with Wendy Liu, Innovation & Technology with Kevin Zhu and Lab to Market with Del Foit. What’s funny is that because they were my favorites, I found they were also very easy to learn.

How did your view of entrepreneurship/innovation change throughout your time at the Rady School? I had a much larger view of the world because my classmates were from different backgrounds and different countries. It was a small class so we had the chance to know more about each other. My peers in the class were willing to share, to help and to inspire. In my point of view, the Rady School is a perfect school to get connected to an unexpected and surprising world. The entrepreneurship and innovation atmosphere there is like a soil that inspires people to grow new ideas and create their own business.

What was the most valuable thing you learned while at the Rady School? I remember the slogan years ago of our school is “From innovation to impact.” The most valuable thing is to impact, to do something to change the status quo. The goal of Yem Innovation is to change the status quo of traditional management styles, empower staff from the bottom up, and drive innovation. Instead of managing people, we change to empower people. Actually, scalability is another critical thing I learned in school. It is quite important for a business, especially for a mobile internet company like Yem Innovation. Because of our scalability, we got investment from an angel investor and also from SOSV last year for nearly one million Chinese Yuan. SOSV is an accelerator VC that manages $500 million USD worldwide. Another benefit of the Rady School is the ability to network and collaborate. For example, alum Jason Qi (MBA ‘16) is our COO, because we knew each other as alumni. He was also the vice president of the Rady Student Board at that time. Without the Rady School, I would not have found a brilliant alum and team member like Jason.

How have you applied your studies to your career? I applied human resource and technology, especially cloud technology, to create my new business. In some ways, I would say innovation is not that hard. Innovation is just a new arrangement of two old elements, which is how we created the one-of-its-kind Inno-Cube feature to stimulate employee ideas. I believe newcomers at the Rady School can also apply any two-field knowledge to create their own new business after they graduate.

What is the best thing about being a Rady alumni? Since the Rady School is a young school, there are advantages of being young. I feel strongly being part of the growth and I could witness its growth every single day. Thus I feel more engaged with the school and more engaged with the university alumni too, since UC San Diego is also a young university established in 1960. I always feel proud to say Go Tritons!

Yem Innovation is compatible for PC and smart devices (pictured above)

Yem Innovation was awarded the TopDigital 100 in 2018

Jackie is pitching on Chinaccelerator Demo Day

Jason is doing two live streamings for thousands of audience

April 22, 2019 0 comment
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Immersion Trip to Cambodia

Eye opening, exuberant, unique, were all words Lauren Murphy and Andrew Engram used to describe their recent Rady School immersion trip to Cambodia. Engram and Murphy, along with a team of six students from the Rady School were chosen to support the Cambodian company, Hydro-logic. Hydro-logic is working to help provide water filters to those who have little to no access to clean water.

During this immersion trip, they got a chance to put everything they have learned at the Rady School into action. The students used their business acumen to find out what challenges Hydro-logic is facing, how the company can increase revenue and how to help the company discover the best plan of action possible.

Getting There

Andrew Engram

The trip was extensive, but enjoyable. Getting to travel together as a team, made us closer friends and we enjoyed our time together. We (six of us and Professor Michael Finney), took a shuttle up to LAX, then we took a plane from Los Angeles to Taiwan, which was 14 hours long. After another plane ride and a bus ride later, we finally arrived. When we arrived, our main source of transportation was a tuk-tuk, which is a small, three wheeled, motorized vehicle. Getting there took 19 hours total, and when we arrived, we were in immediate culture shock. We realized how much of a developing country this really was, and how much of the country was living in poverty. We were also very excited to begin working on our project as a team, and to do everything we could to help improve the water shortage problem with Hydro-logic.

Why were you interested in the Cambodia Immersion Trip?


I thought it was a great opportunity to learn more about consulting. Also, knowing how beneficial Professor Finney’s courses have been gave me that extra motivation because he is a great teacher and I wanted to learn from him more on the trip.


It was an opportunity to travel internationally, and get in the weeds with different cultures by working in an international environment. This trip was different because it wasn’t so much having an outline of things to get done, but a learning experience to put into action. It was great to understand how rural Cambodians live and find out about their access to drinking water. The client in Cambodia was trying to improve the livelihood by improving the amount of people who have access to clean water. Professor Finney was also an amazing counselor and guide for the trip. This is by far the best experience I’ve had at Rady. Every second was a learning experience and research. I was grateful to be able to use all I’ve learned and put those thoughts into action, rather than reading a textbook.

What did the work consist of?


Our tasks included reporting to the social enterprise, Hydro-logic. We learned about their needs and built a relationship with their team. We also got to go into the field and bring interpreters to chat with rural Cambodians who were getting the water piped directly to their homes. About 40 percent of the country gets piped water, and Hydro-logic sells water filters for those who don’t have easy access to clean water. One of Hydro-logic’s goals is to bring social impact, but also increase revenue. We were able to help them do that.


Once we understood what we needed to do, we met with the Chief Financial Officer, marketing team and private water operators. We also got to meet with rural customers, how they cleaned and obtained their water, and what they did to drink it.

Did the trip meet your expectations?


The trip exceeded my expectations, though I didn’t know what to expect. The quality of engagement and work we were able to do, as well as our exposure to a beautiful international culture and building great relationships, made the trip a huge highlight of my time at the Rady School.


Yes. Getting positive feedback from the client was wonderful. Seeing the client believe in what we were helping them understand made me feel like all my hard work at the Rady School was paying off. It was good knowing the MBA program can make an impact and have a lot of value. We both gained confidence and were grateful for the courses we have taken.

Did the trip change your perspective of doing business in Cambodia?


Yes. This trip inspired me to want to work more in an international, complex environment. I grew a lot professionally and personally.


It was such an immersive learning experience and everything I see is now through a filter of what was learned in Cambodia. I hadn’t worked in a country with an emerging market. It was eye-opening to see people need things we take for granted on a daily basis. It was also an opportunity to make a difference in the world.

What lasting impressions did the culture reveal to you?


We explored Siem Reap, a city in northern Cambodia. It was full of aesthetic temples including Angkor Wat. The details, art and decorations were beautiful and breathtaking. Seeing the beauty of Cambodia and its historical city structures inhabited by people, opened our minds and gave us greater context to our work. It helped with our project to take a couple days to rest and process our thoughts and expanded our creativity in greater ways.

The Food


The food was interesting as there was food from all over Asia in one country. Some of the peculiar foods included bugs, frogs and ants. There was a lot of Thai food, as well as a twist on a kind of noodles and stir fry. Their delicacies, which included tarantulas and scorpions, were very different from America’s.

Any Last Words?


Thank you to Rady Moxie who provided the funds for the trip and, had a stipend for expenses. Thank you to the Center for Social Innovation and Impact for the grant and Professor Finney for taking the time to do this. We want to be an example of what is possible and we think the Rady School should do more of these trips.



While we were in Cambodia, the team, with the help of Professor Finney, was able to help solve revenue challenges, recommend a manual washing machine, improve a system to collect rainwater and analyze how the company could best increase their current product awareness and online presence. Hyro-logic even let Professor Finney know afterwards how impressed the company was with the team and the amount of knowledge they gained from the students. The students would recommend this trip to anyone who can go. They said it was more than another school project, it was a truly life-changing process they will never forget.

April 17, 2019 0 comment
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