Seven Rady-affiliated startups advanced to the next stage of the third annual UC Entrepreneur Pitch Competition, which celebrates the innovative and collaborative minds within the University of California System.

Devised to connect entrepreneurs at all levels with resources and mentors to help scale and launch their startups, the competition offers entrepreneurial hopefuls the opportunity to win $15,000 in seed funding.

The competition is composed of two tracks — an early-stage track for startups in funding round pre-Series A, and a later-stage track for startups in Series A and beyond.

Rady Teams

  • BeveaA healthy, sustainable produced beverage made from discarded coffee fruit.
  • Blue Latitudes — An environmental consulting agency owned and operated by women with a mission to develop cost-effective solutions to environmental issues.
  • — An innovative platform that increases business to business sales and marketing by providing users with ideal leads using artificial intelligence.
  • Navega Therapeutics — A breakthrough therapy designed to combat the use of opioids by producing non-addictive pain management for patients.
  • Skinalytics — Personalized skincare designed to target the specific needs of each client using machine learning that links with a mobile device.
  • SurfUP — A new way to rent surfboards using a mobile application that simplifies the process of finding and renting surfboards using the shared economy model.
  • Veocor Diagnostics — A cost-effective system that improves the care of patients at risk of having stroke using cloud-based artificial intelligence.

To support Rady startup teams, click the link and vote on the page. Voters are able to vote on multiple teams.

January 9, 2019 0 comment
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“Is it possible to fall in love with a country you have not been to?”

This was the question I asked a friend who was part of the inaugural Israel Immersion Program in December 2012. My Flex Evening 2014 (FE14) cohort was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to not only be part of the first-ever US-Israel Center (USIC) Immersion Program, but to be given that same opportunity again the following year right before we graduated.

The Application

I’ve always admired classmates who find the balance between the rigorous demands of school while maintaining a full-time job, all the while never neglecting to squeeze in some fun and participating in various Rady activities in the process. I’ve never been one of those people, save for the occasional Home Plate shenanigans before, during, and after class. Somehow, however, I’ve always known that applying in the Israel Immersion Program was something I was going to try at some point in my life. And five years after taking my last final exam at Rady, here I am telling you all about the experience.

The Preparation

Learning that I was accepted in the USIC Immersion Program gave me the same ecstatic feeling I had when I found out I was going to be part of Rady’s FE14 cohort – so much so that after being assigned Startup Nation as a required reading for the trip, I’ve pre-immersed myself in various other books about Israel: Our Man in Damascus, Rise and Kill First, Son of Hamas, Israel: An Introduction, and Mossad. After the first briefing, I began hiking again to prepare for Masada. I may have gone overboard when I also started binge-watching Fauda, Mossad 101, and Hostages on Netflix. In doing so, I even managed to pick up a few Hebrew words. Finally, to obtain a more balanced perspective on the Israel-Palestine conflict, I borrowed the documentary 5 Broken Cameras from the library, which I made an effort to watch the evening before my flight.

The Obsession

My fascination with the country has a lot to do with being raised Catholic. It’s always been a dream of mine to do a pilgrimage in Israel and visit all the Christian sites in order to walk the same path as Jesus did. As I grew older, however, my curiosity turned into the country’s sophisticated national security and full-on espionage stratagem. Now that I am pursuing a career in Health Information Technology, my interest in Israel has evolved into knowing more about its high-tech industry and how it can be leveraged for the greater good. Simply put, Israel contains the trifecta of my favorite things: Tech + Jesus and a splash of the Mossad.

The People

Call me biased, but even our TAs said that FE14 was one of the best and most fun-loving cohorts Rady has ever had, so I was a bit skeptical when I found out none of my contemporaries would be part of the trip. After the first mandatory class, I knew that it might be asking a lot to find more Amy Gundersons or Matt Archers to spice up the immersion experience, especially since five years after graduation, this bunch is definitely going to be a lot younger than I am. Besides, the trip was only a week long, so I had no high hopes of meeting a new set of Gossip Girls to spend future milestones with.

But as with any startup success story, my trip began serendipitously. My proclivity for isolation has brought me to sit with Dipixa at lunch for the first meet and greet, and Ben during the Israel welcome dinner. It’s amazing how both of these unconscious decisions, driven mostly by my preference for more intimate social interactions, determined how fulfilling this trip would be. I don’t think I would have enjoyed the program as much had I not spent time gallivanting with these like-minded souls.

Dipixa said it best when she wrote that the most memorable part of the trip were the people. From sharing deep, dark secrets with the Assistant Dean, Christie, and Robert; bumming a drag from Diego and Erez; recognizing Leandro (the map) from Mauro (and failing to be his wingwoman); pulling a prank on Chris; embarrassing El Bryan, the El Presidente on Venmo with his BTP moment; rooming with Olesia and admiring her courageous travels; sitting on benches with Daniel; exchanging photos with Felix; singing Coldplay with Sahil; giving Jaden his third official call sign; harassing Sean in his bathrobe; working out with Katy; figuring out that Valerie IS Janzino; woman-crushing on Mimi; speaking Italian to Mauricio; singing happy birthday to Lijun; taking photos of Ming, the self-designated photographer; praying at Holy Sepulchre with Shashita; doing what I do best and making Jasleen, Juliana, and Rumpa a wee bit uncomfortable; spending long walks and heart-to-heart talks with Ben and Dipixa; and adoring Ayelet even more than I already did.

The Company Visits

When I was still in business school, corporate social responsibility was a “nice-to-have” when we evaluated companies. With the Israeli startups we visited, I was very pleased to learn that the social aspect was actually what a lot of the business models were based upon. Furthermore, this new set of Rady MBA candidates I went on the trip with always challenged the speakers with how the startups plan on giving back to society.

The two companies that are near and dear to my heart are BKind and Brainsway. As a Diversity and Inclusion Champion at work, I find BKind’s pay-it-forward gesture of spreading kindness as a way to be inclusive. Often times, people know to focus on diversity, but they overlook inclusion. BKind, in its own way of spreading kindness around the world in a tactile manner, eradicates our propensity to hide behind our screens. And with Brainsway, helping people achieve mental health is a fundamental initiative I will always want to be a part of any day.

The Culture

The pride that each speaker exuded as they explained how Israel is a startup nation was infective. Each provided different flavors of what it meant to them and their companies to be a startup nation. As for the overall Israel vibe, the cities were alive, no matter what time of day or night. Despite the negative news coverage we get stateside, I found comfort and security in walking the well-lit streets of Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and Tel Aviv, even in solitude, as the cities were constantly bustling with seemingly happy people. I also felt very welcome in the Israeli-Arab community of the Bedouins with their tremendous hospitality. Most importantly, as an introverted (sometimes shy) individual, what I admired most about the culture was the Israeli chutzpah and is truly something I desperately want to emulate. Being direct without being rude, and accepting failure as a mere opportunity to try again, were great ingredients to creating successful startups – IMHO, these were the trip’s prized exposure that were extremely relevant for people seriously considering taking their Lab 2 Market ideas to the next level.

The Historical Sites

The Old City of Jerusalem was exactly how I imagined it to be and so much more. But there were a lot of unexpected and pleasant surprises I found along the way, such as the hotel’s proximity to the Dead Sea; the late night solo walks (I’m scared of everything, especially people); the visit to Nahalal and the Necropolis of Bet She’arim; and crawling inside what was purported to be Jesus’ tomb.

The Food

I’ve always found Mediterranean food to be too healthy. Yet, in Israel, I’ve never had such decadent and generous spread of courses, only to find that the amount of good food I ate were only appetizers. Both the welcome and farewell dinners were something I want to be able to find in San Diego. I’d even drive to LA or fly to San Francisco if I could find something up to par with the authentic Israeli dishes we had. There was never a shortage of food, even for vegetarians like Dipixa or people with food allergies, there was always a succulent dish to be had.

The Gneezys

The Gneezys always know how to do things right. Negotiations weekend was perhaps the most memorable part of my Rady experience, but Israel Immersion now takes the cake. Whether the class is with Ayelet or Uri, I somehow always come out far richer and more knowledgeable than I actually think I am. What they teach is beyond the concepts of the class – it is the overall experience that makes one feel whole. It’s as if prior to participating in their classes, you don’t even realize that something is missing from your life until you leave the class extremely fulfilled. I, for one, have learned invaluable social, professional, and life skills from both of them, which I carry with me wherever I go.

The Trip of a Lifetime

I do believe that students are terribly missing out if they leave Rady without participating in the USIC Israel Immersion Program. In hindsight, I probably would have enjoyed this trip a lot more had I shared this experience with Pete or Abby. As an alum, though, I’m fortunate to be given another chance. I am definitely grateful for the opportunity to relive the Rady experience and expand my network outside of my tight-knit FE14. The best part? I got to be nostalgic without having to worry about grades.

So is it possible to fall in love with a country you have not been to? As Ayelet said prior to the trip, I will be even more in love with Israel after I visit. She was not wrong. I’m already trying to find a way to convince my boss if I can work remotely for 3-6 months from Israel. Our VPN firewall rules do not allow network access outside of the U.S., so this will be challenging, but as I’ve learned from Uri, it does not hurt to negotiate and ask for anything. After all, I’m still קינדסומ תשפחמ.

As for my concerns that this group may not be as fun, I think Rady has a knack for putting together an eclectic mix of people. One is bound to find lifelong friends even in a short, week-long intensive period of time. Dipixa, Ben, and I have already maintained a group chat and are planning to hike and brunch regularly like basic sabiches. I can’t wait to be part of their future milestones just as I have with my Gossip Girls.

January 2, 2019 0 comment
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Earning an MBA from the Rady School of Management was another accomplishment on Mariana Melcón’s (MBA ’14) long list of academic and professional achievements. Boasting a resume that includes a Ph.D. in Animal Physiology, publications in top academic journals and research experience in world-renowned laboratories, Melcón is well-versed in what it means to be a dedicated scientist.

As an expert in bioacoustics, Melcón studies the way sounds affect underwater ecosystems. Though her academic career was thriving, she knew her impact in the field could be more significant with a background in business.

“I wanted to get an MBA to become more employable,” she said. “I was interested in learning more tools and skills that I hadn’t developed during my scientific studies. I was drawn to Rady because of the high numbers of scientists active in the program.”

Within her first few weeks at the Rady School, Melcón immersed herself in a number of activities and organizations during her time at the Rady School, taking advantage of the wealth of opportunities to learn and grow. She interned as a marketing consultant at a small digital marketing company, and served as a business development for Sense4Baby, an innovative fetal monitoring system for expecting mothers. She also took a teaching assistant role, assisting with the Quantitative Analysis, Operations Strategy and Architecture-Based Enterprise Systems Engineering courses offered at both the Rady School and Jacobs School of Engineering.

Despite diving head-first into the business world, Melcón couldn’t shake her passion for research, so she joined the Life Science Club. “I joined the Life Science Club because I figured it would be an excellent opportunity to combine my new-found interest for data-driven analytics with my love of science,” she said.

Change of plans

With a more generalized love for data analytics, Melcón decided to take on a new career path. She leveraged her Rady School network and was offered a Pricing Analytics Manager position HP Inc., and has been flourishing in her career ever since.

“Getting into data analytics was the perfect transition for me,” she said. “It took me quite some time to realize that breaking what you love doing into single units gives you more opportunities. A big passion of mine is playing detective with data and I apply this task in many different settings beyond biology. Understanding this led me to take my analytical science and critical thinking skills and transfer them into real-world business applications, while truly enjoying my job.”

Though her full-time job kept her busy, Melcón still found the time to volunteer her expertise serving as advisor and consultant for Argentina-based cetacean (whales and dolphins) conservation foundation Fundación Cethus.

This summer, her scientific and business worlds collided when she was invited to the United Nations to serve as a panelist for the Nineteenth meeting of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea. Serving as an expert on bioacoustics and underwater noise, Melcón was called to share her experience and knowledge on “Cooperation and coordination in addressing anthropogenic underwater noise”. In this session she shared her story on how she was able to start from scratch in a developing country to get equipment, train human resources and build an international network that made it possible to be leading bioacoustics research on cetaceans in South America, and addressing important issues such as impact of noise on these animals.

“My time at Rady was instrumental for my success addressing the world leaders at the United Nations,” she said. “My courses helped me prepare a compelling argument to influence the audience. Also during my studies at Rady, I learned to collaborate with a diverse group of students to accomplish a common goal that turned to be a stepping stone to many of my accomplishments.”

Presenting her research on the world’s stage was a dream come true for Melcón. In addition to sharing her research in bioacoustics, she was able to make a case for cross-country collaborations and the benefits of working with scientists from developing nations to accomplish global sustainability and nature preservation goals.

“Rady exposed me to paths and opportunities I never knew were available to me,” Melcón said. “My MBA experience helped me open my mind and see how different backgrounds and disciplines can work together to solve problems and devise new, innovative solutions.”

January 2, 2019 0 comment
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When I first stepped onto the Rady School of Management campus last year, the innovation and entrepreneurship was obvious – I could feel and see it happening around me. I was very excited with the conversations I had with students and faculty, and after attending the class “Research for Marketing Decisions” with Professor Anand Bodapati, I decided to apply to the Master of Science in Business Analytics program.

At the beginning of this year I was invited to join the third cohort of the MSBA program that started classes in August. I found it very demanding, but at the same time very fulfilling, because I could further develop my critical thinking skills and dive deeper into complex business issues.

However, I felt that just attending classes and completing my assignments wouldn’t be enough to be successful in my career. In fact, I quickly realized that the Rady School and University of California, San Diego had so much to offer that I had to take advantage of every possible opportunity!

On October 3, I attended StartR Demo Day. StartR is a free, six month-long acceleration program held twice a year on the Rady School’s campus, and at the conclusion of the program, StartR teams are given an opportunity to pitch to investors and industry experts during Demo Day.

This was an amazing experience and I learned so much about different innovative business models! At the end I connected with each of the startups representatives and because of my networking ability, I was able to start working with Kabir Gambhir (MBA ’10), a Rady alum who launched a business called Bevea.

Bevea, is a startup in the consumer and packaged goods industry that created a new drink made from the coffee fruit, also known as cascara. Unfortunately, cascara is often dumped into rivers or just left to rot in reaps which both brings harmful environmental impacts. Bevea is currently buying cascara from Costa Rica and producing a drink that is both healthy and delicious, while also preventing pollution and generating extra income to cascara farmers and their communities.

Encouraged by our advisor Lada Rasochova, we decided to join the Triton Innovation Challenge — a business competition focused on fostering creativity and bringing commercially promising, environmentally focused technologies generated by the finest minds at UC San Diego to the spotlight. Supported through the generosity of The William and Kathryn Scripps Family Foundation Inc., the program is presented through a partnership between the Rady School of Management, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Jacobs School of Engineering.

This was indeed a great challenge for me because I had to create a new pitch from scratch to properly address the competition’s criteria and connect to the audience to convey our company’s message. I had support from the organization because they provided us with the workshop “Art of the Pitch” led by Silvia Mah (MBA ’12), a successful Rady School alum and startup expert. Attending this workshop was a game-changer for me and Bevea.

We progressed through the Triton Innovation Challenge, competing in the initial pitch competition and making our way through the semifinals. I represented Bevea at the finals, competing against five other extraordinary startups: The BioEnergy project, Ocean Motion Tech, FreeGen Technologies, Khepra and CleanCoast – The Water Quality Sticker.

After watching six outstanding presentations from teams coming from diverse backgrounds and representing startups from different industries, the judges and the audience made their choices:

  • 1st prize – $10,000 (Bevea)
  • 2nd prize – $5,000 (Ocean Motion Tech)
  • 3rd prize – $2,500 (Khepra)
  • Audience Choice – $2,500 (Bevea)

My pitch won first place for Bevea and was also able to capture the audience support for our sustainable cause. This was a unique moment and an extraordinary personal achievement for me! I can still barely believe that I could balance everything ranging from my personal life to work and academics in the last several weeks. I was proud to represent Bevea and the Rady School at this prestigious business competition.

I am grateful for all the inspiration my fiancé, Cintia Kussuda, gave me and the support of my family and friends. Special thanks to Emily Dayton, Rady Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions, for encouraging me throughout the MSBA program and Kabir, Bevea CEO, for believing in my unlimited potential!

My mentor, Dr. Daisaku Ikeda once said: “This lifetime will never come again; it is precious and irreplaceable. To live without regret, we must have a concrete purpose, continually setting goals and challenges for ourselves. And we need to keep moving toward those specific targets steadily and tenaciously, one step at a time.”

Bevea is now one step closer to becoming a successful product enjoyed by the masses and I look forward to the next goals and challenges that I am going to achieve during the winter quarter.

Renan Sallai Iwayama is an MSBA candidate at the Rady School of Management.






December 11, 2018 0 comment
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With 104.7 million US based accounts (over 1 billion worldwide) and 72% of users reporting they made a purchase based on something they saw on the social network that turns 9 years old next July; it is no wonder 70.7% of US companies will use Instagram this year. eMarketer also predicts Instagram ad revenue will grow from $4.10b in 2017 to $10.87b by 2019. These guides and hacks will make sure your Instagram presence supports your brand and your Instagram efforts help your business.

Consistency creates credibility and here are 3 guides to keep your Instagram (actually almost any social network presence) on point with your brand for your audience:

  1. “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” From brand voice with tone and content to brand image with filters and imagery; leverage your organization’s brand investment and follow your brand guidelines to maintain the consistent look and feel your customers, partners and employees trust.
  2. “Plan the work and work the plan.” From posting on a consistent schedule to setting service levels and standards for private message responses and public engagement procedures; defining when and how you use the social network are extremely important to develop your audience’s expectations and maintain their interest.
  3. “For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” From the basic use of hashtags for indexing your posts to defining a list of your most used hashtags to more easily cut and paste a consistent group of hashtags into a post; the time to add this social network utility in a consistent fashion will make your life easier and aid content to be found more readily.

While you will undoubtedly receive countless offers to grow your Instagram account’s following from solicitors, nothing will take the place of an earned audience that begins by informing customers and contacts of your Instagram presence and builds with off-line real-world marketing, on-line cross-promotion from the website, email and other social networks, and in-network activity that includes great content, community engagement and promotions.

That said there are hacks to improve your presence and boost your business’s return on Instagram investment. And in keeping with 3s, here are 3 hacks to help get noticed and 3 hacks to help be found and drive traffic:

  1. Make your profile stand out. You may use emojis inside the app or pick up a special font not often found in the Instagram community. Use a third-party site like LingoJam on your phone to create your bio or if on a web browser download a font from FontSpace to edit your profile.
  2. User white space. Use “Return” to clean up your profile. Not seeing “Return”? Press the “123” key in the bottom left-hand corner of the keyboard and the “Return” key will appear on the bottom right. Also, consider centering your bio by inserting spaces to the left of each line. This will take some trial and error to get just right.
  3. Hide the hashtags. After your caption is written, add a series of symbols — dashes, asterisks, or dots, each on a separate line. This will push the hashtags down and make the post neater.

Hacks to be found or drive traffic

  1. HashTags. HASHTAGS. Instagram allows for 30 but you should use 11 of them to be precise at least that is reported to be the optimal number to use. Keeping the hashtags within the guidelines we spoke to earlier, look to leverage popular hashtags to have your posts included for onlookers and consider creating a brand-specific hashtag like #ShareACoke or #TweetFromTheSeat (Charmin).
  2. Leverage the website box (the only clickable URL) in your bio to drive traffic. Change the field to the URL of where you want to drive traffic – your latest blog content, YouTube video, product, or offer. Then use the caption of your post to encourage people to visit your profile for a link. Instagram verified accounts have some additional clickable link features that may come to all accounts in the future. Additionally, business accounts can leverage Instagram stories to include links to external websites.
  3. Help yourself get found. The “Name” field in your Instagram bio is searchable. By including important keywords in your Name field, you can increase your chance of appearing in Instagram’s search when anyone searches for those keywords.

To learn more on how to leverage Instagram or any social network for your business join our next Center for Executive Development (CED) program. More details and course registration click here.

The course is taught by Steven Bellach and Nik Souris. Bellach is the co-founder of BottomLine Marketing, a strategic business and marketing consulting firm specializing in helping organizations build effective and differentiated marketing strategies and plans. Souris currently leads channel partnership enablement for Privoro, a mobile security technology company.

November 28, 2018 0 comment
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Robin Clough (MBA ’14) is the co-founder and CEO of Tequila Enemigo, a luxury tequila company that has won 5x Double Gold Awards across three continents within one year, and is now served at some of the world’s best venues, including The Ritz Hotel and Annabel’s.

“We initially launched in London in September 2017 to surprising critical acclaim  — earning accolades from Forbes, Business Insider and CNN — culminating in our launch in NYC in November,” Clough said.

Enemigo’s award-winning Tequilas are now available in store in NYC at the prestigious Park Avenue Liquor and online nationwide at The company also released an exclusive first edition bottle only available in the United States.

Clough was part of the Rady Full-Time class 2014, and while at Rady he was part of the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital clubs.

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

First and foremost, I met my co-founder Sebastian Gonzalez (MBA ’14) at Rady, and together we built what Tequila Enemigo is today. For me, Rady was a slightly different experience to most. I arrived as a 23-year-old straight after graduating from college in London. I left Rady jumping straight into a product management role at Hewlett Packard leading an eight person software development team and with the foundation of a future successful luxury company already in motion.

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

I decided to pursue an MBA at Rady because I knew that starting my own company was what I wanted to do and it felt like the best way to develop the cross-functional foundational skills needed. I quickly realized that product management at a tech company was the perfect next step toward entrepreneurship while our Tequilas would be aging. My class had other students who were directly looking for similar roles and as most were years ahead of me, I had an instant step up in knowledge seeing how they went about developing their skills.

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

The biggest moment happened a few years after graduating from Rady where I took a step back from product management and worked out what drove me. By this time Enemigo had already begun and our Tequilas were about to come out of the barrel, I quickly confirmed that Tequila Enemigo was my full next step and that I was finally ready.

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

I am the youngest founder of an international luxury liquor brand. I got accepted into Rady five days before term started, after completing my full GMAT prep and test in the 3 weeks prior.

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

From a professional standpoint, it has to be the first term progression. Still jet-lagged, I naively walked into the class on day one surrounded by experienced, mostly mature classmates, leagues ahead of me career-wise, and left at the end of the first semester 100-times ahead of where I started. From a personal standpoint, I have worked with many of my classmates and close friends after Rady. Peter Butler (MBA ’14) and I were product managers at HP on the same team, which was run by Rady alum Aron Tremble (MBA ’07), and Sebastian is my co-founder for Enemigo. All the times we had brainstorming different projects, trips to Mexico and skiing in Tahoe enjoyed with a glass of Enemigo — those are the best moments.

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

The biggest things I still reflect back on are the case studies — I still draw on scenarios from On Amir’s marketing class, Operations, Accounting, and Corporate Finance.

7) What advice do you have for prospective students?

Often times at business school, there is extreme pressure to be involved with every part of what’s going on, be in as many clubs etc — I would argue that your number one goal is to work out what you want to do after you graduate, and then really focus in on what the school and clubs can do to help you achieve that. There is at times a lot of class work, but also a lot of free time too — the most successful people in our class now were the ones who used their free time wisely.



November 28, 2018 0 comment
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A national conference focused on investing in the senior housing market is not something that sounds too familiar with Rady MBA students.  To the FlexWeekend ‘19 cohort, the seemingly unlikely connection all started from the Lab to Market program last spring when students were taught to create business ideas through unfair advantages identified during their career experiences. One of the many business ideas presented to Professor Vish Krishnan at the end of the course was about an autonomous health monitoring system for elderly people. For Lijun Liu and I, this was just the beginning phase of a great learning experience on entrepreneurship at the Rady School of Management. While continuing the research on the senior care market, we got connected with Paul Mullin, Senior VP of Silverado Care, who then introduced us to Chuck Harry, Chief of Research and Analytics at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC). Through scholarships offered by NIC, both Lijun and I attended the organization’s annual Fall conference in Chicago, along with 17 other students from 12 prestigious academic institutes, including Columbia, Cornell and the University of Wisconsin.

NIC is a nonprofit organization that supports housing access and choice for America’s seniors by providing data, analytics and connections that bring together investors and providers in all phases of senior care. The original goal we had was to learn about the senior housing and care market through the conference. We were interested in attending some of the educational presentations and panel discussions regarding senior housing and care and were hoping to secure some networking opportunities. As we found out later on, this conference is a huge platform for business engagement, negotiation and transactions in the senior housing and care market. The attendees are typically investors, bankers, insurance agencies and senior housing developers. Hundreds of business deals are made during the three days of the NIC conference. This year, there were 3,125 attendees, making it the largest conference in NIC history.

The first day of NIC officially began at noon, so that morning was dedicated to networking.  Lijun connected with Axel from Kisco Senior care, which we will be visiting one of their communities by the end of November to get more first-hand knowledge. Using LinkedIn as a tool, I broke the ice with two people from USI Insurance. Charlie and Richard answered questions regarding insurance coverage for senior care. Then I met with Dee Bangerter, CEO of Rocky Mountain Care. Dee is a long time senior housing developer who has been in this industry for almost 50 years. He shared insights on senior housing design and development, and key areas that make significant differences in clients’ experiences.

The NIC is a very well organized conference. The discussion panels consist of people who are true domain experts in different aspects of the senior housing and care industry. We attended a few sessions in the afternoon and found that the level of knowledge from the panelists was very professional and insightful. For the students who attended the conference through the scholarship program, NIC also held a networking session during a lunch gathering. Later in the evening, we attended a happy hour organized by NIC. Lijun spoke with attendees about the Rady School Lab to Market program, including Lisa Marsh Ryerson, who is the president of AARP Foundation and a speaker in the NIC talk program. I also had a great time talking with Bill Kauffman who is the Senior Principal of NIC and a panelist in the “What Is It Really Worth?” panel discussion.

The keynote speech on the second day was the highlight of the conference. Former chief economy advisor Gary Cohn was hosted by Steve Liesman from CNBC on the topic of macro economy and future outlook. Gary shared a wide spectrum of his wisdom and vision with a great sense of humor. He covered a variety of topics, including the market, trades, Trump administration economic policies, tax cuts, deficits, wages and more.

Lijun and I left NIC with a wealth of knowledge on the senior housing and care industry, as well as the market condition on senior housing investment.

The networking capacity of the conference connections built through this experience was well beyond our imagination and expectations. We really want to congratulate Chuck and the NIC organization for the great successful conference and appreciate the opportunity for the fantastic experience that we went through. The next NIC conference will take place in February 2019, right here in sunny San Diego.

November 19, 2018 0 comment
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Jasmine Tsui (MFin ’19) graduated from the University of Oregon with bachelor’s degree in Accounting.  After receiving her degree, she worked as a tax assistant associate for PwC in Hong Kong. After a year in this position, Tsui obtained an assurance associate position at EY Hong Kong for two years, where she was promoted to Senior Assurance Associate. She also worked as a general accountant in the United States where she realized her fascination with numbers, programming and finance. Her passion drove her to pursue a Master of Finance degree at the Rady School of Management.

1) Why did you choose to pursue a Master of Finance?

I chose to pursue a Master of Finance because as an accountant I realized that I could learn a lot about a company by analyzing its financial statements. A Master of Finance will allow me to better make financial decisions in my career.

2) Why did you choose the Rady School?

The program gives students industry experience in its courses, culminating in a real-life capstone project. A strong focus on quantitative curriculum sets Rady apart from other programs.

3) What do you feel makes Rady unique? How do you benefit from these aspects?

The faculty puts students first and truly cares about their success. They provide us access to a variety of career-related resources and get us ready for the workforce. I will be ready to join the workforce with remarkable soft skills once I finished the program.

4) What classes are you looking forward to taking this year?

I am looking forward to taking Data Science for Finance using Python. The class will enhance my data analysis technique by introducing powerful tools, and allow me to make accurate predictions by studying the data patterns.

5) How has your perspective on your career or your life changed since you came to Rady?

The Rady School of Management arranged many events for students to connect with alumni. It gave me an opportunity to build up my network and explore different financial positions, which gave me valuable insight into the industry

6) What are your goals after graduation?

Applying the terrific data analysis and communication skills earned at Rady in the workplace. Also, I would like to be a resource to prospective students.

7) What advice do you have for prospective students?

Reach out to Rady faculty and alumni when you need help or advice. They are always willing to answer questions and help out.



November 15, 2018 0 comment
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Rady School of Management Professor Kevin Zhu recently received a prestigious honor at the 2018 Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) Annual Meeting. Zhu was recognized as a Distinguished Fellow of the INFORMS Information Systems Society for his outstanding intellectual contributions to the information systems discipline. Three scholars received the highest honor in the field of 3,000 scholars worldwide.

“Kevin Zhu is an invaluable asset to the Rady School, providing a wealth of expertise in the information systems field,” said Robert Sullivan, Dean of the Rady School. “He is a dedicated mentor to students and alumni, and a devoted researcher with an impressive repertoire of articles in prestigious journals. This fellowship award is a testament to his successful career.”

The fellowship award was established to laud individuals who have conducted research that advances the information systems discipline. Award recipients are selected on the basis of penning publications that improve theory, research and practice within the discipline, serve as intellectual leaders, contribute to INFORMS journals and mentor doctoral students and young researchers.

Kevin Zhu was enthusiastically nominated by a dozen of highly respected scholars from more than 10 institutions. The nomination cited Zhu’s eligibility for this award, earning more than 8,800 citations in Google Scholar with high impact. His research has been published in the top academic journals, including Management ScienceInformation Systems ResearchIEEEMIS Quarterly, and Marketing Science.

Zhu takes pride in mentoring the next generation of leaders in the information systems discipline. Under his direction, more than 50 graduate students have completed projects exploring the impacts of next generation information technologies (cloud computing, sensors and data analytics, smart systems, block chains, and financial technologies) on how people live and work in the digital age. Several of his former doctoral students have become distinguished scholars or Deans in key institutions.

As the first information systems expert at UC San Diego, Zhu has significantly expanded the wealth of knowledge on campus, instructing undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D. students, and bringing key conferences to campus.

“It’s a tremendous honor for Professor Zhu to receive this recognition from the Information Systems research community,” said Terrence August, associate professor at the Rady School. “Professor Zhu’s research is widely cited and impactful, and the honor is well-deserved. I’ve enjoyed collaborating on research with Professor Zhu and his former Ph.D. student, Wei Chen, who is off to a successful start of his career at the University of Arizona.”

Hyoduk Shin, an associate professor at the Rady School, also recognized Zhu’s accomplishments.

“Congratulations to Kevin for this well-deserved award,” he said. “He has taken many leadership roles within the information systems community, which is recognized in this award. He has also worked hard to assist junior colleagues in his group in Rady. It has been my great pleasure working with him.”

His contributions to the information systems field go far beyond the UC San Diego campus. As an expert thought leader in the discipline, Zhu is frequently asked to serve on panels by the U.S. National Science Foundations and European Union and give presentations at key conferences and important institutions. Over the years, he has given more than 100 presentations at top institutions around the world.

“Information technologies have transformed industries and changed the society. Going forward, next generation of technologies will become even more of lifeblood for the digital economy,” Zhu said. “I’m honored to be part of the digital revolution.”

About Kevin Zhu

Zhu received his Ph.D. from Stanford University and has been an active faculty member at the Rady School for 12 years. Throughout his tenure at the School, he has taught courses including Technology Strategy, Technology-enabled Innovation, Innovation Leadership and Digital Healthcare. In addition to providing top-quality instruction to students, Zhu continues to conduct valuable research, contributing to the fields of information systems, data analytics, e-commerce, technology innovation, and more.


November 15, 2018 0 comment
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Rady School of Management at UCSD.

The MBA program at the Rady School of Management at the University of California San Diego has been recognized as one of the top programs for entrepreneurship in the U.S. by the Princeton Review and Bloomberg Businessweek. The school’s MBA program ranked 16th in The Princeton Review’s “Top 25 Graduate Schools for Entrepreneurship of 2019,” and 24th in the Bloomberg Businessweek “Best Business Schools” entrepreneurship category.

Both rankings recognize the best programs for students aspiring to launch their own businesses.  In the Princeton Review ranking, the Rady School ascended from 25th to 16th in this year’s 2019 ranking, placing the school’s MBA program among the elite programs for entrepreneurship in the U.S.

“Since its founding, the Rady School has been dedicated to providing an outstanding education focused on innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Rady School Dean Robert S. Sullivan. “This ranking recognizes that the Rady School is a leader in entrepreneurial education. The incredible companies founded by our students and alumni are transforming our world and are proof-positive of the quality of entrepreneurship education the school provides.”

Since the school’s first MBA class graduated in 2006, students and alumni have started over 150 operational companies, contributing over $2 billion to the economy. The rapid success of startups originating at the school can be attributed to the unique structure of the Rady School’s MBA program, which integrates entrepreneurial education into the program through its capstone Lab to Market course sequence.



November 14, 2018 0 comment
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