How a Rady MBA Helped Sarah Feldman Land Roles at Tesla, Lyft and More

Sarah Feldman (MBA ’15) has led technical analytics programs at several pre- and post-IPO companies including Tesla, Lyft, and venture capital firm Institutional Venture Partners. While at Rady, Feldman founded the RadyX Technology Conference, landed a summer internship developing VR technology at Sony Playstation, and says she gained the leadership and finance skills necessary to advance beyond her B.S. in Computer Science to managing multi-billion-dollar analytics programs upon earning her MBA. Here, Feldman shares how the Rady School coursework, alumni network and staff propelled her success.

How did you land your MBA internship at Sony PlayStation?

I utilized Rady’s career services to the fullest. I signed up for all Rady interview practice sessions while in school. In the Career Connections office, there were shelves of interview preparation literature such as “Cracking the PM Interview,” which I made sure to read. … I made a list of companies and types of roles where I would add the most value as an MBA intern. I narrowed down the list by attending the Rady Executive Speaker Series, San Diego Tech Meetup groups, and discussions with the brutally honest FT2015 and FT2014 cohorts. After further researching companies by reading articles on Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance, and TechCrunch, I would email Rady alumni with well-thought-out questions about culture fit and their company’s products.

During the Bay Area Trek, I was able to meet with Rady alumni at Tesla, Cisco, and Google, and attend company presentations. I asked pertinent gaming industry questions at the Sony PlayStation presentation, which caught the attention of the Sony internship recruiter, who asked me to interview for three different internships where she thought I would be a good fit. 

Sarah visits Google during the Bay Area Trek.
Sarah with Rady FT2015 and FW2014 students at Tesla in Palo Alto.

During the interview process, I utilized my knowledge of Computer Science courses on Matlab, OpenGL, Computer Vision, and video game creation to address the technical interview questions. With the new lessons from Rady’s leadership and finance courses, I was able to demonstrate financial knowledge of discounted cash flow statements, leadership best practices, and product management.

I landed competing internship offers at Cisco and PlayStation. I could add the most value assessing and planning product launches for the gaming industry, so I accepted the PlayStation offer.

I led development for PlayStation VR (a then-secret and stealth project to launch Virtual Reality products). I was fortunate to work cross-functionally at Sony and present to the CEO at the end of the summer.

Sarah tries a light-based VR game at the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Meetup.

How did you land your first tech role after receiving your Rady MBA?

During my first Rady Bay Area Trek, I met an alumnus who was working at Tesla Motors. We were both passionate about innovation in tech and we stayed in touch after my MBA internship at Sony PlayStation. When the Rady alumnus decided to change roles at Tesla, he offered to help me take over his original responsibilities. He connected with the Tesla hiring manager about the quality of Rady MBAs. After a few rounds of interviews, I was offered the role.

Elon Musk and the “ICBM Map” that Sarah managed.

At Tesla, I created global supply chain analytics platforms and data. I utilized the R and statistics skills I learned through Professor On Amir and Vincent Nijs’ classes to build global analytics models. I leveraged similar linear regression principles when creating supply chain analytics in my role at Tesla. These were later featured in Elon’s Model 3 launch event, which was pretty cool to discover in a few online articles. During his presentation, Musk coined the dashboard an “ICBM Map.”

I enjoyed my time working at Tesla, but realized I needed to have better work life balance for my life goals. Having a personal life was key for me. This led me to start a charity organization focused on athletics in my free time, and eventually leave Tesla for a different industry altogether.

How did you transition from Tesla to venture capital firm Institutional Venture Partners?

During my finance classes at Rady, I enjoyed the precision of creating financial statements, algorithms, and elaborate excel macro sheets with the purposes of evaluating the financial health of companies. Naturally, I featured this certification on my LinkedIn (as Rady Career Connections recommended for a career change). After I spent some time job hunting, an executive recruiter reached out to me on LinkedIn, inquiring about a role in an established venture capital firm. The firm had investments in Uber, Twitter, Dropbox, and Snapchat. They later offered me the role of Senior Manager of Analytics. I was in awe, as venture capital was a seemingly impossible industry to enter.

At IVP, I worked closely on analytics and excel valuation tools, weighing-in on pitch meetings for autonomous vehicles, and attending executive VC events with the likes of Huffington Post founder Ariana Huffington and NBA player Kevin Durant. I even worked with the financials of the corporate board of directors’ books. It was everything I had imagined and more. I was able to leverage my VC Finance Class, DCF Certification, and startup valuation knowledge from the MBA program.

Why did you leave venture capital to work on autonomous vehicles?

I felt [something missing] in my daily work without the hands-on aspect of creating, strategizing, launching, and scaling tech products. Helping to advise on funding was fascinating, but I realized I enjoyed being part of a team that is ‘making a product’ more than anything. 

I had a few experiences working and advising in the self-driving car sector while at Tesla and IVP, and I co-founded the Self-Driving Car sector of Women Who Code. At Tesla, I worked on ad-hoc behavior analytics reports for the Autopilot team in addition to supply chain analytics. During my time at Tesla, I also purchased a Model S with Autopilot. 

The ease and pleasant nature of driving in Autopilot, a Level 2 autonomous vehicle, convinced me that this is the future of transportation. While Tesla is leading the consumer market for Level 2 autonomous vehicles, they are not alone in the quest to create an autonomous future. A colleague of mine from Tesla, and now Lyft, recommended Lyft’s Level 5 division. I saw a great fit for my skill set and made the jump to join the future of autonomous transportation.

What work did you do at Lyft?

I led data infrastructure, simulation software, and testing hardware in the loop, V&V and strategy for Lyft’s autonomous vehicle. An incredible aspect of autonomous vehicles is how many different technologies are combined to create self-driving vehicles. At a high level, a car must know where it is in the world in relation to everything else, and plan what it will do next. The underlying technology, including machine learning algorithms, compute, and simulation software, has been fascinating to work on and build. In many cases, the well-organized quantitative analysis course at Rady helped me understand some of the underlying computer vision and machine learning involved in creating a self-driving car.

How did your Rady MBA prepare you for Lyft’s IPO, and what was the day of the IPO like?

The MBA program prepared me not just to understand Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to build and read balance sheets and cash flow statements, but also to understand the landscape of the financial markets. Until recently, the IPO landscape was desolate, as a result of the 2007/2008 market collapse and the following financial levers and regulation. 

In an advanced behavioral finance course at Rady, my team worked with stock market data to predict market performance for a given month. This was an extension of the common statement, which we proved accurate, that “Monday’s market will predict the market performance for the rest of the week”. Despite these stellar lessons in financial market behavior, I did not expect to be part of a company listing itself on the market in an IPO. However, my lessons at Rady prepared me well for this experience.

Sarah at an event for San Francisco’s The Commonwealth Club to discuss IPOs.

Lyft’s Level 5 division on IPO day.

On the day of the Lyft IPO, as a Program Manager in Lyft’s Level 5 Autonomous Vehicle Division, I awoke at 4 a.m. When I drove to the office at 5 a.m., the freeways were ghostly empty. I arrived at the Palo Alto office early for the 6 a.m. NASDAQ bell tolling for Lyft’s televised IPO. The room was filled with my enthusiastic coworkers, celebrating the ringing of the bell. For those who followed the series of large tech unicorn IPO’s, the rest is history.

How do you suggest others learn more about autonomous vehicles, since many companies are in stealth mode?

Take strides to learn about open source libraries for machine learning like TensorFlow. Look into Udacity’s Degree in Self Driving Cars. And of course, stay up to date on regulation.

What’s next for you?

I recently left Lyft’s self-driving division, and have just accepted a new role at a search company. The charity organization that I founded (Silicon Valley Ice Skating Association) will be hosting its first Tech and Ice crossover event on January 11th, 2020, “Robots on Ice.”

In the meantime, if you have any questions about Rady, please be sure to reach out to the wonderful Rady admissions team! I feel very lucky to have chosen such a great school to attend for business school, and keep in touch with classmates. The alumni network, Rady Career Connections, fellow students, and professors have been a delight to work with and guide me throughout my career.

Volunteer work brings Sarah to Washington D.C.
October 4, 2019 0 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
The Rady Venture Fund: Funding Alumni Innovation

The threads of entrepreneurship and innovation run through the fabric of the Rady School of Management as evidenced by the plethora of companies started each year by the school’s talented students and alumni. Many of these early stage startups receive guidance and support from one of the Rady School’s StartR Accelerator programs. Once these fledgling companies mature, they begin looking for investments from venture capitalists to spur growth. One avenue where they can find investors is a unique Rady School option: the Rady Venture Fund.

The Rady Venture Fund is assisted by the Rady School MBA students participating in the Venture Capital Management course. The class is an elective that enables students to get the first-hand experience of making investment decisions. Companies pitch their business ideas and the students evaluate the idea and with the help of an investment committee, determine whether or not to fund the company. The Venture Fund itself is funded by donations from people who believe the class experience will enhance the education of MBA students.

Lada Rasochova

Lada Rasochova, Executive Director of the California Institute for Innovation and Development at the Rady School and the faculty who teaches the Venture Capital Management class, explained that the fund has invested in seven companies, five of which were started by either Rady School or UC San Diego alumni.

“We are willing to take the risk to fund our alumni because we believe in them,” Rasochova said. “We believe that they are the right people with the skills needed to succeed because they gained those skills here.”

Rasochova explained that funding university startups is the Rady Venture Fund’s preference. This focus is in line with the broader goals for the fund.

“In addition to education, the impact of the donations is that they support startup companies,” Rasochova said. “The Rady Venture Fund donors support whole life cycle. The companies started by our alumni get the funding and hopefully they become big companies that create a lot of jobs, have a significant economic impact, and hire even more UC San Diego alumni. And, because the Rady Venture Fund is supported through donations, any money gained from investments in startups goes back to the fund to reinvest in future startups, so the value is multiplied.”

September 23, 2019 0 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest

As the recruiting cycle for accounting begins in early October, the Rady Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAc) program aims to set students up for success before classes even begin. This means efforts to engage with our students early to provide them resources and networking opportunities needed to hit the ground running when it comes to taking that next step in their career.

Rady School does this in a few ways. First, engagement with our students begins immediately with assigned summer readings.  We provide our students with a number of contemporary issues found in the profession. These reading materials are not just for pool-side entertainment, but are assignments that will help our students develop their global, innovative and a data mindsets.

Second, our Career Advisors begin engagement through resume support before entering into our program. Rady School believes that it’s necessary to ensure that all MPAc students coming into the program have a strong summation of their professional skills and work experience. “We really wanted to get to know the student before arrival. We can actually increase our support of the student by leveraging what they have already learned with our program,” says James Deiotte, Executive Director of the MPAc program at Rady.

Finally, we look for ways that Rady’s MPAc students can engage with industry professionals over the summer. Events sponsored by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and California Society of Certified Public Accountants (CalCPA) opened doors for our students to meet area professionals at conferences or business networking events.

In August, Deiotte and Michelle Tillman, Employer Relations Manager at Rady, hosted a trip with MPAc students to visit with San Francisco and San Jose accounting firms Ernst & Young, RSM International, Moss Adams and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Rady’s Bay Area Trek allowed students to meet and learn from leaders of some of the biggest accounting firms in the world. “Hearing stories from these executives on where they’ve come from made our students feel more comfortable with their own personal journey,” says Deiotte. “It was great to hear many of these business leaders speak about growth, both from a personal perspective as well as growth of the accounting profession and how it’s evolving.

Incoming MPAc student Nizam Khan, who attended the Bay Area Trek in August, says that it was a privilege to be able to visit so many esteemed accounting firms in the industry.

Following the trip Khan said, “We had an incredibly fulfilling and insightful day. During each individual firm visit, executives shared overview presentations regarding service lines they provide, industries they serve, and work environments they establish. We were even given the opportunity to personally network with all levels of employees to answer our questions and give advice regarding the accounting industry. Overall, our visit to the Bay Area gave us a great perspective on how to best utilize our MPAc program to get into the accounting industry and be successful.”

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

September 10, 2019 0 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest

This September, the first ever cohort of Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAc) students will make history as they begin classes on campus at Rady School of Management at the University of California San Diego.

It’s an exciting time to be around the buzzing Rady campus, not just for the students but for the faculty and staff too. James Deiotte, Executive Director of Rady’s MPAc program, is particularly excited to kick off the 2019-2020 academic year with a refreshed take on the traditional masters of accountancy program.

James Deiotte, Executive Director, Master of Professional Accountancy

Our students will be taught by professionals in the field they’re entering. They will gain great insights as to what goes on and what’s expected to become successful in the profession,” says Deiotte. “Being taught by research faculty and industry professionals, including retired accounting firm partners, will accelerate the career development of our students.”

What makes the Rady MPAc different is that we’re leveraging on the strengths of being a young business school that is entrepreneurial at its core. Rady is a school that has a collaborative and innovative culture and the MPAc program is no exception. The collaborative approach is reflected in the program’s crossover with other disciplines offered at the school, including business, analytics, and finance.

We have approached embedding data and business analytics into most of our classes to accelerate the understanding of these changes and putting more context around it,” says Deiotte. “For example, we want our students to understand the legal nuances and the accounting implications of what is a digital asset and how you might want to account for the acquisition of those assets.  We are especially interested in the accounting and reporting related to the new and restrictive regimes arising around the world like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).”

Our program embraces students that want to change and make a meaningful impact in their careers and the profession. With the changes taking place in technology and data, students that have majored in data science, economics or international studies are finding that the accounting profession is interested in them, provided they can understand and use the language of business – accounting.

Getting into the profession is Job #1!  “We’ve built a curriculum that accomplishes the most important tasks with respect to the professional development of our students,” says Deiotte. “We want to make sure that students are ready for certifications within the profession, including the CPA and CMA exams, which are both recognized globally.”

Growing in the profession and future proofing the student’s investment in their career is enhanced by Rady electives focused on leadership, communication and decision making courses and experiences from Capstones. “We have heard from firms, both large and small, that soft skills development is even more important today because of the rapid technology enabled changes taking place and the use of BOTS, AI and ML platforms,” says Deiotte. 

For more information on Rady’s MPAc program, or if you’d like to apply for next year’s class, please visit or email

September 4, 2019 0 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest

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
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
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
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
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
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
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
1 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest

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
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
“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
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
Newer Posts