Anna Runyan (MBA ’11) is the founder and CEO of Classycareergirl.com, a website and resource hub for women that helps women find jobs and start businesses. She was inspired to start her business — which was named by Forbes as one of the top 35 most influential career sites of 2014 — while pursuing an MBA at the Rady School of Management
1) Why did you decide to come to the Rady School?
I wanted to attend a top MBA program but I didn’t want to leave my full-time position at Booz Allen Hamilton in San Diego. I wanted the flexibility to continue my advancement in my current career while getting my education. I loved that I could apply what I was learning every night in the flex program to my job the next day. I wanted the best education I could get and I wanted to be surrounded by motivated and ambitious classmates. I knew I would be pushed at the Rady School and it would expand not only my opportunities, but also my confidence and skillsets.
2) What were your goals/what were you hoping to get out of your time at Rady?
I wanted to learn about different industries than where I was currently working in at Booz Allen Hamilton. I was in government consulting and worked a lot with the military. My goal was to get the experience to continue to be a Consultant but to transition to doing consulting at a different company and in a different industry. I knew I had a great foundation for a consulting career at Booz Allen Hamilton but I wanted to take my career to a new level and really unlock the opportunities and network that only having a well-respected MBA would allow me to have.
3) Tell us about what you’re involved with now.
I am currently the CEO and Founder of Classycareergirl.com, one of Forbes’ top 35 most influential career sites and an e-learning platform for women. We help women find jobs they love and start businesses. My role consists of managing the marketing and content team and teaching and training our community members inside of our membership sites. I am also heavily involved in the future growth of our membership communities and staying focused on our goal of helping at least 2,000 women launch their dream careers and businesses by 2018.
4) What was the greatest lesson learned while you were at Rady?
I use every class I took at Rady in some way now running a company. The greatest lesson I learned is to be open to seeing new opportunities, new industries and new business models. I learned how to be innovative and creative, which helped me start and grow a company. Rady taught me to brainstorm and come up with future business ideas that my mind would never have let me do before. I learned to think through different scenarios, become a much better speaker and be able to work with so many different types of people during group projects. This has helped me work with any type of client I come across in my current role.
5) What was your most memorable moment at Rady?
We had a team project in our marketing class where a real company came in and our team had to figure out how to market the company’s baby clothes. My job on our team was to figure out how to market the clothes online. This meant that I got to research blogs for women online as my homework. This project changed my entire career because after seeing so many other women earning a living online through blogging, I immediately knew that I wanted to do the same thing. I went home after our team project was done and started a blog the next day. I have been blogging consistently now for six years and eventually was able to turn it into a thriving business model and quit my job.
6) What advice do you have for someone considering an MBA at Rady?
Do not wait until the end to start networking. Build relationships with your classmates. Your network with your classmates will be one of the best networks you have after you graduate. Reach out to the alumni. Do informational interviews as much as you can. Meet someone for coffee every week. Make networking a top priority. Alumni are happy to help you and give back to the Rady community so just reach out. You will never know if you do not ask.
7) Tell us a fun fact about you, or something people may not know about you.
Here are a few fun facts about me: I can’t start reading a book and not finish it; I am addicted to sour gummy worms; My childhood dream was to be an Olympic Figure Skater; I’m a lake girl from Minnesota; My husband, John, is the Chief Operating Officer of CCG and our daughter, Mila, is the Chief Adorable Officer and we like to have family dance parties in the living room.