by Jasmine Rezai
Deciding to embark on the graduate school journey is not easy. It requires sacrifices in all forms – financially and personally. This is partly the reason I was quite honestly surprised with what happened when the Net Impact Club asked our Rady School peers, faculty, and staff to participate in a pie sale fundraiser.
For the past few years, the Rady Net Impact Club has participated in the Mama’s Kitchen Pie in the Sky Bake Sale. Mama’s Kitchen is a well-known and well-respected non-profit organization serving San Diego. Their website notes “at Mama’s Kitchen we believe that everyone is entitled to the basic necessity of life – nutritious food.”
Every year around Thanksgiving, Mama’s Kitchen hosts a pie sale. It’s not your average pie sale in that participants are asked to purchase online. As a Silicon Valley native and Rady MBA student, the unique purchasing process was intriguing. However, that’s not the exciting part. The excitement comes in the significant impact this sale makes on our community. One pie purchased through this sale provides seven home-delivered meals to our San Diegan neighbors that are too severely ill with cancer or AIDS to purchase or cook food for themselves.
We sold 138 pies, meaning our efforts provided 966 meals! We not only met our goal but outperformed it.
With the help of our Net Impact Club members, peers, staff and faculty, the Rady School was among the top three teams selling the most pies – which also included TrueChiropractic and Intuit.
We spent time making in-class announcements, in which our professors and peers would commit to purchasing pies right then – exciting to watch this unfold in person! We involved our staff and faculty by requesting them to showcase our virtual flyers, we sent many emails, created unique and fun Facebook posts, and took any opportunity we could to remind everyone about this chance to give back. We promoted the sale to the point where my peers jokingly mention that when they see pie, they are reminded of me. That alone makes me proud. However, that’s not what matters to me most. The real reason I am writing this post is because I am proud to be part of a school committed to bettering our community.
As future business leaders, we have the rare opportunity and platform to make a difference in people’s lives. Despite our own trials and tribulations, we recognized the difference we could make and made it. Though an honorable cause, participation in this fundraiser was not a small ask – committing funds and time is not easy for graduate students. Knowing firsthand the sacrifices my peers and mentors made while still committing to support this fundraiser is the reason I am so pleasantly surprised.
With this sale, we were able to put our beliefs into action and proved to our community what the students at the Rady School stand for. Many MBA programs have an innovative, unique student body. The Rady School recognizes that that alone does not result in a student body of exceptional business leaders. Countless articles and studies have been undertaken in order to define exactly what makes an exceptional business leader. However, business leaders I personally admire most are not only brilliant but also recognize the rare opportunity they have to make a positive impact and make it – be it as seemingly small as making an intern smile or as tangible as inventing products to better our world. To me, the results of the pie sale show that Rady students possess this unique skill.
At the Rady School, domestic and international students study together. We learn from one another. We share experiences in terms of our careers but also through food. Well, I shouldn’t generalize. As a self-proclaimed foodie, I like to connect with anyone through food so naturally my mind gravitates toward that when discussing ways to connect! My personal food passion aside, the pie sale was a nice way to strike a conversation among students about traditional Thanksgiving meals that serve pie as a dessert.
This pie sale was another example of how the Rady School cements its reputation for breaking records and propelling the business world forward. The entire school came together to make a direct impact on our community members’ lives that truly needed positivity during the holidays. This isn’t something many hold synonymous to business students. I’m proud to be part of the group that helped change this misconception.
As the Rady School continues to make waves in the world of business, I am hopeful that the Net Impact Club, or at least the mission we set forth, will continue to thrive as well. The Net Impact Club is an international organization. Here, at UCSD, the Rady School and the School of Global Policy and Strategy combine forces to provide better support to our club members.
As a student-run organization, the rest of the leadership team and I put forth the goal of expanding awareness about the breadth and depth of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on campus. We want to showcase that CSR is not just a field for “tree huggers” but rather a crucial aspect of corporate governance. Working for the betterment of shareholders, choosing ethical supply chain partners, and due diligence with compensation practices are not optional actions business leaders engage in. They are a necessity. As the leaders of the Net Impact Club, we plan to continue hosting unique, fun, and informative events for our peers with our goal in mind.
On a personal note on the future, as my career progresses, I will continue striving to be a leader similar to those I have admired by purposefully pursuing opportunities that advance my commitment to business and the community.