Teigan MacDonald was working on her application to the Rady School’s full-time MBA program while sitting in a hotel hallway in Fall 2018. She had traveled to Marietta, GA, to compete with her rugby club, the San Diego Surfers, in the Women’s Premier League National Championship. Teigan scored the first try of the match (like football’s touchdown) and the Surfers defeated the Glendale Merlins 34-28. That championship marked the second of three in Teigan’s rugby career, and the beginning of her new career.
Born and raised in Modesto, CA, Teigan earned a B.S. in biology and minor in economics from UC San Diego. When she began her undergraduate studies, she thought she might like to work in a bioengineering lab. “I took my first lab class and I absolutely hated it,” she says. “I hated not having windows and not being able to talk to people. It’s a very individualized experience.” Having spent most of her life playing–and thriving–in team sports, Teigan realized that the lab environment wasn’t for her.
Inspired by family members who’d studied economics, Teigan began taking coursework that blended her interests, such as economics of the environment and economics of healthcare. “I loved that you could take a class [on these subjects] and apply business concepts to them,” says Teigan. She’d found her niche. Before she graduated, Teigan’s dad, a stock broker, recommended that she take a personal finance class, one of the Rady School’s undergraduate offerings.
“I remember walking into Wells Fargo Hall and thinking, ‘Why have I not been here the whole time?’” Teigan says. “‘Whatever I need to do, I want to [study] here.” she says. “I was able to meet Joe Pecore, a great instructor. I went to his office hours and he really helped me figure out what I wanted to do and why I should go get an MBA.”
Teigan began the full-time MBA program in Fall 2019. “What I’ve enjoyed the most so far about is the holistic experience I’m getting at a graduate school,” she says. “My undergraduate experience at UC San Diego was great, but I didn’t really have career networking or resume workshops. I wasn’t really close with my classmates because I was in classes with 300 students. When I came to Rady, I thought, ‘Wow, this is more than just going to school. This is building a career.”
This summer, Teigan begins a new role in sales support at ACADIA pharmaceuticals, where she works part-time as a commercial operations analyst. She says that working closely with Rady career advisor Stephanie Sindt earlier this year helped prepare her for a new challenge. “We had internship meetups every week before COVID. It was a great way to crowdsource and work as a group and get Steaphine’s expertise. We would prepare for interviews and work on our cover letters and resumes.”
Ultimately, Teigan says that her dream job is managing sales teams for a biotech or pharmaceutical company. It’s a role that combines the competitiveness she’s fostered throughout her life in sports, the knowledge she’s gaining in her courses, and the collaboration and experience she receives among her peers.
“People forget that you try to interact with people just like you. This program encourages you to work with different people and learn how other people operate and work,” she says.
Teigan says that her favorite Rady experiences so far include her fall marketing class, the career treks organized by the Life Sciences Club to San Diego companies such as Thermo Fisher Scientific and ResMed, and conversations before and after class with her fellow students. Despite the current challenges and activities on hold–including rugby–due to the pandemic, Teigan remains optimistic about her future.
“When I land an interview or get a chance to talk to a company I’m interested in, I feel like I’ve scored a try, because it’s just one step closer to my goal.”