The Rady School of Management immediately stood out to me as the top choice among business schools in the US. I was drawn here because of the school’s focus on entrepreneurship, as I myself have been an entrepreneur for the last six years. I am now a second year FlexEvening Student graduating in March 2020. While going through my classes, I’ve realized that there’s so much to learn from big companies, especially those that value entrepreneurship within their organizations. As I transition away from my first company, I’m looking for opportunities within mid- to large-sized corporations that would suit my skill set and give me the opportunity to contribute to a team. The Bay Area Trek felt like the perfect opportunity to take the first step in that direction.

The Rady Graduate Career Connections organized the Bay Area Trek, arranging visits with dozens of incredible companies, including many Fortune 500 companies. The team sent out a survey where students each allocated 100 points to the various visits they’d like to attend. I chose to visit PayPal, LinkedIn, and Google San Francisco. There was a Bay Area Trek prep meeting about a week before the trip where logistics and etiquette were addressed. Each student also received detailed information and contacts for each company, along with a student point of contact for each visit. Every detail was covered for us; all we had to do was get ourselves over to each location!

My first stop was PayPal, where we were greeted by Megan Harvey, university programs manager. After getting proper security badges, we were given a warm welcome by Jim Van Over, experiential marketing & innovation specialist, who guided our group through an interactive experience that PayPal calls its Innovation Showcase. PayPal’s mission is to “democratize financial services, and serve the underserved,” and Jim showed us several ways that they’re implementing that mission in data security, risk management, products, and services. We then got to hear from a panel led by Mike Todasco, director of innovation. He and his team talked about their culture of innovation that extends across this global company, and how PayPal works worldwide to enable billions of safe payments without being a bank.

Next I headed over to LinkedIn. I had the pleasure of carpooling with Rady’s outgoing director of Rady Graduate Career Connections, Terra Saltzman-Baker. It was interesting finding our way to our destination because there are about a dozen buildings in one small cluster that all belong to LinkedIn! We observed what looked like LinkedIn’s own little universe complete with bikes, helmets, and umbrellas at the entrance of each building. As soon as we walked in we were greeted by Rady Alum, Anindita Gupta, who is a principal product manager at LinkedIn. I really enjoyed this visit!

After leaving LinkedIn we made our way to the Rady Alumni Mixer at Porterhouse in San Mateo. We were greeted by Yvonne Wu and the rest of the Rady careers team that traveled to the Bay Area. This hosted event was one of the highlights of the Trek experience. I got to reconnect with several recent alumni that I got to know over the first year of my MBA. It was fun to see Chiara Dorigo, who is currently an associate at Schaffer & Combs, and the inaugural president of the Women of Rady. I also got to meet other alumni who all had the inspiration to pass on from their post-graduate journeys at venture capital firms or companies like Gap and Tesla.

The following afternoon I went to Google San Francisco, which was the best way to wrap up this experience. While PayPal and LinkedIn had huge campuses with multiple buildings, this Google location was near downtown San Francisco within a larger building that overlooked the Bay Bridge. There are several other large companies like Amazon located within a short walking distance from Google. Our group was greeted by panelists and UC San Diego alumni, Philip Jia and William Lee, along with UC Berkeley Alum Shahed Sajadieh, all of whom happily shared their stories about how they became “Googlers”. After learning more about Google’s hiring process, company culture and team values, we were guided through the most amazing tour that included a plethora of fun, open, and lively, yet quiet workplaces that were ripe with enthusiasm from the hundreds of employees we encountered. The creativity of this firm was palpable. Each conference room has a fun name and each floor has a theme. Of all three companies that I visited, this one was my favorite!

I’m incredibly grateful for the experience that the Rady School of Management curated for me and my fellow students. I can now say I have a good idea of what life in the Bay Area would be like for a Rady MBA. I’ve gained some clarity for my own job search and made such wonderful connections with both current students and alumni. I appreciate that I’ll have a Rady network, almost anywhere I choose to go!


November 9, 2018 0 comment
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Early this October, students received the much-awaited email containing the list of companies that we would be visiting throughout the upcoming Bay Area Trek. The Bay Area Trek is a two-day event organized by the Rady School of Management where students have the opportunity to visit companies located in the Bay Area. This time around, students could visit Kaiser Permanente, PwC, Charles Schwab, Black Rock, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flex and Electronic Arts, among others. As a computer science student and an enthusiastic user of social media, I opted to visit Facebook and LinkedIn. I was very excited to have the opportunity to visit companies that have redefined the way people maintain personal and professional relationships in the world today.

In the days leading up to the trip, I wanted to make sure I was fully prepared and ready to put my best foot forward. I spent some time reading up about Facebook and LinkedIn and how they became the organizations that they are today. Doing my research beforehand gave me a better idea about what I could expect, and made me feel more confident and helped me think of questions that I could ask when I met them in person.

The first company for the day was Facebook. On my way there, I was able to experience first-hand the rush-hour traffic that the Bay Area is famous for. I was amazed to see how much the Facebook campus resembled a mini-city. They had their own shuttles, cycles and cabs for traveling within the campus. After checking in and having some breakfast, we sat down to listen to the team. They spoke about what working for Facebook was like, what their favorite things about the company are and how it is different from working at other organizations. They stressed how important the ‘learning mindset’ is, and how the abundance of resources enable them to produce their best work. This was followed by a campus tour where we got to see all the restaurants, the arcade and the store.

After lunch, I walked down to the LinkedIn office where I met the rest of the group. First, we had a panel with prominent leaders for LinkedIn. They talked about what their roles in LinkedIn are, their career paths and the work that The Economic Graph was producing. This was followed by a Q&A session where they answered questions about career trajectories, work, how LinkedIn had changed since it was acquired by Microsoft and what the future meant for LinkedIn. This was followed by a campus tour where an employee talked about all the perks available to LinkedIn employees and how all employees were expected to spend a day each month investing in themselves and learning something new.

After the company visits, our group headed to the Rady Alumni Mixer at Porterhouse in San Mateo. It was amazing interacting with our peers and Rady alumni, and to see how their journey had been since they graduated from Rady.

In all, the Bay Area Trek was an amazing experience. It made me realize how much I missed traveling and meeting new people. It gave me a unique insight into what working at Facebook and LinkedIn was like, and what values drove the culture in these two organizations. It was also interesting to see their own products played such an integral role in forming relationships within the organization, and how it gave everybody a sense of belonging and community. In today’s climate, where there is harsh criticism about the role of social media in our lives, we often tend to forget why they were created in the first place – to help everybody feel a little less lonely.

Manjushree Yethirajyam is an MSBA student at the Rady School of Management. With a background in computer science, she wants to use her skills to help organizations understand people better.  

November 6, 2018 0 comment
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Building and developing is in Keegan McNamara’s (MBA ’10) nature – whether it be in real estate ventures or supporting community-based initiatives. As the principal of a real estate company, with more than 20 years of experience in the business, McNamara is well-versed on how to build a project from the ground-up. But his newest project goes beyond acquisitions, entitlements, and construction – it’s about leveraging his success in the industry to support a flourishing nonprofit.

McNamara came to the Rady School during a pivotal moment in the United States’ economic history. Three days after beginning his MBA program, the 2008 stock market crash hit, decimating the economy.

“Three days before my first day at Rady, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, and that was really the first domino in the entire meltdown of the economy,” he said. “Throughout my journey at Rady, it seemed like things were getting worse in the economy every day. Every Friday the FDIC would announce a new list of banks that they were closing down. It was surreal.”

Initially, McNamara was uncertain of the value of obtaining an MBA or not in an increasingly uncertain job market, but the crash reaffirmed his decision.

“Because I was a real estate person, I was kind of on the fence about going back to school,” he said. “I wanted to get an MBA – it was a goal of mine. But once the subprime market hit a year before the 2008 recession, I thought, ‘Now’s a really good time to get another degree.’”

When it came to selecting an MBA program, the choice was easy for McNamara. With a focus on entrepreneurship and an innovative approach to curriculum, McNamara knew the Rady School would arm him with an arsenal of skills and tools to succeed in all aspects of business.

“The reason I went with Rady’s MBA program is that I wanted a broad business background,” he said. “I didn’t want a real estate specific MBA. I also wanted to go to the best school in town.”

With an already thriving professional resume, McNamara pursued an MBA to help him acquire the tricks of the entrepreneurial trade to help him launch his own business. After graduating from Rady, he launched McNamara Ventures – a real estate development and investment company focused on residential and mixed-use properties.

Giving back by paying it forward

Through the success of his business, McNamara has found that the best part of his career has been giving back to the community. During his time at the Rady School, a classmate introduced him to the Barrio Logan College Institute, an afterschool program designed to help students in the Barrio Logan neighborhood of San Diego succeed. After attending a fundraiser event, he was hooked.

Initially, McNamara used his skills and real estate ties to help the organization find a new and improved facility to operate in. But once he learned more about the organization’s incredible reach and influence – such as boasting a 100 percent high school graduation rate of program participants, with 100 percent of students choosing to attend college – McNamara decided to get more involved with Barrio Logan College Institute. He now serves on the Board of Directors and has various roles on Executive Leadership committees.

“It’s such an inspiring organization – 100 percent of the kids go to college!  And they are usually the first in their family to graduate from high school, let alone attend college.  The more I give to this organization, the more I get back,” he said. “I’ve met so many incredible people from the community and the kids are extremely driven and motivated. It’s inspiring to see them succeed and pursue their passions and dreams.”

In addition to helping BLCI locate the perfect permanent home, McNamara’s team has pledged to donate to the organization. His team recently completed the construction of a townhome project, Guild on 30th, and with the help of key consultants on the team and an anonymous donor, the combined efforts raised $30,000 to support the BLCI mission.

Lessons learned

One of the most important lessons McNamara learned during his time at the Rady School? Networking and building relationships.

“The relationships I’ve built over the years with classmates, alumni and the professors have been invaluable,” he said. “The Rady network is constantly growing – there are so many events and opportunities to meet with business experts and venture capitalists. I have a much broader network of folks who are outside of the real estate industry, in the tech field, the science world, and so many friends who are extremely successful.”

McNamara also feels compelled to give back to the school and program that has given him so much. He recently joined the Rady Alumni Board and is working to increase communication and engagement to ensure alumni stay connected to campus. He also presents in Rady classes, and emphasizes the importance of getting involved with socially-responsible ventures like Barrio Logan College Institute.

Becoming more connected to Rady helped McNamara get even more involved with his altruistic side. This summer, his worlds collided when he fostered his connections and brought Launchpad – a Rady program that introduces high school students to Rady School entrepreneurial resources and the startup community – to the kids of the BLCI.   The weeklong program gave the future entrepreneurs a chance to foster business ideas and even pitch their companies to a panel at the end of the week.

Finding a balance between personal and professional life is a difficult one to achieve, but McNamara’s connections to his community and alma mater have made the transition from one to the other seamless.

“It’s easy for most of us to get stuck in our day-to-day routines because we’re so busy at work and it’s hard to imagine taking time to give back,” he said. “But giving back is an essential part of being a balanced person and the rewards are so tremendous.”

Next Steps

McNamara’s plate is full, but he sees his busy schedule as a privilege and a calling. He and his BLCI team are working to expand the program, both in scope and location.

“Right now we are in negotiations for a long-term lease for an incredible property that we hope will be the forever-home for BLCI,” he said. “Our current lease is expiring in a year, so we need to move again.  I love urban infill and community revitalization, and this will be a tremendous opportunity for an adaptive re-use of two buildings that have served the community of Barrio Logan for two generations already.  The owners are incredible people who have the vision to see their properties creating an even longer-term legacy in the community.  I’m so honored to play a small role in helping the organization grow and move into new space.”



November 2, 2018 0 comment
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Making the decision to pursue an MBA degree is no easy feat. There are a number of intricacies to consider before determining which program is worth the commitment. For Julian Ames (MBA ’20), his decision was made easy – it was a choice to continue his father’s legacy in his favorite city.

Originally from Washington D.C., Julian earned a psychology degree from the University of Vermont. After graduation, he worked as a youth counselor, personal trainer and in the sales and digital marketing sectors. While he found success in his position, he knew that in order to move up in his career, obtaining an MBA from a prestigious university was the logical next step.

“I decided to apply to a number of MBA programs because I wanted to have options, but I wasn’t sure what I really wanted,” he said. “I got accepted into a number of programs, such as Northeastern, Maryland and Pepperdine, but none of the programs stood out to me. I was looking for a program that could help me channel my interests and passions into a career, or help me start a company of my own.”

Whenever Julian sought advice, he turned to his father Brian. An accomplished entrepreneur and economist, Brian was a graduate of Harvard Business School who emphasized the importance of hard work and education in Julian’ life. Brian was born and raised in La Mesa, a city within San Diego’s city limits, and spent a number of summers visiting his beloved hometown with his family in tow for vacation. The first time Julian stepped onto the warm sands of Mission Beach, he pledged to find a way to return to San Diego for good.

Julian and Brian devised a plan to make that dream a reality – Brian would retire and pursue entrepreneurial efforts, and Julian would apply for the MBA program at the Rady School of Management.

In addition to its proximity to the beach, Julian was drawn to the Rady School for its unique approach to business school. Although the school presents opportunities for students to connect with top-tier companies, Julian appreciated the emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship – traits his father asserted were imperative to his success in the business world.

In July of 2016, Brian was diagnosed with a glioblastoma brain tumor. Despite his uncertain future and a schedule jam-packed with doctor’s appointments, surgeries and treatment plans, Julian and Brian made the decision to soldier on with the plan.

And then the acceptance letter came – Julian was accepted into the Rady School of Management Full-Time MBA program.

“I remember that moment vividly — when I opened my acceptance letter, my dad was so pumped,” Julian said with a smile. “He was so excited for me, and he was also, in a way, pretty pompous – knowing that he had inspired me to do this, and seeing me follow through with goals I set for myself.”

Soon after Julian received his acceptance, Brian’s condition took a turn for the worse. Julian chose to defer his acceptance to the Rady School and leave work to spend time with Brian. Brian passed away on December 21, 2017.

“I can’t speak enough about how wonderful of a human being he was in all facets of life. He wasn’t just my father — he was my best friend,” Julian said. “He was my mentor in life and in business. He was extremely intelligent, outgoing and easy to get along with. A real bright light. We had always planned to drive across the country together and move out to San Diego, so to honor him, I followed through with our plan.”

Why Rady?

Confronting grief while pursuing an advanced degree is not an endeavor for the faint of heart, but Julian finds strength channeling his father’s spirit – in perseverance, determination and positivity.

Julian embraces his father in all aspects of his life, applying his work ethic to his schoolwork, jobs, fitness and entrepreneurial efforts. He looks to the advice – both solicited and unsolicited – that his father bestowed upon him in times of uncertainty and to find strength in facing challenges. But when asked about his decision to attend the Rady School of Management, Julian is confident he made the right choice. As he approached the midpoint of his first quarter, he reflected on the facets of Rady that attracted him to the school in the first place.

“If your goal is to be an entrepreneur, more focused on the startup experience, the Rady School is the perfect place,” he said. “If you’re aiming to secure a specific job title at a company you’ve had your eye on, Rady can help you with that as well.”

While Julian is interested in pursuing a number of career options – such as product development, large-scale marketing and even developing his own fitness resort — he is excited to explore the entrepreneurial opportunities, with prospective company ideas abound.

“I’m looking forward to getting involved with the StartR Accelerator, as well as Lab to Market because these entities can actually facilitate funding and guidance for your ventures,” he said. “These programs make Rady unique – there are several entities in place that are geared towards entrepreneurs and startups.”

To say Julian has hit the ground running would be an understatement. He has already leveraged the Rady Alumni Network, reaching out to alumni to connect with potential internship opportunities, is signing up for career fairs, making friends with his cohort and reaching out to faculty — all things he believes his Dad would have suggested.

“It’s definitely been a challenge, but when I let that ‘Brian Ames’ part of me come out, all good things happen — in relationships, in business, in all aspects of my life. ”






October 18, 2018 0 comment
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Bumpei Yoshida (MBA ’20) earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from Kyoto University in Japan. He joined Sanyo Chemical Industries Ltd. in 2006. Before enrolling in the MBA program at the Rady School of Management, he served as a research and development unit chief for a Sanyo Chemical Industries Ltd. company-wide energy-business project.

1) Why did you choose to pursue an MBA?

I have been working for Sanyo Chemical Industries, Ltd. (SCI), a Japanese chemical manufacturer, for more than 10 years and have gained a lot of experience as a chemical engineer. However, in order to move up in my career, I feel it is important to learn more about high-level business procedures, such as planning and executing company strategies. I believe earning an MBA is the best way to accomplish this goal.

2) Why did you choose the Rady School?

I chose to attend the Rady School of Management because courses such as Lab to Market will help me understand technology commercialization. Through my career as an engineer, I have faced difficulties putting unique product ideas into the market, and these products were rarely successful. The Rady MBA program will provide me with a wealth of opportunities to learn how to manage such situations, as well as fundamental management skills and knowledge. Also, I am looking forward to collaborating with students at UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering.

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

I feel Rady’s small-size class is unique. The number of Full-Time MBA classmates is under 50. However, the backgrounds and nationality are still quite diverse. I believe this environment makes it easier to deepen the relationship between classmates, and allows us to learn more from each other. Moreover, Rady has energetic career support. They pay attention to each of us to help not only in searching for new employers but also in helping us establish meaningful networks for our future careers.

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

I am looking forward to participating in the Lab to Market sequence. Through my career, I have been trying to commercialize new chemical products with my company and have learned many things from my failures and a few successes. All these lessons are valuable to me, but the methodology and the way of thinking were always similar. I am eager to expand my knowledge with different kinds of concepts and methodologies for new product commercialization. I am excited to discuss my current business ideas with professors and classmates who have diverse professional backgrounds.

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

Before I came to Rady, I rarely came across people who were interested in starting their own businesses. However, many Rady classmates and alumni are seeking the chance to start their own business by taking advantage of Rady’s strong and generous entrepreneurship support. I am happy with my current career and am not looking to switch jobs, but  I want to explore the opportunity to build a spin-off or a joint venture from SCI. Being a Rady student has encouraged me to explore a number of options that I normally may not have considered.

6) What are your goals after graduation?

As a company-sponsored student, my immediate goal after obtaining my MBA is to go back to Japan and to play a role as a strategist for SCI. Specifically, I will seek partnerships with device manufacturers to commercialize innovative technologies that have been developed in-house. My long-term goal is to secure a senior manager position in SCI’s planning division. Although SCI is steadily improving its performance, to sustain this growth into the future, it is essential to reinforce human resources capable of planning and executing company strategies from a global perspective. I want to become one of the key employees for SCI’s globalization.

October 17, 2018 0 comment
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1) Why did you choose to pursue a Master of Finance?

The financial world became my fascination when I realized how it impacts all of us. I am captivated by the mathematics and financial rules governing our world and I am eager to understand the inner workings of the financial field to search for patterns that impact the future. Finance is my chosen professional life and where I am looking forward to making a significant contribution to the betterment of the world economy and its citizens.

2) Why did you choose the Rady School?

The Rady School of Management has earned the reputation of being a modern and very up-to-date program where the faculty and students are focused on the future. Rady highlights both the academic and the professional aspects, conferring knowledge in quantitative finance, but also training in communication and leadership skills that are fundamental for succeeding in today’s competitive world. The program challenges students to work individually, but also with teams and groups, which is imperative to getting real-world experience that will benefit students after graduation.

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

Being a relatively new program, its astute faculty and leaders were able to design it to be a modern Master of Finance program. The program offers a unique and original quantitative approach emphasizing data and matching the current job demand in the financial industry. Moreover, the Rady School has an esteemed history in quantitative decision making with Nobel Laureate Harry Markowitz. If we then consider the exceptional and devoted faculty, the result is a unique learning experience, which forges leaders in the modern data-driven financial world.

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

First and foremost, I’d like to emphasize that Rady shapes the program on the students’ strengths and skills by offering a superb variety of electives. Among my favorite classes, there is the core Financial Econometrics and Empirical Methods taught by Professor Rossen Valkanov. I am looking forward to taking the Collecting and Analyzing Financial Data, Computational Finance Methods and Analyzing Large Data courses as well. I’m fascinated by the relationship between finance and data science and eager to learn models and techniques by exceptional professors to further increase and deepen my passion for this expertise.

5) What are your goals after graduation?

My goals after graduation are to continue this incredible journey and to study and complete a top-flight Ph.D. program, and to participate in the financial, investment industry. I’m confident that Rady will provide me with all the academic and professional competencies needed to ultimately achieve my goals.

October 16, 2018 0 comment
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Uma Karmarkar received an Early Career Award from the Society of Neuroeconomics for her outstanding research using neuroscience to better understand decision-making.

“The Society for Neuroeconomics represents an exceptional interdisciplinary group of academics, and I’m honored to receive this award,” Karmarkar said.

Karmarkar was one of two award winners selected by the committee to earn the prestigious honor. She and Molly Crockett of Yale University received $1000, as well as an engraved plaque that the recipients will receive at the Annual Meeting of the Society. The award was presented by the society president, Joseph Kable from the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

In order to be eligible for the award, candidates must have a Ph.D. degree and be active members of the Society for NeuroEconomics. They also must not have more than seven years’ experience as a faculty member.

Karmarkar studies the neural and behavioral mechanisms underlying how people use information in the world around them to make decisions.

“Many ‘real life’ choices involve a fair amount of uncertainty,” she said. “One major direction of my current research involves untangling how we use favorable and unfavorable information in situations where we know our knowledge is incomplete.”

About Karmarkar

Before joining the Rady School, Karmarkar was an Assistant Professor in the Marketing Unit of the Harvard Business School, and spent a year as a visiting professor at the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley.

Karmarkar earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2004, and a second Ph.D. in Consumer Behavior from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University in 2011. Prior to her doctoral work, she received a B.S. in Symbolic Systems (Neural Systems) from Stanford in 1998.

Karmarkar is also an assistant professor at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy.

October 11, 2018 0 comment
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Paul Wynns (MBA ’20) has been involved with aviation and aerospace throughout his entire life. His experience includes flying combat missions and managing aviation maintenance programs as a pilot in the U.S. Navy.  As a civilian, his career focused on new product prototyping for military aircraft, where he led teams in cultures and business environments, ranging from startups to the world’s largest aerospace company.

1) Why did you choose to pursue an MBA?

I’m enrolled as a Full-Time MBA candidate because the next steps of my career won’t come from technical credentials, awards or certifications. I need access to communities and networks where I can stretch my collaborative skills and find like-minded colleagues across a diversity of technical and life experience backgrounds. I’m excited to share and learn with the other entrepreneurs and professionals in my cohort, and the Full-Time program provides the perfect environment for collaboration and relationship building.

2) Why did you choose the Rady School?

Rady’s culture of innovation and collaboration resonates strongly with me. My first job after leaving the military was with a defense startup working out of a facility in the back of a strip mall. A few years and two acquisitions later I found myself working for the world’s largest aerospace company. My experience in military, large and small business cultures showed me that innovation comes from diverse points of view.

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

Rady’s relative newness as a school allows it to be agile, responsive and forward-leaning in its approach to the MBA programs. Its connections to the local San Diego startup ecosystem are full of exciting opportunities for insight, mentorship and venture capitalist funding. I’ve taken on a position as CEO and president of an aviation training startup, Flex Air, that’s just emerged from its first round of seed funding. I’m eager to apply the lessons and resources that Rady offers toward building my startup. With Rady’s help, I want to create the next generation of commercial and military pilots that will lead us into the second century of aviation.

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

I’m really looking forward to the MBA Quantitative Analysis class. My last lap through graduate studies was as an engineering student more than 20 years ago! In the intervening time, the accessibility of statistical and quantitative analysis tools has grown so significantly that they can be used by managers at all levels, not just specialists. It’s exciting to think that deeply powerful, analytical decision aids can be applied directly to my startup using open-source tools.

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

I graduated with my master’s degree in engineering at the height of the dot-com craze in the late nineties. It was an exciting time, but I didn’t take the time to cultivate relationships and networks after I graduated. My military career kept me busy, but I’m sure there were missed opportunities. This time I want to focus more on the people that I meet instead of the skills that I’ll acquire. Even after just a few weeks at Rady with my cohort, and a few meetings with the school’s network of supporters and faculty, I’m confident that my new focus is the right one.

6) What are your goals after graduation?

Humanity is entering its second century of aviation, and at a time when commercial air travel demand is larger than ever, our labor supply of qualified pilots for aircraft of all types is very challenged. Recent reports from The Boeing Company have shown that the Asia Pacific region will need more than 240,000 new pilots, while 127,000 will be needed in the North American market. Meanwhile, existing pilot workforces are approaching FAA-mandated retirement ages here in the U.S. There’s huge demand for innovative, agile aviation training that energizes and recruits talent from the Millennial and Generation Z communities. At Flex Air, I’ll continue building a team of aviation professionals, student pilots and investors that will serve this market and create the next generation of aviators.

October 9, 2018 0 comment
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Entrepreneurship is a fundamental aspect of the Rady School of Management educational experience. Whether students are pursuing an MBA, Master of Finance or Master of Science in Business Analytics degree, students have the opportunity to take an idea and transform it into a company at the Rady School. The StartR Accelerator – a free six-month long acceleration program open to all Rady School students and alumni – sets the stage for students to get businesses running through educational seminars, access to funding, mentorship connection and more. Recently, the StartR Spring Class of 2018 gathered to present their pitches to Rady School students, faculty, alumni and the San Diego business community.

Robert Sullivan, Dean of the Rady School of Management, kicked off the event by celebrating the success of the StartR program.

“Since its inception in 2013, the accelerator program has launched 61 companies,” Sullivan said. “Twelve of these teams have been accepted into the prestigious EvoNexus accelerator, and 60 percent of the teams that have been launched are still operational. StartR teams have generated more than $40 million in capital.”

A successful graduate of the StartR program returned to campus to speak about his company, CB Therapeutics. Sher Ali Butt (MBA ’16) entered the Rady School with an idea – to create cannabinoids without the use of marijuana plants. These compounds are not psychoactive. They do not produce a “high” or have potential for abuse and are already sold in the market similar to supplements. Since graduating from the Rady School, CB Therapeutics has been accepted into EvoNexus and Y Combinator, raised millions of dollars in funding and was recently selected as a finalist in a TechCrunch pitch competition in San Francisco.

“Rady was the best thing that happened to me and my business,” Butt said. “I came with an idea and left with a business. As a scientist, I was comfortable with creating the product, but I had no idea where to begin with the business side of things. CB Therapeutics would not have been possible without the Rady School.”

Here’s a look at the companies that were pitched at StartR Demo Day.


If you’re a fan of free stuff, TrySpree is for you. Developed by Ben Koonse (MBA ‘19), the website scrapes the internet to search for products offering free samples. The user is able to select free samples they’re interested in testing and choose to try them risk-free. TrySpree is then able to offer custom-selected samples to the customer based on their selections and interests. The company has created the most revenue out of any company actively involved with StartR, currently generating $1 million in revenue annually.


Traditional shopping malls are struggling to meet the demands of dedicated online shoppers, but Rady School student Chuan He (MBA ‘18) is developing a solution to help both malls and customers improve their shopping experiences. Hylite is a precise marketing system that uses LED lights to identify preciswe shoppers’ location within a shopping mall. Shoppers are able to navigate better within a mall and can receive product offers from businesses in the location. Hylite plans to launch in China where almost 1,000 new malls were built last year alone.


Modern businesses have more data than they know what to do with in order to make informed decisions. AnalytixHub – launched by current student Fay Mehr (MBA ’19) – created a company that connects data scientists and analytics experts with companies and research institutions. The platform is also moving toward creating a database that provides advanced data analysis services and consultations on demand.


Sugar-packed sodas are out and healthy beverage options are in! Bevea, created by Kabir Gambhir (MBA ‘10) creates beverages from a nutrient-dense coffee cherry byproduct. The beverage Cascaraa provides a solution for the 23 million tons of byproduct created annually while creating a low calorie, low sugar and delicious sparkling beverage. The drink comes in five flavors – original, mint basil, lavender, hibiscus, and rose chili.

Evolution Smart Bag

The average American woman owns 13 purses and handbags from seven different brands. To cut down on the clutter, Rady School graduate Suvi Tanninen (MBA ’18) created a smart bag designed to fit the needs of women on the go. The modular, washable and customizable bags come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes and are equipped with pockets that provide wireless charging.

In addition to the pitch presentations, Herb Meistrich was presented with the Guru Award in recognition of his mentoring support of students in the StartR program. The audience also voted on their favorite pitch and selected Koonse of TrySpree to receive a $500 check for his company.

Due to the success of their startups, each five teams have chosen to continue building their companies after graduating from StartR.

“It’s inspiring to see these teams succeeding and contributing to the local and national economy,” Sullivan said. “The Rady School community is proud of their efforts and we are looking forward to watching them continue to grow.”

October 4, 2018 0 comment
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Elaine Kub (MBA ’07) was one of the few students who came to the Rady School of Management directly after earning her undergraduate degree in engineering.

“It was great to learn from classmates who had already been out in the real world, and at the same time to contribute a different kind of wide-eyed energy,” she said. “Our class had a good time harnessing the startup spirit for a multitude of new clubs and organizations. Ultimately, it was the math and analytical skills, refined in Rady’s finance and investment courses, which set me on my professional career trading and writing about the commodity markets.”

  1. What impact has Rady had on your career progression?When I entered the program, I was fairly unsure about what direction I wanted my career to take, but my Rady connections opened my eyes to career opportunities I wouldn’t have otherwise known even existed. An idea and a connection will get you just so far, however. It was the knowledge and skillset learned in the classroom which truly made it happen. Without the classes and events at Rady, I would have had no idea there was so many opportunities for funding new business ideas, nor would I have known where to begin the formal process of starting a business.
  2. Has your Rady MBA enabled you to change industries or functional areas or even achieve a promotion?I started with just an undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering and ended up with a career in the investment industry. That might have been possible without an MBA, but my years at Rady were definitely an inspiration.
  3. What event or realization served as a ‘turning point’ for during your Rady School and/or professional career?After speaking at a conference, someone came up to me and asked for reading recommendations on the topic I was presenting (agricultural commodity prices). It occurred to me that there wasn’t really anything out there. Looking at it in the entrepreneurial mindset taught at Rady, that meant there was a market opportunity! I think having a well-rounded education from Rady gave me the confidence to step up and write my book, which fits well into that particular niche of market opportunity.
  4. What is the most memorable moment from your Rady School experience?Early in the first year, we were individually captured on video, just speaking extemporaneously about ourselves. This was so we would have to watch it and truly see how we appeared to others. That was eye-opening. It really showed me the value of growing up and getting “polished” by business school before going out among others in the real world.
  5. What is the best thing about being a Rady alumni?Always having a great reason to go back and visit beautiful San Diego!
  6. Tell us a fun fact about you, or something people may not know about you.So far I’ve been to five of the seven continents. It’s just the long flight to Australia and the next leg to Antarctica which are holding me back!
October 2, 2018 0 comment
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