A little over a year ago, I had a problem – a “good” problem, though. Which business school would I choose? It’s not an easy decision because it would be a school that I would be going to for the next two years. What program would be right for me? After all, if I chose poorly, not only would I be spending money at a program that I didn’t like, but I would be miserable, very miserable. So, why did I choose Rady? What made Rady stand out from the other options that I had? Here are 10 reasons:
- The community aspect. Rady appealed to me because of its value of community. Rady values every single person that is part of the program, be it students, faculty or staff. I wanted to be part of a program where people cared, where people will help others even if they are busy themselves. I wanted to be part of a community, almost like a family because let’s face it, my classmates would be my family for the next two years.
- People are collaborative and study groups are awesome! My goodness. First thought of business school was that people were cutthroat and always competing with one another, never budging an inch. But nah, it’s not really the way it is at Rady, one of the first things I learned and also experienced first-hand. People are willing to help one another. It’s crazy, I know. But that just makes everything so much more fun. I like when I can help people out and I like when people can help me out. Also, Rady has study groups! You get grouped with three or four other people for a quarter at a time and work together for class projects, papers and homework. You learn how to work with different personalities and strive for the same goal and it’s an amazing and valuable experience because you figure out one another’s strengths and weaknesses and help one another improve.
- The small class size. I have never been a fan of large class sizes. I prefer the smaller class sizes where I get to know my classmates and professors on a more personal level, that I’m not just some random face in the sea of faces, but a person. And I like that. I appreciate the fact that I know all of my classmates. I appreciate the fact that professors take the time to care about the students and try to get to know them. That matters a lot for me. That speaks highly of their dedication to pass on their knowledge to us.
- It’s a brand new program. This coming June will see Rady celebrate its 10th year in existence. But even though it’s a young program and not as well-known as its established counterparts, I want to be part of a program that is determined to go to the very top. I wanted to be part of something grand and I wanted to contribute to that. I want to help Rady get its name out there and be one of the top-tier programs and I want to be able to tell my family and friends in 20 years that, hey, I helped Rady get to where it is now. I want to be part of something special.
- The administration is going all-out in making Rady awesome. Seriously. Rady became ranked for the first time in business school rankings and though U.S. News ranked Rady at 73, the administration isn’t stopping there. Nope – they are busy trying to recruit the best professors from across the nation to Rady and they are dead serious about it. We have professors whose resumes list schools such as Chicago Booth, Northwestern Kellogg, MIT Sloan, Yale, Princeton, etc. Talk about having really smart people!
- Nobel Laureate Harry Markowitz teaches at Rady. So this is more of a personal reason for me. I am studying finance and though I could’ve gone to the likes of UPenn Wharton or Chicago Booth, I chose Rady because it’s not every day that I have the chance to learn from a living Nobel Laureate. Yes, that’s right. Harry Markowitz teaches at the Rady School of Management. And though I may only just take one class with him (Portfolio Theory), the idea of being able to learn from such a person is an amazing opportunity.
- There’s a Rady Venture Fund that students get to work on. Wait, Venture Fund? You mean, funds that will help with start-ups? I get to choose which projects/start-ups to fund? That’s so awesome. I think that’s a cool opportunity for students to be able to comb through different projects and figure out which projects will be successful. That’s really practical and hands-on experience that you won’t get to see elsewhere.
- Rady has a chill culture. Maybe it’s because of where Rady is located, but I get the feeling that people at Rady are just so much more laidback and chill, not stiff and formal and uptight at some of the other business schools on the other side of the country. I like the relaxing environment at Rady and people are really friendly with one another. Considering the fact that I thought business school was more of a formal place and everyone was really serious (Rady still is, don’t get me wrong) to the point where people don’t collaborate with one another, Rady still allows you to be outgoing while also being serious. Maybe that’s just me, though.
- The mix of international and domestic students. I like a program that has a healthy mix of domestic and international students because I get to learn from my international peers. In fact, even though I’m a domestic student, there’s a lot of American culture that I’m not aware of and my international friends have such a blast teaching me about American culture. But that is what makes it so amusing and fun. I learn from them, I teach them what I know. That is, if they don’t know the stuff already. And some of my best friends are from outside the US. I also enjoy hearing about their life and experiences in countries I may not have a chance to visit in my life.
- And last, but not least, the weather and location. Ok, so confession: the weather never really occurred to me. I mean, it wasn’t really one of the factors of me choosing Rady (ok, maybe a little). Rady is situated next to the ocean and it’s a close walk to the beach, though I must say I haven’t been to the beach since Pre-Term. Oh, school. But the weather is nice, minus the random times where there has been fog rolling in, sometimes even at three in the afternoon. Weird, huh? And right, La Jolla is pretty close to where I grew up (an hour away), so it’s close enough for me to go home whenever I want but far away where I get to enjoy the presence of my lovely and awesome friends and classmates.
But really, these are my reasons for choosing Rady. My friends and classmates will give their own reasons, different from mine, on why they chose Rady. It’s your own cup of tea but my advice is this: Be comfortable in what you choose. Whatever MBA program you choose, make sure it’s for the right reasons. You have to know that this is your home for the next two years. You’re pursuing a whole different career path from what you’ve been doing over the past several years. Or maybe you don’t know what you want. That’s perfectly fine. But as long as you choose the program that will offer you the most and you choose the program in which you can offer a lot, then it will be a good fit. Trust me. I know from my first year at Rady. It’s been a blast and fun ride thus far!
Emily Wu is part of the Full-Time Class of 2014 at the Rady School of Management. She has lived in Southern California all her life, but wouldn’t mind going to New York City or Seattle to pursue finance-related careers. When she’s not busy running around campus or studying in the student lounge (almost) 24/7, you can find her wreaking havoc on the tennis courts, playing (un)official photographer, and learning about American pop culture and movie references.