How Rady is Going to Match Harvard, Stanford, and Berkeley (MIT, We Love You, Too)

June 26, 2014
by Joey Hinson

I’m a big fan of Rady. The biggest, as a matter of fact. When I chose to come to Rady, my thinking went like this: I could go to Davis – nah, weird. I could try to get into Haas, but it’ll take a couple of rounds to get in, I don’t have the patience. I could go to Stanford, but, geez, I’m not really that smart and I don’t have that kind of cash, do I? Plus, this might take longer than trying to get into Berkeley. And then, I visited Rady. The building was beautiful and technically capable, the staff had an underdog, fighter mentality and solid gold credentials, and the student body was a hodge podge of MDs and PhDs and weirdoes from odd backgrounds like me.  Plus, San Diego is awesome – I can surf. And then there’s the fact that my wife and I were going to have our second child – and the grandparents live in Coronado. So let’s score Rady:
  • Awesome faculty, check
  • Awesome building, check
  • Awesome students, check
  • Awesome curriculum, check
  • Hard to get into – but not too hard for a guy with my experience, check
  • Close family that will fawn over their grandchildren (esp. the new one), check (for me)
  • Outdoor activities that are awesome (if I can find the time to do them), check

So, I applied to Rady, got into Rady and a few other schools, chose Rady and moved down to San Diego. And since then, I’ve only developed a deeper regard for my ability to occasionally make great decisions like this. Rady has been a transformative experience for me. It’s important to know where I came from to really understand the extent of the transformation. I grew up in Selma, Alabama – an economically depressed and racially divided town with limited opportunity. One thing that I had going for me was that I could play piano well enough to impress folks and occasionally win a competition. So when my high school had a meltdown due to racial conflict that was decades in the making, I was able to win entry into a fine arts boarding school.  And, as a result of my artistic high school education, I went on to study piano performance in college – at the University of Kansas as a matter of fact. So, as you can tell, I have no business background, and further more, I haven’t performed a complex calculation since I was in AP calculus in high school. My quantitative and strategic brain were in severe decline as was my business related network.

The past 18 months have changed all that. Having been put through the wringer by our venerable Professor Roemer’s Data, Models, and Decisions class, my quantitative brain began a revival that has led me to embrace and enjoy classes like Financial Risk Management. Who knew? I mean, I never thought I would enjoy meditating on correlations, standard deviations, and portfolio theory quite so much. 

One of the most delightful aspects of Rady is its dogged focus on innovation and technology. What would be a capstone at any other B-School is an exercise in actually building a business at Rady. I don’t want to give folks the wrong idea, but if ever there was a vocational MBA, this it. Our program doubles down on “how to build and run your business” with its lab to market program. Basically, our hallowed founders took the “Forming a Curriculum at a Venerable B-School” book and flushed the capstone chapter down the toilet, adeptly replacing it with classes that throw you into the deep end of the startup swimming pool. We’re asked to come up with ideas for businesses, model a business, pitch the business, and then – if you’ve got the stones – start the business. Given that you have something worth doing, the business school has its own venture fund, there’s an accelerator reserved for current students and alumni, and then there’s the amazing network that launched the whole school at your beck and call, should you need them.

So how are we going to match Harvard, Stanford and Berkeley? We’re going to go after them like an underdog startup. We’re going to take our quantitatively-based, passionately creative, risk-taking Rady selves out there and start amazing businesses. Our amazing Dean is going to keep recruiting the best talent away from and before those stodgy old entrenched institutions. And, the Alumni (me and everyone else, right?) are going to pour as many resources, from time to money, as we can into the endowment until it surpasses anything anyone has ever seen.  All the while, the content and focus on entrepreneurship and innovation will deepen and move further out onto the efficient frontier of education, generating maximum returns from the least amount of resource.

Who am I? My name is Joey Hinson. I currently attend the Rady School of Business and am a Flex14 student. I am also on the TechCrunch and Engadget event teams where I have the opportunity to travel the world meeting the most interesting early stage investors, entrepreneurs and members of the press. You can reach me at joey@techcrunch.com or on twitter @joeyhinson.