Student Profile: Cristina Aldrete – Full-Time 2012

Why did you choose to attend the Rady School?

I chose Rady because of the culture — the combination of UC San Diego academics and the San Diego setting. The University of California system is very well known, and it was the strength of that reputation across the country that made me feel more comfortable about going to a younger school. Being from San Diego, I knew the other business schools in the area well, but ever since I was in high school, I knew that UC San Diego was the best. So when Rady opened up, I knew that this was where I wanted to attend business school.

You mentioned the Rady School being a young business school. How did that influence your decision?

Even though Rady was a new school, it was exciting because it was very much like a startup. Knowing that I thrive in smaller settings where I’d get to learn a lot and carve my own path, I felt that Rady was the right school for me. In the beginning, I didn’t know that it would be such a collaborative culture. That was a pleasant surprise. Everyone helps everyone else out.

What do you believe are the Rady School’s unique strengths?

I think that Rady’s strength lies in its small size. The caliber of the speakers, innovators and business leaders who have come to speak to us is on par with the business schools at Berkeley, Yale and Harvard. That’s been absolutely phenomenal. I’d heard that Rady started because there was a feeling in the science and biotech community that a school was needed to grow the number of business leaders who could go into those fields, and that has definitely been the case.

How has the Rady School’s strong relationships with the business community benefited you?

What’s been so phenomenal about being in a smaller school is that everyone —including Dean Sullivan — knows our backgrounds very well, including our previous career experience. Because of this, I was selected to intern with a startup that was going to incubate at Rady. That changed my career and improved it tremendously. I had the opportunity to work with a man who’s a serial entrepreneur and who has been extremely successful. I have been able to learn first-hand about the nature of startups and how to create and execute a marketing plan. It has been very exciting.

What advice would you give to someone who was considering whether the Rady School was the right business school for them?

My advice to prospective students would be to first do your homework. Look at the schools in San Diego, in California and also nationally; and really get a sense of what you want. If you find that you want to be part of a program that’s invested in your success — from the way your professors are accessible to you, to how the staff reaches out to you and asks you how your classes are — then I would say that Rady is the place for you. The culture is like no other. Business can be very cutthroat, but if you want to learn how to be collaborative, how to work in a group and how to be in challenging situations and still move your project or marketing plan forward, then Rady is ideal.