Ciara Kennedy, Ph.D., MBA

FlexWeekend, 2006
Industry: Biotechnology
Current Position: Vice President, Head of Cholestatic Liver Disease, Shire Pharmaceuticals

Ciara's Rady Experience:

When I decided I wanted to pursue an MBA, I was looking for a reputable institution that had a weekend-type program; and to be among fellow professionals in the biotech, pharmaceutical or life science industries. That is, I wanted to be in the company of peers who understood the types of issues, challenges and problems I was facing.

I would say without a shadow of a doubt that within the first month I knew that my MBA was going to be my favorite of my four degrees. That was primarily due to my classmates, the faculty and the people we were meeting in the community. Our entire class was actually very collaborative, and the conversations we had in the classroom were quite engaging. We would far overrun our allotted time of 8 o'clock on a Friday night and continue our conversations about supply chains and statistics, even when we returned to our hotel rooms. It was phenomenal and invigorating, and the energy was an intense, self-feeding frenzy of activity without being competitive.

My classmates and my connections at Rady became the foundations for my success. My company, Lumena Pharmaceuticals, was founded in 2011 by a team including myself and two other Rady alums. Our early success was validated by our acquisition by Shire in 2014. Our team is the perfect combination of intelligent individuals well-equipped to head-off problems early, execute rigorously, and have a laugh along the way, and it was all made possible by Rady.

To prospective students, if you're seeking an innovative environment where, to a large degree, you can create your own outcome and destiny, then Rady should be at the top of your list. If you want an individualized experience, and wish to become embedded and connected in the San Diego biotech and high-tech community, then there's no alternative to Rady. There's nothing that even comes close. The caliber of the students you'll be sitting next to, as well as the instructors and professors who will be standing in front of you, are second to none.

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