Rady School Graduate Student Profiles

MBA Profiles | MSBA Profiles | MFin Profiles | Ph.D. Profiles

MBA Profiles

 

Rumpa Giri

Rumpa Giri

Program and Year: MBA, 2019

Why business school? Why now?

I have been an engineer my whole life, it gives me great pleasure to write software and see it getting used by physicians. In the journey of “What, Why, How, When” I am proficient at the “How and When” part of the software company. Now I am eager to learn the “What and Why” part of the organization. I became interested in 2015 in the business of creating business after seeing our old company get acquired by a bigger corporation. It was fascinating to see how it unfolded. 

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Why did you choose the Rady School?

The Rady School has great faculty and its Lab to Market course sequence was a very attractive proposition to me. Lab to Market provides a playground to test ideas I have. Also, UC San Diego at the heart of the biotech cluster, so being close to my work and home also narrowed down the focus to only this school. 

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Rady MBA class?

My experience in building healthcare IT software development teams and building engineering teams in startups from the ground up all the way to a successful product launch and acquisition.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?

I am a Taekwondo red belt. Currently paused due to work and school but intend to pick it up next year after graduation. 

Post-MBA career interests?

Be a successful CTO and to build a social business platform for Indian Artisan/Handicraft.

One thing you would change or do differently?

Apply early and not the last day of application deadline! 

Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?

Nothing comes to mind. The whole experience was awesome! 

One thing about Rady that you didn’t expect?

Cold calling any Rady staff/faculty for help on ideas—and actually getting a response. 

 

Richard Markell

Richard Markell

Program and Year: MBA, 2019

Why business school? Why now?

After 32 years in private equine orthopedics and work with the United States Olympic Team, a second hip replacement made practice challenging. I have had years of teaching, legal, pharmaceutical and medical device industry consulting and knew this would be an exciting and challenging second career. In addition, I have had a long relationship with one of the largest not-for-profit therapeutic riding center for people with disabilities, and I know a business degree will add to the skills I can offer to them as a volunteer. 

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Why did you choose the Rady School?

San Diego is a hub of biotechnology and medical innovation so contacts and collaboration is central. In addition, UC San Diego and Rady are renowned centers of innovation and startups. I knew the networking resources would be remarkable here. We have access that is incredibly open to the entire university and biotech industry here in San Diego. It is also a great place to live! 

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Rady MBA class?

We have a remarkable and diverse class from highly successful engineers, physicians, corporate managers, Navy SEALS and pilots, researchers, entrepreneurs, a non-profit leader, financial managers, international students with vast experience in biotech and even myself as a veterinarian! Each person in our class brings a perspective and wealth of knowledge that expands ones’ learning experience beyond expectations. My approach to problem solving has been transformative interacting with my fellow students. We have a remarkable “team” approach in all our classes and the mutual respect and support is a core value here at Rady.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?

My friends have all told me I am crazy going back to school at my age… then immediately tell me how awesome they think it is an wish they would have done it! Second fun fact, as an equine orthopedic specialist who travels and consults all over the world, my wife makes me take our little French Bull dog Bubbles to another veterinarian even for vaccines! 

Post-MBA career interests?

Creating a biotech and medical industry consulting firm in for both the human and veterinary market.

One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?

Prepare family and work to for your new time commitments with school. 

One thing you would change or do differently?

More mathematics refresher preparation (Have taught but not been a student for 30 years!) 

Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?

Data analytics… fantastic professor but not my “song” ! Classmates provided excellent support and oxygen masks! 

Greatest highlight so far at Rady?

Being around so many truly remarkable and accomplished people in my class. 

One thing about Rady that you didn’t expect?

Started receiving job offers the moment I started school and my industry “heard” I was at Rady and transitioning careers. 

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?

Having enough extra time to develop and prepare for my new company. 

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?

A new way of thinking and understanding business. I am a doctor and this is a new and exciting perspective change that I truly believe fits perfectly with my successful previous career and will launch me in to my life’s second chapter. 

 

Lauren Rowley

rowley-2019.jpg

Program and Year: MBA, 2020

Why did you choose the Rady School?

Rady School of Management at UC San Diego is nestled within an incubator of innovation. Going to school here has allowed me to work with brilliant PhD-level scientists on a consulting project for a biotech startup. UC San Diego is well-known for attracting nontraditional scholars – many of my classmates are entrepreneurs or will go on to be. I chose Rady so that I could be part of a diverse, science-forward learning community that not only knows how to innovate but also knows how to bring that innovation to market.

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Hometown:  Carl Junction, Missouri

Undergraduate School and Degree:  University of Kansas, Bachelor of Social Work

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? 

Be yourself. We all know the statistics of an ideal MBA candidate (which is not me), but Rady School of Management seeks to attract the most diverse group of innovators and disruptors from all over the world. The learning environment created as a result is dynamic. I am learning so much about cultures different from my own and am able to lend a unique perspective that augments my classmates’ learning as well.

What is the biggest myth about your school?

As a San Diego local, I thought the Rady School of Management enrolled a majority of local professionals. In fact, over 50% of the students in my cohort are international. The learning environment this creates is incredible. As much as I am developing my business acumen, I am also learning a lot about how these concepts apply across cultures.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? 

Start reading   Bloomberg  and the   Wall Street  Journal every day. Starting today.

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? 

I have been transformed by how many more points of reference I have to inform each decision that I make. The breadth of my worldview — from diverse industries to unique business strategies — is rapidly expanding every day.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire?  

Ehsan Amozegar survived a year in solitary confinement in Iran after refusing to be silent about his beliefs. I admire his curiosity, his grit, and his willingness to abandon his home in pursuit of his purpose. I love the ways in which he shares his experiences, his cultural perspective, and especially when he brings Iranian fare to share.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college?  

The first job I had out of college was at a non-profit run by a woman who had her MBA. The organization was able to consistently scale to serve more people in the community. Operations were always smooth. I didn’t fully appreciate her skill as our CEO until I later worked at nonprofits with no MBAs on staff. The difference was dramatic. I want to create more strategic and efficient environments as I continue to grow in my career. Pursuing an MBA seemed the obvious choice to achieve that goal.

What is your favorite movie about business?  

The Big Short  helped me better understand the financial crisis, which spurred my interest in working in finance.

What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered – and what did it mean?  

A Giffen Good “is a product that people consume more of as the price rises and vice versa—violating the basic law of demand” (Wikipedia). Whenever I hear the word, I think of Gryffindoor.

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…  working as a philanthropy director at a nonprofit.

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? 

My MBA education is invaluable. It’s worth far more than I paid for it.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?    

I would like to start my own social enterprise venture and travel to China. I think China will happen within the year.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? 

I would like to be remembered as a valued collaborator who contributes ideas, humor, and the midnight oil to fuel innovation.

Hobbies? 

On the weekends, I enjoy sailing with my husband and taking sunset strolls with our pup.

What made Lauren such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“We are so fortunate to have Lauren Rowley as a member of our MBA class of 2020. Lauren is thoughtful, active in her pursuit of learning, and willing to engage in hard problems. Her participation in the MBA program draws on a background that includes work on a range of important societal issues. This has given her both leadership experience and significant expertise in how business principles interface with real-world problems, which she applies to dynamic classroom discussions and uses to enrich our community here at Rady more broadly.”

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? 

Reality Changers, Director of Advancement; I directed business development, marketing, and public relations for a social enterprise providing college access for thousands of disadvantaged students.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2019?  

While I have not yet confirmed my summer internship for 2019, I aim to work in financial services, impact investing, or philanthropy.

Where will you be working after graduation?  

In impact investing or in strategy consulting.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • President, Rady School of Management Consulting Club at UC San Diego, 01/2019-present
  • Marketing Lead, Haas-Patagonia Sustainable Packaging Case Competition, 01/2019-present
  • Project Lead, Advanced Professional Degree Consulting Club at UC San Diego, 12/2018-present
  • Project Lead, Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge, 12/2018-present
  • Board Member / Member, San Diego Regional Chamber Young Leaders, 07/2017-present
  • Board Member / Member, Association of Fundraising Professionals, 06/2017-present

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?  

I am most proud of two things. I was invited to participate in two case competitions focused on sustainable investing. The teams were formed organically and I was surprised to see myself providing vision, direction, and ensuring the final products were organized, well-written, and cleanly designed. Through these experiences, I identified an opportunity to revive the Consulting Club at Rady. The goal of reviving the club is to facilitate greater access to competitions and other essential resources for Rady students pursuing careers in consulting. Together, we will host Rady’s first case competition later this year or early 2020.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?  

I am most proud of creating a self-sustaining department within an organization. I requested the opportunity to work as Director of Advancement at Reality Changers after serving for a few months as an Executive Fellow. I was asked to throw a gala and ended up executing Reality Changers’ most successful fundraiser ever, raising over $170K. I saw the opportunity to take ownership of the department and was able to streamline and expand the existing fundraising strategy to generate $2.3M annually through grants, events, strategic partnerships with foundations and corporations, and planned gifts. After developing the brand strategy, the second annual gala raised $475K.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? 

My favorite MBA professor is William Mullins, who teaches core finance. This has been my favorite class so far. Professor Mullins provides so many rich examples to drill in concepts – most of which are new to me – so I feel very confident in understanding nuances surrounding each subject.

What was your favorite MBA Course

Finance not only deals with what happens within the firm but also what is happening outside of the firm. In fact, finance requires a vast knowledge of what is happening outside of the firm, more so than other areas of MBA study such as operations, quantitative analysis, or even marketing. I find myself attracted to playing on a bigger field with more elements at play. It allows for more creativity and strategic execution.

Fun fact about yourself:  

I became certified to teach yoga after spending several months in India and Nepal studying Vipassana meditation and Iyengar yoga. I now teach private lessons and offer free classes for the Rady community.

 

Paul Wynns

Paul Wynns

Program and Year: MBA, 2020

Why did you choose the Rady School?

Rady’s culture of innovation and collaboration resonates strongly with me. No entrepreneur goes it alone. I’m excited about the communities here where I can stretch my collaborative skills and find like-minded colleagues across a diversity of technical and life experience backgrounds. The school is agile, responsive, and forward-leaning in its approach to its MBA program. Its relationships in the San Diego startup ecosystem are full of exciting opportunities for insight, mentorship, and connections with investors.

MSBA Profiles

Gunnar Gleisner

Gunnar Gleisner

Program and Year: MSBA '19

What prompted you to pursue a MSBA?

Prior to starting the MSBA program, I was working as a Process Engineer in a manufacturing organization. Most of this position was hands-on engineering work, but there were a few data analysis projects. I found myself gravitating towards these projects, which sparked my interest in a degree in analytics. In researching my options, I realized that I wanted a technical degree that still maintained a strong focus on business objectives and performance. The MSBA program at Rady satisfied all these desires for me.

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Why did you choose to earn your MSBA from Rady?

I was already familiar with the Rady School of Management, having received a minor in business there when I was pursuing my bachelor’s degree at UC San Diego. From this experience, I knew that Rady had strong technical and entrepreneurial emphasis, which I was drawn to. I also had excellent experiences with the faculty during my undergraduate studies, which continued in my graduate studies at Rady.

What was your favorite class at Rady and why?

My favorite class at Rady was Customer Analytics, taught by Professor Vincent Nijs. This course was driven by case studies that used real data from actual companies to teach students how to drive value in an organization. The passion that Professor Nijs brought to each lecture demonstrated his commitment to students’ learning. The hands-on nature of this course is very representative of the MSBA program, where students learn by doing.

What resources did you find most helpful during your time at Rady?

The professors at Rady were an invaluable part of my graduate experience. I spent a lot of time speaking with many of them outside of class about coursework, case competitions, career aspirations, and evolving trends. It was very exciting to be surrounded by such accomplished and dedicated faculty who were more than happy to share their time with students.

What kind of support did Rady provide you in your job and/or internship search?

The Career Management Center at Rady is extremely dedicated to supporting students in their job search. From the first day in the program, they are focused on providing students with networking opportunities, personalized counseling, and workshops. I found the industry panels particularly useful, as these helped me learn about various industries and make important connections that were crucial for my job search.

How did your Rady MSBA impact your career path?

The Rady MSBA program helped me transition from engineering to data analytics. This is a growing field, and I feel extremely lucky and excited to be part of it now. With my Rady MSBA, I feel prepared to add value in an increasingly data-driven world.

What lesson(s) learned at Rady has been most applicable in your career?

Two main lessons still stick with me. First, no matter how good your analysis is, if it is not communicated effectively, then it’s as though you never even did it. We spend a lot of time learning complex analytical techniques in the MSBA program, but we also spend a lot of time learning how to convey information and recommendations so that we can convince decision-makers and drive value in our company. Second, all data, no matter the source, is going to be somewhat messy at first. Therefore, it is critical to practice analyses on these “messy” datasets to prepare for the real world of data analytics. This is a critical step in the analytics process, so the more practice, the better.

What’s something that would surprise people about you?

I recently picked up woodcarving! It’s very calming and making something elaborate out of a simple block of wood is a lot of fun!

What’s the best piece of advice you received while at Rady?

From the first day on campus, everybody, including faculty, staff, and alumni, told us to get involved beyond the classroom. This meant showing up to every career event, networking event, and social event and seeking opportunities to apply what we learned outside of the classroom. These are amazing opportunities that are just as important as the classroom learning.

What was your most valuable Rady experience outside of the classroom and why?

I was on a research team led by Professor Ken Wilbur that focused on examining the relationship between guns and crimes in the United States. I am very proud to have been part of the research for such an important topic. This experience was also extremely informative, giving me a glimpse into research that combines multiple datasets to generate new and valuable insights.

What’s your best piece of advice for incoming students?

Go out of your comfort zone. This is a great opportunity to explore what your interests are in a new and exciting field. Take advantage of every opportunity you can – the Rady School has so much to offer, but only if you put in the effort!

 

 

Joshua Bhatnagar

Joshua Bhatnagar

Program and Year: MSBA '17

What prompted you to pursue a MSBA?

I chose to pursue an MSBA because I wanted to learn how to make strategic data-driven decisions in a business environment.

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Why did you choose to earn your MSBA from Rady?

It was a simple decision to continue my education at UC San Diego given its stellar reputation, ideal location and my prior experience as a student within the UC system. The opportunity to be part of the inaugural cohort of the program was also an exciting proposition.

What was your favorite class at Rady and why?

Managerial Judgement & Decision Making. This course made me aware of various flaws and biases that inhibit hinder decision-making in a business environment. Those lessons have proved to be helpful not only in my role as a data scientist, but also in my daily life.

What resources did you find most helpful during your time at Rady?

My classmates and professors were the most helpful during my time at Rady. Both were happy to provide help when I needed further clarification on a tough concept. During group assignments in particular, my peers were open and honest about their strengths which made dividing work a breeze.

What kind of support did Rady provide you in your job and/or internship search?

Rady not only provided me with unique job opportunities to consider, but I also received a great deal of guidance from all the staff at the Career Management Center.

One of the most helpful events was a workshop on how to search and apply for jobs. It added structure to my job hunt and increased my efficiency in finding a role that I was excited about.

How did your Rady MSBA impact your career path?

Today I work as a Data Scientist at Mazda North American Operations. I support the quantitative data needs of Mazda's Operational Strategy division and lead efforts to streamline analytical processes which include data accessibility, munging, modeling and structuring. I maintain ongoing dialogue with domain owners and IT to prioritize organizational data requirements, design strategic data solutions and implement those solutions. Without my time at Rady, I would not have had the foundation necessary to be successful in my current role.

What lesson(s) learned at Rady has been most applicable in your career?

Data doesn’t lie unless you have bad data or manipulate the data to confirm a false hypothesis.

What’s something that would surprise people about you?

I’ve been playing drums for more than 16 years. I’ve called three different countries and both U.S. coasts home during the course of my life.

What’s the best piece of advice you received while at Rady?

To paraphrase Professor August, “Push your mind to think deeply about problems you are trying to solve because the most obvious solution is not always correct or the most efficient.” He said something to that effect in our first Business Analytics class.

What was your most valuable Rady experience outside of the classroom and why?

Exploring San Diego with my classmates was a fantastic experience because it helped build camaraderie within the group. It also exposed me to new cultures and perspectives about life and the world.

What’s your best piece of advice for incoming students?

Take time to build relationships with your classmates and other Rady students outside of the classroom.

 

 

Radhakrishnan Srinivasan

Radhakrishnan Srinivasan

Program and Year: MSBA '17

What prompted you to pursue a MSBA?

I was trying to change my career track. I had worked as an engineer, in academia and I had some IT database experience in the past. The moment that artificial intelligence and machine learning came up, I realized this was my chance to get into this field more seriously. So, I applied for the business analytics program at Rady.

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Why did you choose to earn your MSBA from Rady?

I had a friend who was doing his PhD at Rady. I knew he was a pretty smart guy and I knew from talking to him that this was a very good school. In fact, this is the only school I applied to for business analytics. Once I was accepted, I took the offer.

How did your Rady MSBA impact your career path?

I came to Rady to change my career from academia engineering into data science. Rady was the spring board that helped me leap into data science completely. Otherwise, I was just dabbling in it. This gave me the opportunity to get into it full-time.

What kind of support did Rady provide you in your job and/or internship search?

Rady’s capstone project helped me in my job search because I got the opportunity to work on a project with Thermo Fisher Scientific. During the project, I made sure to make connections within the company, and I landed a job at Thermo Fisher Scientific.

What lesson(s) learned at Rady has been most applicable in your career?

One of the fundamental things we were trained in by both Professor August and Professor Nijs is being thorough and having integrity in the results we produce. That was drilled deep in our program, not letting any stone unturned. Second was the focus on subject matter expertise, rather than just using compute power to generate better predictions.

What was your most valuable Rady experience outside of the classroom and why?

The diversity of the student population, and not just in the MSBA program. When I went to the student lounge, I had [rewarding] interactions with MBA students, Master of Finance students, all of them. That was a very enriching experience. Also, the friendliness throughout Rady. I think it’s not just the culture at Rady, but also at UC San Diego overall. At other universities, I would say there was diversity in paper are on the website. But I had a feeling that there was not really diversity in real terms, or that they were even friendly for that matter. This place was just diverse in every aspect. They truly welcomed and celebrated diversity here.

I was 45 when I came into this program and I thought that I would be the oldest. Interestingly, there was a 50-year-old. We had people from 22 to 50. There were PhDs in the class, there were students who had just recently graduated from undergraduate programs. That’s just in terms of age, but there was diversity in every form. That made the difference in terms of the experience and the feeling of warmth and friendliness.

What was your favorite class at Rady and why?

Collecting and Analyzing Large Data taught by professor Karsten Hansen. Professor Hansen did a great job making it look so easy, and helping us learn without us even knowing it.

For example, we started coding in R from almost scratch. We had done a very short R bootcamp before we started the course. We were learning how to scrape data from other sources. Professor Hansen would use the term, “data munching” or “data wrangling,” basically how you could manipulate data and then get it into the forms you need for explorative or predictive analytics. Throughout this class, we went from knowing almost nothing to a whole lot. In our final project it was amazing to see the kind of work we were able to do with R programming.

How do you use the skills you acquired at Rady in your job?

I'm a senior data scientist and I make predictions on customers who would have a need for a particular set of products. I'm applying everything I learned at Rady. I'm coding in R. I'm working with data. I'm making predictions, verifying.

How does that work benefit an employer?

The predictions are helping the business because of the way we're able to predict a customer who could be need of this product, which he or she hasn't bought before. Businesses are able to reach out to customers in a better way and 1) Satisfy customers by identifying the need and 2) Being able to sell more.

What advice would you give someone who is interested in getting into data science?

I would encourage them to get a formal degree. I see a lot of people coming into data science because it’s a hot field right now. My main emphasis is having formal education, which is why I [pursued] my Masters of Science in Business Analytics at Rady. A formal education makes you well-rounded in the field of data science. Don't just do a couple of courses online, those can be good, but I think they won’t make you as confident as you could be if you had a formal education.

Did you feel that your degree from Rady gave you an advantage in the job market?

Yes, I was able to perform on the job from the first or second day. I did not need much handholding. When we had a change of manager, the new manager was interested in assessing each of us. He was pretty impressed with the foundation I had. I definitely think that this formal education was the one which made the difference when he was conducting the assessment, or even just the way I was performing my job.

What was that assessment like?

The new manager was concerned that data science being a hot field with good money in it, people were coming and applying for jobs and getting in without the proper foundation or knowledge. He was concerned that that could be the case, even in some of his existing employees.

He had an assessment mechanism, a set of questions he would use in every interview in his previous jobs or previous company where he worked. So, he gave that to me. It was a one-hour assessment and it just went great. Maybe he thought that with my background of other engineering degrees I might not be strong. I'm sure he was pretty surprised. It came out very good.

Did your degree from Rady give you confidence?

Yes. We had done enough case studies and projects in class. In Professor Nijs’ class there were at least two big projects. Those projects prepared us for real life. I now work in marketing and Professor Nijs’ class was marketing focused. I can see clearly that what I learned in his class is applying directly in my job right now.

 

 

Swagata Chakraborty

Swagata Chakraborty

Program and Year: MSBA '18

What prompted you to pursue a MSBA?

During my short stint as an analyst in the Global Decision Management team at Citibank, I felt that people who already had a specialization relevant to their role were somewhat more confident and had more clarity about their role. I was trying to figure out whether I wanted to pursue an MBA or wanted to hold on to my engineering roots. On one hand, I loved working with mathematical computations and writing minimal codes to come up with analytical insights. On the other hand, gaining a formal degree that helps you develop business acumen seemed imperative as well. That is when I learned about the masters in business analytics programs in the U.S. and it struck me that this is exactly the specialization I was looking for.

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Why did you choose to earn your MSBA from Rady?

I liked how the curriculum was tailored to combine the concepts of machine learning and industrial needs for data-driven decisions and big-data management.

This comprehensive one-year program has some amazing courses such as Business Analytics in Operations, Marketing, Finance, Customer Analytics, Working with Unstructured Data, Fraud Analytics and the capstone projects with leading companies that help us gain experiential learning. The combination of statistics, programming in R and application of data science in business problems makes curriculum very powerful to equip students with quantitative and analytical skills. The program also offered us the flexibility to enroll in additional selected courses from other departments of UC San Diego, to encourage students to broaden the knowledge in the domain of analytics (I had opted for Algorithms in Machine Learning from the computer science and engineering department).

Being a part of UC San Diego, a globally recognized institution, gives you the opportunity to be mentored by a team of excellent faculty members. Most importantly, the proximity to the various big companies and booming startups in the Bay Area as well as the warm and welcoming culture of California just makes networking and collaboration very interesting.

What was your favorite class at Rady and why?

My favorite classes at Rady were Business Analytics taught by professor Terrence August and Customer Analytics taught by Professor Vincent Nijs. In Business Analytics we worked on problems based on probability, statistics, and linear optimization. I enjoy solving mathematical problems, but honestly, I was very weak in probability when I started. Professor August explained to us how to approach such problems differently and it all seemed much simpler. Customer Analytics provided the foundation to machine learning models. We practiced so many business problems where we use these algorithms to solve them. I would say these two subjects were the core of the business analytics program. Both courses required getting our hands dirty with coding R scripts.

What kind of support did Rady provide you in your job and/or internship search?

I started working on my resume with Jeanette Meliska from the Rady Career Management Center in the second quarter of this program and revised it several times. The capstone project through Rady’s collaboration with various companies added to my resume greatly. My capstone project with Mazda was an interesting topic of discussion in most of my interviews.

In my experience, a full-time role/internship search is primarily the student’s effort and involves actively networking, building professional connections, applying for open positions both online and offline and proactively reaching out to Rady Career Management Center as and when needed. One should start the process early as the initial few months just pass by quickly while figuring out what *not* to do.

How did your Rady MSBA impact your career path?

The Rady MSBA was a significant point in my career path where I could change my track and start building a career in Data Science. I was quite a beginner in programming and still new to understanding business scenarios. The coursework helped me smoothly transform my academic background into the skillset required for a Data Scientist/Business Analyst role.

What lesson(s) learned at Rady has been most applicable in your career?

The coursework in Customer Analytics, Business Analytics, and Working with Unstructured Data were most applicable to my current role at Walmart Labs, which requires a statistical understanding of the business problems related to the Walmart catalog, and their impact on revenue growth. Concepts like the statistical significance of the data, sampling methods for training and test data, working with unstructured data, training machine-learning models and confidence interval analysis are some of the topics which I learned through my coursework in Rady and apply on daily basis in my current role.

What’s something that would surprise people about you?

I am glad to say that I find the same enthusiasm about going to work as I did for going to school. This is because I tend to bond with people quickly. Given a few days to talk or work on something together, people get to know surprisingly funny things about me like how good food gets me super excited or my ability to be very expressive and vocal about my thinking process or even aspects like my interest in singing and dancing. This has helped me to inculcate the fun aspect within any team that I have worked and bonded with so far, whether it was my first company in India, Rady classmates or colleagues in Walmart Labs. With this approach, going to work anywhere still feels like going to school and continuing to learn.

What’s the best piece of advice you received while at Rady?

I was settling for a not-so-competitive job offer as I was concerned about the OPT start date (a deadline for international work authorization). One of my friends at Rady said: "Do not take up any job opportunity just because you are getting it. Put in more effort and believe in yourself. Wait for the role that you want to get into. With consistent efforts, it is worth taking the risk and waiting for the job offer you want.’’

What was your most valuable Rady experience outside of the classroom and why?

I had a lot of fun working with my teammates and Rady alumni during the capstone project at Mazda North American Operations, located in Irvine, CA. We learned how working on actual industrial data could be very different and scrappy compared to the datasets that we use in classroom assignments, and that it could be very hard to train a model that could deliver good predictions. This project also helped us understand that presenting the approach of solving a problem to convince the other business teams was a key aspect while working in a company. This was the first instance where I realized how to deal with the tradeoff of model performance and scalability. Now, I come across resolving this trade-off problem very often in my work at Walmart Labs.

What’s your best piece of advice for incoming students?

It would be good to do some basic self-preparation before joining the program, like introduction to programming in R/python or fundamentals of statistics/machine learning through any online platform such as Udemy, Coursera or Datacamp. If you are comfortable with the fundamentals, you can climb the learning curve faster after joining the program and the whole coursework will be more fun to work through once you are a bit familiar with the topics. You can understand the details of the class lectures, even more, ask more questions and try solving the problem more efficiently.

Also, the job/internship search process could be very exhausting and time-consuming. It could take several months, so start it early and try diversifying the resume (maybe having two to three versions).

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself or your Rady experience?

What you learn from the MSBA coursework can be applied to any industry, be it retail or banking or healthcare or manufacturing, especially because analytics is a hot topic everywhere. Irrespective of your academic background or previous work experience, if you have generic statistical intuitions and have some familiarity with basic programming principles, you can catch up with the course soon, but yes, you should be aware that there is still much coding involved in the coursework.

 

 

Yao Lu

Yao Lu

Program and Year: MSBA '18

What prompted you to pursue a MSBA?

I gained my undergraduate degree in accounting and auditing and worked for an accounting organization after graduation. During the process, I provided professional service to clients in different industries and gradually realized that utilizing quantitative analysis to help business decisions was becoming more and more critical in most industries. An MSBA degree seemed like it was designed for me at that time since it combined both business and data science. It was a perfect choice for me to transform from business world to data science world.

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Why did you choose to earn your MSBA from Rady?

I spent two quarters at UC San Diego as a visiting student during my third year in college. The visiting program gave me the freedom to choose almost any course on campus, and I had the chance to take several courses at Rady. I feel lucky to have experienced Rady as an undergraduate student. The whole experience was amazing and unforgettable. The courses were well designed, and the professors were professional and very helpful. So, I decided to choose Rady again for my master’s degree.

What was your favorite class at Rady and why?

My favorite classes were Professor Nijs’s Customer Analytics and Professor Hansen’s Working with Unstructured Data. I am currently a data scientist in machine learning and natural language processing, and I see these two classes as the very beginning points to know machine learning and natural language processing. I would say that the best education is not only to impart knowledge or improve skills, but also to motivate my interest and curiosity to explore the new world.

What resources did you find most helpful during your time at Rady?

My professors and teammates were the best resources for me.

What kind of support did Rady provide you in your job and/or internship search?

Rady sponsored us to participate in ODSC (Open Data Science Conference), which is how I met my current employer.

How did your Rady MSBA impact your career path?

I worked as an auditor for one of the largest accounting organizations before Rady. As I mentioned previously, I became very interested in data science, machine learning and natural language processing. During my time at Rady, I got my internship and full-time job in machine learning and natural language processing during the second quarter at Rady.

What’s something that would surprise people about you?

I can do 7.55 foot (2.3 meters) in standing long jump.

What’s the best piece of advice you received while at Rady?

Understanding the problem and breaking down the problem is the key for solving the problem. I always spent a lot of time implementing and tuning the models when I tried to solve a problem. However, understanding the whole problem and designing the structure deserve equal or even more time.

What was your most valuable Rady experience outside of the classroom and why?

I really enjoyed all the career panels as well as the Bay Area Trek organized by Rady’s Career Management Center. They provided me the chance to talk to people in the industry and get advice from them.

What’s your best piece of advice for incoming students?

Make the best use of the year in Rady, as well as the San Diego sunshine.

 

 

John Yamauchi

John Yamauchi

Program and Year: MSBA, 2018

Why did you choose to pursue a Master of Science in Business Analytics?

I chose to pursue a MS in Business Analytics degree because I wanted to incorporate analytic techniques into making business decisions. Having skills in analytics is becoming more and more of an advantage across many industries and I wanted to get an edge by adding these skills to my resume. 

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Why did you choose the Rady School?

I chose the Rady School because of its deep integration with both the scientific and industrial community surrounding the San Diego region. I also am very impressed with the Rady faculty and look forward to learning more about how to improve business processes from the curriculum. 

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

As an Alum of UC San Diego and an entrepreneur, I am very committed to working toward San Diego's technological and entrepreneurial environment. Rady is unique because of its consistent focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. With so many great entrepreneurial faculty and students on campus, Rady provides a great environment for anyone with an idea to successfully grow it into a viable venture.

What classes are you looking forward to taking this year?

I look forward to taking Customer Analytics (MGTA 455), Collecting and Analyzing Large Data (MGTA 452), and Business Forecasting (MGTF 405).  Each of these courses will provide great hands on experience to acquire, clean, and visualize relevant datasets. I'm also very eager to start the Business Analytics Capstone project, which will allow me to test out the new skills and put them to work in a real world environment. 

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

My perspective on my career has not shifted as I still am very entrepreneurial and project-based. However, my vision has been enhanced by allowing me to see the multitude of situations in which to apply analytics in making better decisions.

What are your goals after graduation?

After graduation, I would like to work on multiple projects in which I can provide consultation for companies and organizations. I especially would like to help startups receive revenue as soon as possible so that they can be more independent and sustain themselves going forward. 

What advice do you have for prospective students?

I advise prospective students to make the best of their time at Rady and get a head start on all of the resources at UC San Diego. It is never too early to start networking with the faculty, administrators and current students. My decision was highly influenced by my communications with all of these individuals and I am very pleased with my decision. 

Anything else you would like to share?

It has been a great experience thus far. Rady and UC San Diego are great places to be for entrepreneurs, scientists and those that want to change the future. 

 

 

Menghui Zhang

Menghui Zhang

Program and Year: MSBA, 2019

Why did you choose Rady School of Management?

I decided to pursue a MSBA degree to make a career transition. I used to work in hedge operations and wanted more exposure in analytical process and decision making, as the latter feels closer to value creation. My manager is an alumnus and speaks highly of Rady.

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This is how I got to learn about Rady and this program. The program holds a well-balanced curriculum and the school boasts highly accomplished faculty. I chose Rady so that I can get the resources to advance my career in analytics.

What was the most valuable experience you had during your time at Rady?

The countless hours I put into the capstone project would be my most valuable experience. It gave me the opportunity not only to apply what I’ve learned, but also to actively seek innovative methods and techniques. More importantly, it forced me to be relentless and persistent after failing dozens of times. I think this is one of the most important traits in any career advancement.

What was your favorite class at Rady?

This is really a hard call to make as there were two classes I liked tremendously. One was Customer Analytics by Professor Vincent Nijs, and the other one is Fraud Analytics by Professor Stephen Coggeshall. Despite the differences in topics, both classes showed me how complicated machine learning algorithms can be explained in plain language. Moreover, the classes laid useful roadmaps on problem framing, data wrangling, model evaluation and business communication. These skills are universally applicable in various capstone problems.

How did Rady position you for future success?

In terms of technical skills, the courses at Rady have prepared me well for coding and business communication. I learned to be efficient and productive in the workplace because of the good training. Also, we are encouraged to take classes with MBAs and MFins, participate in professional seminars and take on innovative competitions. This collaborative and entrepreneurial environment has helped me to overcome my shyness and better express myself.

What kind of support did Rady provide in helping you secure a job after completing the MSBA program?

The career team has created plenty of network opportunities since the very beginning of this program, in the form of employer insight panels, alumni panels and industry conferences. There are also various workshops on legal work authorizations, networking skills and technical interview skills, etc. The faculty are also generous to share their personal connections and introduce employment opportunities.

Do you have any advice for next year’s graduating class?

I would suggest prospective students to balance out their time in two aspects: networking and coursework. Networking is more than finding job references, it’s about shaping our understanding about the industry and figuring out our directions. Meanwhile, we need stay industrious on the coursework and technical skills. When an opportunity knocks on the door, be sure you are prepared to seize it.

Do you have any advice for students thinking about pursuing a MSBA?

Pursuing a MSBA degree is more than learning codes and running models. It also cultivates your analytical mindset and offers you the opportunity to make lifelong connections.

What’s a fun fact about you that not many people know?

During my time at Rady, I acquired another skill I’m quite proud of and my family is happy about, too – cooking! I find great relaxation when I cook and my family gets to eat delicious dishes.

 

 

Robert Beyer

Robert Beyer

Program and Year: MSBA, 2019

Why did you choose the Rady School of Management?

I was doing risk management and analytics consulting in my previous job and was considering starting a business that involved data. I came across the Rady website and observed that the school offered a MSBA program. After speaking with admissions and learning about the emphasis on innovation, I knew that Rady was the right fit for me.

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What was the most valuable experience you had during your time at Rady?

Related to the technical aspect of the MSBA program, the faculty were outstanding and brought unique and challenging material to their classes. From a personal growth perspective, the support and connections of the Rady community really helped as I was launching a business.

What was your favorite class at Rady?

My favorite class was Customer Analytics, taught by Professor Vincent Nijs. This course was thoroughly challenging and exhausting, but the technical skills and business growth I earned are incomparable to any other class I have taken in my life.

How did Rady position you for future success?

By developing the technical skills to identify opportunities, generate insights, and develop business solutions with data, I have gained the ability to provide value-add services to my own business and to other employers across a variety of industries. The connections I made at Rady and the growth of my network across the UC San Diego campus overall will be invaluable in my future endeavors.

What kind of support did Rady provide in helping you secure a job after completing the MSBA program?

Rady Career Connections is dedicated to providing resources and organizing events for students to pursue their interests and meet with local business leaders in a variety of different fields. In my situation, the business accelerators offered at Rady provided an excellent foundation for my partner and I to create jobs for ourselves.

What advice do you have for next year’s graduating class?

Take advantage of every single resource you can while you are on campus. Go to all of the panel discussions, networking events, and workshops available. If you are curious about something, pick the brains of faculty, Rady alumni, and other classmates. Always be thinking about how you can apply the learnings from class in real life!

Do you have any advice for students thinking about pursuing a MSBA?

Data is becoming an increasingly important piece of the business decision-making process. The skills taught in this program will give students the ability to obtain and wrangle data, perform a variety of analyses, and interpret what the results mean. It would be comparable to traditional data science mixed with a MBA, which differentiates Rady MSBA graduates from the rest of the competition.

What’s a fun fact about you that not many people know?

I’m an avid skier and love being out on the mountains!

 

 

Sharqua Abdullah

Sharqua Abdullah

Program and Year: MSBA, 2019

Why did you choose Rady School of Management?

As a finance undergrad working in analytics, I felt there was a gap [between] my current education and my future aspirations. So, I decided to go for a Masters in Business Analytics. I knew that I wanted to work in the internet industry after [earning] my masters, and Rady not only had the best location, but it was also one of the highest ranked business analytics programs on the west coast.

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What was the most valuable experience you had during your time at Rady?

I feel really fortunate to have had a lot of memorable experiences packed in the short time I spent at Rady. Whether it was taking classes like E-commerce Practicum, where I had the opportunity to start an online business, or playing soccer at night with the Rady Soccer Team. However, my most valuable experience was organizing a data science event alongside my classmate. It was a great opportunity to build connections with current data science professions and learn from them. It also gave us a chance to revive the Rady Data Analytics Club and do our part in building a data science community at Rady.

What was your favorite class at Rady?

Vincent Nijs’ Customer Analytics. We covered a plethora of topics and topical problems in the industry. Professor Nijs arms you with all the relevant data science tools. We learned how to translate a business problem into a data problem and then how to logically approach that problem with the right tools. Not to mention Professor Nijs’ passion for the subject is really infectious.

How did Rady position you for future success?

Rady provided me with a solid foundation in analytics which is extremely important for succeeding in any given field. There are a lot of resources online regarding analytics but without correct guidance and structure it is difficult to self-learn. I believe that the faculty at Rady did an excellent job on that front as well, by helping us develop the right analytical thinking which is crucial for this field.

What kind of support did Rady provide in helping you secure a job after completing the MSBA program?

At Rady, we all had access to career consultants who were always available for job-related queries from proof-reading our resume to guiding us to relevant materials for our interviews. Rady Career Connections also organized a lot of professional sessions and workshops which provided good networking opportunities and improved our soft-skills.

Last but not least, the Bay Area Trek was the most anticipated event organized by career services, where students got a chance to visit their dream companies in the Bay Area and talk to alums and professionals working there.

What is your advice for next year’s graduating class?

My advice to the next class would be to make the most of the 10 months at Rady. Since it’s such a short time, it can be a bit overwhelming to manage your job search, studies and other activities. However, you will learn a lot not just from the teachers, but also from each other. So keep an open-mind and make use of all the opportunities available to you.

Do you have any advice for students thinking about pursuing a MSBA?

I get a lot of questions from MSBA aspirants regarding Rady’s MSBA program, and my advice is to first have a long-term understanding of where [you want to go] and what you want to do after the program. This will help you guide your job search better. A quick way to understand whether Business Analytics is for you or not, is to look at job postings of your future career and see if this program will help you fulfill the requirements of that job. Then try to understand whether the school’s curriculum is in alignment with your future aspirations because every school will have a different approach to this program. And finally, connect with recent graduates or current students to learn more about that school’s program.

What’s a fun fact about you that not many people know?

I like learning languages in my free time. I am currently learning Arabic, Korean and Spanish. There is a long way to go but I am really interested in learning about new cultures and learning languages became a natural extension of my original interest.

 

MFin Profiles

Jose Chig

Jose Chig

Program: Master of Finance

Why did you choose to pursue a Master of Finance?

Main reason was to understand the risk associated with all financial corporate decisions and learn to analyze data in order to select the most efficient option. 

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Why did you choose the Rady School?

Curriculum and faculty were the main deciding factors. Incredible faculty with relevant experience and personal ties to industry, along with a varied and flexible curriculum that allows students to tailor their masters degree to suit their professional aspirations.

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

One thing that separates Rady from other schools is that assigned projects are designed to align with industry expectations. Professors assign projects that will be ascribed to us as analysts, preparing us to excel once we join the professional ranks.

What classes are you looking forward to taking this year?

The class I’m most excited about is Behavioral Finance. I’m looking forward to understanding the reasons humans are not always rational financial decision makers. 

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

Career services provides great insight through the Industry Night Events, I wasn’t informed on the consultant industry and now it seems a sector that I am looking to explore professionally.

What are your goals after graduation?

I am currently exploring analyst and consultant roles. I am looking for opportunities that will allow me to use the skills I learned at Rady to provide efficient solutions to real world problems. 

What advice do you have for prospective students?

I wholeheartedly recommend attending a class if you are interested in the Rady Master of Finance program. I had the opportunity to attend one lecture last year and saw the engagement and interaction during lecture. I gained a better perspective on what to expect from the Master of Finance program. 

 

Seok Byun

Seok Byun

Program: Master of Finance

Why did you choose to pursue a Master of Finance?

I’ve always found the area of finance interesting. That such a tangible thing could have enormous effect on our lives. As an intuitive and analytic person I wanted to pursue an education that would teach me how to better understand this challenging yet intriguing field. 

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Why did you choose the Rady School?

Not only is the Rady School the best program in San Diego, UC San Diego holds a sentimental value to me. My father did his post doc research here and I wanted to study where he studied. It’s wonderful to be back here in San Diego and to be back in school. 

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

Rady’s Masters in Finance program is highly quantitative and challenging. If you can keep up, I believe that this will be a rewarding experience to you. Also, Rady has lots of opportunities to mix with other students such as MBAs and MSBAs and even beyond. If you want to broaden your perspective, Rady is a great choice.

What classes are you looking forward to taking this year?

I’m really looking forward to Behavioral Finance, Valuation in Corporate Finance and Analyzing Large Data. Implementing cognitive psychological theory with finance sounds like a really fun course and I like operating the software programs through Collecting and Analyzing Financial Data. 

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

My perspective has definitely widened on the industry of finance. I didn’t know there were so many different areas where finance can be applied. I would have not learned of such areas and applications if I were on my own and now consider even more fields to work in.

What are your goals after graduation?

Hopefully, I’ll work in an area that handles evaluation, analyzing data and application of such information. I wish to make a positive net impact on not only the area of finance and the corporation that I work in, but also on the clients and society itself.  

 

Kayla Nunez-Knowlton

Kayla Nunez-Knowlton

Program and Year: Master of Finance, 2018

Why did you choose Rady School of Management?

I always had an interest in finance and business. My background is in mathematics, so the quantitative coursework at the Rady School really stood out to me. I was able to gain so much more knowledge in the world of finance while also enhancing my technical skills.

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What was the most valuable experience you had during your time at Rady?

The most valuable experience I had was working with such a diverse group of classmates. Teamwork is so important. Rady structures their coursework into cohorts and you are encouraged to work in groups for each class. It was great to learn about different people, backgrounds, and cultures.

What was your favorite class at Rady?

I really enjoyed all of the classes at Rady. If I had to choose a favorite, I would narrow it down to two: econometrics and behavioral finance. I loved econometrics because I was able to translate my math skills to financial concepts and theories. It was taught in a way that was easily understood.  The professor for behavioral finance was very engaging. It was so interesting to learn, through reasoning and simulation, about how the markets really behave.

How did Rady position you for future success?

Rady molded me into a well-rounded finance graduate. Upon graduation, I felt confident to take on any challenge. The Master of Finance program incorporated the business school objectives into the coursework and culture. We did not just learn about finance, we learned about collaboration, networking, and applying our knowledge.

What kind of support did Rady provide in helping you secure a job after completing the MFin program?

The career counselors were a huge help.  They gave great resume and interview advice.  I participated in mock interviews and seminars that the career counselors held. They also emphasized the importance of networking, which is one reason I was able to quickly secure a job.

Do you have any advice for next year’s graduating class?

My advice for next year's graduating class is to network. You never know who you will meet. Networking is an opportunity to meet someone new, share interests, and potentially help each other in some way. I would also tell them to be confident. You graduated from an amazing program, which I believe prepares you for the start of a great career.

Do you have any advice for students thinking about pursuing a MFin?

Take advantage of every opportunity. The MFin program is only 12 months. It goes by quickly. The staff at Rady holds multiple events throughout the year that I would recommend attending. The professors have so much knowledge that they want to share, so soak it all up. There is potential to learn and experience so many things, but you have to make an effort to do so.

What’s a fun fact about you that not many people know?

I am passionate about rescue dogs. I own a rescued pitty and now want to rescue all the dogs I can. I have volunteered as a foster dog parent and one day hope to have my own dog rescue.

 

 

Ryan Shen

Ryan Shen

Program: Master of Finance, 2018

Why did you choose Rady School of Management?

I like how flexible the curriculum is. Tailoring a master’s program towards my own need is a huge plus. The location is good too. An ocean view from a study room never hurts!

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What was the most valuable experience you had during your time at Rady?

I met a few people here at Rady that I probably wouldn’t had a chance to meet elsewhere, including Mr. Ernest Rady himself, and many successful people in the industry. Spending time with them and learning to see through their eyes were the most valuable experiences during my time at Rady.

What was your favorite class at Rady?

Innovation in Financial Market was my favorite class. I got a chance to spend time and learn from Professor O’Brien, who was considered one of the best marketer in finance at his time. Since that class, I started to pay attention to some of the opportunities that I would otherwise overlook. It helped me to see finance differently.

How did Rady position you for future success?

Rady provides all of the resources for self-motivated students to position themselves for future success. For me, the future success starts with a decent full-time job. For others, it could be a boost for their own business venture.

What kind of support did Rady provide in helping you secure a job after completing the MFin program?

Professor Melvin, the director of our program, referred me to a local internship, which laid the foundation for my full-time offer.

Do you have any advice for next year’s graduating class?

You have world-class professors, so take full advantage of them. Reach out to your professors for career advice or for their opinions on financial topics that interest you. The professors are very accessible and happy to help.

Invest and involve yourself with the Rady community early. You could meet great mentors and hopefully become one someday.

What advice do you have for students thinking about pursuing a MFin?

Attend a recruiting event when you have a chance. Rady staff are very nice and resourceful, and San Diego is worth visiting!

Track your program’s placement information on LinkedIn. You’ll have an idea of what people are doing after graduation.

What’s a fun fact about you that not many people know?

I just finished my first two levels of skydive courses. It was awesome! And I’ve been landing my own parachute since my very first skydive. 

 

Ph.D. Profiles

Kristen Duke

Kristen Duke

Program and Year: Ph.D., 2019

Why a Ph.D.? Why now?

As an undergraduate, I majored in psychology and economics. I was always fascinated by their complementary focus on human behavior. While working as an undergraduate research assistant in a cognitive psychology lab, I learned to love research. The fact that you are discovering brand-new knowledge that no one else has known before is so exciting! I knew after college that I wanted to find a career where I could study the things I wondered about daily. Separately, I also spent time as a teaching assistant and a tutor, where I realized I also loved teaching. I discovered that a career in academia was a perfect way to combine all of my interests, so I set out to get a Ph.D.

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Why did you choose the Rady School?

A huge selling point is the Rady School's incredible faculty. In addition to their intelligence and warmth, they are so dedicated to their students. The collegial atmosphere created by the faculty is shared among the bright students they attract. Finally, one should never underestimate the power of sunshine to make life a little easier and more pleasant. A Ph.D. program can be an intense venture, and getting to live in a beautiful city with perfect weather can soften the edge!

What was the focus of your research?

I study how consumers form judgments, make decisions, and experience the outcomes of those decisions. In particular, I investigate decisions that involve risk, uncertainty, and emotional complexity. My dissertation explores the intertemporal dynamics of guilt, studying its time-course and the emotional and behavioral consequences of separating guilt-inducing decisions from their enactment. In a second stream of research, I identify the consequences of the way information is presented to consumers. My work explores how the presentation of probabilities affects decision-making under risk, how the framing of monetary incentives fosters social norm inferences, and how inconsistency in the presentation of tasks influences individuals’ perceptions of their performance.

What is it like collaborating with Rady School faculty?

The Rady School faculty genuinely love research, which makes it so fun to work with them. They are always excited to hear about research ideas and are brilliant, compassionate and talented when designing studies, developing theories and writing papers. I have learned so much from them in my time here and they have inspired my goal to be a great mentor to my future students one day.

Most valuable experience at the Rady School?

I have attended dozens of academic conferences around the world with the Rady School marketing faculty, which has opened my eyes to what others in the field are working on. It has also allowed me to develop life-long friendships and collaborations with researchers from several schools. I have also established these friendships and partnerships with my talented fellow Ph.D. students here at the Rady School.

Fun fact about you?

When I moved to San Diego, I learned to rock climb, and now I often climb outside in the many fantastic climbing spots in Southern California.

Post-Ph.D. career plans?

This summer, I will be joining the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto as an assistant professor of marketing.

One thing about the Rady School that you didn’t expect?

I can see the ocean from my office – not bad for a Ph.D. student!

 

Allie Lieberman

allie2.jpg

Program and Year: Ph.D., 2021

Why a Ph.D.? Why now?

After receiving my Masters in Public Health, I worked for several years evaluating state and national disease prevention and health promotion programs. I loved the work I was doing, but I wanted to dig deeper. I was interested in using experimental research to investigate the psychological underpinnings of behavior and how to best motivate behavior change. For this reason, I decided to pursue a Ph.D. in behavioral marketing.

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Why did you choose the Rady School?

The faculty at the Rady School are among the top in the field. I jumped at the opportunity to learn from and work with them. Moreover, the Rady School provides a rigorous academic environment that I felt confident would provide me with the training necessary to excel in research.

What is the focus of your research?

My research focuses on judgment and decision-making with an emphasis on self-control, motivation and behavior change. In one stream of research, I examine the psychological mechanisms underlying behavior-change failures—unpacking why people maintain inferior behaviors even when preferred alternatives are readily available. In other work, I investigate the role of incentives in motivating positive behavior-change. For example, my colleagues and I found that the framing of an incentive can leak information about social norms, influencing consumer behaviors both in-the-moment and downstream. Additional research includes several large randomized controlled trials testing the use of incentives to improve health behaviors, such as cancer screening and medication adherence. I am passionate about interdisciplinary research and committed to harnessing social and behavioral analysis to impact policy and improve health outcomes in our society.

What is it like collaborating with Rady School faculty?

Collaborating with the Rady School faculty has been an absolute highlight of my time in the program. The Rady School faculty are smart, motivated and engaged. The faculty are passionate about conducting relevant research and are invested in the success of Ph.D. students. Everyone at the Rady School is very accessible, welcoming and collegial—providing the perfect environment for collaboration.

Most valuable experience at the Rady School?

The Rady School has taught me not only about the field of Behavioral Marketing and how to approach research, but it has also given me a new perspective on the world. The Rady School has transformed the way I think about and approach problems both in my research and in daily life.

Fun fact about you?

I was a competitive gymnast growing up (think over five hours of being in the gym every single day) and hope to be able to do a handstand for the rest of my life!

Post-Ph.D. career plans?

My goal is to pursue a tenure-track faculty position at a top-tier business school where I can conduct cutting-edge research on behavior change.

One thing about the Rady School that you didn’t expect?

How much I would enjoy the process of getting a Ph.D.!