The Return on Investment of the Rady MBA


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The constantly changing landscape of business means that those who stand still fall behind. To be successful, business professionals must constantly pursue new knowledge, skills, and experiences. They must also immerse themselves in innovation and invest in their career. One of the best ways to do all of this: earn an MBA.

The return on investment (ROI) of an MBA is multi-faceted. It’s not just about earning more money or moving up in your career; there are many intangible benefits including skills learned, connections made, and eyes opened. For that reason, it can be difficult to quantify the exact ROI of an MBA, at least until you take a closer look at the program.

UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management MBA

At the University of California San Diego’s Rady School of Management, the value of their MBA is in more than just its coursework, which covers a broad spectrum of business-related topics including everything from accounting to statistics, economics, and entrepreneurship. It’s about the entire experience.

The Rady MBA—both the Full-Time and FlexMBA program—was designed to inspire students with a vision of the future. No matter what program a student chooses, they can expect an immersive experience that delivers the skills and knowledge necessary to address the challenges that face innovative companies. And they’ll be surrounded by students who are smart, collaborative, and passionate about the business of innovation whether it’s an entrepreneurial pursuit or a breakthrough advancement in science and technology.

Tangibly, Rady MBAs can expect to be employed directly after graduation. According to the Rady Employment Report, 81 percent of Rady MBA graduates accepted employment within three months of graduation, with 9 percent of graduates starting their own company.

Rady grads also gain access to an incredible alumni network that spans the globe. So whether you’re in San Diego, New York, Beijing or Tokyo, you’ll have immediate access to local alumni who can help you gain employment, meet new people, and provide career guidance.

Still, the tangible and intangible ROI of the Rady MBA program is impossible to comprehend until you talk to their students. We interviewed two Rady MBAs, a recent Full-Time 2016 graduate and a current FlexMBA student to get their perspective on the value of their Rady MBA.

Career Transition

Sofia Zhang
Full-Time MBA, 2016
Program Analyst at Qualcomm

Breaking into the business world is no easy feat, which is why Sofia Zhang knew she needed help. She was working at a college as an undergraduate computer science instructor when she decided she was ready for a change. Her plan: to attend UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management to earn her MBA.

It was a bold move, but a necessary one for Zhang whose goal was to learn as much about business as possible. “I came to Rady with the hopes of learning how to operate a company as a whole and to understand how various aspects, including marketing and finance, could contribute to the overall company mission,” she said.

Sofia (Fenghua) Zhang, Rady Full-Time MBA, 2016

And her goal was easily achieved in the Full-Time program not only through the coursework but also through her extracurricular activities and connections with faculty and fellow students. “My fellow classmates and alumni were an excellent resource,” said Zhang. “That, along with UC San Diego’s great academic reputation and location, helped me understand business better.”

As for the MBA curriculum, not only did it help her vastly improve her business skills in areas such as accounting, finance, and quantitative analysis, the entire Rady experience opened her eyes to entirely new areas of business she hadn’t considered before. For example, she learned about leadership and public speaking through her position as the President of the Rady Asian Business Club. And in the New Venture Finance course, Zhang discovered a new passion: entrepreneurship, venture capital, and technology.

“The class opened my eyes to the venture world, and made me consider making venture capital my lifetime career path, or potentially even owning my own socially-conscious company one day,” she said. “In particular, the high technology industry became very attractive to me.”

It was an enlightening experience that helped Zhang narrow down her future career. “I learned that entrepreneurship is everywhere, not just in the world of startups,” said Zhang. “This lesson has carried into my everyday life, propelling my career forward. I always assumed that I could never work in a Fortune 500 company, but I did it.”

Now, Zhang works as a Program Analyst at Qualcomm, having successfully made the switch from non-business background in bioinformatics and computer science to a career in business technology.

For other students in a similar position, Zhang believes it is important to establish a vision. “Know what you want out of the program, and focus on what means most to you,” she said. “If you are considering an MBA program, Rady is an exceptional choice – the entrepreneurial spirit, impressive network, perfect location and engaged faculty are what make me proud to be RadyMade.”

Starting a Company

Jon Wilensky
FlexMBA, 2017
Clinical Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery at the UC San Diego Health System and Co-Founder of Braykio, a digital health technology startup.

Wilensky isn’t your typical MBA student. As a board certified plastic surgeon in practice for ten years, you wouldn’t even consider him a viable candidate. But, things changed five years ago when Wilensky had the opportunity to get involved in implantable biotechnology.

Jon Wilensky, Rady FlexMBA, 2017

Long story short, he ended up leading various clinical trials and was identified as an emerging leader in biotech, but he was limited by his experience. Wilensky wanted to do more than just run clinical trials from the medical side of things, but without a background in business, he was stuck. As a friend put it, “Jon, you’ll always add great value as a medical advisor, but you’ll never bring enough value to the table to have a seat at the Board of Directors.”

So, to round out his skillset, competency, and knowledge base, Wilensky decided he needed a Rady MBA.

“When I started the Rady FlexMBA program, I was not intent on becoming an entrepreneur and starting my own company. That wasn’t in the cards for me, and I’d never even thought of that,” Wilensky explained. “My goal was just to become more than a clinical consultant—to learn how to bring products to market and how to understand the business landscape.”

But thanks to some very fortunate circumstances that were only possible because of the Rady School, Wilensky’s deck of cards changed. During his first couple of quarters in the program, he met Ryan Ruehl a fellow MBA student. Just like Wilensky, Ruehl was passionate about biotechnology, and together they co-founded Braykion, a startup company designed to reduce the spread of preventable infections in healthcare settings.

“With Braykion, we’ve really taken advantage of every opportunity,” said Wilensky. “Lab to Market put our startup through its paces and was an incredible way to flesh out our idea and transform it into a business plan. The StartR Accelerator was rocket fuel for Braykion with advice on banking, accounting, marketing—you name it. Along the way we also participated in every pitch fest and competition we could—both internally and externally.”

Wilensky even modified his MBA curriculum to promote his new entrepreneurial direction. He selected electives that would provide value for a startup co-founder, as well as electives that would help him become an expert in implantable and wearable biotechnology.

“The core of the Rady program is innovation, collaboration, and knowledge. It’s a way of thinking about all of these things and framing how you approach problems,” said Wilensky. “Before Rady, I approached problems with a single focus—unilaterally on the clinical side. Now, I see the bigger picture. It’s a better way to think.”

As for one of the most defining experiences of his MBA, it was the U.S.-Israel Center (USIC) Israel Immersion Experience.

“This was much more than a trip to Israel for me,” said Wilensky. “I’ve built multiple sustainable personal and professional relations in the implantable biotechnology sector because of it, and there are business problems that I’m working on now that are a result of that trip. You cannot put a price on that.”

In the end, though Wilensky had originally chosen a Rady MBA solely to bridge the gap between the clinician and the business side of things, his experience ended up being about a lot more. “Without being at Rady and in its entrepreneurial-focused environment, Braykion wouldn’t exist,” Wilensky said simply.

To learn more about the ROI of a Rady MBA, visit the UC San Diego Rady School of Management website.


About the Author

Kelly Vo    

Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and personal development.

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