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The Heart of Entrepreneurship, at the UC San Diego Rady School of Management

San Diego Entrepreneurs

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For frequent visitors to Southern California, the seemingly endless list of adorning communities and picturesque landscapes likely come to mind first. But for locals and those in the business community, San Diego isn’t just a beautiful place; it’s also a landmark of entrepreneurship.

In a recent ranking of the “Best Places in America for Starting a Business,” Inc. lists San Diego seventh overall, lauding the city’s biotech and aerospace industries, as well as its litany of incubator and accelerator programs (24 in all).

Few institutions effortlessly bring that entrepreneurship vision to life quite like the University of California San Diego Rady School of Management. In less than two decades since the business school opened its doors, its quickly evolved into a mecca for SoCal future business leaders. This is especially true for MBA candidates.

The UC San Diego Rady School of Management helps facilitate the city’s entrepreneurial spirit, frequently lauded as one of best places in the country to start a new business.

Speaking with MetroMBA, Jay Bryant, the Rady School of Management Director of Graduate Recruitment & Admissions, highlights the school’s distinct advantages when it comes to entrepreneurship education:

“There are two things that I believe make the entrepreneurial education at the Rady School very unique,” he says. “The first is our signature capstone series of courses known as Lab to Market. This series of three classes, which spread out over an entire academic year, take students on a journey from entrepreneurial theory to ready-to-launch. Students will have the opportunity to take an idea, prototype, or concept all the way to market ready. Some teams work on original ideas while others do this as a project alongside actual running businesses. This gives students a true hands-on entrepreneur–or intrapreneur– experience within the safety of the educational environment. A good number of our students wind up taking their projects to actual market when they finish the project.”

“The other thing that makes the Rady School stand out is that every student, faculty, staff member, and alumnus of the Rady School is here because they are committed to the innovation economy and the entrepreneurial spirit that comes along with that,” Bryant continues.

“Each business school has a different personality. The Rady School is a school where innovation and bringing new ideas to the world is the very foundation of all that we do.”

– Jay Bryant, Rady School of Management Director of Graduate Recruitment & Admissions

San Diego Entrepreneurs in Action

David Tran, Rady alum and co-founder at City Heights Coffee House, the Head of Growth Marketing at Sendlane, and a Board Advisor to Peace Catalyst International, speaks specifically about the in-depth education he received at the business school and how it laid the foundation for his career.

“In my core Marketing course taught by Professor Ken Wilbur, I learned that the most important characteristic of a marketer is empathy,” he tells MetroMBA. “The worst mistake you can make is to assume your customer is exactly like you. Prioritizing data-driven thinking was a key step in my professional growth.”

San Diego’s City Heights Coffee House, co-founded by Rady alum David Tran / Photo via Beautiful Truth Photography

In addition, Tran notes, Rady helped him develop through a “a creative environment that supports strategic, calculated risks; and supportive, smart classmates and down-to-earth, brilliant professors.”

G. Bryan Cornwall, co-founder and COO of Ciari Guitars, Rady MBA alum, and current Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of San Diego Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, talks about how Rady helped form the foundation of his music technology company.

“In addition to courses, there were also incubators such as ‘StartR’ which helped early stage companies with guidance and mentorship<" Cornwall tells MetroMBA. "This was very helpful for our company, Ciari Guitars. The CEO and inventor of the technology, Jonathan Spangler, and I worked together at a local medical device company for 12 years. Jonathan is a guitarist and patented a folding travel guitar. When I told him I was going to the UCSD Rady School of Management we founded a music-tech company around that idea and recruited several innovators to help build the company."

Ciari Guitars’ innovative tech earned some buzz from CNN at the NAMM Music Convention, which can be seen below.

Cornwall notes, however, that those interested in earning a Rady MBA should not enroll just for the sake of getting a diploma. It’s for, “People that are interested in learning, not just completing a degree. People who read the mission of the UCSD Rady School, ‘Our Mission: The Rady School of Management develops ethical and entrepreneurial leaders who make a positive impact in the world through innovation, collaboration, and knowledge’ and it truly resonates with them. The Rady school is a young school with a definite culture that rewards hard work. There is an entrepreneurial spirit about the Rady school that permeates throughout. The school is hungry to help students achieve their goals and continue to be recognized for innovation in national & international rankings.”

Taking the Next Step at UC San Diego Rady

For those who feel Rady can help develop their career, Bryant recommends potential students to “visit the schools and find where you feel most comfortable. It is tempting to only look at rankings; however, when you take the time to get to know the schools at a deeper level, you will find that we are all very different in our focus, our connections for employment, our classroom environments, the curricular differences, and the faculty that will be teaching your classes. Get to know the school and several students and alumni to find if you are a true match.”


To learn more about the UC San Diego Rady School of Management’s program offerings, admissions information, and more, head over to the official school website.

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About the Author

Matthew Korman
Matthew Korman

Matthew Korman is the Managing Editor of MetroMBA. Since graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism and political science, Matthew has worked as a music industry writer and promoter, a data analyst, and with numerous academic institutions. His works have appeared in publications such as NPR and Sports Illustrated.

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