This week marked a departure from business events at Rady. Students stopped thinking about profits and return on investments, and focused their efforts towards community work. As a business student body, it is important to realize that success is not always measured in dollar and cents, but by contribution towards society as well. This notion is embedded deeply to not just the Rady community, but the San Diego community as well.
San Diego is known for its efforts towards being environmentally conscious and socially responsible. This expands to all the local businesses, citizens, and schools. In fact, just recently, UCSD was voted the best college in America by Washington Monthly Magazine. They defined their grading metric around “contribution to the public good,” which included three categories: social mobility, research, and service in which UCSD ranked at the top of each.
That said, Rady, is no stranger to doing public good and it is often encouraged by the administration, faculty, staff, and the students. This past week, Rady’s Leading With Service club led a “Rady Gives Back Initiative” that centered around two events, a beach clean-up at Tourmaline beach and a trivia fundraiser.
Rady recently adopted Tourmaline beach through the Adopt-A-Beach program. On the morning of Sunday, May 20th, over 30 students gathered to clean up the coast of Tourmaline. It was considered a successful event and one that they will continue to do in the future. Leading with Service President Liz Liner was quoted saying, “San Diego has some of the best beaches in the world and we often take them for granted. For it to continue to stay pristine and clean, it takes a communal effort.” When the morning ended, several local surfers and residents thanked the Rady students for a job well done.
Moving forward to Wednesday, May 23rd, the Leading with Service club hosted a “trivia night,” on campus called “Jeopa-RADY.” It was a fundraiser event for The Nicholas Conor Institute (TNCI), which assists with finding a cure for childhood cancer. TNCI was founded by a Rady Alum, Beth Anne Baber, PhD. Dr. Baber founded TNCI in name of her son, Nicholas Conor, who was diagnosed with high-risk
neuroblastoma at 15 months year old. Dr. Baber was a cancer researcher for over 20 years with experience in molecular biology, neurobiology, cell biology, developmental biology, cancer biology, and signal transduction. While at Rady, she paired up with Lab-to-Market Professor Delbert Foit, to create the business plan for TNCI and in just a few years it has become a leader in research towards finding a cure in childhood cancer. Prior to start of trivia night, Dr. Baber delivered a very heart-warming and honest speech about TNCI and her time at Rady. It was a truly inspiring and motivational speech that illustrated what one can do with passion, determination, and focus towards a goal. People at the event were quoted in saying Dr. Baber’s speech was “truly uplifting” and “perhaps the best part of the night.” Regarding Jeopa-RADY, the event assisted with raising funds to help support TNCI. Over 50 Students, faculty, and staff participated and helped raise over $900 for TNCI. LWS President Liz Liner stated, “We’re so glad that the Rady community rallied behind TNCI. Not only does it help with a great cause, but it’s also a fun night for all of us. We’re hoping that this becomes a yearly event for the Leading with Service Club.”
This will not be the end of Rady’s social responsibility efforts. Rady, along with the Leading with Service club, plans to host more activities and events in the future. As Liz remarks, “Giving back and helping the community should be inherent in all of us. As business students, we’re in such a powerful position to effect change and we should be constantly thinking of ways to do so.”
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I continue to be blown away by the entrepreneurial resources in the greater San Diego community. This past Wednesday, I attended an event put on by MIT Enterprise Forum San Diego – it was titled “Tech Fiesta” and featured a competition among some of San Diego’s hottest up-and-coming tech companies. The event took place at the Salk Institute – literally across the street from the Rady School of Management. The student price of admission was only $15 – more than 75% off the general public ticket price of $65. There were so many powerful people in attendance that I can’t even begin to explain it. And in case you couldn’t tell, I’m already looking forward to the next event on June 19th: “Spuds, Pivots, Exits–and Beer: A Retrospective.” Here’s some highlights from the Tech Fiesta..
The first hour was an open networking session, with a classy selection of appetizers and a cash bar. Each of the ten companies that was presenting later that evening had a table set up where you could walk up and talk to the CEOs about their company – very informal. There was open seating for people to get to know one another. Unlike events I’ve been to in the past, where “networking” actually ends up being small clusters of conversation between people that already know each other, the attendees were actually eager to expand their professional circle. You could sit down and ask a stranger, “So, what do you do?” – and 15 minutes later you’d be exchanging laughs, business cards, and personal stories.
Following the networking was the presentations portion of the evening – moderated by David Titus, President & CEO of the SD Venture Group, and founder of Silicon Valley Bank. The CEOs that presented their companies weren’t pitching for capital, they were all rather well-established firms that were competing for audience votes. The awards included “Company I Want to Have a Beer With” & “Coolest. Company. Ever.” Two companies that I found extremely compelling were Mogl (‘Eat Out. Cash In.’) and Pure Forge (‘We Make Metal Tougher.’). It was interesting to see these established CEOs deliver 3-minute pitches – and to hear the expert panelists critique them on various points. It was a real-world application of the tools the Rady curriculum teaches in its Lab to Market series – and Professor Del Foit was in attendance!
After the pitches, audience members were able to vote through a web app. Awards were presented, jokes were made, and the event dispersed back into the foyer for coffee, desserts, and additional networking. I was able to chat up the CEOs that had presented just an hour earlier and ask them follow-up questions on their companies. I can’t make it any clearer – the MITEF events are phenomenal networking opportunities for an MBA student. And the dessert bar was to-die-for (I’m a sucker for a good cookie). I hope this encourages some of you to check out the event in June – I’ll be there for sure.
The 6th Annual California Clean Innovation (CACI) Conference was held this past Friday at UCLA’s Covel Commons. After volunteering to help organize the event over six months ago, it was a pleasure to see the efforts come to fruition. Granted, the majority of the work was completed by MBAs from UCLA’s Anderson School of Business. But Rady students can expect to bear the brunt of the workload next year when the conference returns to San Diego (the location switches back and forth each year between LA and SD). So what is CACI? The website will tell you that it’s a “forum for investors, entrepreneurs, managers, and students to review the current clean technology trends and commercially viable innovations.” That’s a pleasant way of saying it’s a hodgepodge of networking opportunities. I certainly did meet a lot of industry professionals, and learned some neat things in the process. Here’s a run-down of some of the event’s highlights.
1) Paperless Programs. The schedule for the day was posted in several easy-access areas for all to see. And there was a downloadable app for attendees to navigate their way throughout the day. You could create a schedule on you cell phone, select your favorite panel topics, and comment via live streams on Facebook and Twitter. You could even scan through a list of registered attendees.
2) Electric Vehicle News. I’ve recently started to get extremely interested in the potential for EV’s to enter the mainstream market. My favorite panel of the day discussed topics related to EV Infrastructure – speakers included representatives from EVConnect, GM, AeroVironment, and Wheelz. It was interesting to hear them agree that they’re actually looking forward to the end of government subsidiaries. One panelist commented that “there hasn’t been a Clean Technology that didn’t start with incentives. But gradually, you ween yourself off those monies – and that’s when you want the government to get out of the way ASAP.” It seems as though these reps feel the market is ready to be tested. One of the biggest challenges is the need to balance the increase with EV consumers with the progress of the EV infrastructure. If either one gets too far ahead of the other, disaster could ensue.
3) Fast-pitch Competition. I’ve seen Shark Tank on TV, but this was the first time I was a live audience member for an elevator-pitch competition. Five companies had 90 seconds each to present their business plan to a panel of three judges. Of the five presenters, I only felt that one company really had a complete pitch – Greenbotics. I was amazed at the number of presenters who seemed to be so far down the path of product development, but haven’t had a single conversation with a potential consumer. A year ago, I probably would’ve been in the same place. Thanks to my MBA education, I’m able to criticize bad pitches in a 500-word blog. Thanks Rady!