As a relatively young business school that was founded in 2003, the Rady School has made large strides to prove its worth. The school has increasingly been recognized for its focus on entrepreneurship, ranked #16 by the Princeton Review and #24 by BusinessWeek for its startup-supportive culture.
Jay Bryant, director of graduate recruitment and admissions at Rady, says the school’s youth allows for a more modern curriculum that stresses innovation.
“One of the positive aspects about being a relatively young school is that the design of the curriculum and resources offered were created with the modern day, innovative environment that we have here in California,” Bryant says. “Each year there are new additions to the programs, including expanding our international opportunities for students, growing our offerings in the California Institute for Innovation and Development, which operates alongside our academic programs, and regularly changing electives that stay current with topics that are most relevant to the current day business environment.”
The Rady School runs on the quarter system, which means there are six full quarters of study for MBA students. In their first year, Rady MBAs focus primarily on core courses in accounting, finance, marketing, and strategy. First-years also take the first of three courses of Rady’s “Lab to Market” series, a collection of signature courses that teach students how to turn ideas into market opportunities.
“This course is similar to courses typically taught in the second year at other MBA programs,” Bryant says. “However, here at the Rady School, it is brought into the first year to prepare students for the second year in which the electives and the additional two Lab to Market courses take place.”
In their second year, Rady MBAs delve into in-depth courses on topics that are vital to the modern innovation economy: among them, investments, risk management, technology & innovation strategy, and new venture finance. Second-years also finish up the two remaining Lab to Market courses, where they work in teams to develop an idea or prototype into a full pitch.
“Whereas many schools offer incubators as an option outside the required curriculum, the Rady School’s Lab to Market builds the incubator right into the program,” Bryant says. “At graduation students are able to take what they have learned to actually launch the ideas, should they desire. Others will start post-MBA careers with the skills necessary to manage ‘what’s next’ in whichever industry they join.”
The innovation-focused curriculum at Rady has proven to yield positive results.
According to school data, Rady students and alumni have launched 182 operation start-ups to date, 52% of them operating on a global scale. One-third of those start-ups were created as a “Lab to Market” project. Based on a recent survey by Hanover Research, Rady start-ups on average have raised nearly $16 million to date.
“The Rady School was founded with the spirit of innovation and not only teaches students how to harness it, but also uses it to regularly develop new courses and co-curricular activities that prepare our students for their future careers,” Bryant says.
Rady has not published in its employment report its top employers, preferring to list a sample of firms that hired the school’s graduates.