Lifelong Learning

Rady alumni interested in extended learning should watch this space. Executive Education has awarded alumni a standing 25% discount on all Exec Ed courses and MBA Programs has awarded alumni the opportunity to audit current courses. To join an Exec Ed program, contact Assistant Dean Kurt May. To audit a regular course, contact Assistant Dean JoAnne Starr.

The Wire will report upcoming elective offerings and Exec Ed events as early as possible.

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Alumni Spotlight on Lara Branton ’07

Lara Branton

Lara Branton ’07 is a senior research associate at Altegris Investments in La Jolla, CA. In addition to her recent Rady MBA and degree in economics from UC Berkeley, Lara has seven years of experience in hedge funds and investment management. She is also a member of the professional financial organizations 100 Women in Hedge Funds and 85 Broads. At Rady, Lara was a charter member of the investments club while working continuously at Altegris. The Wire caught up with Lara for our first spotlight on 2007 alumni.

Wire: How has Rady impacted our job function and success?
Branton: I ghost write for our company newsletter and I was asked to write on Harry Markowitz’s modern portfolio theory. I was currently enrolled in Harry’s Portfolio Theory course and because of this, I was able to add interesting nuances to my article, such as Harry’s affinity for Descartes. For me, Rady was more than a MBA program. It was truly a resource for my work. What I appreciate most, however, is my professional maturity and growth. Prior to Rady, I had only worked with like-minded people in finance. At school, however, we worked in diverse groups where I learned new conceptual approaches. My way of doing things wasn’t always ideal. Working within groups has given me a broader view in the workplace.

W: What class (or classes) do you retrospectively view as the most valuable?
LB: Statistics and investments were the most valuable classes to me. Many other full-timers had statistics experience but I did not. Now I use statistics frequently at my job and the applied way in which Professor Eppel lectured helped me tremendously. I recently taught a hedge fund portfolio manager how to run a regression. He needed to calculate an alpha figure and then annualize it, which I had learned in Quantitative Analysis and Investments.

W: How have your goals changed since graduation?
LB: My goal has always been to have a good work/life balance. I want to enjoy what I do professionally, while not sacrificing what really matters: my family, personal life and even my dog. Being a full time MBA student and full time employee wasn’t easy, so my immediate goal is to take life down a notch, travel as much as work permits, and enjoy the San Diego summer.

W: Anything you’d like us to know about?
LB: I would like to thank my employer, Altegris Investments, for being so supportive of my schooling. Without their flexibility, I would not have survived the past two years! I also want to say thanks to my Dad, who encouraged me to apply to the MBA program. Thanks Dad!

Personal Lit Finds Lift

Two new sources of wit and wisdom have emerged in the Rady community that are worth your consideration.

The Adventures of Elaine Kub is a personal blog from none other than Elaine Kub in the graduating 2007 class. Launched in September of 2006 on Vox, the blog contains dispatches from Elaine’s curious life in San Diego and more recently, Omaha, Nebraska.

For personal musings on visionaries, dreamers, and the thin line between them, Jim Trauth ’07 recently launched Thought Laggard. The blog has been live for just over a month on TypePad.

If you’re a Rady community member with a blog you’d like to share, please post a comment here with your URL and it will be added to our links on the right.

Alumni Board Meeting Tonight

The Rady Alumni Board will meet tonight at 6:00 pm in room 3S111 of Otterson Hall (the IT Conference room). This is the Board’s first meeting in Otterson as well as the first to include the Full-Time class of 2007 as alumni. This month’s technology update is included below.

Alumni Spotlight on Sergey Sikora ’06

Sergey Sikora ‘06

Sergey Sikora ‘06 is the Senior Director of Business Development at GenWay Biotech. He is currently responsible for corporate strategic development, technology in-licensing, new product out-licensing, negotiations, alliances, and joint ventures. Sergey has a PhD in Molecular Biology from UCLA and BS in Biochemistry cum laude from UCLA.

Wire: How has Rady impacted your job function and success?
Sikora: Only because of the Rady School I was able to transition from a technical to a business position. I came to the Rady School with a specific goal in mind: to move from research into a business leadership position in a biotech company. MBA Career Connections made this possible through one-on-one counseling. I spent a good deal of time with the Career Connections staff working on networking and interviewing skills, and on polishing my resume to reflect my leadership and business skills.

My new Rady resume did attract attention. The school sent out resume books of upcoming graduates, and the CEO of GenWay Biotech saw mine and invited me in for an interview. The Rady School played a crucial role in my obtaining a leadership position at GenWay Biotech. It would have taken many years before I could have made this career move if I had not joined Rady.

W: What class (or classes) do you retrospectively view as most valuable?
SS:Negotiations. I use the skills acquired in this class every day. Through in-licensing negotiation, product out-licensing, and large contracts, the knowledge learned in this class is extremely valuable for my present work. It constitutes probably 80% of success at present. Another important class is Corporate Finance. I use this knowledge when determining the feasibility of new projects and new strategic directions of the company.

W: How have your goals changed since graduation?
SS: I still have the same goal: starting a successful venture-backed company. There is nothing like having your own company, where you make decisions and you are responsible for the results. I believe that seeing new technology or new products brought to market by a new venture and revolutionizing some field or changing a market landscape is the best feeling.

W: Any updates in your family or personal life?
SS: My daughter Michelle already finished the 2nd grade and is getting better and better at tennis. My wife Marina opened her own Dental Office.

Dean Sullivan Launches Student Life Task Force

Dean Robert Sullivan

As part of Rady’s ongoing effort to advance student culture within the program, Dean Sullivan has invited a small group of students to participate in a student life task force. The effort will begin immediately upon completion of the graduating full-time class exit interviews.

In a message this afternoon to both full-time classes, Dean Sullivan stated that, “Otterson Hall gives a far better opportunity to make great things happen in our sense of community.” He went on to specify that the “task force is charged with identifying, evaluating and prioritizing, and then helping to implement specific, concrete initiatives that will impact student life.” The objective, he explained, is to “ensure that these [initiatives] are accomplished quickly and create a difference for the fall, when FT08s return and our next incoming class arrives.”

The campaign does not stop there. In conjunction with the task force, MBA Programs will be hiring an MBA intern from the class of 2008 to work with the team as well as MBA Programs and the Rady Student Board to ensure successful implementation.

Dean Starr Gets Personal

Assistant Dean of MBA Programs JoAnne Starr has set out to interview each graduating student in the full-time ’07 class before they leave campus. By working as a team, Dean Starr and Assistant Director Laurel Nelson have already interviewed or scheduled meetings with roughly 80% of the graduating class. The effort represents almost 60 hours of discussion time (equivalent to two 4 unit classes) and deserves commendation from this community.