By Tres Watson
One of the great things about being a Rady MBA is not what they tell you through the brochures, the blog posts, or the commercials about why getting a Rady MBA is right; right now. Beyond the instruction, which of course is essential in helping one to understand how to navigate the world of business, the real value of an MBA comes from the communities that are created chatting over dinner, the bonds that are forged in the fire of the shared experience of passing Quant or Econ, or even the friendships that develop from perfect strangers the first day to best of friends by the end of the program. The remarkable thing about Rady, and im sure other MBA programs as well; but specifically remarkable about Rady is our shared sense of community. People use the metaphor of family so often that it carrys little value, but in this we are a very real family. We have our disagreements when someone doesn’t contribute to a project, we have the amazing synergies when it turns out what your Rady buddy does for a living is EXACTLY what you desperately need help on for your own job, and it’s the emotional value we build by going through this transformative experience of being becoming a Rady MBA.
My experience with Rady has been an essential one. In some ways Rady saved my life, gave me a new sense of purpose and created a glue that bonded me to a group of people when I had just left my company and was so lost and afraid what comes next. I took the leap, trusted that this was the right direction and step for me at the time and I was so right. I came to Rady, because my best friends are all Rady Alumni; they graduated several years ago and as I was building my company I was watching my friends grown in their business school thinking to myself ‘I should be in the class, I need help with dealing with my board’. My friends are very wise, they are Rady Alum after all, and when I was at the end of my time with my company, they literally invited me to their commencement party and practically demanded that I attend Rady; weather they were trying to convince Rady on me, or me on Rady, well that’s something I’m not sure we will ever know.
My first quarter I thought for sure they had made a huge mistake, there was no way I belonged here. I don’t understand any of the math they are writing on the board; none of it makes sence. But that’s where the Rady community steps in. As any second year tells any first year almost every time we get a new Cohart, with a knowing smile in their eyes, ‘I know it seems too much, but you will get through it. Trust me. You will get through it’. And well I did get through it, thanks to the always generous help of my cohart and coharts that graduated before me, every single person was willing to take a second and help me remember the fundamentals of math I had forgotten when I took college algebra 10 years ago. It was this kindness, this sence of obligation we have as Radyites when we see someone struggle who is one of our own that makes Rady so distinct. I was so very wrong when I thought this program was going to a sort of competition, and the stragglers get cut; its nothing like that, we are all in this incredible, trying, inspiring experience together and we all will help each other get through. That was my experience anyhow.
Lastly, beyond the strong bonds that tie each of us together, what you don’t really understand until you have gone through Rady, started a company, kind of know what you are doing but have a decision that needs to be made out of your own depth; that the community of academics and faculty are there for us too. As a soon to be Rady Alumni who is in the process of trying to manage a fast growing start up that was born of the Rady Lab to Market program, I can tell you first had the access we have to smart people is bar none. Beyond the student that has expertise with web-building, or the one who is a champ at processing data, each of our ta;ents collectively are so much more valuble when we work together and our people at Rady are always willing to grab a bite and chat. Not only that but most of the people that teach at Rady come from schools with programs much older than ours, and their training, acumen, and willingness to help is bar none. Never once has a member of the faculty told me, or any of the instructors they were too busy to help. Whether its talking to a marketer about my branding plan, or a social media expert about my strategy of making a viral play, or a consummate business expert in how to best manage offices on two sides of the continent most effectively; Rady was always there for me. I only wish I had known when I was building my last company, that it wasn’t either a Rady MBA or build my company; you can do both at the same time, and your each experience will enrich the other ten fold.
As I write this I’m also packing to board a plane later tonight to open up our New York office, our beachhead on the East Coast and have all the counterparts of each office work together for the first time to help blend the culture, and build a better company. That is literally the advice I was given when an exasperated Tres Watson sat down with one of our eminently qualified faculty, and said how do I make this work. He said, dfly your team to New York, have a plan, and bond them to their vision of the company by helping them to articulate it. Genius, maybe obvious to some but it wasn’t to me, that was exatly what I needed to do. So tonight, Broadway here I come. I cannot be more thankful to those who told me Rady was where I needed to be, to those who were here to help when I got here, and to those who are still willing to help me even though they might no longer by my professor. That community that you become part of is what Rady is all about, and I am so glad I found a way to be part of it too.
Ill leave you all with an image I took, and created of an ad that would have appealed to me years ago when I was an overwhelmed entrepreneur.
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Consider it Done Inc.