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Budgeting for the BRAC

San Diego’s Experiences and Expectations by Patrick kelly, MBA ’13 As the national deficit continues to dominate the headlines, budget cuts seem to be inevitable for the Department of Defense (DoD), which makes up approximately 20 percent of total federal spending. Yet given the continued political wrangling, there remains a wide range of possibilities for the size, scope and timeline of such cutbacks. Among the options available, a reduction in military infrastructure will most likely be included. Accordingly, the White House has recommended forming a Base Closure and Realignment Committee (BRAC) for both 2013 and 2015 to cut excess military…

From Scientist to CEO

An Interview with Dr. Magda Marquet by William Seith, MBA ’13 From lab to market. From scientist to CEO. These terms represent the dreams of the students at the Rady School of Management, and they also describe the life of Dr. Magda Marquet. After receiving her Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering from INSA/University of Toulouse, Marquet embarked on a 25-year career in the biotechnology industry. Among other things, she directed development at Vical Incorporated, patented novel methods for DNA production and, most notably, founded Althea Technologies. She was the winner of the 2005 Regional Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year…

A Different Crop of Businesses Take Root

by Elizabeth Han, MBA ’13 It must seem odd that a basic element of survival passes for a trend, but nutritious food has long been a strange phenomenon in American culture. An object of suspicion, derision and confusion, health food attracts two kinds of criticisms: “It’s not really healthy,” and “It’s not really food.” These charges represent the type of resistance that health-oriented food companies have historically faced in introducing their products. Recently, though, the market has become noticeably more hospitable to businesses promoting nutritious, wholesome food. Lately, consumers’ tastes have skewed toward foods that are perceived as natural, a…

Is Algae Fuel a Viable Alternative to Petroleum?

The Navy flew a jet with algal oil. What can’t I buy it at the pump? by Jeff Sherin, MBA ’12 and Eric Norman, MBA ’12 Gas prices as high as $4.60 per gallon have driven U.S. drivers mad, inspiring consumers to wonder if there might be an easy-to-use, economical alternative to fuel. Could the answer lie in a simple marine plant that is abundant, cheap and carbon neutral, algae? In 2011, both a Navy F/A-18 fighter jet and a Continental Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft flew using biofuel made from algal oil mixed with standard jet fuel. The History of…

Markowitz and Timmermann: On Finance Today

by Michael Krause, MBA ’12 For many investors, this post-financial crisis period seems even more perilous than the meltdown itself, compelling us to re-examine the very basis of the investment strategies the professional money-management industry espouses. As such, in this article, two of the Rady School’s most accomplished professors of finance hashed out some issues related to this topic. Nobel Laureate Harry Markowitz (HM) provides valuable insights on finance and related matters, and Professor Allan Timmermann (AT) offers his views on the global economy as a result of recent instability in Europe. In addition, Timmermann makes some relevant points about…

Banking on the Internet

by Mike Taylor, MBA ’13 Banking-business woes are as high as they’ve ever been. Bonuses at large Wall Street firms are plummeting as Occupy Wall Street protestors give voice to a profound public mistrust of financial institutions. Meanwhile, implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act contributes additional regulatory uncertainty. Amid all the turmoil, the Bank of Internet (BOFI) is thriving. Helmed by CEO Greg Garrabrants, BOFI is on an expansionist tear. The Internet banking firm has not reported a quarterly loss since November 2008. It currently employs more than 200 people, up from 90 in June…

Startup Profile: GoFundMe

Funding for Your Dreams by Frank Wang, MBA ’13 There’s no doubt that the Internet has changed the way in which entrepreneurs pursue opportunities. By going online, anyone can start a business from their computer — whether it’s selling products or providing a service. However, in order to do so, you still need capital to get started. Gofundme.com, a San Diego, California-based technology startup, looks to provide just such a channel to entrepreneurs. The premise of GoFundMe is pretty simple: people have dreams or goals, but they need money to attain them. After creating an account on the GoFundMe.com website,…

Sparking Innovation

by Ben Doctor During his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama called attention to America’s proclivity for innovation: “What we can do, what America does better than anyone, is spark the creativity and imagination of our people.” President Obama praised the visionary leadership of Americans such as Edison and the Wright brothers and of companies such as Google and Facebook. He proclaimed that “in America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives. It’s how we make a living.” Of course, re-sparking a surge in American innovation is easier said than done. An Incubator for Fresh Ideas When President Obama…

Lessons Learned from the Financial Crisis

An interview with Nobel prize-winner Harry Markowitz by Zach Jackson In the early part of the 21st century, growth in unconventional financial activities such as over-the-counter trading, structured products and quantitative strategies were meant to increase market efficiency and cater to investor demand. Inherent in many of these activities were existing academic frameworks applied empirically. Since the second half of 2007, however, we have witnessed unprecedented volatility and subsequent decline in capital markets from excessive leverage and contextual abuse of some of these frameworks. Now that the dust has begun to settle, focus is on recovery and understanding the new…

Entrepreneurs in the Cloud

Technology entrepreneurs explore cloud computing as a startup resource and a scalable business by Steven Craig You’re a budding entrepreneur. You’ve got an idea that will fundamentally change your industry. Although you’ve done your research and discovered your customers, investors won’t look at your business plan. Your product isn’t proven, your bankroll is limited and you have to move fast. As you ponder your dilemma, you fortuitously see a television commercial for Microsoft… “To the Cloud,” it proclaims. But what is the cloud and why should you go there? Further, can you even take your fledgling business to the cloud…