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The Next Decade at Rady

by Robert Sullivan

July 1, 2003, was the Rady School of Management’s inaugural date – it is our reference point for when our community imagined a possible graduate business school at UC San Diego. “Imagined” is a true descriptor of the times, since our school launched with very few resources and even fewer commitments. Through the remainder of 2003, a clearer picture of our unique business school on the La Jolla “mesa” emerged – with considerable input from prospective supporters and the greater San Diego community. In short, our new business school at UC San Diego would be characterized by the following:

  • Seamless integration across the UC San Diego campus
  • Entrepreneurship as the underpinning
  • Innovation and knowledge as our competitive advantage
  • Reputation among the best in the world

Largely achieved, these attributes remain a guiding light. So we, as a community, should be proud of what has been achieved in a short 10 years. Which then begs the question – what’s next? What demand signals from our community and markets are on the horizon? How should we position our school so as to truly achieve excellence and impact? These are questions that our community now is considering – building on our successes to define a new tomorrow.

Early returns from our visioning processes paint an exciting future. Innovation and impact will still be at our core. Startup and emerging growth companies will remain a focus, and we will more fully embrace how innovation and impact translate into opportunities for established companies. For our students who target these companies we need to adapt and define curricula to develop different skills and knowledge sets. Our curricula must adapt to the needs and interests of our students.

Other needs in our school’s future concern the form of pedagogy – how teaching and learning are conducted. The use of technology in synchronous and asynchronous ways will be critical. Blended, face-to-face, and technology-enabled learning will become a necessity, and consideration of satellite classrooms – the first of which might be in North San Diego County and another near the Mexico border – will make learning opportunities more convenient to prospective students.

In addition to how and where we deliver learning opportunities, our school will focus on several new and exciting areas that students, faculty, and the community will embrace. For example, our school could be the nexus of a UC San Diego innovation ecosystem that would encompass incubators, accelerators, startup funds, mentoring, and much more. A one-stop shop for discovery to market to impact.

Additionally, social innovation, health and wellness, and business analytics are on the horizon – new and defining areas that engage the community and that are consistent with our brand. Innovation and impact are at our core in education and scholarship. And our goal is to have it be a signature for the Rady School. We aspire to be a defining, path-breaking school committed to excellence.

Robert Sullivan is the founding dean of the Rady School of Management. He is an expert on entrepreneurship, knowledge management, and operations management. He is the incoming chair of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the premier accrediting body for business education.