9 Things We’re Thankful for This Year
Happy Holidays from the UC Davis Graduate School of Management

The holidays are a good time to reflect on the support we have received and give thanks for your help in advancing management education at UC Davis.

With a inspirational faculty, diverse and entrepreneurial students, a dedicated professional staff, and a strong and growing network of alumni, supporters and corporate partners, we have much to celebrate.

Although by no means comprehensive, this short list highlights what we’re especially thankful for…

1. Our Largest Graduating Class

At our 33rd commencement ceremony in June, our largest class ever—223 new alumni—earned their graduate business degrees:  176 MBA and 47 Master of Professional Accountancy candidates. Emphasizing their responsibilities and roles as corporate leaders, keynote speaker Nancy Pfund, founder and managing partner of DBL Investors, urged the Class of 2015 to be eco-innovators and harness the power of business to do good.

2. Record Career Placement for Class of 2015

Our new graduates are enjoying excellent career opportunities.

Within three months of graduation, 94 percent of our Full-Time MBA Class of 2015 accepted a position. Their average total compensation was $112,202—a record and a 14 percent increase over last year’s class. We’re delighted to see this substantial rise in compensation for this year’s class.
View our full 2015 MBA Placement Report >

100 percent of our U.S. eligible Master of Professional Accountancy graduates had career offers within three months of graduation. Many accepted positions at the Big Four international accounting firms.

3. Faculty Blazing New Trails

Throughout the year, faculty have been actively challenging the status quo, pioneering new business practices and contributing research that changes the way we do business—and earning national and international recognition for their work. Most recently, Distinguished Professor Chih-Ling Tsai was named a fellow in the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Thought leaders like Professor Andrew Hargadon, the Charles J. Soderquist Chair in Entrepreneurship and faculty director of the Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, are breaking new ground and urging business leaders to rethink their strategies. Professor Hargadon’s new book, Sustainable Innovation: Build Your Company’s Capacity to Change the World, explains why developing financially viable products that support a healthy environment and communities is so difficult, and highlights examples that include Mercedes Benz, IDEO and Google. Read more >

4.  Advancing Women in Business Leadership

In November, we released our 11th annual UC Davis Study of California Women Business Leaders. The study found there is still only one woman for every seven men in the highest-paid executive and director positions at the 400 largest firms in corporate California. Although there has been incremental progress, the glass ceiling is largely still intact in the Golden State.

Word of our findings spread quickly thanks to international, national and regional media coverage in Bloomberg News, Fortune, Reuters, New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post and several leading Silicon Valley blogs. Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi and Dean Ann Huff Stevens co-authored an op-ed in The Sacramento Bee calling on business leaders to take a hard look at the diversity of perspectives, backgrounds and experience on their teams. View video, study and more >

5.  Executives and Entrepreneurs Who Inspire Us

We have been fortunate this year to host many distinguished and guest speakers who have shared their wisdom and experiences from the front lines of business. Capacity audiences recently enjoyed:

  • Kirsten Saenz Tobey, co-founder and chief impact officer of Revolution Foods, who explained how they grew their b-school idea to $100+ million in annual revenue serving more than 1.5 million healthy meals per week to students in 25 U.S. cities. View video >
  • Silicon Valley executive and NBA Sacramento Kings Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé, who shared his five technological, scientific, economic and demographic forces that will shape the future of Western Civilization. View video >

6. Preparing Entrepreneurs to Launch their Big Ideas

Through our Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, we are moving great ideas forward by building the networks that start-ups need to thrive. We’re bringing together researchers in science and engineering with faculty, students, entrepreneurs, investors and corporate leaders to support technology transfer and commercialization. Nearly 300 attended the institute’s entrepreneurship academies and programs this year, including a new partnership with the Lawrence Livermore and Sandia National Laboratories.

In May, the annual Big Bang! Business Competition (pictured) awarded nearly $40,000 in seed funding to new UC Davis companies, and Co-founder Matt Flannery recently kicked off this year’s contest. Over the past decade, more than 50 ventures have launched or been supported by the institute, and startups have raised more than $100 million. Read more >

7. Student Consulting Projects with IMPACT

Our Full-Time MBA student teams continue to dig in and develop winning solutions for corporate sponsors. In the anchor course of our Integrated Management Project and Articulation and Critical Thinking (IMPACT) curriculum, students present recommendations that help Fortune 500 and startups make critical strategic and operational decisions. MBA team consulting projects this year included:

  • HM.CLAUSE:  Market analysis for greenhouse agriculture in the NAFTA region.

  • PG&E:  Business and data analytics enterprise strategy development.

  • Mars, Inc.:  Route-to-market analysis for packaged food products in emerging markets.

  • Broadcom:  Product strategy for video entertainment platform and market assessment for over-the-top and 4K video markets.

More projects for corporate sponsors are on the way. Next year, the IMP projects will anchor the core curriculum for our Part-Time MBA students in Sacramento and the Bay Area.
Learn more about proposing a project >

8. Innovative New Programs on the Horizon

This is a pivotal time for the School as we look to expand our executive education and degree programs to stay ahead of the curve in management education.

We are excited about our proposal—now under review—for a new, one-year Master of Science in Business Analytics program that would meet the accelerating demand across industry to mine Big Data to make better informed decisions. We are thankful to Professors Hemant Bhargava and Prasad Naik for spearheading this proposed degree program. Read more >

We have also proposed an undergraduate business major and minors. Our forward-looking Bachelor of Science in Business Administration would draw on the world-renowned strengths and courses offered by over 15 UC Davis departments. We have invited broad participation to tap the expertise across campus to develop, monitor and deliver a curriculum that has been informed by input from alumni, industry leaders, faculty experts and recruiters. Our proposal is under review by the UC Davis Academic Senate.

In April, we will launch a series of new Executive Education short courses taught by full-time faculty. These one- and two-day courses will be offered in Davis and San Ramon and will focus on advanced topics in marketing, finance, leadership, organizational behavior, pitching creative ideas and technology management. Look for more details coming soon.

9. Support Bringing Our Endowment to Over $24 Million

We extend a special thank you to our generous donors who supported a variety of priority initiatives during the 2014-2015 fiscal year. Together, 1,068 donors gave more than $1.3 million of support.

Alumni giving surpassed $200,000 for the second consecutive year, and a spirited campaign by our 2015 graduating classes joined by alumni, staff, faculty and friends pushed the student program endowment past the $1 million mark. We greatly appreciate our Business Partners and corporate friends that contributed nearly $200,000.

Over the past three years, the School’s endowed funds have increased from $17.3 million to $24.5 million, nearly a 30 percent rise in value. Read more fundraising highlights >