From Pizza to Patent to Launch: Jorge Hernandez ’12, Founder of Darelicious

Jorge Hernandez, FEMBA ’12 is a class act: alum, father and founder of Darelicious.com. A dare by classmates inspired his company. Classmates and faculty both provided the angel investing to launch it. Jorge’s story showcases opportunities at UCLA, from pizza-to-patent-to-launch.

NOTE: You can support Jorge and use Darelicious.com for dares within your own company. It’s a great platform to build enthusiasm and participation around a good cause.

Dylan: Jorge, tell me about where you were before grad school. I remember meeting you during recruiting, and then of course our kids played together during Leadership Foundations.

Jorge: That’s right! They played chase in Entrepreneur’s Hall.

Before UCLA, in the late summer of 2008, I was at a crossroads in my life. I had been a lifer in the music business. From the time I was 10 until that moment in 2008 everything I did was completely focused on music. I moved to LA in August 1999 in the hopes of becoming the next David Geffen. While I certainly had some successes, by the time 2008 rolled around I had to face some very harsh realities. The music business was in free fall and my own career had hit a lull. I wasn’t ready to call it quits but I also knew I was a prisoner of my own focus and myopia.

I felt trapped in a little box in terms of my thinking and I felt far too complacent and comfortable in my chosen industry. I was already married for 14 years and had a 3-year-old daughter. For their sake as well as my own I needed to find a way to reinvent myself.

20140422 Jorge Hernandez 11Headshot2

Jorge Hernandez UCLA FEMBA ’12. Founder of Darelicious.

Truthfully the idea of going to business school just hit me out of nowhere. I had been an entrepreneur my whole professional life, but had no formal training. Once I started conducting some online research into what it really meant to pursue an MBA, I realized this was exactly the catalyst I needed to find a new way of thinking and a new approach to my professional life.

I visited each area MBA program and it was painfully obvious to me that Anderson had to be my first choice. It really had nothing to do with the presentation or the recruitment effort made by Anderson. When I came to Anderson’s recruiting presentation in December of 2008 I felt really inspired by the caliber of other prospective students. Everyone was accomplished in their area, incredibly bright, passionate about their career and ambitious and positive about their own futures. My father always used to say to me, “Tell me who you associate with and I’ll tell you who you are.” In a nutshell that’s what sold me on Anderson.

Dylan: What was it like when you got to UCLA?

Jorge: Coming to Anderson was a wake up call for me. I was suddenly thrown into the deep end in terms of experiencing new disciplines that I had zero exposure to up until that point. I was completely out of my comfort zone but as overwhelmed as I was, I loved it!

When you arrive at Anderson everyone asks, are you an enhancer, a switcher, or an explorer? I was about as schizophrenic in my own approach as anyone could be. From day to day I bounced back and forth between these three descriptors and the great thing about Anderson was that no matter who I was that day, it felt totally natural and I was supported by the faculty and my classmates.

Dylan: And how did Darelicious come to be?

Jorge: Half way through FEMBA I became very interested in crowdfunding. I wanted to do something in that space but didn’t know what. One Saturday as I was leaving the school with a fellow FEMBA, Sam Fatoohi ’12, we ran into Jeff Chang ’12, another fellow FEMBA, who was just concluding an Entrepreneur Association meeting. As it turned out Jeff was left to clean up all by himself and asked us for help. We happily obliged and recruited a couple of other people. Anyone that has ever attended Anderson knows that when you attend a catered event with pizza the delivery driver always seems to leave way more red pepper than needed.

20140422DareliciousSam stacked a plate full of red pepper packets and said, “Jorge, I dare you to eat all of this red pepper. How much would I have to pay you?” Everyone got a good laugh and someone said, “I’ll give you $20 Jorge!” Then another person said, “yeah, me too!” Then Jeff chimed in too with $20. A short time later we all left for our cars and in the parking garage it hit me, what if I could recreate that same experience but online and what if I could use our platform for some social good?

Dylan: So Darelicious was inspired by too many peppers?

Jorge: That’s right, inspired by peppers, and funded by peers and faculty. Darelicious.com was born that day and by the time I graduated, the platform was well on its way to being built. The company was funded in December 2012 by SJ Investment Company, which is run by Anderson Visiting Assistant Professor Dr. Dan Nathanson, and by an additional angel investor who just happens to be a fellow FEMBA. We went live in January 2014.

Professor Nathanson learned about Darelicious while I was a student in his business plan development class and Darelicious was the idea I used for my final project. Professor Nathanson also pointed out that I had some IP [Intellectual Property] going here and encouraged me to apply for a patent. Following his advice, we successfully got our patent.

Professor Nathanson also did a dare, and sacrificed his mustache of 40 years in the process, as you’ll see in this video.

Dylan: I’m impressed. Lots of professors will review a business plan. Fewer will put money into the idea, and almost none will shave a mustache they’ve had for 40 years!

Jorge: Yes, he is a great guy. His dare got written up in the LA Business Journal and we raised money for Challenge For Charity (C4C).  20130930 LA Biz Journal Article Dan Nathanson.

As coincidence would have it, the classroom where I attended Professor Nathanson’s class was the same classroom where the inspiration for Darelicious was born with my fellow FEMBAs, right at the conclusion of an Entrepreneur Association meeting.

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Visiting Assistant Professor Dr. Dan Nathanson is an entrepreneur, executive, investor, consultant and educator. He has a 25-year record of success. He “Dared” and backed Jorge Hernandez and Darelicious.

As of this writing Darelicious just opened its first office on West Hollywood right on the Sunset strip and hired its first employee. We try to keep a real spirit of fun and that is reflected in our job titles. My business card reads “Jorge Hernandez, Original Daredevil,” and my employee’s title is “Daredevil #1.” Each successive employee regardless of function and importance will carry a title that reflects which number employee s/he is. I’m never far from the music business. Darelicious recruits dare campaigns from the music business and I still actively manage one music client. It’s something that is in my blood and I don’t think I can ever leave music alone.

Dylan: Your email signature says, “Always be daring!” Tell me more about that.

Jorge: My time at Anderson was completely transformative. I approach everything, even familiar functions and situations, with a whole new perspective. By the time I graduated from Anderson I was the proud father of a second daughter and juggling school, family, and work was certainly a challenge, but if making a change and a real investment in your future is important to you as it was for me, I believe you’ll move mountains if that’s what it takes to make it happen. Always be daring!

Dylan: I love it! Nothing beats boldness and you have plenty. As always, we are going to want to hear updates from you!

Jorge: Happy to keep you updated. I’ll leave your readers with one more video. This was from a few months ago, when I was being interviewed on Open Source, on a new network called Fusion which is owned by ABC and Univision. If I remember right, I mentioned UCLA at least three times!

Dylan: Thanks Jorge. :-)

http://fusion.net/Open_Source_with_Leon_Krauze/video/crowdfund-double-dog-dare-363841

20140422 Jorge Hernandez 11 on Open Source

Jorge Hernandez, UCLA FEMBA 2012 and Founder of Darelicious, being interviewed on Open Source with Leon Krauze.

LA-to-Edinburgh-to-SF-to-Co-Founder: Jeff Chang ’12, MD

20140418 Jeff Chang 2012 SuperMan

Jeff Chang, MD and FEMBA 2012. Affectionately known by Dylan as SuperMan.

I love admitting people to UCLA who are WAY more intelligent than me–of course, that happens a lot–but when I read the application of Jeff Chang, MD, FEMBA 2012, I literally went to the Faculty Committee and said, “I’m not qualified to evaluate this guy! He successfully skipped high school, went straight to college, and then on to medical school. He’s a working radiologist who is ready for UCLA FEMBA, but he’ll still be the youngest guy in his class. Help!” (To be accurate, there were one or two younger classmates his year; Jeff was a ripe old 25 when he started FEMBA.)

Fortunately, our Faculty Committee had no qualms whatsoever. Jeff was admitted and flourished here. He set out to be one of the most active FEMBAs, ultimately joining ALL 17 professional clubs, plus Anderson Toastmasters when it was founded and unofficially the Anderson Investment Association when it spun of from IFA. Why?

“I joined all the professional clubs mainly to put together the FEMBA-friendly calendar, since that was the only reliable way to keep track of all the events going on & convince others to join clubs. I think the combo-calendar died after I left…maybe it was too laborious, but I know we increased participation.”

During school he was on a blended MBA/FEMBA team that won first place in a biotech case competition at Duke.

Terrence Allotta (FEMBA 2014), Jack Zhu (FEMBA 2012), Jeff Chang (FEMBA 2012), Alexey Aleshin (MD/MBA 2012), Mike Tsai (MBA 2012)

1st place winners: Terrence Allotta (FEMBA 2014), Jack Zhu (FEMBA 2012), Jeff Chang M.D. (FEMBA 2012), Alexey Aleshin (MD/MBA 2012), Mike Tsai (MBA 2012).

I love following Jeff post-FEMBA. Jeff is forever assisting admissions, speaking on panels and interviewing even now as an alum. I thought this would be a great inspirational story to share and Jeff happily provided the details.

Dylan: Thanks Jeff for replying and letting me blog about you. There’s so much, that I’m not sure how to weave it all together. Maybe we should go chronologically, to help people see what you’ve been up to the last 21 months since graduation.

Jeff: Great. Let me see how I can describe it.

Post-FEMBA:

Late 2012 – early 2013 (LA & travel) — Explored (trying to figure out what to do, and how the world works) … checked out ChefConf & AWS Summit in SF, the Clean Water & Smart Cities Global Congress in Dublin, SXSW & SXSWEdu in Austin, machine learning conference in Espoo, NEXT13 startup conference in Berlin, etc.

Summer 2013 (SF)Dev Bootcamp in SF, to learn to program (Ruby on Rails, JavaScript, various frameworks, TDD and writing clean code, plus engineering empathy)

Fall 2013 (Edinburgh, Scotland) — Started pursuing an MSc in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Edinburgh (Learning from Data specialism), with some work in startup infrastructure.

(Weekend trips – Oslo, Glasgow) … Helped with the weekend launch of two new startups — Surfer mobile ad delivery lockscreen app (at Startup Weekend Oslo), and Cloudlet / ION 14 — a Docker / lightweight Linux container company for abstracting startup infrastructure (at Startup Weekend Glasgow).

(Edinburgh & London) … Also helped build Give in Kind, a nonprofit web app for the Edinburgh Cyrenians (one of the most innovative charitable foundations in the UK) — a just-in-time donations system.  And an education infrastructure web app for South Sudan on behalf of UNICEF (Barclays hackathon in London — though we lost pretty badly … the winning team actually built the same app, but slightly better, and had an awesome presenter).

end of 2013 – early 2014 (SF) — Dropped out of U. Edinburgh to help launch a wearable tech startup (Mobius Labs) — a wristband that tracks your emotions from physiological signals … applied to incubators, built the prototype, moved to SF to get it all started.

Feb 2014 — after a stressful month, a couple “so-close” rejections from hardware incubators (“you were among the top three startups we rejected, so we wanted to give you a call”), and various team issues, we break up the Mobius team — two of us start doing research into different hardware & software ideas for startups.

Mar 2014 – I get recruited to be a co-founder at Doblet. We’re making a portable and smart battery charger that ensures your smartphone has access to charging, right when you most need it.

Dylan: Thanks Jeff. I can’t wait to hear what happens next with Doblet. We’ll have to do a follow up story.

Jeff: Sounds great. On another note, bought a 1-BR condo in SoMa this past month — it’s really nice, and awesome location.  :-)  Feel free to visit whenever you happen to be in the neighborhood!

Dylan: Will do!

Post Script: Jeff is one more great example of the amazing human beings who walk the hallways of UCLA. In addition to the bridge-building Jeff catalyzed with increased FEMBA involvement in ASA student clubs, there is also an MD/Healthcare footprint since he was here. I can’t for sure claim a causal relationship, but the current FEMBA student body has 8 MDs, 3 Dentists, an Optometrist and numerous nurses, administrators and health care consultants. We could start a FEMBA hospital!

 

Giving back: Rajesh Jha ’11 and Kambiz Aghili ’11

Easton Technology Leadership is hosting a “Business of Technology Panel” today and two of the three panelists are FEMBA alumni!

20140417 Rajesh Jha 11

Rajesh Jha, FEMBA 2011. Happened to run into Rajesh in the coffee shop today, so I jumped into listening to his panel for Easton Technology Leadership.

Rajesh Jha ’11, Cofounder & CEO at KinderTouch Inc. and Kambiz Aghili ’11, PhD, are both FEMBA alumni here on campus today generously giving their time to speak to about 40 Easton Technology Leadership participants.

20140417 Rajesh Jha and Kambiz Aghili on panel for Easton Tech Leadership

Rajesh Jha ’11, Kambiz Aghili ’11 and Farbod Hagigi, panelists and Angela Hsiao MBA 2014, moderator.

I’ve been following Rajesh since he was a student founding his first company. He now has two companies going and is putting in all the effort to be a successful entrepreneur.

2014 Kambiz Aghili 2011

Kambiz Aghili, FEMBA 2011, PhD

Kambiz came to UCLA Anderson FEMBA after completing his PhD and has been consulting and working and giving back to Anderson ever since.

Ryan Gutterson ’14: The Most Interesting TED Talk in the World

I love this guy! Ryan Gutterson, I’m sorry, but you are never allowed to graduate, you oh Most Interesting MBA in the World.

20140414 Ryan Gutterson at TED 2014 from Daily Bruin

Ryan Gutterson ’14 (center), one of the student speakers at the third annual TED Talk at UCLA. (Courtesy of TEDanderson)

As reported in the Daily Bruin by Fiona Kirby

UCLA Anderson hosted its third TED Talks on-campus last week. One of the Thursday evening presenters was Ryan Gutterson, FEMBA 2014.

Ryan Gutterson said he noticed the negative repercussions for children when adult figures in their lives overprotect them during play.

In addition to his personal experience, an article about overprotected children in Atlantic Monthly prompted Gutterson to focus his talk on child development and the positive impact exposure to moderate risks can have on kids’ life skills.

Gutterson said he thinks adult figures overreacting or overprotecting children could be detrimental to their growth.

He opened his talk with an anecdote about working in a school and seeing a teacher bench a boy during recess. When he asked why, the teacher said it was because the boy was running. After an accident in which two girls ran into each other during recess and one dislocated her jaw, running had not been allowed at the school.

He said he thinks mindsets similar to the teacher’s do not help children learn the skills needed to develop an entrepreneurial spirit, such as outside-the-box thinking, which comes from doses of independence.

“They get that (entrepreneurial spirit) by being taught skills and then getting out there and being encouraged to use them,” he said.

He said while parent involvement in their children’s lives is incredibly important, he was concerned about inhibiting kids from being able to do what they are capable of doing.

He said he has great admiration for parents and the pressure they are under in such a crucial role. Still, he said a parents’ instinct to be afraid for their child can be inhibiting.

“To me, that’s the kind of involvement that makes the most sense: teaching, and then backing off a little bit, as opposed to having control and steering your kid toward what you think makes them successful or what you think they need,” he said.

And, if you really want to see Ryan exercise his acting chops, you have to watch his prize-winning, 60-second, UCLA Anderson Commercial Challenge entry below:

From Biopsychology to J.P. Morgan: Nick Pavlis ’11

I love writing about people who make big jumps while in FEMBA, and Nick Pavlis, FEMBA 2011, made quite a leap. Nick came to UCLA with one great career, then created another.

20140410 Nicholas Pavlis FEMBA 2011

Graduating from Michigan with a BS in Biopsychology and Cognitive Science, Nick Pavlis had a successful career with Wyeth when he entered UCLA FEMBA. One career breakthrough later, he’s now launched an entirely new career chapter as a Banker with J.P. Morgan Private Bank in Los Angeles.

In 2008, Nick entered FEMBA working for Wyeth, a major pharmaceutical company, as a territory manager. He was content with his career, but as school kicked in he soon realized a calling for private banking. Utilizing the resources offered by UCLA Anderson, he managed a swift transition into the financial services industry.

Through his finance courses, Eric Sussman, Hanno Lustig (also mentioned in Ryan Hughes’ story) and Mark Grinblatt are among his favorite professors, leveraging the advice of FEMBA career coaches Susan Cowell and Gordon Hill, and attending on-campus recruiting events focused on investment management, Nick landed a coveted Summer Associate internship with Goldman Sachs.

Associate Dean Gonzalo Freixes supported Nick in his efforts to participate in the SMR Program with EMBA students, and Nick found this experience to be incredibly rewarding working with a small, yet highly profitable maker of iPhone/Android accessories in Burbank. During this six month process, Nick continued interviewing and vetting Wall Street firms–and was fortunate to land a position in the Global MBA Associate Class of 2011 with Credit Suisse Private Bank.

Nick was one of 28 newly minted MBA grads in the world to go through this program and spent an entire month at headquarters in Zurich. After two successful years working with a six person team that managed over $1B of assets of sophisticated West Coast families, Nick joined the Private Bank at J.P. Morgan, based in Century City. In his current role as a private banker with J.P. Morgan, Nick works with owners of closely held businesses and corporate executives across several areas including: banking, credit, investments and wealth planning.

Nicholas lives in the South Bay with his wife Janelle and twin daughters, Melina and Alexis and you may run into him at an upcoming UCLA Anderson recruiting or volunteer event. Last month, he helped us at our Redondo Beach recruiting lunch! Maureen and Christy appreciated his support.

Valerie Sun ’13: saving lives through bone marrow transplants

We all matter. We all make a difference. Valerie Sun’s story makes this point as well as any.

Valerie Sun, ’13, Director, Regional IPA Operations at HealthCare Partners, and a John Wooden Fellowship Recipient in 2011, was diagnosed with a life threatening blood disease called aplastic anemia as a child. She spent seven years living on blood and platelet transfusions, waiting and hoping for a life-saving marrow match. At the age of 17, Valerie received a bone marrow transplant courtesy of a generous stranger in Michigan.

20140327 Valerie Sun 13 and Julie

Valerie Sun ’13, and Julie, her bone marrow donor.

Almost 15 years later, Valerie has experienced many challenges and setbacks since the transplant, but is happy and thriving in her new career in healthcare as Director, Regional Operations for HealthCare Partners IPAs (Independent Physician Associations) in Orange County, CA.

20140327 Iman Movahed EMBA 2010 and Granaz Ziaghazvini FEMBA 2013 bone marrow drive

It’s easy! Iman Movahed EMBA 2010 and Granaz Ziaghazvini FEMBA 2013, at Valerie’s Bone Marrow Drive. Iman and Granaz also happen to be engaged, but that is a story for another day.

Valerie’s passion for helping patients who need marrow transplants has only grown over the years. She serves on the Patient Services Advisory Group for the National Marrow Donor Program and strives to tap into all networks and resources available to improve her ability to support these causes. In her last year of FEMBA and with the help of fellow FEMBAs, faculty, and alumni, she organized a bone marrow registration drive at UCLA Anderson.

20140327 Brian Sterz 14 and Brandon Flora 14 bone marrow-2

Brian Sterz ’14 and Brandon Flora ’14. In Entrepreneur’s Hall, swabbing for the Bone Marrow Drive.

With any drive, the goal is to register eligible healthy donors between the ages of 18 and 44. Adding potential donors to the Be The Match registry increases the odds of patients finding a life-saving match. Valerie’s friend, Krissy Kobata, was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome in 2008 and is still searching for her perfect match. The 2013 drive at Anderson had a huge turnout, registering over 80 students and faculty in person, and another 20 online. Over the 2013 summer, Valerie hosted another drive at FEMBAPalooza and had another 30 people register.

July 14, 2013Fembapalooza-76-2 - Copy

The Bone Marrow Drive at FEMBApalooza 2, summer 2013, garnered another 30 potential matches.

 

20140327 May Huang 15

Passing the torch. May Huang ’15 has taken up keeping the Bone Marrow Drive going at UCLA Anderson. Thanks May!

After the drive last year, Valerie asked for help to continue this drive on a yearly basis at Anderson. May Huang, ’15, Financial Analyst at Paramount Farms, graciously stepped up to the task and has been a superstar – organizing the drive that is occurring on Sat, April 5th 2014, on Alumni Plaza.

I asked May to tell me about her motivation and she wrote me:

Hi Dylan,

So here’s a quick summary on why raising awareness and getting people to register is important to me. Cancer runs in my family. My maternal grandfather passed away when he was 30, so my mother grew up without a father. My grandfather passed away when my mom was only a year old. My mother’s oldest sister passed away at 49 after battling thyroid cancer for over 20 years. My maternal grandmother passed away from uterine cancer. 

In addition, one of my best friends (who was also my college roommate) was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s Disease four months after graduating from college. She was only 22 at the time. After battling cancer for three straight years and experimenting with every type of treatment, her doctors told her she had two years left to live. She is now in remission (after four and a half years of battling the disease). Her five year remission anniversary is this coming July. Another one of my really good high school friends was recently diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s Disease. (What is up my friends and Hodgkin’s Disease??) He is currently going through chemotherapy and is having a very difficult time dealing with the illness and the side effects of treatment. To date, I’ve had FOUR close friends who have been hit with cancer. Thankfully, three out of the four are in remission.

Cancer is prevalent in my family and social circle. For this reason, I feel the need to get as many people registered as possible as I am dedicated to saving as many lives as possible. 

Thank you again for blogging about our Bone Marrow Drive efforts.

See you Saturday.

May

Thank you Valerie. Thank you May.  You are making a difference.

How You Can Help

  • Stop by Alumni Plaza (all are welcome!) from 11-2 on Sat, April 5th 2014, to register. It only takes 10 minutes and consists of filling out some paperwork and providing a cheek swab sample.
  • Register online by going to www.marrow.org  and sending away for a registration kit.
  • Get educated! Chances of ever getting called for a match are very slim, but donation is not as scary as most people think. In fact, 70% of the time marrow is donated in a process similar to donating platelets. Read all about it: http://bethematch.org/
  • Spread the word! Here is the Facebook event page

Daily Bruin article on Valerie Sun

Valerie Sun in her own words: 8 Lessons on Bringing Survivorship to the Workplace Blogpost

Ryan Hughes ’14: Founder of Bull Oak Capital, Early Graduate, Father and Husband

This is great, one good story leading to another. Ryan Hughes ’14 was helping write the Doug Longo ’14 Tribute two weeks ago when he updated me on his latest development– the launching of Bull Oak Capital. Ryan’s inspiring story is one of taking full advantage of the opportunity of Anderson.

20140326 Ryan Hughes 14 Bull Oak Capital LOGO.jpg

Bull Oak Capital, launched by UCLA FEMBA Ryan Hughes ’14, in March of 2014.

Ryan:  Dylan, I wanted to take you up on your offer to blog about students. I have a pretty great FEMBA story and it should inspire some hopeful and current students.

Dylan:  I love it. It would be great to write about your experience. Let’s go.

Ryan: OK. Well, I recently completed my final quarter as a FEMBA student and I just launched Bull Oak Capital (as in, 2 days ago). Within a 2 week period, I finished my MBA, moved to San Diego, and launched the firm. I am married and we have 2 kids, so this is no easy task. But so far so good!

Dylan: Starting your own firm? Fantastic! Tell me about the back story. How’d this happen?

Ryan: We’d have to start with quitting my job to accept an internship.

When I started at Anderson, I quickly realized that there were a lot of opportunities available. The first opportunity I saw was the Cornell stock-pitch competition. This is a major global competition and there were plenty of UCLA students who wanted to go. As a result, Anderson held an internal competition to see who would represent the school. I put together a team and we actually did very well and won the competition. The prize was a guaranteed 2nd round interview for a summer internship at Wedbush Equity Research. I interviewed and was offered a 10-week summer internship. At the time, I was working at Charles Schwab so I had to make the difficult decision whether or not to quit my job to accept the internship. My wife was staying home taking care of our two kids, who were 8-months old and 3 years old at the time. It was a very precarious situation. However, opportunities like this do not come often and the main reason why I decided to attend Anderson was to have the chance to see opportunities such as this.

20140326 Ryan Hughes 14 Bull Oak Capital

Ryan Hughes ’14: Founder, Father, Friend.

I took the internship and as it was nearing, a position opened up and I was offered a full-time Associate job, effective immediately. This would’ve been a great post-MBA job. In fact, there were more than a few Anderson alumni there! However, the position would require at least 70 hours per week, not to mention longer hours during company quarterly earnings. While it was a great experience, it wasn’t worth the sacrifice. It would’ve pulled too much time away from my family and from the FEMBA experience. So, I respectfully declined the offer and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

 

 

Dylan: So you’ve quit your job. You’ve done an internship, but respectfully declined a full-time offer. You’re making bold choices. What happened next?

Ryan: Bold? Crazy? Maybe a little of both. I’d call the next chapter From Mr.-Corporate-Father to Stay-At-Home-Dad-and-Student.

After the internship, my wife was lucky enough to return to her previous job. Therefore, I transitioned from corporate-father to stay-at-home father. I embraced becoming a SAHMBA (Stay-At-Home MBA) student and got to spend 18 quality months with my kids. This is very different from being a FUMBA (Fully-Unemployed MBA) student as I spent most of my time juggling the responsibilities of taking care of my kids and studying for class. It’s not easy studying for a final while your kids are crying or you are changing diaper. Believe me, this was much more difficult than I anticipated. Much respect to the stay-at-home mothers.

Staying at home had its benefits. It allowed me to take a step back and figure out exactly what I wanted to do with my life. There was no question in my mind that I wanted to stay in finance and in investments. But at the time, I had to do some soul-searching before I figured out that I wanted to start my own investment management firm. I needed to strengthen my quantitative finance skills if I was going to make this happen.

I accelerated my courses by enrolling in ASAM (Anderson Student Asset Management) and by engaging in a research project under Professor Hanno Lustig, who teaches Security Analysis and Investment Management and is the director of the Masters of Financial Engineering program. I also worked with several other students and faculty members, including Assistant Professor Jason Hsu the CIO at Research Affiliates.This additional course load allowed me to graduate early and get a jump start on Bull Oak Capital.

20140326 Hanno Lustig160

UCLA Anderson Finance Professor Hanno Lustig

20140326 Asst Adjunct Professor Jason Hsu_160

Asst. Professor Jason Hsu also supported Ryan Hughes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While doing all of this, I was also in GAP [The Global Access Program, FEMBA's Master's Thesis], which, in itself is a lot of work. Our team performed extremely well and I’m happy to say that I will be back next year mentoring the 2015s as a GAP Fellow! By the way, I don’t recommend anybody undertaking a research project of this size while in GAP. If you don’t sleep at night, you might be able to find enough time. I was honestly only able to achieve all of this by sacrificing an obscene amount of sleep. Additionally, my wife is the unsung hero in all of this. She picked up a lot of the slack, which made all of this possible.

Dylan: Thanks for the reality check. I want our readers to see the effort you put into creating your firm. And you created a new acronym, SAHMBA. I love it. So this gets us to Bull Oak Capital?

Ryan: Yes. The final chapter is The Creation of Bull Oak Capital

After I completed the research project and developed the investment strategy, which took about a year, the results were too good not to move forward. Professor Lustig highly suggested that I write a whitepaper and publish my results. After 17 revisions of the whitepaper and feedback from fellow students and friends, I posted it on my website, open to the world to see www.bulloakcapital.com/investment-strategy/whitepaper.

I just officially launched Bull Oak Capital this month. The firm is a registered Investment Adviser that provides professional investment advice for professionals, retirees, and institutional clients. I recommend that if anybody is interested, check out my website and learn more about the strategy: www.bulloakcapital.com. We are obviously brand new and I am open to all different types of clients. So far, the Anderson community has been very supportive. In fact, I have quite a number of students and even a professor who said they are interested in investing!

Dylan: Thank you for the story Ryan. You put in the effort and you’re taking the risk. You are going to inspire more than a few people. Let’s plan on a table for you at FEMBApalooza, in the Zone. Will you keep us posted going forward?

Ryan:  Will do!

 

Post Script: I’d like to thank Ryan, for the great effort he’s put into FEMBA and into creating Bull Oak Capital, without which we’d have no story.

I’d also like to thank my co-author, my son Jackson, on his spring break with me at UCLA yesterday at the Kerckhoff coffee house. He patiently built Legos while Daddy blogged.He actually had a blast, in spite of his expression in the photo. Hot chocolate and Legos, what could be better?

20140326 Dylan and J at Kerckhoff coffee

Spring Break at Daddy’s work, wearing my “Dad…not another photo face.”

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Established 1975, Kerckhoff Coffee house. New FEMBAs, Kerckhoff is the closest ice cream to UCLA Anderson; good to know.  Baskin-Robbins “31″ is enshrined in stained glass as you can see.