Nobel Chang, MBA '15
Graziadio Spotlight Stories
I have been in the renewable energy industry for nine years, but it was at Pepperdine Graziadio that I was able to build on that experience and build my dream. I co-founded Radiant Sky Energy, an international solar utility-scale development firm. We have developed and sold over $100 million in project assets. The catalyst of Radiant Sky came from a successful 20-megawatt transaction in Mexico. Pepperdine Graziadio taught me the process of building a business and expanding operations into international markets. We now have two offices in the United States and one in Japan and have developed an approximately 617.5MW project pipeline in the United States, Japan, Mexico, and Chile.
It was also at the Graziadio Business School where I met Matt Williams. We were on the same team in a business simulation class where we ran a simulated business against our classmates. This class put us in a room where we quickly learned each other's skills. Matt and I quickly became friends and decided to start a business together. While in business school, we founded Easy Streak, an online platform that allows sports fans to compete in daily Pick’em contests for various prizes. Easy Streak is different from other fantasy sports operators where sports enthusiasts choose their favorite teams to win. Matt and I created Easy Streak in a very short amount of time – in just six months we developed the iOS app, built the database infrastructure, and validated the business model by acquiring our first paid customer within the first week of launching our public beta. Two years later, we have approximately 6,000 users and our longest standing subscriber has been with us for 18 months.
I’ve always wanted to start my own business which is why I pursued my MBA. I attribute the ability to start both Radiant Sky and Easy Streak to my experience and the knowledge I gained at the Graziadio Business School. As part of the Fully Employed MBA program with a concentration in Digital Innovation and Information System, I learned how to grow a business and how to build database architecture. My classes at the Graziadio School gave me the springboard of analytical and technical skills that allowed me to hit the ground running and start my businesses.
I believe that is critical to be properly prepared and that, in order to succeed, you need to have the right toolset to propel yourself. This is exactly what the Graziadio School of Business did for me. In addition to learning strategy, execution, and technical skills, I made incredible connections that helped me immensely in my businesses. Working full time while taking night and weekend classes made the transition into running start-ups rather easily. It prepared me for the crazy lifestyle of being an entrepreneur.
There is an ecosystem of startups around Pepperdine and it was an amazing experience to be immersed in this creative and innovative environment. I still keep in touch with many of my professors and fellow students in hopes that I can pay it forward for the business school. The knowledge and network I gained have helped me succeed in my career. I hope current and future students will have such a rewarding experience as I did.