Before enrolling at UCLA Anderson, Calvin Portley (’14) spent more than five years working in pharmaceutical sales. He entered business school with an open mind, though. “When I first came to Anderson, I knew that I would be exposed to a range of experiences that could steer me into a different direction from my previous work experience in the pharmaceutical industry.”
Like many of his classmates, Portley didn’t shy away from pursuing countless opportunities and leadership positions. During his two years at Anderson, he served as the president of the Healthcare Business Association, co-president of the African American Students in Management and outreach director for the Entrepreneur Association. “I’ve gained so much from the people I’ve met at Anderson and the groups I’ve been highly involved with,” he says. “However, establishing strategic partnerships with the health care startup community and other schools and centers within UCLA, including the Medical School, Public Health School and the Business of Science Center, were great highlights from my term as president of HBA,” says Portley.
In addition to these responsibilities, he also wanted to be a catalyst for change on campus, so he dedicated time, along with a small team of students, working with the Consortium to help recruit a more diverse student body.
His most memorable accomplishment of b-school, perhaps, was founding RxCUE, an online platform that delivers pharmaceutical discount vouchers directly to doctors and hospitals, and building it through the Business Creation Option process. Portley and his team saw the opportunity to create a partnership between drug manufacturers and doctors to ensure that all vital prescription information from the manufacturer would be included on the doctor’s drug-prescribing software, resulting in improved efficiency and clarity in the treatment-decision process.
Portley and his teammates also pitched RxCUE during the Fast Pitch Competition at the 29th annual Entrepreneur Association Conference, which consisted of 12 teams pitching their business ideas in 90 seconds or less to a panel of judges that weighed presentation quality and investment potential. This year, RxCUE took the grand prize. “Taking first place in the Fast Pitch Competition gave our team great confidence that we had a solid product and business model that we could continue moving forward with post-graduation,” Portley says. After this success, RxCUE went on to take 2nd place and the people’s choice prize at the 33rd annual Knapp Venture Competition.
In addition to the support and mentorship from professors and classmates, Portley credits classes like health care information technology, strategy and managerial decision making to the success of RxCUE, and to landing a job prior to graduation with Beckman Coulter, a company that manufactures biomedical laboratory instruments. “I’ve had such a great experience learning from classmates with differing backgrounds in industries like finance, engineering and marketing,” he said. “But I’m passionate about taking part in a company that changes people’s lives through advances in health care technology. The opportunity with Beckman Coulter certainly is a great boost for my career and stay tuned -- you haven’t heard the last from RxCUE!”