A decade ago, Associate Professor of Finance Rama Malladi decided to make a change, leaving a successful career as a financial analyst and consultant for global corporations to teach the next generation of business leaders.
He traces his decision to his upbringing, says Malladi. “My father was a school principal for more than 35 years, so I grew up in a teaching environment. When I was younger, though, that was the last area I wanted to be in. Rather than pursue the teaching path, I went into industry.”
For more than 20 years, Malladi worked or consulted for major companies and start-ups in the financial, health care, technology, telecommunication, and transportation industries. Having attained a level of financial security, Malladi took a step back and reassessed his goals. “After my years in the industry across three continents, I had the financial resources to focus on what I really wanted to do. I finally narrowed down my options on getting a terminal degree in my finance academic discipline and teaching—what I call a noble profession.”
Malladi’s work in support of the College of Business Administration and Public Policy (CBAPP), mentorship of CBAPP students, and efforts in securing important research grants have earned him the 2022 Excellence in Service Award. The honor recognizes faculty contributions to university governance and development and acknowledges that service and partnership are an essential component of CSUDH’s mission.
Malladi began teaching at CSUDH as an adjunct faculty member in 2012. After earning his PhD in finance from EDHEC Business School, a Grandes École in France, Malladi accepted an associate professor position at CSUDH on a permanent basis in 2017, teaching corporate finance, investments, and financial modeling classes.
“This is the place that I first started teaching, and it’s been love at first sight,” he says. “There is such great potential here for social impact as well as personal satisfaction.”
Malladi also holds an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and a Master of Technology in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras in India. He also holds a Bachelor of Technology in Electrical and Electronics Engineering with a first-class distinction. Malladi has served in several leadership positions, including the President & Board of Governor of CFA Society Los Angeles. Professionally, he earned Chartered Financial Analyst, Chartered Alternative Investments Analyst, Financial Risk Manager, and Project Management Professional designations.
His support of CBAPP and its mission takes many forms. Malladi was instrumental in helping to secure the largest donation by a living alum to CSUDH in the university’s history—a $700,000 pledge from CBAPP graduate Doug Le Bon (BS ’76, MBA ’79), senior managing director of Pathway Capital Management.
In collaboration with the Alumni Relations office, Malladi recorded a video “sales pitch” that they could show to potential donors. “Because of my industry background, I could appeal directly to the alumni in a language they understood,” says Malladi. “I explained what the money would be used for and why it was necessary, and it resonated with some donors.”
Le Bon pledged $500,000 to CBAPP for scholarships, and another $200,000 to purchase several Bloomberg Terminals, software systems that enable users to monitor and analyze financial market data.
“Access to education is one of the hallmarks of CSUDH,” says Malladi. “Bloomberg Terminals provide access to rich, real-time financial data to our CBAPP students, connecting them to a network of over 325,000 of the world’s most influential decision-makers.”
In 2021, Malladi also helped secure a $1.8 million grant from the Bureau of Cannabis Control to conduct research related to the economic and social impact of the cannabis industry on the South Bay area. Malladi is leading a team in conducting a comprehensive economic impact analysis of Prop. 64 on the South Bay by ethnic group, which includes research on job creation, cannabis revenue, tax generation and evasion, and legal and illicit market prices.
In early 2022, the CSUDH Finance Student Society that Malladi mentors took second place in the regional Chartered Finance Analyst Institute Research Challenge. The competition tests participants’ analytical, valuation, report writing, and presentation skills as research analysts. Malladi’s three-person team competed against local schools such as UCLA, Pepperdine, and Loyola Marymount to claim the runner-up spot. Even more impressive, the three-member CSUDH undergraduate team competed with five-member graduate teams from other universities.
According to Malladi, his biggest challenge in advising the CSUDH team is often just convincing them that they have a genuine chance of winning a finance competition against larger, more well-known programs. He gives full credit to the students for their success. “The team this year won because they put their hearts and souls into the competition. Their leadership, presentation, and quantitative skills all contributed to their performance.”
Malladi says that his willingness to help out on so many different fronts comes easily to him. “Some people are naturally inclined to be on that path, to be service-oriented people. I see CBAPP as a professional community, and I am always willing to take on activities that will advance the community. Really, it’s all about just stepping up and saying, ‘I’m available, and I’m willing to help.’”