Farmer School Grads are Uber Successful

May 2014

Ryan Graves and Allen Penn are 2006 Farmer School alumni whose dreams took them across the country and around the world. Both work for Uber, the high-end taxi service that allows a customer to be connected with a taxi, no matter where they are or where they're going, through the use of an easy-to-use smartphone app. Ryan, the Head of Global Operations, is based in San Francisco, and Allen, the Head of Asia Operations, calls Singapore home.

Uber began as a start-up company with the vision of "fixing the taxi situation in San Francisco"-a situation exemplified by the fact that a person only had a 30% chance of even getting a taxi in that city. Now, Uber is a company worth more than $300 million, with ties to 78 cities worldwide. And the men behind it are proud of their roots.

Both Ryan, a graduate of the Economics program, and Allen, a Finance alum, realize that the their work within the Farmer School put them on the path toward their current careers, not just academically but outside of the classroom as well. Ryan especially stressed that the point of going to school is not to go to school-the point of going to school, he says, is to come out and be successful in the real world. "The more that that can be the common thread of all experiences and all environments that the school creates," he said, "the better off students are."

Allen and Ryan have first-hand experience with the types of skills that business students will need in that real world, and they're confident that FSB students have the chance to learn what they want in an employee - and ten Miami graduates have already been hired by Uber.

"You need to be well-rounded and pragmatic in problem solving," Ryan said. "It's all about the results. It's not about just checking a box on paper to say that you got a certain degree or a certain level of GPA. It's more about what you can actually learn and what you can actually do with that in the real world-and that maps very well to building a business. At Uber it's all about the types of results that you deliver."