Ready to Compete in Any Arena
Grace Chui-Miller likes to look beyond her boundaries and explore the variety of opportunities in her environment. Her mentor, the late Muir College provost and mathematics professor Patrick Ledden, had a love of public art and literature and, similarly, Chui-Miller pursued her writing interests while earning her degree in quantitative economics and decision sciences at UC San Diego.
“UC San Diego helped me realize that who I am matters,” Chui-Miller said. “More than just learning economic theory and facts, my experience at the university taught me how to think, how to question and how to analyze.”
One of the most important aspects of Chui-Miller’s extracurricular life at UC San Diego was at the “Muir Quarterly,” first as a reporter, then in her senior year as editor-in-chief. She credits that experience with giving her access to people and ideas that she wouldn’t have had otherwise, including weekly meetings with Dr. Ledden. “Dr. Ledden taught me that if you take advantage of all the tools a university like UC San Diego has to offer, you will prepare yourself for your life beyond campus,” she said.
Five years ago, Chui-Miller cofounded Correlation Ventures, a venture capital firm in San Diego where she is chief financial officer responsible for all financial reporting and operational aspects of the company. She also oversees investor relations, providing financial information, monitoring current investee companies and investigating prospective investments. She joined Correlation Ventures after serving as chief financial officer of Doll Capital Management in Menlo Park.
Chui-Miller began her journey to the venture capital world in an unusual way. In her junior year, a posting at UC San Diego’s Career Services Center offered an internship at KPMG. Even though she was not an accounting major, Chui-Miller applied and discovered it was an old posting. “The person who had originally posted the job had been promoted, but he took my call and I ended up with the internship – the first time they had ever hired an intern with no accounting background,” she said.
For eight years after graduation, Chui-Miller held a management position in the assurance department at KPMG, where she oversaw audit engagements and was involved with SEC filings and asset-backed securitization transactions. “During my time there, KPMG continued to hire non-accounting majors,” Chui-Miller said. “Knowing how to work hard and feel confident in my abilities helped me succeed in a very competitive environment.”
While at KPMG, Chui-Miller completed her M.B.A. at the night program at UCLA Anderson School of Management. Traveling by train to and from UCLA several times a week while holding a full-time job required dedication and concentrated effort. But succeeding in a highly competitive environment was not new to Chui-Miller, and she credits her experience at UC San Diego for preparing her well. “I was competing with the best and the brightest at UC San Diego,” Chui-Miller said. “These were very smart, well-rounded students who had clear goals and plans for how to reach them.”
While at UC San Diego, Chui-Miller was also very involved in the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi, which helped prepare its members for post-collegiate life by organizing activities such as mock interviews, but Chui-Miller says the group also taught the importance of giving back. “We participated in community service projects like helping to repaint a school because the district didn’t have the means to do it,” said Chui-Miller. “It was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time to see students and their families come out to help improve the atmosphere where their learning took place.”
Chui-Miller continues to remain active in the alumni chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi in San Diego, as well as in ATHENA San Diego, which promotes professional growth for women executives and rising managers in science and technology. She also is making plans to mentor economics students at UC San Diego. “With the severe funding crisis throughout the educational system in California, UC San Diego needs the help of its alumni now more than ever,” Chui-Miller said. “UC San Diego helped us develop into who we are today. We must give back in whatever way we can.”
As a wife, mother, career woman, community volunteer and triathlete, Chui-Miller has focus, success and balance in her life. She concluded, “My education at UC San Diego was a stellar bargain and top-notch. Thanks to UC San Diego, I can be myself.”
Issue 4 : May 3, 2011
- Valuing Research
- Two Trips to Omaha: Meeting Warren Buffet and the Global Investment Research Challenge
- Exploring Motivations and Tools That Encourage Giving
Halbert White Jr.
- Is There a Tiger Mother Effect?
- Economics Leadership Council Set to Break New Ground
- Job Market Proves Strong for Our Doctorates
Department of Economics End of the Year Celebration