Tag Archives: professional development

A Perfect Ending of My MBA Experience – Vivian Ma

Life as a student is enjoyable especially when you get involved in an Ahlers Center’s study abroad program. My second time studying abroad in the emerging country of Peru and my last time joining the Ahlers Center for an international program as a MBA student has given my whole MBA learning experience a perfect ending. The GSBA course of Latin American Business Environment was short, intensive, yet harvestable.

Firstly, during the two day on-campus classes, we learned the conceptual frameworks, managerial skills and background knowledge to help us make more knowledgeable decisions when it comes to formulating and implementing business strategies in Latin American countries. 

Secondly, it was always our unique advantage that we were scheduled for company visits during program. The most impressive one for me was the visit to Belcorp’s headquarters in Lima. Their vision contributes to the empowerment of women in Latin America, to awaken and build women’s capabilities, so they can imagine a better future and make it happen. On the day of our visit, it happened to be the International Women’s Holiday and they launched a campaign of red lipstick to symbolize women as warriors. We were involved in this campaign as well. I was so grateful, humbled and inspired to be there on that day and part of their vision.
Thirdly, besides the class itself and the company visit, there were two more amazing parts of this trip. We engage in a culinary tour on bike, which not only allowed us to cover more ground to visit places of interest, but gave us more flexibility and connectivity to the city as opposed to the standard bus tour. After finishing the class, we had the opportunity to explore a world miracle, Machu Picchu. We experienced four seasons, the rains, clouds, and sunshine, all in one day to get an amazing view of Machu Picchu city. It is just like a life’s journey. When you experience obstacles or tough times, you really enjoy and treasure the happy times more. 

It is so true that the USD MBA study abroad programs are a real beauty in that it provides multiple opportunities to enable myself to fulfill a transformative journey, including hands-on consulting projects with big companies, national level support for entrepreneurs and so on. Life is never easy, but thanks to USD and to the Ahlers Center for International Business, I am more confident and well-prepared for my future. I would love to help promote these trips in my home country and get more and more people benefit from these awesome program.

To check out more student experiences, please visit our Study Abroad blog page.

Information on international opportunities can also be found on our website.

Consulting for Multi-Billion Dollar Companies in Munich – Asad Naqvi

The real value of an MBA along with the enormous multi-disciplinary knowledge that it inculcates, spanning across all critical business functions, is the international experience it can provide to help students develop a global mindset. A global perspective means being open to new ideas, issues and solutions. It will give business leaders an opportunity to explore changing ways of uncovering new business opportunities and evolving to implement leaner business models. It means being culturally sensitive and willing to learn from others. With businesses getting increasingly global and interconnected, an international perspective has become a skill every aspirational business leader must possess.  Working for LEDVANCE in Munich, was a wonderful platform to simulate the experience of working as a consultant for a multibillion dollar organization. It gave us a chance to get a pulse of the working culture in Germany, especially since the organization had booked a conference room for us to work within its premises. The lunch and coffee breaks allowed us to connect with other employees, learning about the business culture in Europe. More importantly, these meetings were pivotal in helping us seek a deeper understanding of the firm’s business and the electrical lighting industry. We leveraged these tidy bits of information to tailor our suggestions to the executives at the company. The experience has certainly equipped me with better decision making tools for European markets, by highlighting the differences and synergies between the business etiquettes and environment in the continent.

To check out more student experiences, please visit our Study Abroad blog page.

Information on international opportunities can also be found on our website.

In the Spotlight – Katrin Kandlbinder

Each year, the Ahlers Center welcomes international short-term scholars and researchers to the University of San Diego campus. Such visitors contribute to the Center’s vision of creating dynamic and globally robust environments in and out of the classroom. These scholars collaborate with USD faculty on various research projects and support the faculty in their academic endeavors.

We are delighted to have visiting researcher Katrin Kandlbinder with us for the current spring 2017 term. Katrin is a doctoral candidate at the International Real Estate Business School of the University of Regensburg in Germany. Working with USD’s Dr. Norm Miller, Katrin is conducting joint research on the United States housing market and how information efficiency affects real estate markets over time. She will be presenting her findings, alongside Dr. Miller, at the upcoming American Real Estate Society conference in April. We had an opportunity to sit down with Katrin to see how she has enjoyed her new home city of San Diego.

What has been your favorite experience in San Diego thus far?

I enjoy the weather, walking along the beach and especially the people. Everyone in San Diego has been so friendly and I have found it really easy to make friends. People are very willing to meet you and take the time to get to know you here. I have been very impressed with how willing people are to help strangers.

What is one thing about San Diego that you found surprising?

I think the public transportation system could be improved. I was surprised, for a city this large, that the public transportation is not more efficient. Everyone here has a car. And a dog! It seems that everyone in San Diego owns at least one dog.

What do you think you will miss most about San Diego when you return to Germany in April?

I will miss the weather, the ocean, and the open mindedness of the people.

Where are you living in San Diego?

I have an apartment in Little Italy which I love. The neighborhood is wonderful with plenty of shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and activities right outside my door. I joined a yoga studio close to my apartment and every Saturday I shop at the Little Italy farmers market.

What are some of your hobbies?

I enjoy yoga, visiting friends, and swimming. I play the saxophone and I also take voice lessons. So I love music!

What is something that you tried for the first time in your life in San Diego?

Clam chowder. Wow, it’s great!

What is something you have not yet tried in San Diego but hope to do before you leave?

I would love to try to surf. I am waiting for the weather to be a bit warmer and then I plan to try to surf for the first time.

Innovation and Cooperation in Mondragón

This past summer, Jessica Kort traveled to Mondragón, Spain to learn about the role of the environment and community in innovation and entrepreneurship. Please enjoy reading her perspectives on the philosophy of business, leadership, and life.

“It is extraordinary that this course on Models of Participatory Leadership is offered in Mondragon. Beyond being a unique yet entirely enlightening topic for students of business, it is invaluable to learn about this style of leadership that is uncommon for us in the United States. Were Mondragon 2it not for the financial aid, I would have been unable to travel and study in Mondragon. I truly treasured the experience because being immersed in the culture that generated this philosophy of business and leadership added complex layers to my understanding of it.

It was one thing to read about Mondragon cooperatives’ competitive advantages and astounding success from campus in San Diego. It was another entirely to see where it all began, speak face-to-face with beneficiaries of this way of business and of life, experience the culture that inspired it and watch its creations in action. Visiting the headquarters of the cooperative umbrella corporation, the cooperative factory floors and cooperative university brought theMondragon 9 narratives to life. We digested the forces and motives that drove visionaries to create cooperatives in the Basque region while sharing traditional Basque meals with beneficiaries of their foresight. We studied the economic theory behind cooperatives and walked the halls of a stunning university later created to teach and embody that cooperative structure. We mulled over how Catholic Social Thought laid the foundation of values that inspired the cooperatives’ founders to construct something better for their community in the 1950s, and trekked to a symbolically designed basilica erected and dedicated to the community in that same decade. We learned about another people’s perspectives on wealth, happiness, progress, independence and fairness.
Mondragon 1The course content gave me much to consider as an entrepreneur, and the trip reminded me that our environment has as great a role in our creations as we do. We cannot design or innovate in isolation. We must observe our surroundings and take stock of other people’s needs and perspectives to generate workable solutions and community change. I am currently applying what I learned to my nonprofit work. I’m drawing useful comparisons between cooperatives’ growth in their cultural environment and collaborations in the San Diego social sector. I will remember what I heard from cooperative workers as I look for ways to incorporate qualities they cherish about their professional environment. It was so inspiring to witness their commitment to and belief in the cooperative model, and I hope to emulate those feelings of dedication to work and livelihood here.”

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To check out more student experiences, visit our Study Abroad blog page.

Information on international opportunities can also be found on our website.

Unraveling the Complexities of Global Real Estate

Written by Mark Ambrose.

The MSRE 509 Capital Markets course in Hong Kong has been a valuable and unforgettable experience. The content of this class was directly aligned with my primary reasons for joining the master’s program, was delivered in a setting that helped broaden my perspective, and encouraged me to think big. I want to pursue a master’s degree in real estate because I want a better understanding of the interaction between various real estate market components. I also wish to attain an understanding of the financial aspects of real estate projects and investment decision-making. The Capital Markets course directly addressed my interests.

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Prior to this course, my knowledge of investment capital structure was somewhat limited to small syndicates, smaller projects and traditional (simple) organizations of debt and equity. As the size and scope of real estate investment grows, so does the daunting complexity. The knowledge gained through this course gave me the ability to work on larger commercial real estate projects upon my return. I studied the specific characteristics and construction of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities (CMBS), mechanisms that are absolutely critical to the organization and financing of larger, more expensive real state projects. Learning about capital structures and sources has helped me unravel the bigger picture of how different types of investors—from life insurance companies and sovereign wealth funds, all the way down to individual investors—participate in large scale real estate investments. Now, I have the foundational knowledge and perspectives of how the pieces of large-scale investment come together and interact, allowing me to move beyond and potentially work on the large institutional investment level.

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Taking this course in the Hong Kong setting was very influential. It is an incredible city that displays unique real estate market characteristics and a cultural fusion of Eastern and Western business systems. It was fascinating to explore a city that reflects the might of the Chinese economy as well as the freedom and variety of Western capitalist elements. The density and organization of the city was appealing; I came away from this Hong Kong trip believing there are many lessons that should influence urban growth in America, specifically, smart density and transportation. I lived in San Francisco for five years and it was incredible to compare San Francisco as a city to the vibrancy and efficiency of Hong Kong, which has essentially the same geographical size but more than seven times the population. It was honestly an embarrassing contrast riding the Bay Area Rapid Transit system upon my return, after enjoying the perfection of Hong Kong’s MTR system everyday for two weeks.

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One of my favorite parts of the course was the guest lecture by Tony Lam of Delta International LTD. Tony, born in Hong Kong and educated in the US, is a real estate professional with a valuation background. Tony helped emphasize the global nature of real estate investment by telling us about his employer’s multi-national operations in America and elsewhere. After his lecture, I exchanged emails with Tony, striking up a relationship with him that I hope to maintain. It became clear that there is a possibility for collaboration between us in the future. This was an exciting and unexpected development from taking this class in Hong Kong.

My global mindset was greatly enhanced by the experience of taking this course in Hong Kong. Globalization will only accelerate into the future and this course helped me to think of US real estate as a global investment product. Foreign investment in American real estate is already widespread but I expect this participation to continue expanding in scope, and I am excited to have the knowledge to contribute and personally partake in this evolution.

Ambrose1Overall, it is difficult to fully quantify the benefits of this intersession experience. It was a wonderful professional and cultural immersion. It was illuminating to be in one of the world’s greatest cities and to learn about some of the more difficult aspects of real estate. One of my greatest hopes in pursuing this master’s degree is to get a handle on the most complex financial elements of real estate. This course certainly delivered in this area. I found it empowering to learn about the highly detailed landscape of real estate capital in such a unique location. I am no longer intimidated by high finance as it relates to real estate, and I found Hong Kong as a very inspiring destination because I could actually feel the economic might of growth, progress and globalization.

I am truly glad I decided to go on this trip as part of my MSRE experience. I am deeply grateful to the Ahler’s Center for organizing it. I extend my sincerest gratitude for all the help and support. Thank you.

To check out more student experiences, visit our Study Abroad blog page.

Information on international opportunities can also be found on our website.

Developing a Focused Global Sales Strategy #2

3 Seminars: April 23 & 30, May 7.

Price includes all three seminars.

In today’s global marketplace, individuals and companies are increasingly looking to sell to foreign customers, which often requires that they expand their sales and business operations to international locations. International selling often starts with the basic demands of the current customer who is expanding outside of the U.S. and asking its suppliers to follow. In other instances, companies are looking to sell internationally in order to compensate for slumping domestic sales or otherwise to grow revenues. In all cases, a focused strategy must be developed and implemented in order for individuals and companies to realize a sufficient payoff from such a large investment of time and resources by the company and its sales force.

Learning Objectives:

  • Design and execute an international selling strategy that supports the goals of the company
  • Identify best practices of selling globally and managing a global sales force
  • Demonstrate consideration for foreign customs and cultures
  • Evaluate pertinent trade regulations and mechanisms of each target country including tariff and non-tariff trade barriers, quotas, and exchange controls
  • Determine how much product and price adaptation is necessary for each foreign market
  • Develop a process for finding and obtaining high quality in-country partners
  • Evaluate the various methods of working with each partner and pick the most appropriate one
  • Assess the proper sales and delivery terms to ensure payment while mitigating international financial risk

Total Seminar Hours: 9

Seminar Leader

carsten zimmermanCarlton O’Neal, clinical professor of marketing, is a 25-year veteran in technology and global entrepreneurship, marketing, sales and business development. Currently, he is a visiting assistant professor at the University of San Diego teaching marketing, business-to-business marketing and professional selling in both undergraduate and graduate programs. O’Neal also teaches marketing and sales to local technology executives through UCSD Extension. Previously, he held VP and CEO positions with various startup and public technology companies in the U.S. and abroad, including GigaRiver, Proximetry (Poland), Alvarion (Israel), Bosch Telecom (Germany) and Texas Instruments. He also pioneered the creation of the first commercial 4G standard in the world called WiMAX. In his positions, O’Neal has been involved in strategic planning and leadership, including market targeting, positioning and differentiating, developing key early customers and partnerships and marketing and selling products and services in the U.S. and 35 countries worldwide.

Developing a Focused Global Sales Strategy

3 Seminars: April 23 & 30, May 7.

Price includes all 3 seminars.

In today’s global marketplace, individuals and companies are increasingly looking to sell to foreign customers, which often requires that they expand their sales and business operations to international locations. International selling often starts with the basic demands of the current customer who is expanding outside of the U.S. and asking its suppliers to follow. In other instances, companies are looking to sell internationally in order to compensate for slumping domestic sales or otherwise to grow revenues. In all cases, a focused strategy must be developed and implemented in order for individuals and companies to realize a sufficient payoff from such a large investment of time and resources by the company and its sales force.

Learning Objectives:

  • Design and execute an international selling strategy that supports the goals of the company
  • Identify best practices of selling globally and managing a global sales force
  • Demonstrate consideration for foreign customs and cultures
  • Evaluate pertinent trade regulations and mechanisms of each target country including tariff and non-tariff trade barriers, quotas, and exchange controls
  • Determine how much product and price adaptation is necessary for each foreign market
  • Develop a process for finding and obtaining high quality in-country partners
  • Evaluate the various methods of working with each partner and pick the most appropriate one
  • Assess the proper sales and delivery terms to ensure payment while mitigating international financial risk

Total Seminar Hours: 9

Seminar Leader

carsten zimmermanCarlton O’Neal, clinical professor of marketing, is a 25-year veteran in technology and global entrepreneurship, marketing, sales and business development. Currently, he is a visiting assistant professor at the University of San Diego teaching marketing, business-to-business marketing and professional selling in both undergraduate and graduate programs. O’Neal also teaches marketing and sales to local technology executives through UCSD Extension. Previously, he held VP and CEO positions with various startup and public technology companies in the U.S. and abroad, including GigaRiver, Proximetry (Poland), Alvarion (Israel), Bosch Telecom (Germany) and Texas Instruments. He also pioneered the creation of the first commercial 4G standard in the world called WiMAX. In his positions, O’Neal has been involved in strategic planning and leadership, including market targeting, positioning and differentiating, developing key early customers and partnerships and marketing and selling products and services in the U.S. and 35 countries worldwide.

Leading Across Cultures for Business Interactions and Teams #3

3 Seminars: April 8, 15 & 22.

Price includes all three seminars.

In the current global business environment, leaders at all levels of the organization interact with peers, clients, subordinates and suppliers from a wide variety of countries. Some of these interactions take place domestically while others are clearly cross-border. In either case, understanding the cultural values that underlie behavior is critical to leadership success. This seminar is designed to develop a level of cross-cultural awareness that will enhance global leadership skills. This applies to not only leading multicultural teams (virtual and face-to-face) but also dealing with clients and suppliers from all over the world. Additionally, the seminar will be invaluable to those who will be in leadership positions as expatriates. The sessions will be primarily interactive utilizing small groups discussions, experiential exercises, cases and self-assessments.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify tools for assessing cultural differences
  • Describe one’s own cultural profile and how it affects one’s perceptions of and behavior towards others
  • Identify the potential impact of cultural values on how people communicate
  • Use cultural values to understand and lead multicultural teams
  • Describe unique challenges of leading multicultural virtual teams
  • Recognize the characteristics that contribute to success as an expatriate leader
  • Utilize a self-assessment tool to identify leadership skills related to expatriate success

Total Seminar Hours: 9

Seminar Leader

Cynthia PavettCynthia Pavett is professor of management at the University of San Diego’s School of Business Administration, specializing in international organizational behavior, comparative management, organization design, and negotiations. She has a broad range of experience teaching and living in multiple countries including China, Armenia, India, Australia and a variety of EU countries. Her passion for the complex issues involved in cross-cultural management has resulted in numerous academic publications and presentations at international meetings as well as her teaching in several of the University of San Diego’s executive programs, both domestically and internationally. She received both her PhD and her MBA from the University of Utah.

Leading Across Cultures for Business Interactions and Teams #2

3 Seminars: April 8, 15 & 22

Price includes all 3 seminars.

In the current global business environment, leaders at all levels of the organization interact with peers, clients, subordinates and suppliers from a wide variety of countries. Some of these interactions take place domestically while others are clearly cross-border. In either case, understanding the cultural values that underlie behavior is critical to leadership success. This seminar is designed to develop a level of cross-cultural awareness that will enhance global leadership skills. This applies to not only leading multicultural teams (virtual and face-to-face) but also dealing with clients and suppliers from all over the world. Additionally, the seminar will be invaluable to those who will be in leadership positions as expatriates. The sessions will be primarily interactive utilizing small groups discussions, experiential exercises, cases and self-assessments.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify tools for assessing cultural differences
  • Describe one’s own cultural profile and how it affects one’s perceptions of and behavior towards others
  • Identify the potential impact of cultural values on how people communicate
  • Use cultural values to understand and lead multicultural teams
  • Describe unique challenges of leading multicultural virtual teams
  • Recognize the characteristics that contribute to success as an expatriate leader
  • Utilize a self-assessment tool to identify leadership skills related to expatriate success

Total Seminar Hours: 9

Seminar Leader

Cynthia PavettCynthia Pavett is professor of management at the University of San Diego’s School of Business Administration, specializing in international organizational behavior, comparative management, organization design, and negotiations. She has a broad range of experience teaching and living in multiple countries including China, Armenia, India, Australia and a variety of EU countries. Her passion for the complex issues involved in cross-cultural management has resulted in numerous academic publications and presentations at international meetings as well as her teaching in several of the University of San Diego’s executive programs, both domestically and internationally. She received both her PhD and her MBA from the University of Utah.

Strategic Growth, Financial Profitability and Free Cash Flow Valuation #3

3 Seminars: March 19, 24 & 26

Price includes all 3 seminars.

This seminar will help participants develop tools for understanding how firms plan (or should plan) for growth, and manage it throughout the firm and industry life-cycle. From early-stage startups to major public corporations, the growth of sales, cash flows and value is at the front and center of decision making. We will examine how industry forces (national and international) impact decision making, and will consider how ratio analysis helps identify potential areas of concern and guide us towards improving the performance of an organization. In addition, we will examine scenarios that call for a decision to expand, be acquired or acquire another firm. Current public financial information and case study analysis will be utilized through the seminar.

Learning Objectives:

Module 1: Financial Statement Analysis

  • Construct from scratch the three most used financial statements (Balance Statement, Income  Statement and Statement of Cash Flows)
  • Identify the various groups of ratios used in time series and cross-sectional analysis, and articulate how they impact
    current valuation
  • Use ratio analysis on a mini-case

Module 2: Planning for Growth

  • Distinguish between accounting and economic profitability and how a company can stay afloat financially during
    periods of growth
  • Articulate how the various parts of a company deliver growth and the impact on cash flow
  • Compare and contrast internal and external growth for sustainable financial planning

Module 3: Three-Year Detailed Simulation of Running a Small Business

  • Develop initial position, plan for inputs acquisition, working capital and capital asset acquisition, and read
    accompanying accounting statements

Total Seminar Hours: 9

Seminar Leader

svetina jpgMarko Svetina joined the University of San Diego ‘s School of Business Administration in 2008 after obtaining his PhD in Finance from Arizona State University. At USD, he teaches graduate and undergraduate corporate finance and investments courses. His research interests include the role of private equity in mergers and acquisitions, the impact of local clienteles on the precision of analyst forecasts, accelerated share buybacks and performance and competition of exchange traded funds (ETFs). Professor Svetina is frequently recognized as one of the outstanding professors within the School of Business Administration at USD.