By Kim Ngyuen
It’s no secret that last year’s school-sponsored harbor cruise was boring, but this year, at the urging of some of my cohort mates, I agreed to attend. I mean, why wouldn’t I go on a free boat ride with people I like?
So there we were, quietly boarding the ship, clutching our drink tickets, and taking our free glass of champagne (don’t mind if I do!), unsure of what to expect. We eventually wandered to the upper deck where we found our friends and chatted about such topics as graduation, and, of course, who we could peer pressure into jumping overboard. (No one took the bait. Peer pressure doesn’t work with headstrong leadership students.)
To cover the food aspect of our evening, servers would periodically drop by our area with trays of delicious appetizers. I’m not talking about crackers and cheese, my friends. They served bacon-wrapped scallops (my fave) and skewers of portobello mushroom and beef! SO. GOOD. They also had breaded artichoke hearts and mushroom brushchetta, also good, though I never caught myself scampering after a server for more. But those scallops! It was everything I could do not to grab five at a time, so imagine my delight when they kept coming back around with fresh trays of them. I swoon at the thought.
Soon after the ship pulled away from the pier, Dean Pyke delivered a rousing speech in which he recognized each of the SBA programs, their respective students in attendance, and faculty. As we cheered for our ourselves and our program, I felt such an overwhelming sense of closeness among the SBA community – and in particular among the MSGL gems who were there. It made me so glad I had chosen our program, because I had such a great learning experience and made amazing new friends.
Once the deejay began playing some tunes, a “couple” of professors and a certain program director joined us on the dance floor as we all flailed our arms and jumped around wildly to the genius spins of such artists as deadmau5 and LMFAO. A brave MBA student even showed us how he Dougie’d, which, let’s be honest, put us all to shame. You can’t teach those moves in a class!
Some of the students we met that night were members of cohort 55 – the freshies – about to embark on their exciting journey through MSGL. Meeting them, and knowing the 16 months of fun (and hard work) they had ahead of them, was really cool. They all have different stories to offer, and yet somehow they are together in the same place my cohort was in just 17 months ago.
I know I speak for a lot of the MSGLers there that night when I say we look forward to getting to know you all, at future events, in Buenos Aires, or on other SBA trips! See you soon!
Cohort 54, the newest cohort to join the MSGL program has something that none of the other cohorts have: an Executive Mentor.
What is an Executive Mentor you might say? Actually it is many things.
In our case, our Executive Mentor is Mr. Mike Richardson, a scientist turned engineer turned manager, executive and CEO turned facilitator, chair of CEO peer groups and keynote speaker.
Mike is also British turned American with an MBA from London Business School and diverse international experience. Mike is dedicated to cracking the code of organizational agility for ordinary people to achieve extraordinary things, making possible tomorrow what seems impossible today, in business and in life.
He is the head of a consulting business called “In the Driving Seat” where he has designed tools to allow you to shrink your organizational OODA Loop and rev-up your Fast-Cycle Teamwork for the organizational agility we need these days to be future-proofing our business.
His role with our cohort is as advisor, mentor, networking professional, and in many cases our friend. I was lucky enough to attend part of a meeting chaired by Mike for an organization called Vistage.
Vistage is a global executive network of information, resources and contacts. It is a global community for approximately 16,000 executives nationwide. It provides peer learning in a diverse, noncompetitive group shares ideas and strategies and is confidential and trusted. The group I visited was local San Diego and had about 20 Executives in attendance.
It was an engaging morning and quite memorable with a wonderful presentation by Boaz Rauchwerger. Boaz is a renowned inspirational speaker whose presented 5 very simple ideas for anyone in business to use to increase your contacts and bottom line. It was 3 hours very well spent (plus included a free lunch and breakfast – can’t beat that). More importantly, getting to interact with local San Diego CEO’s from all walks of life was invaluable.
You can see from my description that Mike Richardson is an exceptional resource for our cohort and for MSGL. In fact, one member of our cohort has already utilized him to review a business plan for a possible upcoming business. Mike did this willingly, taking time from his busy life to do this in the evening and provided some excellent suggestions which I know my cohort colleague will be incorporating.
Cohort 54 has been very busy working on projects for our various professors. Sometimes you forget that MSGL is not just studying, test, papers and presentations. It goes way beyond that with speakers, overseas trips and things like Executive Mentors.
MSGL is dedicated to making you successful whatever path you chose to follow. If you are looking at a career change, need help setting up a business, or just want to meet and share ideas with a successful and knowledgeable business man, please consider talking to Mike Richardson.
Rich Sluys is the cohort leader for MSGL Cohort 54 and works for Northrop Grumman as a Marketing Manager with Northrop’s Charlottesville, VA division. His Business Unit produces products for naval vessels that are in use all over the world. At 77 years old he is one of the oldest members to participate in the MSGL course.
He claims that they didn’t have Internet when he was growing up but no one believes him. In his free time, he likes riding Trikes and is the proud owner of two Greenspeeds, a GTO that he intends to ride around the world one of these days and a GT5 – which he rides just for fun.
I recently returned from an overseas program with the MS in Global Leadership program at the University of San Diego. My experience abroad can be summed up in one word: Amazing. Upon my return, everyone would ask me, how was your trip? Amazing was, and continues to be my only coherent response. Was I expecting this? Most certainly not.
To be perfectly honest, I really didn’t have time to establish any sort of expectation or preconceived notion of what my life would be like for two weeks in Europe. To say I’ve been busy since starting the MSGL program would be an understatement – I just had no time to mentally prepare myself. I knew I would be traveling with some familiar faces from my Cohort and I also knew I was going to be attending classes while immersing myself into cultures I have only read about. Little did I know that this experience would be much more than that…it would be life-changing.
A few things I didn’t expect: I didn’t expect that I would visit the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie one afternoon and by the next morning be standing at the foot of the Athenian Acropolis in Greece. I didn’t expect to stand in the very spot that President Reagan challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. I didn’t expect to witness first-hand the production cycle of a Siemens Gas Turbine in Germany. I didn’t expect to get a Turkish haircut…an experience I won’t soon forget. I didn’t expect…Istanbul. Istanbul is, well, amazing! It’s a city where cultures collide, history is cherished and where beauty takes on a whole new meaning. From the food, the architecture, the people and its rich heritage, Istanbul was certainly the highlight of the adventure.
Lastly, I didn’t expect to meet so many amazing people along the way. From the biergarten bike tour rest stops in Berlin to the dinner celebrations with USD Alumni in Turkey, we were raising a glass every opportunity we could get in celebration of new friendships, an awesome USD education and an adventure that was nothing short of Amazing!
Scott Handley is a member of Cohort 53 and serves at the Assistant Director of Admissions in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at the University of San Diego.
I recently joined Toastmasters in order to work on my public speaking, however to my surprise I am receiving an education on life. Tuesday morning I was fortunate enough to hear Bob Tauber a fellow Toastmaster and a World War II Veteran give a seven-minute speech on an experience he had during WWII.
Bob began the story with how his former wife asked him to go see a German film with English subtitles. To his surprise the film was not only about WWII, it was about his platoon.
During WWII Hitler recruited young boys to fight in the war. An officer in the Germany Army began passing out uniforms and weapons to these young boys, when he realized he was sending them out to die. In an effort to protect the boys he sent them deep into farm country faraway from the war and told them to protect a bridge, which had no strategic value.
After recognizing it would take longer to catch-up with the Germans driving down the autobahn, due to landmines, Bob’s platoon was diverted onto backcountry roads. Tauber was in the lead vehicle when he came upon a bridge leading into a small town, he sensed something was wrong. No one was working, no animals where grazing, and no kids where playing. As Bob tried to figure out was going on a U.S. sergeant drove up in his vehicle. The sergeant was insistent nothing was wrong and drove towards the bridge. The juvenile and eager German boys shot the U.S. Sergeant.
Without knowing how well the bridge was defended Tauber called for tanks to clear the area. The tanks did their job shooting every house and soldier within reach. After the tanks cleared the area Bob’s platoon drove across the bridge. What they saw next was baffling. The enemy soldiers now dead and severally wounded had all been children. For years this particular incident haunted Bob, what were those kids doing at that bridge?
Years had passed since that day on the bridge and when Bob sat in the theater, he finally understood why those kids were there. It was only the second time Bob told this story and was the first time his son heard his father talk about the war. When Bob finished his speech many of us were holding back tears and you could hear a pin drop. Toastmaster No. 624 is more than a public speaking group — it is living history.
- Job Title: Analyst for Systems Planning and Analysis, working as a Cyber Analyst at the Defense Damage Assessment Management Office.
- Responsibilities: After a major defense contractor has a cyber intrusion on its networks, the Damage Assessment Management Office examines the compromised data in order to determine any negative effects on DoD programs or need to adjust acquisition strategy. I use a variety of forensic tools to comb through large amounts of data, looking to determine what DoD programs might be affected in the incident and then informing the relevant military Service.
- Personal: Raising an active toddler, blogging and/or writing, skiing (Editor’s note: follow TJ on Twitter at @tjmayotte)
“Since my graduation from MSGL and transition to the civilian (real?) world, I’ve been amazed at how often I’m able to apply things I learned in the classroom. Coming out of the program, I felt at least “cocktail conversant” in everything from negotiation to international finance. I’ve been able to successfully navigate a variety of challenging environments thanks to both the ethical and leadership training I gained from the faculty at USD. When I discuss other graduate programs with co-workers, I also come away glad that I found MSGL for everything it did for me, and everything it continues to do.”
See more great stories of MS in Global Leadership Alums at our website.
By Julia Ann Keneipp
As the director of the International Division of a medical device firm, the curriculum of the MSGL program has already proved tremendously useful for my current position. The rapidly changing technological advances in radiation therapy and diagnostic imaging have fueled the demand for facilities to add or replace equipment at record levels. This has caused an increase in competitive players and a drastic change in the industry landscape. As such, the requirements are evolving for individuals and organizations to perform at higher levels.
Two of the MSGL courses that have proved tremendously helpful have been MSGL 507 (Understanding Organizations) and MSGL 523 (Finance for Global Business). The Understanding Organizations class helped me identify deficiencies within my organization, resulting in an internal push to increase operational efficiency. The Finance course assisted greatly in building proforma profit and loss models in order to analyze the potential profitability of current and future investment projects in Latin America. My team’s analysis (in addition to other factors) resulted in a 10-year project in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. The project consists of building a radiation therapy treatment facility in collaboration with an engineering firm based in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
I look forward to graduation, and more importantly, to the opportunity to further apply the knowledge acquired during the program to both present and future business opportunities.
Julia works as an international medical device sales professional. She recently returned from a study abroad trip to Argentina with several MSGL students who benefitted from her ability to speak the native tongue and negotiate group rates for incredible steak and red wine dinners.
As a television Producer/Writer currently based in Los Angeles, I have to confess there have been many times when the importance of my background in Global Leadership, thanks to USD’s MSGL Program, has not always been apparent. Although my intention for enrolling and graduating from the MSGL program was clear – to develop my personal leadership style and gain a deeper understanding on how to apply that within a global context - I always thought the opportunity to apply knowledge and skills I gained from the program would be reserved until I began traveling again, on a quest to write and produce compelling human interest stories from a global perspective.
I am happy to have found that view quite myopic, and slightly embarrassing, given that I currently reside in the world’s Mecca for television and film production. Since graduating from the MSGL program in October of 2008, I have been faced with various opportunities within the entertainment industry where I have had a chance to deal with international clients, and apply valuable lessons from the cross-cultural training skills gained from the MSGL program.
Among some of my more recent opportunities has been the chance to help produce two short film series in conjunction with Women In Film, Los Angeles. WIF is an organization that strives to empower, support and mentor women in the entertainment and media industry. As an MSGL alumna, I naturally found myself drawn to the organization’s international committee, where I have so far helped produce two international short film series in support of Korean and Kenyan filmmakers.
Both events gave me the opportunity to partner and work with filmmakers, sponsors and other forms of publicity and promotion from two vastly different cultures, albeit with the same goal – to introduce and promote international filmmakers within the LA community. Needless to say, I found myself putting some of the skills picked up from the MSGL program to the test, and came away feeling fulfilled every step of the way, whether it was a challenge or a relatively simple achievement. Although my quest in storytelling within a global perspective is just beginning, I am glad that I have been able to apply some tricks of the trade from the MSGL program while still in my backyard. No travel required!
Emily Butali is a 2008 graduate of the MS in Global Leadership program who currently lives in Los Angeles where she works as a television producer and writer for media giants like Universal, Discovery Channel and others.