University of Southern California

Voices of GEMBA

Marcos Purty, GEMBA XII
Managing Director, General Motors Thailand/Chevrolet Sales Thailand

I now realize how my years of experience travelling and working abroad have well prepared me for the GEMBA program. The class material is directly related to what I see in my daily business - it allows me to look at my business in more depth and with a more analytical approach. The course work is very challenging, but the faculty and staff take a real-world business approach, which has allowed for our class to be very open in sharing experiences and learning our course work. While I have immediately seen a professional transformation and am applying learnings every time I return back to my work from a GEMBA session, my personal transformation has been beyond my imagination.

Arthur Cozad, GEMBA XII
CEO & General Manager, Cigna Taiwan

Having grown up in Southern California, I was familiar with USC's heritage and reputation, but it was not until I had joined the program that I came to realize the true strength of the vast Trojan network. The high quality and caliber of my fellow classmates has truly been impressive. Their willingness to share experiences and support one another has reinforced that selecting the USC-SJTU GEMBA program has become, unequivocally, one of the best career decisions I have made.

Matt Wakeling, GEMBA XI
Chief Operating Officer / CoFounder, Phobio, Inc.

The mix of the USC faculty and knowledgeable classmates, based not just in Shanghai, but all around Asia, has created a unique, intense and transformational learning environment. I have been pushed to step outside of my comfort zone and learn things about myself that I would never have realized without this experience. It's also a lot of fun, and the friendships I have made with my classmates will be life-long.

Jerry Zhou, GEMBA X
CEO and President, Swift You Supply Chain Management (Shanghai) Co.Ltd.

One of the most fascinating parts of GEMBA is its diversity – faculty and classmates from different backgrounds, experiences and industries, who contribute a wide range of views and ideas. For me, this diversity has been a treasure house, to which GEMBA has been the key. The house is full of inspiration, creativity, wisdom, passion and friendship. I know there's plenty more I will gain from my GEMBA family as the years go by, and I also know that even the part I have gained to date has enabled me to understand business and life in general from new perspectives.

Rajeev Kapur, GEMBA IX
CEO, 1105 Media, Inc.

The Global MBA (GEMBA) program from USC and Shanghai JiaoTong University (SJTU) delivers on all metrics — you get the best of both worlds. Not only do you get the same top-quality Marshall professors you would interact with in Southern California, you also get them in Shanghai, supplemented by experts from China and the region. As a GEMBA student you also gain immersion into the main USC campus in Los Angeles, which opens doors not just among the tens of thousands of alumni throughout the Asia-Pacific region, but also in the United States.

Felix T. Wong, GEMBA IX
Partner, Times Cultural Investments, Limited

To be successful is becoming ever more challenging. The USC-SJTU GEMBA program — the faculty, the curriculum and my classmates — not only helps me navigate through the business climate today, but also, through a "learning by doing" approach, accelerates my development as a transformative and responsible leader.

CEO, Apex Entertainment

The USC GEMBA program fit exactly what I was looking for when I evaluated several different schools' EMBA programs. After 18 years working as an executive for Time Warner's Warner Bros., I was looking for an educational program which would assist me in reaching my potential as a fledging entrepreneur. USC GEMBA gave me the tools to succeed – I gained a capital fund of $25 million to build, own, and operate Apex Cinemas with the most powerful entertainment company in China, China Film Group.

General Manager, Greater China, X-Rite Asia Pacific Ltd.

GEMBA has given me the fundamental hard skills of finance, accounting and statistics, so my qualitative and quantitative analyses are well grounded. But the program has also helped me develop my strategic thinking skills and ability to see the bigger picture. Further, I'm better able to communicate well-structured ideas at the C-suite level, I am a more effective integrator and facilitator across regional and functional boundaries, and I can dynamically bridge the gap between global thinking and local implementation. I've also extended my network throughout many countries and gained insights from classmates with a wide diversity of industry backgrounds. In short, I've gained credibility, transformation and a powerful global network. I like to say that GEMBA has given me Gratifying, Exceptional, Memorable and Brilliant Add-ons to my life and career!

Barry Hung, GEMBA VIII
Founder & CEO, H&L International Lifestyle Ltd.

GEMBA features not only a transformative curriculum and a world-class faculty team; another critical component is the great network of talented GEMBA colleagues. Their sharing of knowledge and experience always fosters new ideas and opportunities. I am extremely happy that many of my GEMBA friends had given me great advice, and I have also developed new business relationships with them. I am certain more opportunities will surface in the future through this network.

Rebecca Liyan Branham, GEMBA VIII
Co-Founder and Managing Director, B&L Group

I've gained lots of valuable perspectives from my classmates and the top faculty from the Marshall School — I was confident of the quality of the program from the beginning, as it's built on Marshall's top-ten programs in Southern California. I'm now much stronger at seeing strategic opportunities and risks, further in advance, so that we can bring our customers comprehensive solutions, expanding our scope of service but in a profitable way. GEMBA was the right decision for me.

Derek Wong, GEMBA VIII
Entrepreneur, Healthcare Venture

I found the GEMBA experience to be a great journey of discovery — discovering not only what's possible in the world, but more importantly what's inside each of us as individuals. I joined the program expecting great insights into business disciplines, ranging from finance and marketing to operations and strategy. But the capstone entrepreneurship module of the GEMBA program was beyond my expectation — it encompassed and synthesized all our GEMBA learning. The module challenged all of us to pursue a more purposeful journey, equipped with all our learnings from the preceding 21 months. I reaffirmed that leadership isn't just a practice in our business lives, but something we must practice daily in shaping our own destinies. People, network, and teamwork are the three drivers for successful ventures. Our GEMBA student diversity, our abundant networking events throughout the program and our team-based learning approach have been the key ingredients of this fabulous learning experience. I remain grateful to the GEMBA faculty and staff, and my classmates — they have made a profound difference in my life.

Tiziana Figliolia, GEMBA VIII
Senior Vice President of Finance, PTC

The GEMBA environment has been very conducive to learning — both the faculty and the students come together through active collaboration in sharing knowledge, perspective and understanding of cultural and business diversity.

Martin Daffner, GEMBA VII
Founder, Innobrix Consulting Pty. Ltd., Singapore

To me, the ROI of GEMBA can be expressed in three simple words: asking better questions. The GEMBA experience has given me such a broad-based and indepth business perspective that I find I'm consistently able to ask better questions about what I see in my working environment, and that by articulating such questions I can drive better results from my team.

David Yeesing Chong, GEMBA VII
Deputy General Manager, Multipure China

I was a leader in a global search firm's Shanghai office, having previously worked in Japan and Malaysia. One of my classmates, Zachary Rice, president of a family-owned consumer products company, approached me to help him find a Deputy General Manager for their business in China. After a few months on the search, Zachary and I became convinced that I was probably the best candidate for the role, so Zachary hired me! I've been in the role for more than a year now, and it's proven to be a great boost to my career — GM responsibility was what I'd long sought, and the GEMBA program has given me the ability to demonstrate my leadership and deliver results.

Howard Wen, GEMBA VII
Senior Vice President, Investments, Merrill Lynch

As a private wealth portfolio manager, my work is mostly about finance. The GEMBA program has given me exposure to aspects of business I don't otherwise gain, such as the challenges and opportunities on a factory floor, or developing a multinational brand in mainland China. The finance-related components of the program were valuable, as they helped bolster my systematic understanding of the field as well as the latest developments, but it's the non-finance components that have delivered huge ROI for me, because I can use my greatly expanded understanding of business to more dynamically interact with my clients and boost the performance of their portfolios.

Linda Zhu, GEMBA VI
VP of Corporate Development, SITRI Group

I joined GEMBA to enrich my knowledge, experience and perspective. GEMBA continually amazed me. The experienced and warm-hearted faculty helped us develop many new ways of thinking. Never dogmatic, they were very practical and supportive, not only in class but also afterwards. I will always remember the great advice and support I received from, among others, Profs. Campbell, Chen, Crookston, Patton and Weiss. Two years after graduation, I still gain value from their perspectives and support. And my GEMBA family members are a lifelong treasure. We shared almost a childlike joy in learning and cooperated selflessly.

Sonny Shen, GEMBA V
Managing Director, Shanghai, Edelman Public Relations

GEMBA also expanded my network. I became part of USC's world-famous Trojan Family of alumni, in addition to becoming an alumna of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. I made lifelong friendships with my classmates — 55 students from 15 countries — who will always be able to share with me their diverse insights.

Tetsuo Hossho, GEMBA V
Certified Executive Coach, Coach A. Co. Ltd.

Late last year, I was offered a great new position at a Japanese firm, leading their pan-Asia development in a sector I'm passionate about: executive coaching and leadership development. I can now more than ever before use my GEMBA experience and contacts to grow the business and my own career. Actually, the firm tested me early on by sending me on a business development trip to Hong Kong, without existing resources. I immediately leveraged my GEMBA network there and ended up exceeding the firm's expectations.

David Koo, GEMBA I
Director of Merchandise, Shanghai Disney Resort

The GEMBA program has given me an opportunity to build the career of my dreams. When I joined GEMBA, I was managing the product development team for a footwear manufacturer in Shanghai. During my GEMBA experience, I discovered my love for marketing and found an opportunity that has led to a leadership career in consumer products.