The Intersection of Supply Chain Management, Sustainability, and Education

By Rex Ryan Magadia

Rex Ryan Magadia graduates in 2017 from GGU’s MBA program with a concentration in Global Supply Chain Management.

In one of my favorite books, Connectography by Parag Khanna, the author states that “Supply Chains are the greatest blessing and the greatest curse for civilization. They are an escape from the prison of geography, creating economic opportunities where none existed, bringing ideas, technologies, and business practices to places that lack the advantages of good climate and soil or other propitious variables. Now for the bad news:  Supply chains are “…also a conduit for plundering the world’s rain forests and pumping emissions into the atmosphere.”

Businesses are here to stay. Thus, looking through this paradigm, the next logical step is to ensure that businesses are run in the most sustainable and ethical way possible. This is done by developing good governance practices and taking a holistic approach when it comes to managing the social, environmental, and economic impacts of a business’s product and service life cycles. Examples include any policy or business practice that addresses human rights and labor, the environment, and anti-corruption in supply chain operations. An example may be creating more sustainable products that have fewer environmental impacts and ensuring that worker rights are respected throughout the supply chain.

It is not just the world’s rain forests which are at risk. For example, in the Philippines where tens of millions of people rely on healthy oceans/reefs for food, income, and protection from storms, supply chains are the mechanism that enables overfishing. Fish is the primary source of protein in the Philippines and if the global supply chains which operate in the Philippines are not managed in a more sustainable way, this vital life-support system will eventually disappear, leaving tens of millions of people in a state of low food security. My family is from the Philippines, and it’s been a goal of mine to teach environmental and supply chain sustainability there someday.

My GGU education was focused on real-world success from day one.

Career Transition

After I completed my B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Cal Poly, I worked as an engineer. I felt that my career path would be limited moving forward without having some sort of business background. In addition, I had been introduced to the concept of supply chain management and I saw this as the ideal field for me to pursue my passion for sustainability.

My greatest challenge in completing my degree was to achieve academic excellence in my role as a student/scholar while also finding the time to develop and meet goals that I’ve set in regards to my personal roles such as son, brother, lover, climate activist, teacher/mentor, and explorer.

My mission is to dedicate my life to helping others acquire the requisite knowledge, skills, and values to build a just and sustainable world.

My GGU education was focused on real-world success from day one. In an introductory global supply chain management (GSCM) course, Dr. Richard Dawe had us complete a Career Questionnaire & Career Plan to help us set a path for the rest of our graduate degree studies. Many, if not all, of my subsequent accomplishments were a direct result of the initial planning steps and actions that I took early in that introductory class. When it comes time to join a world-class supply management organization, I will be readily qualified and have the necessary knowledge and experience to do so.

GGU faculty members have had an immensely positive impact on my development as a student and as a human being. I’d like to give special thanks to Dr. Richard Dawe as well as Dr. Douglass Carlberg (Global Supply Chain Management Applications & Analytics) and Professor Howard Bernstein (Management Information Systems).

Changing the World

I believe that sustainability and climate change are the defining challenges of our generation. For this reason, I have worked to develop chain sustainability and climate change as my two primary knowledge areas. Over the course of the next ten years, I plan to work within this space and gain as much relevant experience and knowledge as I can. Ultimately my destination is education. As mentioned above, I’d like to one day teach supply chain sustainability within the context of climate change at the university level, perhaps in the Philippines. What I love about teaching and tutoring is the one-on-one interaction with students. As Dag Hammarskjold, Nobel Peace Prize recipient once said, “It is more noble to give yourself completely to one individual than to labor diligently for the salvation of the masses.” My mission is to dedicate my life to helping others acquire the requisite knowledge, skills, and values to build a just and sustainable world.

About Rex Ryan Magadia, CPSM, CPSD

Rex Ryan Magadia‘s accomplishments include: a 4.0 GPA in GGU’s MBA Program, GGU GSCM Outstanding Award Winner (2017, ISM 2016 Graduate Student of the Year (Northern California Chapter), APICS 2016 L.L. Waters Scholar, APICS supply chain management magazine regular contributing author, APICS Editorial Advisory Board Member, and CSCMP Scholarship AGC Ambassador Award Winner (2017).  Magadia is also in the process of writing a 10-part series for APICS Magazine in which he will highlight a particular skill that young professionals will need to succeed in an increasingly dynamic and complex global supply chain environment. Rex is a certified CPSM (Certified Professional in Supply Management) and CPSD (Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity).

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MBA Graduate Students Honored by Prestigious Supply Chain Organization

Rex Ryan Magadia (MBA ’17) and Zhaoqian (Anna) Zeng (MBA ’17) have won awards from the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals – San Francisco Roundtable (CSCMP-SFRT). Both students selected a concentration in global supply chain management at GGU and study at the San Francisco campus. The pair was selected for the 2017 honors on the strength of their academic accomplishments and essays on their future careers in supply chain management. Zeng received a scholarship award and Magadia won a trip to the national CSCMP conference where he will represent GGU among the thousands of participants.

Left to Right: Rex Ryan Magadia; Dr. Richard Dawe, Director and Professor, Global Supply Chain Management Program; and Zhaoqian (Anna) Zeng

Zeng’s undergraduate degree in law has helped her develop analytical and deductive reasoning skills along with an understanding of detailed laws, regulations, and customs. Magadia’s undergraduate degree in environmental engineering from Cal Poly reflects his engineer’s penchant for details, and he is also passionate about the intersection between the supply chain and societal issues. Born and raised in the central valley of California, he is the first member of his family to earn a college degree.

Both scholarship recipients are highly focused on the coursework and activities outside the classroom such as membership in CSCMP and attendance at local events. One of the reasons they chose GGU was the close affiliation that we have with industry, particularly through the excellent local professional organizations like CSCMP-SFRT. We truly believe that the habits you form in school will be those you take to your career.

—Dr. Richard Dawe, Director and Professor, Global Supply Chain Management Program

In the near future, Zeng wants to focus on the management of international trade operations while Magadia is interested in the advanced technologies and the supply chain’s impact on future society, sustainability, and risk factors. He will also be honored next month with the ‘Outstanding Student Award’ for the Global Supply Chain Management program this year.

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Professor Henry O. Pruden Wins Award from Prestigious Technical Analysis Organization

TMA Pricture IIThe Edward S. Ageno School of Business congratulates Professor Henry O. Pruden for winning the Market Technicians Association’s Annual Award.  Established in 1974, the Annual Award does not recognize a single achievement or even a year of achievements, but rather acknowledges a career of “outstanding accomplishment in technical analysis.”

In recognition of Dr. Pruden’s contributions to the field of technical analysis, his MTA Annual Award trophy is inscribed, “for his determination to establish the first Graduate Level Certificate of Technical Market Analysis at Golden Gate University where he has taught, mentored and inspired thousands of students and professional technicians throughout his 40‑year career.”  Dr. Pruden’s contributions to the academy were previously recognized by the MTA in 2010 when he received the Mike Epstein Award for pioneering achievements in the teaching of market technical analysis.

Pruden’s work has also been recognized worldwide.  In 2013, the International Federation of Technical Analysts honored Prof. Pruden with IFTA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to technical market analysis education worldwide.

You can learn more about Prof. Pruden and the classes he teaches on his bio page.

What is Techical Analysis?

Technical analysis provides a framework for informing investment management decisions by applying a supply and demand methodology to market prices. Technical analysts employ a disciplined, systematic approach that seeks to minimize the impact of behavioral biases and emotion from the investment practice.

—Market Technicians Association

Learning the Real World of Supply Chain Management: The Story of a Chinese Student

By Zhaoqian (Anna) Zeng (MBA ’17)

I am enrolled in Golden Gate University’s MBA program with a concentration in Supply Chain Management. I am from China and live in the San Francisco Bay Area. My bachelor’s degree in Law is from Customs College in Shanghai. After working in import and export operations, I wanted to expand my career. I was looking for a graduate school, I saw that Golden Gate University provided a very comprehensive program that covered the aspects of operations I find most interesting—strategy and tactical operations. My study also helps me understand the operational decisions of U.S. companies more thoroughly.

I like San Francisco because it is a fast-paced city where I can meet different kinds of people. It’s a very welcoming place and people from different cultures feel comfortable here. There are young, energetic people here who are absorbing new information every day. These are the reasons I want to stay here after I complete my degree.

GGU gives us more than just academic classes, lectures, and research-paper assignments. The classes are structured to build skills that will help us get our footing in the business world.

Real-World Education

GGU gives us more than just academic classes, lectures, and research-paper assignments. The classes are structured to build skills that will help us get our footing in the business world. Here are some of my experiences:

  • Any real-time news about companies can become a problem-solving exercise in class.
  • We had an amazing guest speaker from PCH Lime Lab: a company that helps startups in the San Francisco Bay Area build prototypes and put them into mass production in Asia.
  • Professor Douglas Carlberg took my class to tour DHL’s facility in San Francisco. The streamlined environment, simplified processes, and the responsible staff were quite impressive to us.
  • The discussions among students with professional experience, and with our professors who are working in the field of supply chain, have been inspirational and keep moving me toward becoming an excellent supply chain professional.

Job Networking in the US

GGU professors give great suggestions for our career development. At the suggestion of Professor Richard Dawe, I volunteered and attended events at organizations such as the Institute for Supply Management, Women in Logistics, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, and the Bio Supply Management Alliance. I also had informational interviews at Genentech, Kaiser Permanente, and Tesla. Those visits gave me an opportunity to learn about the organizations and build a relationship with the people there.

I like San Francisco because it is a fast-paced city where I can meet different kinds of people. It’s a very welcoming place and people from different cultures feel comfortable here.

Working as One

We cannot accomplish any complex supply-chain project solely by ourselves. Teamwork is an important part of our work and is built on trust and understanding. At GGU, my classmates and I have multiple platforms— in class and at networking events — to form these relationships. All these experiences will help us achieve better performances in the real-world of business.

About Zhaoqian (Anna) Zeng

Zhaoqian (Anna) Zeng is in the MBA program (’17) with a concentration in Supply Chain Management. She enjoys working in purchasing and will pursue a strategic sourcing position in the future. Zeng was awarded a scholarship in 2016 from Women In Logistics and won an Academic Excellence Award in 2017 from the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals – San Francisco Roundtable.

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Best Places to Eat and Drink in San Francisco’s Financial District (AKA GGU’s Back Yard)

ccGolden Gate University is located one block from San Francisco’s Financial District. The area, often called “FiDi,” is not just the home of major banks, accounting firms, and technology companies such as Uber and Salesforce (Their new tower is just one block away.). FiDi also hosts many places to eat where you can find local employees on their lunch break or the residents of hundreds of new rental and condo units in the area. You can also spot GGU students at any of these spots between classes or before an evening course.

The GGU community voted on their favorite spots and here are the results:

Best Pizza – Portico Restaurant

Portico Restaurant is located a few steps away from GGU. At the corner of Mission and 1st streets, Portico Restaurant is our community’s favorite place to grab a slice. The Chicken Pesto is one of their most popular pizzas. Other favorites are the Classic Veggie and the All Meat Combination, piled with sausage, pepperoni, salami, chicken, and bacon. More than 20 varieties are made daily, but not all of them are on the regular menu.

Best Mexican Restaurant – Uno Dos Tacos

At Stevenson and 2nd streets, Uno Dos Tacos is one of the busiest eateries in the GGU neighborhood, especially at happy hour! The taqueria and tequila bar started as a family business. In his early years, Chef Luis Flores learned to cook by shadowing his mother and aunt, and he is still using his mother’s recipes for many items, including the best-selling carnitas, mole, and burritos. According to the manager, “everything that comes out of Uno Dos Tacos’ kitchen is considered “homemade and deeply personal,” prepared with fresh ingredients on a daily basis.

Best Indian Restaurant – Mehfil Restaurant

Located on 2nd Street and Market, right across from the Montgomery BART Station, Mehfil Restaurant is one of the most affordable lunch destinations within walking distance of GGU. The menu offers a wide variety of traditional Indian dishes, along with a $7 special lunch box menu that changes daily. All-time customer favorites include vegetarian malai kofta, mattar mushroom, chicken tikka masala and their lightly spicy signature bread, Mehfil-E-Naan.

Best Burger – Super Duper

Super Duper was another easy winner, with many votes. We interviewed the store manager at the Metreon location and got the scoop on secret items that you may not know even existed in Super Duper’s menu, like the Four Cheese, is the perfect example of that. It adds four layers of yumminess to Super Duper’s signature burger with aged white cheddar, pepper jack, cheddar and Cambozola blue cheese in addition to lettuce, tomato and Super Duper’s famous Super Sauce. Another second secret burger is the Philly Jalapeño, topped with grilled bell peppers, onions and, of course, jalapeños. It used to be on the menu years ago but today only the loyal Super Duper customers know about it.

Best Place to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth – Cupcake Cove

Cupcake Cove (treats pictured above) is one of many easy-to-miss neighborhood gems that our community managed to discover while on the prowl for a sugar fix. Located on Battery and Pine streets, it serves a diet-defying variety of delicious cupcakes. The shop has a rotating menu with seasonal specialties. The best sellers are the Red Velvet and Sea Salt Caramel cupcakes, followed in descending order by the Guava & Passion Fruit, Chocolate, Coffee and Lemon cupcakes.

Best Bar – Louie’s Bar

Whether you’re a beer person or will do nothing but cocktails, Louie’s Bar is one of the most amiable spots in the “FidDi” neighborhood, always full of friendly people who are happy to see you. Bartender Cindy, who is famous for remembering a name and a face, said that countless GGU students and faculty stop by the bar to decompress after a stressful day, celebrate an event and socialize, or sometimes just to review a paper with a scotch-and-dry in hand.

Best Coffee Place – Herbst Café (at GGU)

Our café proudly serves Peet’s Coffee & Tea, offering seasonal drinks such as Pumpkin Chai Latte and Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Mocha in the fall and peppermint-flavored beverages around the holidays. Our baristas like to experiment since they enjoy caffeinated beverages themselves. They told us about two items that you most likely will never see on the menu but are delicious: the French Raspberry Matcha and the White Chocolate Raspberry Mocha. 

For more on the GGU area, read the feature article in GGU’s recent alumni magazine: Welcome to the Neighborhood: A Look at the Urban Transformation Surrounding GGU.

GGU Project Management Students Chosen for “Next Generation Leaders” Delegation

A group of Golden Gate University Project Management master’s degree program students was chosen to represent San Francisco as part of a delegation of “Next Generation Leaders” at the Western region Project Management Institute (PMI) conference. The honorees at the conference were Batchimeg Shagdarguntev, Kadri Rexha, Ramya Krishnamoorthy, and Seifeddine Mejri. The students earned this opportunity through many hours of hard work on behalf of the PMI San Francisco chapter. For example, students were entirely responsible for planning and running the 2016 annual general meeting for the chapter — including food and logistics at an Oakland A’s game.

Delegation members (left to right): Seifeddine Mejri, Batchimeg Shagdarguntev, Ramya Krishnamoorthy, and Kadri Rexha. Photo by Michael Rey Sumiquial.

The PMI – the global professional organization for project managers – held the regional conference in Yosemite National Park in March, which afforded PMI leaders from across the West to network and share ideas. GGU students had the chance to meet seasoned project management professionals from as far away as Hawaii. The Yosemite location allowed for unique sightseeing, which was a special treat for the international student group.

I am very proud of the tremendous positive feedback that I receive from the project management community about the students’ work. From website support to school outreach to event coordination, GGU students have impressed PMI with their skills and commitment. It’s a winning partnership.

Marie Spark, MBA, PMP®
Project Management Program Director & Lecturer

PMI SF Chapter CEO, Nathan Mellin describes the GGU students’ work as “stellar” and appreciates the commitment and support that the students provide to the all-volunteer professional organization. Mellin noted that of all the chapters, the San Francisco group had the most geographically diverse group, with students from all over the globe.

The delegation would also like to recognize Daniela Perez for her involvement in PMI volunteer activities.

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Will We Have a Government Shutdown at the End of April or Just Weak GDP for the First Quarter?

By Terry Connelly, Dean Emeritus, Ageno School of Business

When the US Congress returns to work on April 24, it will have barely a handful of working days to agree on a budget for the remainder of the current fiscal year through September 30—and meanwhile address the breakdown of President Trump’s agenda after the withdrawal of the proposed American health Care Act (the “AHCA”) by the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives with the advice and consent of the President.

Essentially, coming home from their town hall meetings (or non-meetings) over the Easter recess, Congress will approach the end of President Trump’s first 100 days in office with only two clear accomplishments in terms of the Trump Congressional agenda – allowing the states to defund Planned Parenthood by removing an Obama regulation prohibiting such actions, and the Senate’s approval of the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court, where he now sits. Moreover, as it happens, the GOP failure to “repeal and replace” Obamacare as promised also complicates the effort to move on to the next key promises in the Trump agenda: namely, enactment of a major income tax reform and reduction bill: repatriation at a reduced tax rate the trillions in US corporate earnings now sheltered overseas; authorizing and paying for – at least initially – construction of a border wall along the US-Mexican border; and initiation of a job-creating infrastructure stimulus plan dependent at least to some degree on Federal spending.

Spending – or not spending, as the case may be – thus will become a dominant issue in terms of the progress of the President’s agenda. The legislation necessary to extend the current budget arrangement for this fiscal year, or some modified version of it, until September 30 will become the prime focus between Monday, April 24 and Friday, April 28, when the prospect of a government shutdown again looms for the nation’s economic and political direction.

Many in the GOP will want to change the terms of the budget deal to align the remainder of fiscal 2017 more directly with the agenda President Trump got elected on: defunding Planned Parenthood (which at least for a year was part of the ill-fated AHCA), funding the work on the Mexican border wall, and ending the subsidies to insurance companies participating in the health insurance exchanges under Obamacare to reduce their losses due to the fact that too few healthy persons signed up for coverage to make the policies offered attractively priced either for the companies or their customers. In terms of this last issue the GOP in Congress has argued that these subsidies were proved by president Obama without clear Congressional authorities and are therefore unconstitutional – an argument underlying President Trump’s threat to stop right now paying those subsidies to insurers to force the immediate collapse of the exchanges (because the insurers pull out) and thus force Democrats to the bargaining table to join in supporting a new health care plan replacing Obamacare.

Democrats have meanwhile signaled they could be willing potentially to force a government shutdown (i.e., not supply any votes needed for passage the budget extension) if the extension includes either a cut-off of Federal Planned Parenthood funding or funding for building a border wall – or does not include continued authorization and funding for the subsidies to insurance companies required for operation of the Obamacare insurance exchanges at the state and Federal levels.

Additionally, there conceivably could be efforts by the House Freedom Caucus or other far-right groups to attach a full repeal of Obamacare – including the protections relating to pre-existing conditions and keeping children on parental policies until age 26 – to the budget extension, at least in the House of Representatives. Other Republicans, especially in the Senate like John McCain, are anxious to increase military funding from current levels for the balance of this fiscal year, an argument that could be enhanced by the increase in potential for hostilities involving America in the Koreas and Syria.

At the same time, there is consternation within the business and Wall street community that the failure to date of any new health care policy has vastly complicated the path to tax reduction and reform because some of the savings needed to offset rate cuts were embedded in the AHCA and now can’t be counted, which makes it harder to bring in a “revenue neutral” bill that is required to allow passage by 51 votes and not 60 (i.e., meaning some Democrats on board) in the Senate – otherwise, the only path to simple majority passage is to make the tax cuts temporary in the sense that they will expire in ten years, just as the famous Bush tax cuts did, giving President Obama his opening to impose higher taxes on the rich.

Tax reform is already difficult enough with respect to three key issues: (i) will the tax bill cover both corporate and personal income taxes (it practically must if it drastically cuts corporate rates only, because small business owners often qualify to incorporate and pass through their business income); (ii) the whole question of using a “border adjustment” to apply VAT-like principals to tax imports in order to provide a Treasury windfall to achieve ‘revenue neutrality’ in the face of steep rate cuts and minimize the hit to popular personal deductions like mortgage interest, charitable contributions or state and local taxes – again to achieve revenue neutrality.

All these consideration, plus the latest ideas from the House GOP leadership to attract enough votes to an “AHCA 2.0” from the Freedom Caucus and other conservatives – without losing moderates or highly skeptical GOP Senators (especially those up for re-election in 2018) – so that the bill would eventually pass both Houses and thus open the door for action on the tax cut and infrastructure bills.

In this context, while they old device of buying votes with “’earmarks’’ – the specially tailored to the political needs of particular members (recall the “bridge to nowhere” and even the “Cornhusker kickback”) — is no longer available under current rules, there could be pressure on leadership to load up the budget extension resolution with provisions like Planned Parenthood defunding in order to secure votes for AHCA 2.0 or even tax cut legislation, vastly complicating the path to 218 votes in the House.

Adding a Federal Planned Parenthood or “sanctuary cities” funding cut-off, to appease far-right Republicans, or even a full-on Obamacare repeal, to the budget extension would assure that Nancy Pelosi could hold her Democrats off from providing any votes to save Speaker Ryan from dependence on a few recalcitrant Republicans and risk yet another government shutdown before it the issue even reaches the Senate.

In that event, once again, it would take major stock market sell-off on May Day to bring Congress to its senses and a “clean” budget extension through September. But do investors really need to get through that again while they are worrying more about whether who is more likely to shoot first: Kim Jung-un or DJT?

President Trump indeed may even wind up playing the role of the adult in the room on the shutdown issue. On April 28, the same day as the government runs out of budget money – the Commerce Department will release the first public estimate of GDP for the first quarter of 2017 (being the first quarter also of the Trump Presidency). The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s latest prediction is an anemic 0.5%, and blue chip economists’ consensus is only a point higher – both far below the 3-4% growth Trump and his officials have targeted. Trump can for lone last time blame such poor performance on Obama hangover, and would no doubt use it to ratchet up his push to get some form of AHCA done and move quickly on tax cuts and infrastructure to stimulate the weak economy, which has also recently disappointed in terms of retail and auto sales, productivity, and hiring.

In that context, the last thing the President needs is a government shutdown because his own Party can’t get a budget extension passed because of intra-Party squabbles over the border Wall, Planned Parenthood or even the opportunity to immediately cut the financial legs out from under Obamacare exchanges. The art of the deal often is all about timing.

About Terry Connelly

terry-connellyTerry Connelly is an economic expert and dean emeritus of the Ageno School of Business at Golden Gate University, California’s fifth largest private university and a nonprofit institution based in San Francisco with award-winning online cyber campus. With more than 30 years experience in investment banking, law and corporate strategy on Wall Street and abroad, Terry analyses the impact of government politics and policies on local, national and international economies, examining the interaction of global financial markets, the U.S. banking industry (and all of its regulatory agencies), the Federal Reserve, domestic employment levels and consumer reactions to the changing economic tides.

Terry holds a law degree from NYU School of Law and his professional history includes positions with Ernst & Young Australia, the Queensland University of Technology Graduate School of Business, New York law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore (corporate, securities and litigation practice in New York and London), global chief of staff at Salomon Brothers investment banking firm and Cowen & Company’s investments, where he served as CEO. In conjunction with Golden Gate University President Dan Angel, Terry co-authored Riptide: The New Normal In Higher Education (2011). Riptide deconstructs the changing landscape of higher education in the face of the for-profit debacle, graduation gridlock and staggering student debt, and asserts a new, sustainable model for progress. Terry is a board member of the the Public Religion Research Institute, a Washington, DC think tank and polling organization, and the Cardiac Therapy Foundation in Palo Alto, California. Terry lives in Palo Alto with his wife.

 This article also appeared on the Huffington Post (4/19/17).

Five Things I’ve Learned in Graduate School at Golden Gate University

financial-planner-middletonAs someone who has almost survived graduate school, I can tell you one thing: I am not the same person I was before I started my program. Earning a master’s degree in financial planning has felt like a rite of passage into the career of finance. It has groomed me in many different ways, helping me build up an immense amount of knowledge in various areas that impact our financial lives. It has also helped me develop a new network of relationships with classmates and some of the best practitioners in the field. Throughout my study, I’ve been surrounded by some very bright people!

Here are five things that the program has taught me well about a career specializing in personal finance:

1) “Comprehensive” financial planning is a holistic, professional practice.

As GGU professor Elissa Buie, CFP® often points out in our Cases capstone course, financial planners have to have big brains and emotional intelligence. It is very helpful for practicing advisors to learn about behavioral finance — a field of psychology that gives insight on the emotional tics and behaviors that support or hinder us when making financial decisions. My graduate program also taught me how to crunch numbers, do forecasting, backtest and build investment portfolios. We studied tax and estate-planning law. I smile now when I think back to 2014, when I didn’t have a clue on how to use a HP12c financial calculator, what modern portfolio theory was, or how to file my own tax return!

2) The earlier you plan, the better off you’ll be!

Managing personal finances can be complex, frustrating and time-consuming, but it is not an impossible area to learn or improve upon! In fact, our lives depend on it! Sadly, in the US we simply have never done a good job of teaching people at a young age how to properly manage their money and make good financial decisions. This lack of education can be especially harmful to a person later in their adult years.

I smile now when I think back to 2014, when I didn’t have a clue on how to use a HP12c financial calculator, what modern portfolio theory was, or how to file my own tax return!

Financial planners help clients take a proactive approach towards better financial health and well-being by guiding them in areas such as how to build an adequate emergency fund, how to get rid of and avoid using high-interest rate debt to fund their lifestyles, and why it is important to pay attention to other areas like discretionary spending, taxes, and holes in insurance coverage or estate planning.

3) Delivering financial advice cannot be done in a “one size fits all” fashion.

Every single person has different needs, attitudes towards risk, habits, and things they want to accomplish with their money. Financial planners/advisors have to know how to ask the right (often tough) questions, so that they can truly understand a client’s situation. We empower our clients by helping them strategize in a way that is forward-thinking, and we help them consider and understand the “what-ifs” that might come along with making any number of financial decisions. It’s exactly what makes practicing financial planning such an interesting field!

I wouldn’t call myself a Steve Kerr of financial planning (not yet as least!), but we have similar jobs to do. Thankfully, I learned some solid coaching skills from GGU professor Saundra Davis….

4) There’s a dire shortage of women & minority financial planners

Step inside the corporate offices of a wirehouse, independent RIA, or brokerage firm today and you will see two things: a lack of women advisors and a lack of minority advisors. Since I can check off both of these boxes, I can tell you that women and minorities are not often encouraged to go into this field. Professional advocacy groups like the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) are trying to change this; but to-date those who have been delivering financial advice are, more often than not, white and male.

Compare this with the below illustration taken from a  research study published by the Journal of Financial Planning on the usage of financial planners by different racial groups in the U.S.


This graphic shows a heavy imbalance of wealth between different racial groups. Much of this comes from the fact that Black and Hispanic households, and women, have not shared in the financial rewards of the last century as much as white and Asian households.

I believe strongly that if more women and minorities enter our field, it will expand our reach into these communities, and hopefully encourage more black and brown households and more women to seek the help of financial planners in creating long-term strategies for building personal wealth.

5) Be prepared to wear a coach’s hat.

aaeaaqaaaaaaaa3haaaajdixmzhmy2q0ltq3yjctndu0mc05mtuylta0ztblowrlm2ezngA financial planner has to wear many hats, and being a financial coach is often one of them. Imagine Golden State Warriors NBA head coach, Steve Kerr, as he keeps his players focused on the court. At every game, Coach Kerr and his coaching staff remind the players to remain calm, remember the game plan and make the necessary adjustments in order to execute big wins. I wouldn’t call myself a Steve Kerr of financial planning (not yet as least!), but we have similar jobs to do.

Thankfully, I learned some solid coaching skills from GGU professor Saundra Davis, like how to develop a communication style while working with clients that can help clients assess their own solutions “toolkit” — problem-solving techniques that have worked for them in past experiences that can be creatively applied and repeated towards achieving a financial goal.

Nicole Middleton is a graduate student at Golden Gate University’s Master of Science Degree in Financial Planning program. She is also a practicing Financial Advisor and co-owner of an independent financial planning firm, Strategy Squad Insurance Services, LLC based in Oakland, CA.

This article appeared in Nicole Middleton’s LinkedIn stream on April 3, 2017.



GGU Law Student Links Intellectual Property Law with Food Pics on Instagram

You know you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area when copyright protection and food obsession come together in an academic paper. The paper, by Venus Ho, a third-year law student in GGU School of Law’s Intellectual Property (IP) program, recently won a prize in a student writing competition at the University of New Hampshire.

Venus Ho (’17)

It begins with this scenario: It’s Friday night, and you’re out for dinner at your favorite restaurant. The food comes, looking “so delicious and well-plated that you take photos of the food and your friends with your cell phone.” You upload the photos to Instagram and a few days later, your pictures are everywhere, printed on flyers promoting the restaurant. But you haven’t given your permission—and you’re upset.

The paper criticizes the US Copyright Office’s 2015 proposal as an attempt resolving the problem of “copyright protection for orphaned works” — meaning works whose creator is either unknown or unfound. Ho explains that, in the digital age, this is an increasingly common problem. Her solution: the US Copyright Office should establish a database of orphaned photos and a clearinghouse to collect modest licensing fees from anyone who wants to use an orphaned photo. Then, if the creator steps forward, he or she will be able to earn some compensation for the use of their work.

Ho, who was born in Hong Kong and raised in Toronto, did photography as a hobby during her undergraduate studies and has always been interested in the arts. Studying IP law has been a great way to combine her two great interests: the law and the arts. For her, GGU Law’s small size and the connections her professors and students have with movers and shakers in the legal and creative communities has made her legal education rewarding.

Her next goal: Pass the California and Texas Bar Exams and work at a firm that specializes in IP law.

Learn more about GGU’s School of Law programs >>

San Francisco – The Best Place to Go to College?

San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, inspiring a kind of affection summed up in Tony Bennett’s anthem to the city – I Left My Heart in San Francisco. Nearly 25 million tourists from around the globe visit each year to enjoy landmarks such as the “international orange” Golden Gate Bridge, zig-zagging Lombard Street, and the iconic trolley cars that climb up and down the steep city streets.

If you don’t think of San Francisco as a “college town,” think again. San Francisco ranks first for higher education in the US, according to the trusted American Institute of Economic Research (AIER). AIER looked the criteria most important to prospective students: quality of life and economic climate, including:

• Public transportation
• Options for walking and biking
• Arts and entertainment
• Presence of science, technology, medical, and engineering workers
• Employment rate
• Diversity

Amenities abound in San Francisco. Highlights include 50+ museums, 85 transit stops, and 45 miles of streets with bike lanes. Because the city is just 7 miles across and 7 miles wide, you are always minutes away from something exciting to do. On the practical side, San Francisco’s low 3.5% unemployment rate is a good indicator for students seeking an internship or job after college.

San Francisco was rated one of the best places in the world to attend business school, largely because it’s where hundreds of powerful companies base their operations and where start-ups find an ideal climate for hiring new talent.

San Francisco has a reputation as the most accepting city in the US to people regardless of their country of origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or culture. It’s clear walking down almost any street in the city that this is one of the most diverse and colorful cities in the world. The city government is also involved in maintaining its accepting culture. This year it launched a Respect and Love initiative to combat discrimination and make immigrants feel welcome as contributors to the community.

Where in San Francisco should you go to school?

A 4.5-acre park will open a block from GGU later this year.

San Francisco is not a single place – rather a patchwork of neighborhoods, each with its own character. Some are cultural centers, some have a park-like feel, others are great for shopping. Of all these areas, Golden Gate University’s Financial District (downtown) neighborhood is ideal for business students.
Golden Gate University is located in the business epicenter of the city, where you can find the headquarters of Uber, Twitter, Wells Fargo, Salesforce, McKesson, and many others. The campus is literally surrounded by heavy hitters in the business world – the same firms from which the university draws its faculty. In fact, 80 percent of GGU instructors are working professionals who share their very real-world knowledge and connections with students.

But downtown San Francisco is not all business. A 5.4-acre park on the roof of a new transit center will be just a block from GGU’s campus, and the beautiful Embarcadero is a 5-minute walk away. If you’re considering college or grad school, you owe it to yourself to check out Golden Gate University’s graduate and undergraduate programs. We also provide special information for international students.