Learning from – and for – the Real World

by Amina Kasumov (MBA ’16)

I enrolled in Golden Gate University in April of 2014 with the hopes of obtaining my Master of Business Administration degree. I’m proud to say that as of April 2016 I am a Golden Gate University MBA graduate. In my time at GGU, I was able to explore many different facets of business through the diverse curriculum of the program, which gave me a well-rounded perspective on how to succeed in the real-world of business.

Though I obtained a great deal of value from all of the classes I was a part of and from the instructors that I was fortunate enough to be taught by, one class greatly resonated with me. In the fall term of 2015, I was part of a Management Leadership course taught by Professor Jeffrey Yergler. One of the learning outcomes of this course was to be able to “evaluate, support, and cultivate effective leadership approaches in organizational setting.” I recall one assignment where we were tasked with evaluating the significance of leading by example, and examining the approaches taken by certain companies in the process. For this assignment, I wrote about the importance of developing practices and maintaining a company culture that is consistent with the organization’s core values. I also reflected on the importance of leading by example, ensuring that values and actions were consistent from leadership to the lower ranks.

I was able to explore many different facets of business through the diverse curriculum of the program, which gave me a well-rounded perspective on how to succeed in the real-world of business.

The appointment of Uber’s new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, serves as a recent example of these issues. In the article that I saw in Recode,  he admitted that after over 12 years of being a CEO for Expedia, transitioning to this new appointment was a tough decision. He was also quoted saying: “I have to tell you I am scared.” What does this transparent response say about him as a leader? A frequently quoted management consultant, Peter Shaehan, explains that, “if you want a culture of creativity and innovation, where sensible risks are embraced on both a market and individual level, start by developing the ability of managers to cultivate an openness to vulnerability in their teams.” The tone that Khosrowshahi is setting in this early stage is already vastly different from what the company experienced with the previous CEO. It may be too early to tell what this new appointment will do for the company, but it seems that he is starting off on the right foot.

In the Management Leadership class, we also focused on similar hot topics in the news such as an article in the NY Times at the time about Amazon being a “bruising workplace,”  and participated in robust discussions about them. With students from different countries, different industries, and different levels of professional experience, we heard various perspectives on issues like these. One of my favorite things about this class experience was the insightful conversations that took place among the classmates. GGU’s diverse student body presents an opportunity for students to not only learn from the professors, but also gain valuable knowledge from the perspectives of their peers.

When I read about CEOs of world-renowned corporations stepping down or being scrutinized, or of decisions made by those in political leadership roles, I consider the classroom discussions that these events would inspire. I wouldn’t have been as able to assess these events the way I do today without the knowledge I gained in this course.

Another thing I appreciated about the classroom experience at GGU is how the courses are developed to provide valuable knowledge that can be applied to the real-world by evaluating real-world examples such as Uber and Amazon. In this class, many of our conversations were around the actions of CEO’s and other C-level executives of well-known companies—such as Toyota, Johnson & Johnson, GE and many others—and applying the theories we were learning directly to these examples.

Having completed my degree, I often think back on some of the conversations that took place in the classroom. When I read about CEOs of world-renowned corporations stepping down or being scrutinized, or of decisions made by those in political leadership roles, I consider the classroom discussions that these events would inspire. I wouldn’t have been as able to assess these events the way I do today without the knowledge I gained in this course.”

Dr. Jeffrey Yergler on the Management Leadership Course
“This course offers a unique approach to understanding who the leader is, the practice of leadership, and the impact of leadership on people and performance. By examining a number of leadership approaches, students are able gain specialized knowledge not only about which leadership approach would work best in a particular organizational setting but also the degree to which a particular leadership approach would be an excellent match for the student’s own exercise of leadership in their respective organizations.”

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Dr. Dave Yeske: Financial Planning Evangelist and Leading Light

Dave YeskeThrough the years, Dr. Dave Yeske, CFP® has succeeded in this mission through national TV appearances, leadership of professional organizations, and writer. The Financial Planning Association® (FPA) has recognized him as one of the profession’s leading minds by awarding him their highest honor—The P. Kemp Fain Jr. Award (2017). He continues to spread the gospel of his field as Director of the GGU’s Financial Planning programs and Distinguished Adjunct Professor.

Helping Realize Dreams

During his career at the Paul Revere Insurance Group (now part of Unum), it was Yeske’s job to call on insurance brokers, stock brokers, and financial planners, representing his company’s portfolio of products. He recalls: “I gravitated to the Certified Financial Planner® (CFP) professionals who were using the financial and economic tools I’d learned in school, but in the interest of helping individuals and families achieve their dreams and goals for their lives. The financial planners worked with their clients over time, guiding them and being part of the process as clients realized their visions for the future.

My mission is to be a financial planning evangelist. I want to share the power of financial planning to transform lives for the better, and hold my professional community to the highest standards of conduct while they practice this power with and for their clients.

Inspired by these interactions, Yeske enrolled in a CFP education program and went on to open his own financial planning office. In 2010, Dr. Yeske earned a doctorate in finance from GGU. The investment strategy he pioneered—The Yeske Buie Approach—has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal.

Dr. Yeske endeavors to, “help foster the emergence of professionals who can practice at the highest level of competence. This means not only technical competence, but also the ability to understand their clients deeply, to develop strategies that are demonstrably connected to who their clients are as human beings, and to possess and use the skills necessary to be effective change agents in their clients’ lives.”

The Yeske Buie Approach
Read about The Yeske Buie Approach >>

Teaching and Research at GGU

Overseeing the Master of Science in Financial Planning (for those entering the profession and preparing for the CFP® exam) and the Master of Science in Advanced Financial Planning (for practicing CFPs looking to advance to the next level), Dr. Yeske endeavors to “help foster the emergence of professionals who can practice at the highest level of competence. This means not only technical competence, but also the ability to understand their clients deeply, to develop strategies that are demonstrably connected to who their clients are as human beings, and to possess and use the skills necessary to be effective change agents in their clients’ lives. These include advanced communication skills, coaching and facilitation skills, and the ability to think strategically. This focus permeates all of our classes and programs.”

Moving the Profession Forward

One of Yeske’s two primary areas of focus is to educate financial planners to be better versed in research-based writing and to have the skills to incorporate the results of financial planning research. Yeske contributed to this body of knowledge by co-authoring Evidence-Based Financial Planning: To Learn . . . Like a CFP with fellow GGU professor Elissa Buie, and by creating a GGU course called Evaluating Research: Understanding and Using Applied Research in Your Practice.

Yeske’s second main area of focus has been incorporating more science into the practice of financial planning by fostering closer ties between the worlds of practice and academia. “Academics understand how to conduct formal research, while financial planners, working on the front lines with their clients, know the critical questions that need to be answered,” he says. In his roles as Chair of FPA’s Research Center Team and Academic Advisory Council, Dr. Yeske says he “strove to build the connections that I knew would be so necessary to expand our body of knowledge in an evidence-based direction. It’s an essential partnership.”

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Women in Leadership Event Includes Accomplished Genentech Professional

Hazel Blackhart (JD ’08), a GGU alumnae and Product Manager at Genentech, will be a panelist at the 5th Annual Women in Leadership event in October at GGU.

A biotechnology professional for over 14 years, Blackhart’s experience includes strategic partnerships, operations, patient advocacy, communications and people engagement. Her strengths are in the areas of teamwork & collaboration, leading & influencing, and drive for results.

Blackhart has held various legal positions at Genentech including Head of Global Product Strategy and Global Medical Affairs, Contracts. She was also a member of the company’s Intellectual Property law group.

In anticipation of the Women in Leadership event, we asked her what single piece of advice she would give to women in business. She says:

My one piece of advice to a woman entering a new career or extending her career would be to consider your areas of strength—balanced by the areas you want a challenge in. The right role for me has always been one in which I could leverage my areas of strength as a solid foundation with the opportunity to stretch, grow, and learn. Finding this right balance can be tricky and can take time, but it will set you up for success in the long run!


5th Annual Women in Leadership Event

Join Hazel Blackhart and other distinguished panelists as they share stories, tips, and insights on how to navigate a successful career. The event is open to the GGU community and the public. Admission to this event is free and refreshments will be provided.

Date: October 25, 2017
Time: 5:30 – 8 p.m.
Location: Golden Gate University, San Francisco [directions]


5:30 – 6:30 pm — Registration begins / networking
6:30 – 7:30 pm — Panel discussion and Q&A
7:30 – 8:00 pm — Post-panel networking

For more information about this event, please visit www.ggu.edu/women-in-leadership.

Get updates and share with friends: #GGUWomen.

GGU Finance Chair Co-Authors Study on Investment Decisions of University Employees

Dr. Andrea Anthony, Assistant Professor and Chair of the Finance and Economics Department at GGU, has co-authored a paper that was recently covered by Reuters. The study, Does the Source of Money Determine Retirement Investment Choices?, examines whether public university employees treat their “free money” differently from their “earned money.” In other words, it analyzes how the investment choices in the optional pension plan funded by the employer differ from the investment choices funded by employees themselves in voluntary salary reduction 403(b) accounts.

Dr. Anthony says: “One of the reasons why my co-authors and I wrote this paper is because 403(b) plans, on which the nonprofit and public sectors rely, have not been studied as thoroughly as 401(k) plans.” Based on data from Oregon State University, the paper found that the level of risk associated with voluntary, salary-reduction investments in 403(b) accounts is lower than the risk those same employees are currently taking in their employer funded 401(a) accounts.

Praising Dr. Anthony’s work in Reuter’s, James Saft wrote: “The study isn’t useful just because it demonstrates that we become more risk-averse if we feel it is ‘our’ money at stake, but also that it points out some fundamental flaws in the system in the U.S., which is dominated by self-directed retirement savings accounts in which the beneficiary makes the decision about how to invest…Retirement savers should be investing in equities and other high-risk, high-reward assets if they meet their own risk profile well, not avoiding them because it would be painful to lose what feels like your own hard-earned money.”

Dr. Anthony adds: “Mr. Saft’s analogy about picking your pocket at the race track and comparing how you spend what you think is your earned money compared to your free reward money is very perceptive. Investors should not base their risk preferences for investments with money entirely funded by their employer differently than those investments with money funded by forgone take-home pay. There are a number of reasons that could contribute to suboptimal retirement allocation and this study helps in identifying another potential behavioral bias.”

Does the Source of Money Determine Retirement Investment Choices? is available is available on SSRN.

About Dr. Andrea Anthony

Dr. Andrea Anthony is an Assistant Professor and Chair of the Finance and Economics Department. Before joining Golden Gate University, she spent two years at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon as a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Finance. Anthony completed her Ph.D. in June 2014 at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. She earned her BBA from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D., Dr. Anthony worked in several corporate finance roles with The Boeing Company at the company’s Seattle and Chicago locations. These positions included New Aircraft Finance and Contract Negotiation, Financial Planning and Analysis, Cost Estimating, Revenue Management, International Accounting, and Procurement Cost Analysis.

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Building Leadership and Teamwork Skills at Golden Gate University

Jatin Jaiswal (MBA, Marketing Concentration ’17) made his way from India to Golden Gate University in part to take advantage of San Francisco’s innovative technology environment. He landed an internship at a local start-up called FinTech School where he applies skills he picked up at GGU such as SEO, email marketing, and social media. But he says a big part of his education has been learning how to collaborate with people with different backgrounds and personalities.

“The team exercises in my Team Dynamics and Managerial Analysis class were transformational for me, and I could see other people change too,” he says. The class was taught by Heather Cowan, who has held senior positions at Genentech and Autodesk where she currently serves as ‎Director of Learning and Organization Development. The students were assigned to groups of six with a balance of personality styles as measured by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Each group had to work through a project starting with an informal kickoff meeting and ending with a group decision on a single course of action.

Jaiswal had his turn to lead the group during the project. “As a leader, you have to get the conversation started and keep it going. For example, you have to watch people that are introverted and bring them into the dynamic and be aware of their tendency to be agreeable. You learn to see the other side of a conversation and find out if there is something blocking progress—and then unblock it! I handle situations differently after taking the class. I take more time to think about what I am doing and understand my colleagues better.”

“The class was transformational for me, and I could see other people change too.”

As for the future, Jaiswal sees a huge opportunity presented by the San Francisco Bay Area tech environment for providing specialized consulting services to companies. “My business partner is from the Ukraine, and his culture is different, but we are working together towards a common goal.”

Jaiswal on Networking in San Francisco

“Steve Jobs said that people are there to help you and all you have to do is ask.” In San Francisco, I had coffee with people from Salesforce just by writing them through LinkedIn.  You may not get a job, but it leads to the next thing. San Francisco is a very welcoming city, and you have access to all kinds of companies like Microsoft, Uber, and Tesla.”

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Students Recap Winning Entry to Regional CFA Institute Research Challenge

A team of students from the Master of Science in Finance and Bachelor of Science in Business programs will recap their winning entry to the regional CFA Institute Research Challenge on September 5th at Golden Gate University. The competition required teams to create a written report and a group presentation to a panel of financial services professionals.

Come see a video of their presentation and find out why their analysis of Hewlett Packard made them prevail over graduate schools across Northern California. The event will be of interest to anyone studying finance at GGU or who wants to start a career as a financial analyst.

Special Event:
Hewlett-Packard Financial Analysis Recap & Video Presentation

Date: September 5th, 2017
Time: 6:30pm
Where: Golden Gate University, Room 6211 [directions]

Questions? Write Investment Club president Gannon Kim.

San Francisco CFA Investment Competition
Winning Team (left to right): David Kaczorowski, CFA (mentor and GGU professor of Finance) along with team members Zhe-Yuan Zhang, William Xu, Gannon Kim and Hemal Patel.

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Director of GGU’s Financial Planning Programs Receives FPA Association’s Top Award


Dave_web_2Dr. Dave Yeske, CFP®, is the winner of the 2017 P. Kemp Fain, Jr. Award—the highest honor bestowed by the Financial Planning Association® (FPA). This award represents the pinnacle of recognition in the financial planning profession, honoring one exceptional individual who has made significant contributions in the areas of service to society, academia, and government. He is held in high regard as one of the preeminent leaders in the profession who has directly contributed significant time and talent to building its body of knowledge.

Dr. Yeske earned his doctorate in Financial Planning from Golden Gate University and is currently the Director of the University’s Financial Planning programs. He also holds an appointment as Distinguished Adjunct Professor and co-teaches the Capstone Cases in its Financial Planning course.

Dr. Yeske has been a prolific spokesperson for the profession at conferences and with the media. He has appeared on CBS, CNBC, CNN and NBC News. The Wall Street Journal has profiled Dr. Yeske and the Yeske Buie approach to investing.

A practicing financial planner since 1990, Dr. Yeske founded the San Francisco Society of the Institute of Certified Financial Planners (ICFP) and has held many leadership roles in FPA, including president of the FPA Board of Directors in 2003 and chair in 2004; chair of the FPA Political Action Committee (PAC) in 2005 and 2006; and chair of FPA’s Research Center Team and its Academic Advisory Council from 2007 to 2012. At present, Dr. Yeske serves as Practitioner Editor of FPA’s award-winning Journal of Financial Planning. Currently, he is Managing Director of Yeske Buie, a comprehensive financial planning firm with offices in Vienna (VA) and San Francisco.

Dr. Yeske will be honored at the 2017 FPA Annual Conference to be held on October 2-4 in Nashville.

“Over my 20 years in our profession, I have been fortunate to come to know so many talented leaders, but few have given back as much and are as knowledgeable as Dave. He is one of those dynamic voices and leaders who has mastered so many areas of financial planning and is a true historian of our profession. He has never rested on his accomplishments and continues to support the next generation of financial planners through education and mentorship both in and out of FPA. No one is more deserving than Dave for this prestigious honor.”
—2017 FPA President Shannon J. Pike, CFP®

CFP® is a registered trademark of the Financial Planning Association®.

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Golden Gate University Ranked #1 in US for Adult Learners for Second Consecutive Year

For the second consecutive year, Washington Monthly ranks Golden Gate University America’s #1 School for Adult Learners in its annual College Guide and Rankings.

How GGU Was Chosen

To compile the rankings, Washington Monthly reviewed data from the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) survey, the department’s new College Scorecard database and the College Board’s Annual Survey of Colleges.

The metrics that determined GGU’s rating include:

  • ease of transfer/enrollment
  • flexibility of programs
  • services available for adult learners
  • percent of adult students (age 25+)
  • mean earnings of adult students ten years after entering college
  • loan repayment of adult students five years after entering repayment
  • tuition and fees for in-district students

Read the article in Washington Monthly >>

GGU’s Master of Science in Finance Program Admitted to CFA Institute University Affiliation Program

We are pleased to announce that the Master of Science in Finance (MSF) Program at Golden Gate University has been admitted to the CFA Institute’s University Affiliation Program. The CFA Institute is a worldwide organization that promotes ethics and education in the financial services industry. It awards the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certificate in Investment Performance Management (CIPM) designations, and provides continuing education to the industry. Its membership includes over 100,000 Chartered Financial Analysts around the world.

Each year, the CFA Institute conducts a survey on the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the field of finance, and the results are used to develop the topics covered in the CFA program curriculum. To be accepted into the University Affiliation Program, GGU had to provide documentation that our MS Finance curriculum covers a large majority (at least 70%) of such topics. Membership in the University Affiliation Program signals to employers that the MSF curriculum is closely tied to the practice of financial management, and prepares students for the CFA exams. It also reflects GGU’s ongoing commitment to keep pace with the financial services industry. This affiliation will give GGU funding to award five scholarships per year for students sitting for the CFA exams.

Finance and Economics Department Chairwoman Dr. Andrea Anthony commented: “We plan to leverage this new affiliation to strengthen our current investment course offerings to stay focused on the most relevant tools and topics needed in the investment industry.”

Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) is a registered trademark of the CFA Institute.


Starting a Forensic Accounting Career at Golden Gate University

By Joey Byers
Bachelor of Science in Business, Accounting Concentration (’17)

I decided that I wanted to be an accountant a year before my exit out of military service. My aspirations were either to become a CPA and open a firm or to become a forensic accountant for a government agency that pursues fraud investigations. I have always wanted to get into some type of investigative field. This began in my youth when I thought being a crime scene investigator or detective would be fun. As an adult, my interest shifted to forensic accounting which is essentially a field of “number detectives.” After watching a few episodes of the TV show American Greed, my interest solidified.

I’m currently completing an undergraduate business degree at GGU with a concentration in Accounting. I shopped around for accounting master’s programs in the Bay Area, but other schools didn’t have as many specialized classes in accounting like GGU offers. The curriculum was the same reason I chose GGU for an undergraduate degree in the first place. GGU not only offers a competitive Master of Science in Accounting (MSA), but also offers a concentration in forensics which happens to be in line with one of my career goals.

The Path2CPA Program

I am taking advantage of the Path2CPA program to finish the MSA program in just one year after finishing my undergraduate business degree. Students like me can get a head start in an accounting career and save time and money in the process. If you were to apply in earnest to the master’s degree program without having an accounting-focused undergraduate degree, the amount of time to complete the program effectively doubles. Fortunately, GGU lets you reduce the time-frame to one year. It’s worth noting that you’re able to take upper-level courses in the undergraduate program.

At my current job, I wear several hats. I own the Accounts Receivable process; reconcile numerous General Ledger accounts at month, quarter, and year end; review and approve expense reports after the departmental managers; and work a lot with compliance issues relating to sales, use, or local taxes. I also have cross-functional roles working closely with the legal and sales operations departments. Now that I am approaching the next phase of my accounting career, it has become apparent that becoming a CPA is a must.

I am taking advantage of the Path2CPA program to finish the Master of Science in Accounting program in just one year after finishing my undergraduate business degree. Students like me can get a head start in an accounting career and save time and money in the process.
—Joey Byers, BSB (’17)

My Advice for Future CPAs

In addition to my educational path, I would like to share some things that I think will help other people who want to start an accounting career.

Being adaptable. Expense reporting systems, accounting systems, month-end close applications, etc., are always changing, so you have to keep up. Also, you might be tasked with managing implementation projects, comparing different systems and then training colleagues on them, doing a month-end close, researching compliance, and gathering audit evidence all on the same day. You should be adaptable and learn to accept the change and the growing pains that might result from it.

Having Technological Intelligence. Knowing Microsoft Word and Excel inside and out will help you immensely. Knowing complex and generic formulas are a must. In some instances, you could be manipulating a General Ledger or other data dump with tens of thousands of line items. If you don’t know your way around Excel, it will eat up hours which doesn’t look good to employers in a time crunch.

Knowing It’s Never Too Late. My message for people who may want to start a career in accounting is that it is never too late. But after you start, don’t stop and understand that sacrifices might have to be made. As an adult coming out of the military, I couldn’t wait for long to begin my career; and a degree is mandatory in the accounting profession. If you can get an entry-level accounting position, accept it. Certain accounting topics in school might become easier for you if you’re getting real-world experience.

If you’re planning on getting your CPA, doing a 1-year Path2CPA stint to get a master’s degree at GGU is the way to go. While getting the degree, I will sit for the CPA exam. The MSA Forensic Accounting concentration is focused on real-world applications and case studies. It is a specialized field, and the program is designed with the Certified Fraud Forensics (CFF) exam in mind. Once I have completed all the requirements for the CPA and go on to test for the CFF designation, my career trajectory is relatively limitless.