What Is the Best Executive MBA Program for Me?

By Terry Connelly, Dean Emeritus of the Ageno School of Business

Choosing an Executive MBA (EMBA) program turns out to a “multiple choice” question – and a good one. EMBA programs are offered in multiple shapes and sizes, in large universities and small, private and public, non-profit and for-profit, distinguished and ‘not so much’, in-person, online and hybrid – with variable lengths and depths, with little or substantial travel commitments, domestic and overseas or both, expensive and more expensive.

Making the right choice would seem to require an MBA degree in and of itself, in only to sift through all the marketing claims focused on convincing you why each program is “just right for you”!

What does “Executive” really mean?

Let’s instead start with a simple matter of definition – not of the “MBA” part at first, but rather of the key term: “Executive.” Too many prospective students associate that word with an idea of a sort of mid-career shortcut to a Master’s of Business degree that will help them climb to the next, narrower zone up on their career path. They confuse the Executive MBA with something like an “Executive” Golf Course designed for less-experienced (talented?) players. If that’s what you’re looking for in an EMBA program, you know one thing for sure: you’re not ready to pursue an EMBA!

The right understanding of the “Executive” aspect requires a focus on two factors: the folks who will be accepted as your classmate, and a level of effort expectations – of both your fellow students and the teaching faculty – that is commensurate with the knowledge leverage that assures that the “MBA”-part of the program provides for real career advancement.

The term “Executive” envisions a level of responsibility that goes beyond mere management of enterprise affairs to the ability to provide leadership in those affairs.

Learning from Peers

In the right Executive MBA program, you should expect to learn not just from a faculty that has more real-world experience than you have accumulated, but also from your fellow students, whose experience, taken as a whole, should have business knowledge on par with your own. And you should also be prepared to contribute your fair share of challenging, questioning and probing insights as part of the program – or again, you are not ready for a real EMBA!

The right school will select a class by making their admissions criteria clear, compelling and challenging. Years of managerial experience will be important but the most important factor should be ready for leadership roles, as certified by employers. Look favorably on EMBA programs that interview all applicants
that you will interact with and learn from. GGU students tend to be older, so you will most likely find a cohort of individuals who have accrued a certain amount of experience and success.

Look for Road-Tested Faculty

The best Executive MBA programs are ones in which you should expect to learn not just from a faculty that has more experience in enterprise (for-profit or non-profit, governmental or NGO) than you have, rather than just academic pedigrees. Whether full-time professors or part-time adjuncts, they should show a record of leadership involvement that, in stock-trading parlance, would be an “up-tick” to yours and your classmates. If not, give their EMBA program an “Incomplete” grade and look elsewhere. Since the first job of a leader is “define the reality” that your enterprise confronts, you can only learn this skill from real-world sources.

You are far more likely to find the business experience so critical to a good EMBA faculty in a private rather than a public institution, which must prioritize its tenured faculty privileges. All the better if it’s a non-profit school so that your place as a student is not outranked as a priority by the shareholders and the marketing directors.

In the right Executive MBA program, you should expect to learn not just from a faculty that has more real-world experience than you have accumulated, but also from your fellow students, whose experience, taken as a whole, should have business knowledge on par with your own.

Finally, look for diversity in both your classmates and the faculty, in terms of experience, background, race, ethnicity, and gender – as well as foreign as well as domestic home bases. Again, this will help you define reality in the future.

Location, Location, Location

When all the above boxes are checked favorably in your search for the best EMBA program, you may be surprised to find it closer to home or your job than you expected – maybe even near a public transit hub with good nourishment sites around in the neighborhood. You are going to spend many intense hours at school and you don’t want to add any more time getting fed or to and from your destination!

Curriculum

Check to see if the EMBA program itself integrates real-world, present tense problems into the curriculum. You and your classmates will savor the chance to put theory into practice on actual enterprise challenges that have yet to find a solution. The best EMBA programs will readily find enterprises willing to share these opportunities for problem-solving with their students, precisely because those programs will have earned a reputation for being a “cut above” than the others in terms of students, faculty, and ingenuity! And a “cut above” is what you want to be when you get your EMBA, isn’t it?


About Terry Connelly

Terry Connelly is an economic expert and Dean Emeritus of the Ageno School of Business at Golden Gate University. 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.


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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.”


Request information about GGU’s Financial Planning programs >>

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]

Agenda:

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.


My Advice for Women in Business: Know What You Want and Ask for It!

By Helen Fanucci, ‎Global Windows Sales and Digital Transformation Leader at ‎Microsoft

The most important piece of advice I could give to women hoping to advance their career is to know what you want and ask for it.  On the surface, this may seem obvious and easy. However, asking assumes you know what you want. It also presumes that you’ve built some credibility in your organization so that others want to help you.  As an example of this, some studies have shown that women do not ask for raises as frequently as men do; and when they do ask, they often do not get them.  Globally the gender pay gap is 46% less pay for women. In the U.S. the gap is 20%.

Planning and Goals

The foundation of knowing what you want requires that you’ve taken the time to create a plan and goals for yourself. Your plan should include looking out 6-12 months with detailed actions on what you need to do. It should also include a 5-10 year plan that will be an outline and become clearer and more detailed as time progresses. Your plan should be based on your goals, values, personal priorities, and life situation. It is essential for those who have ambition to define outcomes to measure themselves by.

Your plan and associated goals become the lens through which opportunities and projects are evaluated. When you are given an opportunity, ask yourself: How does this opportunity enable me to achieve the goals I have? If it does not forward your goals, it is not a good opportunity for you at that time. Your plan will also provide a framework for prioritizing projects.

I mentor a woman who grew her salary by 28% in two years (by asking for multiple raises) and defined a new role that she created based on seeing an opportunity that the organization was not capitalizing on.

Connecting with People

As you reflect on what is needed to move your goals forward, you likely will think of individuals to connect with who can help you accelerate achieving your goals. This is where it becomes important to have clarity so you can ask for what you want. Most individuals I’ve managed do not ask for what they want because they have not defined it. As Lewis Carroll famously said: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

Asking for What You Want

If you are asking your manager for a raise, promotion, or have an idea that you believe in and want to pursue, it is important that you are an individual who has delivered value and has built some credibility so that people take you seriously, listen, and are inclined to say yes when you ask.

To do this, deliver on the fundamentals and basic expectations of your role. Look for opportunities to deliver above and beyond what is expected. You are uniquely positioned in your role to see things that those above you and around you cannot see. Make recommendations based on your vantage point. Propose ideas and suggest how things can be done better and more efficiently. If you see a gap that you’d like to fill, define the role and its responsibilities and expectations and then ask to do it.

This really works! I mentor a woman who grew her salary by 28% in two years (by asking for multiple raises) and defined a new role that she created based on seeing an opportunity that the organization was not capitalizing on. She then suggested that she would be an ideal candidate for the role. During a recent reorganization, she got that role.


Special Event

Helen Fanucci will be a panelist at the 5th Annual Women in Leadership event at GGU in October. Join her 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]

Agenda:

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.


About Helen Fanucci

Helen Fanucci leads Windows Enterprise Sales for Microsoft and has held numerous sales and marketing roles at IBM, Apple Computer, and Sun Microsystems in Silicon Valley and London.

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.

Request information about the Master of Science in Finance program >>

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®.


Request information about GGU’s Financial Planning programs >>

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 >>

Financial Planning Alumnae Will Be Panelist at Women in Leadership Event

Nicole Middleton is CEO of Strategy Squad Insurance Services and will be a panelist at the 5th-annual Women in Leadership event on October 25, 2017. A graduate of GGU’s Master of Science in Financial Planning program (’17), she is a strong supporter of women’s empowerment issues.

Strategy Squad Insurance is a family-owned wealth management firm based in Oakland, CA where Middleton specializes in creating strategies for women and their families to protect and grow their wealth—through holistic financial planning, insurance, and investment management. She is also an active member of the Financial Planning Association of San Francisco’s NexGen Leadership Committee and the Urban Financial Services Coalition.

We invite you to read Middleton’s recent post on the GGU blog in which she discusses the five biggest things she learned in the Master of Science in Financial Planning Program.


Special Event

Women in Leadership

Join us and hear a distinguished panel of professional women share stories, tips, and insight on how to navigate a successful career. This free event is open to anyone in the GGU community and the public. Come to chat and enjoy food!

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

Agenda:

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

Questions? Contact the Ageno School of Business at biz@ggu.edu.


A Master’s Degree in Accounting in One Year? GGU Offers New Path2CPA Program

GGU-outsideGolden Gate University now gives its undergraduate students the ability to earn a Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) in as little as one year after completing a bachelor’s degree with an accounting concentration. The new Path2CPA program lets students apply a number of their undergraduate courses to an MSA – making the “step up” to a graduate degree both quicker and less expensive.  The bachelor’s-to-MSA route also removes the hurdles of taking the GRE and completing an application for grad school.

GGU’s accounting programs are recognized as some of the best in the nation. Students get an edge in a crowded job market by choosing a specialized accounting concentrations. Most of GGU’s accounting courses are taught by instructors who are also practicing professionals — many working at “Big Four” firms in San Francisco’s Financial District.

For many students, the MSA will satisfy the 150-hour education requirement to become a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Other students can take electives that deepen their knowledge and help them get to the next step.

Four In-Depth Specializations

GGU provides concentrations that allow graduates to enter the job market with relevant, in-demand skills. These areas of focus offer students the uncommon opportunity to choose the most rewarding path for them.

Financial Accounting & Reporting: Theory and principles that frame a wide range of problems and issues encountered in the accounting profession.

Forensic Accounting: Courses in fraud auditing, financial statement investigations, complex discovery and data management, the role of the expert and expert report, bankruptcy and insolvency, economic damages, valuation, and lost profits.

Internal Auditing: Assisting students to become Certified Internal Auditors (CIA) as defined by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA).

Management Accounting: Positions students to achieve the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) and/or the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designations.

If students are not sure which specialty is right for them, staff advisors and faculty mentors can help them find the specialization works best for their career goals.

I am taking advantage of the opportunity to finish the MSA in just one year after getting my undergraduate business degree at GGU. Students like me can get a head start in an accounting career and save time and money in the process.
—Joey Byers (Bachelor of Science in Business, ’17)

Why GGU is the Best Option

In a competitive job market, a degree from an accredited university with a national reputation is an advantage. GGU has been part of the accounting community in the San Francisco’s Financial District for decades. The relationships among local students, faculty, and alumni have formed a natural pipeline from classroom to the executive suite. Local firms also look to GGU for new talent to fill positions in a growing field with increasing need for specialized skills.

Path2CPA Highlights
Earn an MSA in as little as a year
Apply undergrad credit to your grad degree
Skip the GRE and grad school application
Get real-world skills from in-depth concentrations

Are you a Golden Gate University graduate?
Alumni receive a 30% discount for the Path2CPA Program.


REQUEST INFORMATION ABOUT ACCOUNTING AT GGU >>

Deconstructing Mr. Damore’s Google Diversity Memo

By Terry Connelly, Dean Emeritus, Ageno School of Business, Golden Gate University

Maybe Tom Cruise of Jerry Maguire fame should play James Damore in the movie version – “It’s not a memo, it’s a mission statement.” Besides, the same thing happened to Jerry Maguire when he wrote his. And of course, Tom and Mr. Damore do share an important characteristic: they are both males.

Maybe we should focus on “males” for a moment. I was thinking a writing a “memo” about how the “traits” of men NOT cited by Mr. Damore in his memo purporting to assess dispassionately Google’s diversity programs (sourced to the exactly the same scientific “evidence” cited by him in that memo) such as a stronger tendency to “narcissism” and “taking dangerous risks”. These traits (to follow Mr. Damore’s logic) may suggest that the preponderance of males in the senior leadership of Google is “not good for the company.” Indeed, consider how Google’s parent Chief Financial Officer, Ruth Porat, has in the view of Wall Street analysts, has done more for the company’s shareholder value than any other officer, male or female. (Of course, she first had to overcome her “female” tendency to shy away from intensive numbers work!)

Mr. Damore’s memo is very selective about the supposed biological and genetic traits of “men” that he makes reference to – namely, only those that support the overwhelming presence of men in the ranks of Google employees, such as males’ “higher drive for status.” But let’s put aside for the moment and concentrate on what Mr. Damore said about women.

First, he starts off with the polemic technique of setting up mythical “straw men” (Sorry for the gender reference but that’s the way some common figures of speech roll.).

He attacks the leftist “moral… biases” he accuses his employer of embracing in shaping their diversity policies, as opposed to the right-wing biases he later endorses (Let’s “de-emphasize empathy”) in his memo’s conclusions:

Google’s Biases

At Google, we talk so much about unconscious bias as it applies to race and gender but we rarely discuss our moral biases. Political orientation is actually a result of deep moral preferences and thus biases. Considering that the overwhelming majority of the social sciences, media, and Google lean left, we should critically examine these prejudices.

Left Biases

  • Compassion for the weak
  • Disparities are due to injustices
  • Humans are inherently cooperative
  • Change is good (unstable)
  • Open
  • Idealist

Right Biases

  • Respect for the strong/authority
  • Disparities are natural and just
  • Humans are inherently competitive
  • Change is dangerous (stable)
  • Closed
  • Pragmatic

Only facts and reason can shed light on these biases, but when it comes to diversity and inclusion, Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence. This silence removes any checks against encroaching extremist and authoritarian policies. For the rest of this document, I’ll concentrate on the extreme stance that all differences in outcome are due to differential treatment and the authoritarian element that’s required to actually discriminate to create equal representation.

Where is his evidence that Google lives by what he calls the obvious bias that “all” differences in outcome are due to differential treatment, or that discrimination is “required” to create “equal” representation? He has merely asserted that Google has based its personnel policies on these extreme and authoritarian straw men. But that’s just his opening amateurish, Sophistic trick. He goes on to cite as though it is settled science a series of findings in selected research studies that “suggest” that:

Men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership. Many of these differences are small, and there’s significant overlap between men and women, so you can’t say anything about an individual given these population-level distribution.

Women, on average, have more:

  • Openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas. Women generally also have a stronger interest in people rather than things, relative to men (also interpreted as empathizing vs. systemizing).
  • These two differences in part explain why women relatively prefer jobs in social or artistic areas. More men may like coding because it requires systemizing and even within SWEs, comparatively more women work on front end, which deals with both people and aesthetics.
  • Extraversion expressed as gregariousness rather than assertiveness. Also, higher agreeableness.
  • This leads to women generally having a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading. Note that these are just average differences and there’s overlap between men and women, but this is seen solely as a women’s issue. This leads to exclusory programs like Stretch and swaths of men without support.
  • Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance).This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high stress jobs.

Note that contrary to what a social constructionist would argue, research suggests that “greater nation-level gender equality leads to psychological dissimilarity in men’s and women’s personality traits.” Because as “society becomes more prosperous and more egalitarian, innate dispositional differences between men and women have more space to develop and the gap that exists between men and women in their personality becomes wider.” We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism.”

Mr. Damore’s source for these scientific “suggestions,” which he nonetheless concludes are “universal across human cultures,” are eminently “heritable,” and “exactly what we would predict from an evolutionary psychological perspective” is none other than – wait for it —Wikipedia! Such sourcing would not make it past a freshman sociology class…or even one in high school. But leave that aside. He also asserts that when a society becomes more “prosperous and egalitarian” these disparate tendencies between men and women become more pronounced and embedded. Even if that conclusion were undisputed (which it isn’t) surely he does not consider that America – or even Silicon Valley – is becoming more “egalitarian!”

Indeed it is possible that Mr. Damore in fact “proves” too much. If he’s right that to achieve success in tech, women must overcome embedded pre-dispositions in their very nature, but that these differentiations also can “evolve,” would it not be useful in terms of such evolution to provide them some extra support to do so in order simply to broaden the base and scope of collective human talent. Moreover, would it not be “good for the company’ to go out of its way to hire women who have shown the “grit” to overcome their natural deficiencies in terms of working with “things” or doing mathematics?

Mr. Damore also employs the trick of “acknowledging” that these ‘on average” characteristics overlap among men and women to some degree, and are not automatically the case with each individual male or female. But this point subtly introduces the old saw that “the exception proves the rule.” More importantly, it puts the burden of proof on women in any job interview in tech to show that, to put it bluntly, they have as an “individual,” overcome their biology and genetic makeup! How would Mr. Damore enjoy having to prove in every interview that he is not a narcissist?

In his conclusions and suggestions, Mr. Damore reveals his own biases. He states as an incontestable fact (without supporting citation other than an indirect reference to a book by one Dr. Farrell who asserts he has proved that women actually earn more than men) that there is no income disparity whatsoever between men and women doing exactly the same work. He supports this claim with the fatuous claim that since women spend more than men, we ought to “reconsider our assumptions” in terms of male/female workplace bargaining power.

He says: “Yes, in a national aggregate, women have lower salaries than men for a variety of reasons. For the same work though, women get paid just as much as men. Considering women spend more money than men and that salary represents how much the employees sacrifices (e.g. more hours, stress, and danger), we really need to rethink our stereotypes around power.”

And this is the logical mind The New York Times David Brooks admires as compared with the judgment of the CEO of Google, who has the common sense to recognize a direct attack on Google’s corporate values and female employees as a group when he sees it. Does Mr. Brooks also support the scientific “reasoning’ in Mr. Damore’s closing recommendation (in addition to de-emphasizing empathy and morals in diversity practices) that Google also should stop alienating conservatives: “Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness, which is required for much of the drudgery and maintenance work characteristic of a mature company.”

Perhaps Mr. Brooks will at some point enlighten us on how he feels, as a conservative columnist, about being more cut out for sheer drudgery (did Mr. Damore mean Matt Drudge?) than progressives.

In self-defense, Damore has penned another note, this time in The Wall Street Journal, where he asserts: “In my document, I committed heresy against the Google creed by stating that not all disparities between men and women that we see in the world are the result of discriminatory treatment.”

Please read the original memo, including the excerpts included in this blog, to determine for your self whether that is in fact what Mr. Damore said. Disputation about ideas is fine; in fact, I like Mr. Damore’s suggestion that similarly affected men should be allowed to attend special sessions designed for women to address assertiveness issues. But what’s good in Mr. Damore’s memo is overwhelmed by its overall devotion to Alt-Right cant that Google is entitled to disown. After all, the Supreme Court has decided in the campaign finance realm that corporations are people, too, in terms of the First Amendment, and more recently, that they can even assert and enforce religious beliefs. I do not see any evidence that Mr. Brooks has challenged those holdings. Yet he attacks Google’s CEO for acting on them and instead embraces Mr. Damore’s rather obvious misuse of selected scientific studies about “evolutionary psychology” — that Mr. Brooks knows do not go as far as Mr. Damore stretches them — to fit his own biases.

After all, what is wrong with Google doing its best to push forward that “evolution” – in terms of further developing the range of female talents and traits? My own personality has been scientifically assessed as a Myers-Briggs INTJ type – but with pronounced non-conforming characteristics of Expressiveness, Acceptance, and Rationality. But nobody can pick out these typologies just from my walking into an interview room or an office. But so-called ‘traits’ of a particular sex or race are just the opposite – they can be assumed by mere physical appearance.

This is precisely why biases based on the mere physical reality race and gender, in fact, compel special attention in terms of the workplace. We have, in fact, ”evolved’ from reliance on racial and gender stereotypes. You say you do not endorse stereotypes – yet you cite research to the effect that they are the MOST reliable indicator of human behavior. Why?

Girls can’t code! All Google is saying is “Yes they can if given a chance!” That’s not discrimination, as Mr. Damore asserts, that’s justice.


This article appeared on the Huffington Post on 8/14/17.


About Terry Connelly

Terry Connelly is an economic expert and Dean Emeritus of the Ageno School of Business at Golden Gate University. 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). Riptidedeconstructs 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.