“More than Just Theory”: MBA Graduate and Board Member Scot Ferrell

Scot Ferrell, FBCI, CBCP is a graduate of GGU (MBA ’88, Finance) and also serves on its Board of Directors. Based in San Francisco, he has held management positions at EY and Gap, Inc. and is currently Managing Director at Marsh Risk Consulting’s (MRC) within its Risk Consulting Practice. Over 600 organizations have benefited from Ferrell’s assistance in development of their risk management programs.

In this short video, Ferrell discusses his experience in the MBA program and what makes GGU different. “One of the things that I love about GGU is that the classes are taught by business professionals,” he says. “It’s more than just the theory. Theory is great but they teach you what you need to know–for example, how to close a deal or communicate effectively.”

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Wells Fargo Expert Puts GGU Finance Students around the Corner from Must-Have Knowledge

Yvette Hollingsworth Clark’s office at Wells Fargo is virtually around the corner from GGU, which puts GGU students close – literally and figuratively – to the latest in the financial industry practices. As Regulatory Innovation Officer at the bank’s Innovation Group, she responds to the impact of adopting emerging technology on banking and financial institutions. Working with other financial experts, strategists, coders, data analysts, risk managers, and lawyers, Clark leads the integration of infusing risk management requirements during the design stage of transformative digital solutions to enhance the customer and team member experience at Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo designed her position on the strength of a paper she wrote advocating that compliance and risk management requirements be part of the initial transformative design process, ensuring that Wells Fargo is positioned to meet customer needs and help customers make informed decisions. For example, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an aid to human intelligence, she says, that can help explore more data and assess linkages more quickly than a human mind can do on its own.

We asked Clark what skills she wants to bring to the GGU classroom.
• Real-life examples of how the classroom experience translates to the office or boardroom
• Working domestically and globally
• Suggestions to navigate your career
• Influencing and managing challenging situations
• Interacting across all levels of the organization
• How to champion and challenge work content
• How to ask others to help you be successful

The Fundamentals Matter

While AI and virtual-reality applications (How can someone buy a ticket safely during a “virtual tour” of a basketball arena with their debit or credit card) are her direct concerns, the business fundamentals matter. “We meet with many Fintech companies who pitch cutting-edge technology solutions to help solve business challenges. These solutions can include tools to help with financial reporting and analysis, a systematic approach to comply with a complex regulatory requirement, or an algorithm/financial model that helps an analyst assess financial scenarios more effectively” she says.

Clark will bring her critical eye to GGU students in the Financial Reporting and Analysis course this spring and focus on, “real-life examples of how the classroom experience translates to the office or boardroom.”

Clark started building the foundation of banking and risk-management knowledge early on, joining the Federal Reserve System as a grad student. Citigroup was her next stop, where she contributed on the corporate side (focusing on anti-money laundering compliance testing) and on the business side (focusing on financial crimes risk management in the Corporate & Investment Bank). After serving as regional head for North America at Citigroup, the UK-based Barclays offered her the role of the global head of financial crimes and operations compliance –adding international experience to her resume.

American Banker has ranked Clark as one of its “Top 25 Women to Watch” three years running.

What Skills Does She Need on Her Team?

As a team lead, Clark hires for positions that require technical expertise in banking regulatory requirements, risk management, technology, data analysis and project management skills. When it comes to hiring for risk management roles, many freshly minted MBAs don’t emerge with all the skills that she is looking for. A conversation at a professional organization about candidate skill-gaps led to a teaching invitation at GGU.

Clark says: “The needs of an MBA have changed since I graduated. MBAs need more quantitative and data analytic skills given the use of technology and the need to analyze big data. Irrespective of which industry an MBA seeks to pursue for employment, the need to understand business processes and how to interpret the data associated with the business or a specific product is needed. In conversations with a few universities, we discussed how to augment MBA curriculums to capture this need. I want to see a mix of technical skills and a successful ‘integrity check’ in the interview process. In my discipline, I am hiring people that know the anatomy of a law and regulatory requirements, the basic fundamentals of business and who demonstrate that they will make all decisions with integrity and in an ethical manner. ”

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GGU, JP Morgan, Wells Capital, and Other Experts Participate in GGU Macroeconomic Seminar

A Perspective on Global Macroeconomic Trends: Catalysts and Implications [RSVP] is a free seminar that takes place at GGU on Thursday, December 14, from 4:00 pm to 6:40 pm (Room 5221) and is open to the GGU community and the public. GGU faculty members will co-moderate an accomplished panel that will discuss the complexities of the worldwide macroeconomic environment and their possible impact on the duration of the financial recovery in the U.S.

Moderators from GGU

Mohsin Hafeez, MBA was born in Pakistan and completed both his undergraduate (BBA) and graduate work at GGU (MBA, Finance and Marketing). He is currently a Financial Planning and Investment Management professional at a large international financial services firm. With over 25 years of experience in the diversified financial services arena, a part of which is internationally based, he has an in-depth understanding of the holistic dynamics of the overall global discipline. He is also a founder of a corporate executive education venture, Global Minerva Alliance. While working abroad for premier U.S. financial firms, his assignments brought him to both developed and emerging countries to study their business models for possible replication in Pakistan, an emerging economy.

Mohsin moved back to the U.S. in the late 90s, and has continued to be in finance. He was a guest speaker on the global macroeconomic trends at Ashridge Executive Education Center, UK, earlier this year, and at UC Berkeley with their International Diploma Program (IDP) students in attendance in Summer 2017, in addition to being the keynote speaker at the Fall 2017 Commencement Ceremony of IDP. Even though Mohsin, by way of training, is not an economist, Mohsin’s experience in the opening up of the traditionally closed economies of the developing world of South Asia in the 90s — and the vast exposure to pieces of global macroeconomic relevance — places him in a rare position to moderate this event. He is a Certified Financial Planner® (CFP).

Dave Kaczorowski, MBA, CFA® is Academic Program Manager at GGU and has worked in finance for more than 13 years. An experienced investment manager of private and family office portfolios, he has investment expertise in all the five major asset classes and experience in the holistic management of a family office. His most recent position was as the primary investment manager for a highly diversified family office portfolio. Prior to that position, he spent five years in the investment banking industry as an equity research associate, covering technology companies. His resume in the industry includes Signal Hill Capital, Wedbush Securities and Stifel Financial. He also spent seven years as a financial analyst in the actuarial department of Liberty Mutual Insurance Group. He is a CFA charter holder.

Global Macroeconomic Trends: Catalysts and Implications
Thursday, December 14, 2017, 4:00 pm to 6:40 pm
Location: GGU Campus, Room 5221
Free and open to GGU students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the public.
RSVP Now >>


Joachim Fels, Global Economic Advisor, Managing Director, PIMCO

Joachim Fels is a member of the PIMCO Investment Committee and leads the company’s quarterly Cyclical Forum process. Prior to joining PIMCO in 2015, he was global chief economist at Morgan Stanley in London. Previously, he was an international economist at Goldman Sachs and a research associate at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. Fels was also a founding member of the ECB shadow council, a member of the economic and monetary committee of the Association of German Banks, and served on the Asset Allocation Advisory Board of Volkswagen Foundation. He has 30 years of macroeconomic research experience.

Joshua Feuerman, CFA®, Managing Director, JP Morgan Asset Management

Joshua Feuerman joined the firm in 2012, after serving as Chief Risk Officer at Foundation Capital Partners. Previously, he ran his own investment firm, Btn Partners, where he managed a quantitative market neutral hedge fund. Prior to founding Btn Partners, he was Vice Chairman of the Investment Committee and Head of Global Quantitative Equities at Deutsche Asset Management. Josh was also Head of Active International Equities at State Street Global Advisors in Boston and an adjunct lecturer in the Finance Department at Pace University.

Gary Schlossberg, Vice President & Senior Economist, Wells Capital Management Inc.

Gary Schlossberg analyzes the economic, financial, and investment environment for Wells Capital Management — a fee-based, institutional money manager with over $340 billion in assets — and for other investment and banking groups within Wells Fargo & Co. He participates regularly in meetings with the organization’s customers and internal professionals, and is a member of Wells Capital’s Investment Policy and Liquidity Management strategy committees. Prior to joining Wells Fargo in 1974, Mr. Schlossberg worked as a researcher at the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve Board covering international economic conditions.

Axel Merk, President and CIO, Merk Investments

Founder of the firm bearing his name, Axel Merk is an expert on macroeconomic trends. He is a sought-after speaker, contributor, and author. He holds a B.A. in Economics (magna cum laude) and a M.Sc. in Computer Science from Brown University. Merk has grown Merk Investments into an investment advisory firm offering investment funds and advisory services on liquid global markets including domestic and international equities, fixed income, commodities, and currencies.

Our Examination of HP’s 3D-Printing Business — Part of an Award-Winning Financial Analysis Presentation

By Gannon Kim (BS,  Accounting Concentration ’17)

Earlier this year, I was a part of a student team representing the GGU Investment Research Club (IRC) that won the regional CFA Institute Research Challenge  (prevailing over graduate schools across Northern California). The competition required teams to research a publically traded company, create a written report, and deliver a group presentation to a panel of financial services professionals. During this year’s competition, we were tasked with analyzing HP Inc. and presenting a buy, hold, or sell recommendation of its stock.

Part of our presentation included an analysis of HP’s 3D printing business, which we felt was a promising endeavor for the company and the key to its future revenue growth.

The portion of the 3D-printing market that prints in plastic material – rather than metal – is of interest to HP. The lucrative nature of these types of products (along with soon-to-be expiring patents of the technology) has attracted a huge upswing of new entrants to the market. This threatens the positioning of current market stakeholders: Stratasys (addressing high-end, commercial-grade needs) and 3D Systems.

HP’s First 3D Printer

HP released their first 3D printer in 2016, the HP Multi-Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution. The product is bridging the gap between high-end (Stratasys) and entry-level product offerings (those made by 3D Systems and start-ups) — by creating one of the world’s fastest, production-ready machines.

Our team determined that  HP’s ability to leverage their supply chain & production scalability, partnerships, and brand reputation will help them — in the words of HP’s 3-D Printing President — “disrupt the $12 trillion manufacturing industry and […] democratize manufacturing.”

In terms of the research process, one take-away from this experience was recognizing the power of conducting a ‘channel check’ — i.e. going into retail stores & interacting with sales staff or asking experts (such as Professor Jain) about their insight about a company.

Consulting with an Industry Expert

As most of the team members had limited familiarity with the 3D printer products & its market, we turned to the insight of Pravin Jain, a mechanical engineering professor at Santa Clara University. His in-the-field expertise provided us with a better understanding of HP’s strategy for 3D products. HP aims to build an ecosystem for its 3D printers and has become very involved in the product development process (which includes the development into the software, material inputs & supplies, and 3D-scanning process) and has since reached out to its academic partners to take part as well.

Drivers of HP’s promising future include the strategic and synergistic alliances that it makes with software companies (e.g. Autodesk, Siemens in order to create a more streamlined product), materials suppliers, and users (for direct input on how the device is being used, performance & improvement benchmarks, etc.). From our channel check, we found that HP is approaching manufacturing businesses (i.e. Nike, BMW, Johnson&Johnson) and research institutions to test its technology.

Overall Analysis of HP

There are three key points that are worth highlighting about HP overall.

1. It is financially “healthy,” having a high cash balance and is looking to return it to investors (making significant stock repurchases in the future).

2. It has a strong management team, with the leadership of CEO Dion Wiesler who adds a wealth of industry experience through his roles in Acer and Lenovo consumer electronics divisions.

3. It maintains dominant positioning in the core business (printers and PCs) – and has the potential for the 3D printer business unit to help the firm grow organically.

However, we are concerned about the state of its core business,  as the market has matured and HP faces increased global competition. Revenue has also been declining (since 2015). In addition, the company derives more than half its revenue abroad and has justifiably invested to create a global supply chain – sourcing materials, labor, and clients from other countries. By consequence, any significant changes to U.S. foreign policy can present some amount of geopolitical risk (but was not predictable at the time, particularly with a transition of a new U.S. executive administration).

Our presentation for the competition was more “cautionary” in nature, and we felt that prospective investors probably should not “buy-in” while current holders of HP stock should not head for the exits.

Research Process 

In terms of the “research process,” one takeaway from this experience was recognizing the power of conducting a channel check – i.e. going into retail stores & interacting with sales staff or asking experts (such as Professor Jain) about their insight about a company. Of course, reading online reports can give a good picture, but there is more to gain when it is supplemented by direct interactions.

Hold Recommendation

Our investment rating for HP was “Hold” (neither bull nor bear) because there was quite a lot of positive/negative trade-offs taking place. Our presentation for the competition was more “cautionary” in nature, and we felt that prospective investors probably should not “buy-in” while current holders of HP stock should not head for the exits.

San Francisco CFA Investment CompetitionInvestment Research Club members with Finance Professor Dave Kaczorowski, CFA (competition mentor) at far left. Continuing left to right: Zhe-Yuan Zhang, William Xu, Gannon Kim (author of this blog post), and Hemal Patel.

Ask about the undergraduate Finance Concentration or MS in Finance degree >>

Global Macroeconomic Trends Seminar Attracts Finance Luminaries to GGU’s San Francisco Campus

Experts from PIMCO, JP Morgan, Wells Capital, and Merk Investments Bring Real-World Experience to Audience

The longevity of the current recovery in the U.S.—the second-longest in its history—is creating uncertainty among some members of the financial community. Adjunct Finance Professor Mohsin Hafeez, MBA, CFP®, has invited a distinguished panel to a GGU seminar in December to discuss the complexities of the worldwide macroeconomic environment and their possible impact on the recovery’s duration.

Mohsin Hafeez

Mohsin explains: “Economic recoveries don’t necessarily die of old age; someone, or something, kills them. They respond to worldwide macroeconomic trends, central bank policies, geopolitical vagaries such as Brexit, wasteful excesses, a potential NOKO disaster, an overriding wave of uncalled for nationalism and populism, and financial snafus such as the dot-com burst or the mortgage-driven crash in 2008.” Join us for this special event to hear more insights from Mohsin and those of his fellow luminaries.

A Perspective on Global Macroeconomic Trends: Catalysts and Implications [RSVP] will include a panel discussion with:

Joachim Fels
Global Economic Advisor, Managing Director



Joshua Feuerman, CFA®
Managing Director
JP Morgan Asset Management



Gary Schlossberg
Senior Economist
Wells Capital Management Inc.



Axel Merk
President & CIO
Merk Investments



Mohsin, with several years of global experience in banking, is currently a Financial Planning professional at a large international financial services firm, and a founder of a corporate executive education venture, Global Minerva Alliance (www.globalminervaalliance.com). He will kick off the event with an overview of the global macroeconomic trends and the perceived catalysts and implications. Dave Kaczorowski, MBA, CFA®, Adjunct Professor and endowment investor, will co-moderate the panel with Mohsin.

The panelists will, taking a cue from Mark Twain, next discuss the question: “Are the reports of the death of the economic recovery an exaggeration? Or is there some veracity in them?” We invite the attendees to ask questions and join the discussion when we open the Q&A session. The free seminar will be of interest to all GGU students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the public.


Global Macroeconomic Trends: Catalysts and Implications
Thursday, December 14, 2017, 4:00 pm to 6:40 pm
Location: GGU Campus, Room 5221
Free and open to GGU students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the public.
Click Here >>

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Preparing for the CFA Exam and a Career in Finance: MSF Student Taylor Tsao

Taylor Tsao recently completed a year in the Financial Reporting & Accounting Services division at CalPERS — the largest public pension fund in the United States — and is taking online classes from Golden Gate University. A student in the Master of Science in Finance program with a concentration in Investment Management, he is preparing to take the first of three CFA exams this December.

Tsao says that the Master of Science in Finance program’s recent admission to the CFA Institute University Affiliation Program is important to him. “It shows that what we study aligns with the CFA exam curriculum,” he says. “For example, the Corporate Finance course that I took with Dr. Andrea Anthony covered most of the Corporate Finance topic material from the CFA exam and also went into greater detail.”

Students in Dr. Anthony’s class were challenged to fully analyze a fictitious company by using its financial statements to forecast future cash flows and give a recommendation based on the data. “Not all of the assignment skills are covered on the CFA exams, but they will be very important to succeed in finance, such as determining a company’s intrinsic value.”

At a modest-sized University like GGU, Tsao says he gets more personal attention and that faculty members are always very responsive online. For example, Finance Professor David Kaczorowski helped Tsao get a scholarship for a discount on the price of the CFA Exam as well as a discount on the CFA Society of San Francisco’s review that comes with the CFA Institute University Affiliation Program.

I started to explore GGU for a master’s degree in finance because of their great reputation in the fields of tax and accounting. Networking-wise, there are a lot of opportunities with fellow students and employers because of GGU’s location within San Francisco’s Financial District.

This is not Tsao’s first career transition. After graduating college with a degree in accounting, Tsao went to work for his family business for several years—handling their accounting records and running day-to-day operations.  Studying at GGU, Tsao is hoping to streamline his entrance into a new field and aspires to work on the investment side of CalPERS as an analyst and hopefully one day as a fund manager.

Related post: Career and Educational Paths in Finance: An interview with Professor David Kaczorowski

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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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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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.