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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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 >>

Driven to Succeed: Armenian Student Continues Marketing Career in San Francisco

Tsovinar Yenokyan is a student in Golden Gate University’s Master of Science in Marketing Program (’18).


Tsovinar Yenokyan has been driven to succeed from an early age. She started to work at age 16, which was not common in her native country of Armenia, and began what she calls her, “long-lasting relationship with marketing.” Two years later, she took a Brand Manager position at Starcom Mediavest in Armenia. At 21, Tsovinar launched a marketing agency based on forward-thinking “lifestyle” targeting. While earning an MBA at American University of Armenia, she met a classmate and together they opened a bakery and café called “Cupcake Place.”

Tsovinar decided to come to GGU in San Francisco to get a master’s degree in marketing. “I came to San Francisco to get new perspectives, gain more knowledge, and realize my ambitions. San Francisco is a great generator of tech innovation that impacts the entire world. San Francisco, particularly downtown, is a great place to make professional connections and build a career.”

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Tsovinar outside GGU in downtown San Francisco.

A Real-World Education at Golden Gate University

“I love my school,” Tsovinar says. “GGU has great professors. Most importantly, they are professionals who bring real-life experiences to the class.” For example, her Data Analytics course was taught by Dr. Nabanita Talukdar who has conducted quantitative and qualitative analyses for L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble, and other major companies.

In the Data Analytics class, Tsovinar created a quantitative report focusing on Airbnb units using statistical indicators such as which San Francisco neighborhoods have the highest demand, consumer satisfaction numbers, and rental prices. Through using a programming language called R, Tsovinar and her peer team created a prediction model for hosts to estimate the fair price of their rental properties.

GGU has great professors. Most importantly, they are professionals who bring real-life experiences to the class.

Inspiration in Armenia

Tsovinar credits the launch of her career at 16 to her mother, who was working on becoming a laser physicist until the Soviet Union collapsed. Her mother began a second career as a market developer for Coca-Cola and advanced to become the company’s CEO for Armenia. She then took the job of CEO of Armenia Wine.  “Armenia is famous for world-class wineries and Armenians are probably the most hospitable people in the world; we like to make each person that visits our country or our home feel special. You can ask my boyfriend about Armenian hospitality; he gained eight pounds from my mother’s cooking.”

On Being an International Student

“GGU is a perfect place for international students. Each student has an advisor and mine has been helpful in answering questions about student Visas and my curriculum. San Francisco is a city with its own heart and soul. I love this city. I have never seen such a contrast of people with so many different interests and backgrounds in one place. It’s a warm and welcoming place.”


Request information about GGU’s Master OF SCIENCE in Marketing PROGRAM  >>

Netflix Marketing Expert Talks Shop with Students in a GGU Business Analytics Class

A case study on the data analytics successes of Netflix came to life with a visit to a Business Analytics class by Andrew Massena, who serves as Senior Technical Project Manager at Netflix. Massena came by at the invitation of Tsovinar Yenokyan, a student in the Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications program (’18).

Massena presented on the topic of Marketing Analytics, and the class participated in a discussion about the Netflix Leading with Data initiative. Netflix uses algorithms to help predict user needs and behavior. Visiting Assistant Professor and Director of Math Programs Dr. Nabanita Talukdar (and the class instructor) observes that: “Netflix has thrived because of its superior customer data and analytics. Data analytics gives Netflix the ability to predict what customers might want and provides an understanding of consumer trends.”

What I learned in the class, such as using the R data-analysis tool, will apply to my work on day one.
–Tsovinar Yenokyan
MS, Integrated Marketing Communications (’18)

Over the last six years, Massena has managed multi-team efforts such as launches in France, Germany, Australia, Japan, and worldwide. His areas of responsibility included ensuring proper catalog encoding and deployment, certifying region-specific configurations, new language support, and App submissions. Last year, Massena managed the effort of Netflix to enable downloading of content to mobile devices. His primary job is running the Netflix NRDP (Netflix Ready Device Platform) Program. He coordinates a cross-functional effort to deliver the latest version of the SDK to device partners (Sony, Samsung, LG, and others) on an annual basis.

Tsovinar Yenokyan, Student (5th from left), Nabanita Talukdar, Instructor (6th from left), and Andrew Massena, Senior Technical Project Manager at Netflix (7th from left)

Yenokyan says: “I started my own marketing firm in Armenia, and came to the US to expand my career and learn new skills. I want to continue my marketing career, and I need to be able to analyze data no matter where I go. For example, if you have a large customer data set, you need to know exactly who you want to reach. What I learned in the class, such as using the R data-analysis tool, will apply to my work on day one.”

About the Business Analytics Course

The Business Analytics course’s focus is the practice of business-oriented analytics using statistical methods using the R statistical software. The course introduces analytical techniques applicable for solving common business problems, techniques to analyze social media, and techniques to study data on Web and app users. Students are expected to acquire practical knowledge of computing and interpreting – correlations, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, t-test, regressions analysis, cluster analysis, statistical significance, run power analysis and compute effect size. During the course, apart from learning statistics and software R, students will be introduced to the concept of Application program interface (API) in the context of data retrieval from Twitter, Facebook, and Google Analytics. Upon the course completion students expected to be able to select the right statistical method corresponding to the business problem. Compute and interpret results of a statistical analysis and produce practical business recommendations.

REQUEST INFORMATION ABOUT GGU’s DATA ANALYTICS PROGRAMS AND CONCENTRATIONS >>

What Everyone Planning to Get an MBA Should Be Reading, Every Day!


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

When I first started the entry-level Wall Street training program at Salomon Brothers, our first instruction was simple: Force yourself to read The Wall Street Journal, end to end, every weekday. If you are planning to pursue Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree, that advice is still good.

Today’s vast new array of digital media offers the aspiring MBA student a range of choices to keep up with business and economic affairs. Perhaps there are too many choices—so many so that you can focus on the Web sites that fit your personal world-view. And yet..the precious time in your life that you devote getting an MBA offers a tremendous opportunity to challenge your preconceived notions, rather than reinforce them. Learning other points of view will help you as you advance in your career.

Most business magazines are like a day-old sandwich. Web sources that are committed to near real-time news are helpful.

The New York Times (front section): Don’t focus so much on the business pages—those are yesterday’s news. The front pages and even the Op-Eds will offer far more clues as to what will move events and markets and commerce today, and even more so, tomorrow.

The Economist: This British journal is the quickest way to get something all MBAs need: a world view. You will find that The Economist has its own, distinctive, world view. In reading this, you will confront ideas different than your own, early and often, in your schooling. So go ahead and argue with our British friends and figure out your own view of things, and absorb the incredible amount of carefully crafted and thoroughly researched reporting and perspective it provides every week—especially in its in-depth special sections.

Financial Times: While you are in the “British Reading Room” perusing the Economist, also look at Financial Times, which will offer you a perspective on American business, finance, and politics that, as they used to say of Schweppes soda, is “curiously refreshing.” You will want to keep up with Brexit and the doings of the European Community institutions, the Eurozone, German competitors, and French upstarts (Watch that space.).

The Financial Times does not do a bad job covering the Asian region either. You can add Singapore’s Straits Times for that, or better yet, Bloomberg’s Live TV around midnight Pacific Time—when the stock and bond and currency trading day has already started. Speaking of Bloomberg, consider its Businessweek because it is reinventing itself as a more focused journal.

Terry Connelly’s Best Websites for Aspiring MBAs

The New York Times (front section) >>
Financial Times  >>
The Economist  >>
Straits Times (Singapore) >>
Bloomberg’s Live TV >>
Bloomberg’s Businessweek >>
Recode >>
Axios >>

Sidewire >>

Expert Discussion and Commentary

No, I am not going to close with a recommendation of The Washington Post, despite their good information leaks over the decades. Instead, I suggest you get fresh information. Sign up to get the daily online D.C. webcast chats on Axios or Sidewire (the latter of which I have the privilege of contributing to). They limit discussions to those who are experts in their field and summarize current issues that are not discussed in routine press headlines. Their discussions also reveal what to look for during the day and how to stay just a smidge ahead of events related to your industry, your investments, and your general peace of mind.

These sources will help you figure out how to meet the first and mandatory challenge that awaits those who seek to be leaders: defining reality. Most people come to their new jobs with illusions which may have served them well in previous positions but will lead to poor results in their current one. Occasionally, a leader has to shatter the illusions of their team with a cold dose of truth, like the “BI Running Platform” analogy found in more than one business school case study.

Defining reality provides what successful athletes and CEOs alike refer to as acute “situational awareness.” If you want to make the most of your post-MBA moments, use your MBA “free time” to learn how to always know the score and the time left on the clock.


About Terry Connelly

Terry Connelly is an economic expert and dean emeritus of the Ageno School of Business at Golden Gate University, California’s fifth largest private university and a nonprofit institution based in San Francisco with award-winning online cyber campus. With more than 30 years experience in investment banking, law and corporate strategy on Wall Street and abroad, Terry analyses the impact of government politics and policies on local, national and international economies, examining the interaction on 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). Available on Amazon.com, 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 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.


Request information about Golden Gate University’s MBA program >>

What Makes for Quality Online Education?

online-library
by Doug Geier, GGU’s Director of eLearning and Instructional Design

Online education is enormously popular, with the number of online students in the US growing to over 6 million in 2015. This is true at Golden Gate University, where many students get their degrees or certificates 100% or partially online. Online classes provide a way for many students to fit education into their daily lives, an opportunity that they may not have otherwise.

If you become a GGU student, you will soon realize that you are at a school that takes online education seriously – 94% of students who took 80% or more of their courses online favorably rated the overall quality of their education at GGU (2016-17 GGU Graduating Student Survey).

More than an Internet Connection

At GGU, we think online learning is more than a medium or a convenient way to learn. Quality online learning is built with many elements – not just an instructor and an Internet connection. Here are the features of GGU’s quality eLearning experience:

  • Faculty experience in an online environment
  • Opportunities for interaction among students and instructors
  • Stimulating and engaging eLearning
  • Integrated online learning platform for interaction, multimedia, and assignment submission
  • Dedicated eLearning department to ensure proper student and faculty proficiency
  • 24/7 support team for technical issues students may have
  • Curriculum that connects learning to the real world

Creating the GGU Online Experience: The eLearning Department

I have a passion for online learning because it provides an opportunity for all students to participate in course activities, contribute to the discussion, and engage with one another. (No one has a “back-row” seat in online learning.) It’s also a great supplement to classroom learning and provides a great deal of flexibility for the adult learner.

One of the building blocks of the GGU online experience is the eLearning Department, which I lead. The eLearning instructional designers have experience and training in both technology and education—and how the two come together for effective teaching and learning. Through GGU’s Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, the instructional design team supports faculty in the effective use of technology for education.


Golden Gate University has been recognized for excellence in online education for its MBA, Counseling Psychology, and graduate-level Accounting programs.
Learn more about GGU’s accolades >>


Even though we have been offering online education for over 20 years, we are always seeking to improve the student experience. We stay on top of the latest trends and effective practices by monitoring educational blogs, publications, and sites related to technology, online learning, and higher education. Educause Learning Initiative, EdSurge HigherEd, the Online Learning Consortium, and WCET are all wonderful sources of information and inspiration. We also exchange ideas with others in the online education community through attendance at conferences and meetups. Most importantly, we listen to feedback from students and faculty and strive to continually improve the quality of online education at GGU.

My Experience as an Online Student

I hear positive feedback from our online students, but I also share this perspective as a fellow online student at GGU. I’ll be completing my MBA degree this year, most of which I have taken online. If the courses had not been challenging and provided the opportunity to interact with fellow students and the instructor, I wouldn’t have remained engaged and interested. As a working professional, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this if not for effective online courses.


About Doug Geier

Doug Geier is the Director of eLearning and Instructional Design at Golden Gate University where he oversees LMS support, instructional design, help desk and proctored testing services. He was a 2012 participant in the Online Learning Consortium’s (OLC) Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning and continues to be an active member of the OLC community–serving as a volunteer, presenter, and conference track chair. Doug is also a member of the Substantive Change Committee with the WASC Senior College and University Commission and a part-time MBA student at GGU. In previous roles, Doug has held positions in educational software publishing and online learning as a producer, content developer, and instructional designer.


Golden Gate University Students Present Mobile Marketing Plan to the Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors have won the 2017 NBA Championship! We’d like to take this opportunity to provide an example of the strong relationship between the Golden State Warriors and Golden Gate University – Proud University Partner of the Golden State Warriors.

In Spring Term of 2016, a team of GGU students taking a graduate-level Mobile Marketing class presented ideas to Warriors Leadership for improving the team’s mobile app (Android / iOS). The project included direct interaction with Warriors management who provided the students with an inside look at mobile marketing and the changes in the mobile technology landscape brought on by data and business analytics.

GGU instructor Goldie Aranha Viegas challenged students to develop ideas for an app based on the game-day journey of a fan – from download, to tip-off, to post-game. Like many instructors, Viegas works in the field as Senior Mobile Manager at VF Corporation: an apparel company that offers iconic brands such as Vans and Timberland. The project was a present-day scenario in which students had to provide ideas that were achievable and realistic.

“The people from the Golden State Warriors and GGU made this a journey to remember. This project got me closer to Dub Nation than I was before, and proved to be a great learning experience.”

—Farhad Kazi (MS Marketing, 2016)

Then student and now alumnus Farhad Kazi (MS Marketing, 2016) comments: “As in many GGU classes, our instructor was a working professional, which added important value by directing our project, providing mentorship, and creating an experience of real-world learning,”

The six-member team included students from China, India, Colombia, and the United States. The group had prior work experience in marketing which allowed them to create a solid marking plan in all aspects.

The group studied successful mobile campaigns launched by other companies and conducted a survey of Golden State Warriors fans. Social media features were an important consideration because Golden State Warrior fans are highly active and engaged on social platforms. The recommendation included social sharing, paid, unpaid and earned digital marketing tactics, app analytics, and fan behavior.

“Mobile Marketing had the elements of a real-world professional experience, as we had to follow a tight deadline and create a comprehensive plan,” says Kazi. “We not only had to convey information, but also give a live presentation intended to persuade a Golden State Warriors marketing executive to implement it.”

After graduation, Farhad Kazi found work as a Communication Analyst at Cisco. “The people from the Golden State Warriors and GGU made this a journey to remember. This project got me closer to Dub Nation than I was before, and proved to be a great learning experience.”

Farhad Kazi: My Experience in the Mobile Marketing Class

  • Team environment
  • Real-life challenge that is relevant to future work assignments
  • Diverse environment that helps generate ideas
  • Professional instructor providing an up-to date scenario
  • Assignments relevant to future work assignments
  • Mentoring and networking opportunities
  • Taking in to account the most recent developments in mobile marketing

Learn more about GGU’s Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications and Master of Science in Marketing programs.

GGU Professor Presents Social Media and Luxury Brands Research at the Mystique of Luxury Brands Conference

Nabanita
Golden Gate University Assistant Professor Nabanita Talukdar recently traveled to Seoul, South Korea to present a luxury branding research paper at The Mystique of Luxury Brands Conference.  Dr. Talukdar’s paper, “Tweets, Retweets, and Luxury Connoisseurs: An Empirical Study of the Relationship between Tweet Volume and Stock Prices for Luxury Brands in the US,” is based on her Golden Gate University doctoral dissertation.  Dr. Talukdar’s focus area of research is primarily in the area of luxury brands’ online space, and her work integrates social media analytics, digital marketing, and marketing science.

The Mystic of Luxury Brands conference was organized by Australia’s Luxury Branding Research Cluster at Curtin University and the Korean Scholars of Marketing Science.  This two‑day conference forges links between industry and academia within the luxury brands industry and promotes academic and practitioner collaboration in the area of luxury branding. The conference attracted 120 industry and academic presenters from around the world and covered a wide range of luxury brand topics:  beauty and wellness, gastronomy, lifestyle and culture, social media, strategies against counterfeiting, marketing, and consumer behavior.

Dr. Talukdar’s paper was selected through a competitive, peer-review process and showcased her application of quantitative analysis of social media and firm financial performance metrics to U.S. luxury brands.

About Nabanita Talukdar

Nabanita Talukdar holds a DBA in Marketing (’16) and an MS in Finance (’09) from Golden Gate University. She also holds an MBA in Marketing and a BS in Geology, Physics & Math from universities in India. Her research interests include luxury brands and digital marketing, social media analytics and luxury marketing, and the use of marketing science in luxury marketing. She has presented her research in both domestic and international conferences.  Outside of academia, she has worked in industry — conducting quantitative and qualitative analyses for L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble, First Republic Bank, and Actelion Pharmaceuticals. She enjoys swimming, traveling, and watching movies, and is involved with social causes dedicated to providing educational opportunities to underprivileged populations.

Video: Why Go to Business School in San Francisco?

Golden Gate University is located in downtown San Francisco in the heart of the Financial District. In this video, Dr. Gordon Swartz, Dean of GGU’s Ageno School of Business, reflects on the city’s reputation and position in the business world.

Dr. Swartz’s holds a DBA from Harvard University and has extensive and varied experience that combines business school teaching, research, and administration — with strategy consulting and development of high-growth organizations. As vice president of MarketBridge, Inc., he led major marketing, sales strategy, and transformation efforts for Fortune Global 500 companies.

Getting an MBA degree at GGU in San Francisco, specifically in the “FiDi”, gives students access to a wealth of expert working faculty and networking opportunities in major business areas such as finance, accounting, taxation, marketing, project management, and IT management. Throughout its 115-year history, Golden Gate University has become an integral part of the San Francisco business world — with over 16,000 alumni residing in the San Francisco Bay Area alone.

International Journey: The Story of a GGU Marketing Student

Ruslan Farman is working toward a BS in Management with a concentration in Marketing.


One of the primary reasons I chose GGU was for its downtown location. It is very close to where I live, and I like the convenience of different food shops and the vibrant atmosphere. Although I have been in the US for 11 years, I love being around the many international students on campus. It makes me feel very comfortable to surround myself in a safe environment – and a bit less homesick.

Over a period of three years, I also have also lived in Italy, Japan, and the Netherlands. I grew up mostly in Kazakhstan and have lived in Russia. I think San Francisco would be attractive for Russians in particular because they love the tech boom and are interested in the fields of accounting and taxation.

GGU is different from other colleges because I am learning about my field from professionals that currently hold positions in the real world. This is a better way of learning business as opposed to only books or only retired professionals. I am also getting additional experience as a marketing assistant in GGU’s marketing and communications department.

When I was in Japan, I fell in love with the billboards in an area very much like Times Square. I decided to major in marketing because I want to give other people that same feeling of excitement.

Success Coach and Advising

I had a difficult time balancing my work commitments and GGU classes at first. With the help of one of the GGU Success Coaches, Bree Butler, I was able to adapt to a realistic schedule within two weeks. Bree guided me with questions to ponder about my student life and helped me create a realistic schedule to complete the degree. At any time, I can text her and she will respond with all the answers. If I need to chat about scheduling difficulties, or any other student related life situation, she’s there to discuss possible success options.

I don’t have to worry about administrative tasks to keep enrolled and moving forward. A month into the program, I was connected with Saba Sohail, the Assistant Director Advising Services, who mapped out GGUs Path to Completion with me. Saba makes every semester easy by registering me for all the classes we planned out. If at any point I’d like to make a change to my schedule or make another kind of request she’s there to help via SMS within minutes. I use the GGU App to track down networking events and try and attend them as much as possible on my free time.

My aspirations

When I was in Japan, I fell in love with the billboards in an area very much like Times Square. I decided to major in marketing because I want to give other people that same feeling of excitement. It is so much fun to market a product, to think of the person’s lifestyle and make them want to incorporate it in their lives.