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.



A Great U.S. Business School For Students from India:  A Personal and Professional Journey


Hussain Aziz Sham is enrolled in the Masters in Marketing program, a member of the Student IT Advisory Board, a Graduate Student Assistant in the GGU eLearning Department, and vice president of the GGU Marketing Club.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” It’s a well-known proverb by Lao Tzu but indicative of the start of my personal and professional journey toward becoming a Brand Manager at a luxury brand company. Last August, I arrived at GGU in San Francisco with blessings from loved ones and lots of excitement – much like my fellow international students who come from India, or China or the Middle East. I was born and raised in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, but I am Indian by ethnicity. Like many other students who come to GGU, I am experienced in my field with five years of managerial experience. I spent the last two and a half years at a company called RK Swamy BBDO in Mumbai, India.

San Francisco by Design

As an international student, you can expect to be asked why you chose GGU. First of all, GGU is in the heart of the city. In the Financial District, I am walking distance from the most “happening” business in San Francisco like Salesforce, Twitter, LinkedIn, Deloitte and JP Morgan.

Salesforce Tower

If you are a design snob like me, you will truly appreciate the complex and modern architecture of the city. From traditional and historical landmarks like the Palace of Fine Arts, City Hall, and Civic Center to the ultra-modern buildings like the Salesforce Tower, Transamerica Pyramid and the skyscrapers of the Financial District. The city also offers an array of fun and exciting attractions and activities like the Pier 39, the Dungeon of SF, night tours of the Alcatraz Island, Lands’ End, Red Wood Forest, and the walking tours of the city.

GGU student body is a global and diverse community. You will have the chance to meet, collaborate and make friendship with students who come from all over the world – India, the Middle East, China, and others — and bring their unique experience into classroom discussions and projects.

I am now in my second term of the Masters in Marketing program, and I am very busy. I am a member of the Student IT Advisory Board, a Graduate Student Assistant in the GGU eLearning Department, and vice president of the GGU Marketing Club. The members of the club and I will be participating in the Marketing Edge competition this year, which challenges student teams to produce a marketing plan to solve a real marketing problem posed by a real company.

GGU students at the Career Meetup with the PR firm Weber Shandwick

I also answer the “Why GGU?” question by saying an education here not only offers you a stepping stone into your desired field of interest but also gives you a chance to have an all-around development in your personal and professional aspects of your life. GGU offers a professional atmosphere to learn and grow in your field of interest. I would describe it as an intimate learning experience because of its relatively small class sizes and case-study teaching method that encourages us to interact with each other and professors.

The comprehensive curriculum is taught by experienced industry professionals and headliners in their respective areas of expertise. Professor Blodwen Tarter, who is Chair and Professor of Marketing and Public Relations programs, truly inspires me. Her passion for marketing is infectious, and my conversations with her turn into brainstorming sessions. Another professor who has made a difference to me is Professor Heather Cowan-Spiegel, who is the Director of Learning and Organization Development at Autodesk. Her classes are highly interactive and thought-provoking, helping us become better team members.

The Art of Networking

An important part of the American professional culture is the art of networking. This skill helps you enhance your industry knowledge and build symbiotic relations with professionals in your field. Like many other international students, networking was a foreign concept to me. GGU’s Office of Career Planning helps students like me to develop that skill through the “Networking Bootcamp” workshops, and organize online and on-campus networking and recruiter panel events. It’s a good place to practice and become comfortable with this newly acquired skill.

At the 2017 Connected Marketer Summit (far right)

These workshops have given me the confidence to attend career and professional development events organized by the Lagrant Foundation at a huge PR agency called Weber Shandwick and innovative mega-firm Hitachi. These meetups were a great opportunity to peek into the real world of marketing and gain technical know-how on new industry trends and skills needed – for example, in digital marketing, content management, mobile marketing or any other area that might be of interest to you.

Mobile and Luxury Marketing

Another networking event was the 2017 Connected Marketers Summit. This event was specific to Mobile Marketing and a great chance to understand its applications in various industries — from pharma to retail. At this event, I had the opportunity to meet with Brian Wong who is the CEO and Founder of Kiip: a mobile app platform company that rewards its users when they complete a task. For example, when you finish a three-mile run, you might receive a notification saying “Congrats on completing your daily target, here is a $10 coupon from Jamba Juice. Redeem it via our app.” Kiip is a platform that enables all kinds of brands to make very specific offers directly to consumers in the context of their daily lives. Interesting, right?

One of my keen areas of interest is marketing luxury products or services. The Connected Marketers Summit got me thinking about the application of mobile marketing in the luxury segment. A common challenge with any premium service is to generate the psychological perception of exclusivity and high status. The personal and in-person communication that is fundamental to luxury marketing is a critical part of marketing in this segment but is often absent in the mobile experience. Can mobile marketing provide that kind of experience for the luxury customer? This question is on my mind, and I will be researching this matter in detail throughout my degree program.

If you have any questions about being an international student at GGU, connect with me on LinkedIn!

International student? Request information here >>

Internship Success Panel & Networking Recap

In 2014, 65.4% of students completing a paid internship received a job offer prior to graduation according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Last night, GGU held the Internship Success Panel & Networking event that drew in dozens of students looking to achieve their career goals.

The panel consisted of five students and alumni who have acquired coveted internships through learned tactics and available on-campus resources provided by our Office of Career Planning. Associate Dean, Professor & HR Program Director Dr. Marianne Koch served as moderator while also providing helpful tips for success.

The panel during the event

Event Recap:

How long does an internship search typically take?

Before you begin your search, please be aware that all panelists mentioned it takes 3-6 months to land a position.  Panelist and alumnus Farhad Kazi, former GSN Games intern and current VF Corporation intern stated, “I set goals for the industry and the type of job I wanted” in response to being asked how he managed his search. The journey is not an easy one and to succeed one must learn how to “differentiate yourself” according to panelist Nabanita Talukdar, MBA and MS in Finance graduate. The adjunct professor and alumna applied to conferences where she spoke on her academic research positioning herself as a industry expert. Read more about her conference experience in a recent post.

What resources did you use?

“There are so many cool people in the city. I used Meetup to meet people.” – Hege Thorbjornsen, MS

All five of the panelists mentioned different methods such as sending InMails via LinkedIn Premium for more information on one’s career or attending networking events. Mamadou Kramoko, Audit Intern at Oracle, mentioned the importance of researching the experiences of your peers. He joined on-campus organizations to engage with those seeking the same opportunities with the hope of becoming more social and learning tips.

A shot of the crowd during the panel

What did you do to make the best of your opportunity?

The key to success, according to our panel of internship experts, was to never say “no”. If someone asked you to grab coffee or take the reigns on a big project, accept with an upbeat attitude to convey you are happy to be there and are ready to work. If a directive is given and questions remain, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. This is a learning experience and they don’t expect you to know everything.

“When I don’t understand something, I ask a lot of questions whether that person is in my department or not.” – Stephanie Dodge, MAc

How did you recover from glitches?

Discovering there is an issue in your workflow can be devastating. To avoid repercussions, Kramoko advised everyone be honest. “Don’t lie. Meet with your manager and tell what happened and [ask] what do I need to do to avoid this situation again.” Over time, you will learn what questions you need to ask to be successful. Remember the goal is to maintain a relationship,so you can learn who you should turn to for guidance.

If you missed this event, view our calendar for upcoming events developed to help with your career search.

 Moderator & Panelists:

Dr. Marianne Koch, Ph.D., Associate Dean, HR Program Director and Professor 

Words of wisdom: “Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know, but I will find out””

Hege Thorbjornsen, MS in Integrated Marketing Communications graduate, Marketing Associate at Stitch Fix

Words of wisdom: “Be proactive and say these are my skills and what I can contribute.”

Farhad Kazi, MS in Marketing graduate, Former GSN Games intern & current VF Corporation intern

Words of wisdom: “Reach out to alumni and don’t be afraid to negotiate.”

Stephanie Dodge, Master of Accountancy graduate, former KPMG intern & 2016 Accounting Cohort

Words of wisdom: “Try not to get discouraged during interviews. When saying no, please do so gracefully”

Nabanita Talukdar, MBA & MS in Finance, Adjunct Professor & Actelion intern

Words of wisdom: “Go into the position with the mindset that you want this to turn into a full-time internship.”

Mamadou Kramoko, MAc candidate, Oracle intern

Words of wisdom: “Get as many interviews as you can, so you can practice and learn from them”


Adjunct Professor Presents Marketing Research Internationally

Adjunct Professor and alumna Nabanita Talukdar (MS Finance ’09, DBA candidate) has led courses in marketing, finance, information technology and mathematics since 2013. In recent months, she presented her research at premier conferences in Ireland and Singapore.

In April, Nabanita attended the annual Twitter Mixed Days Conference which was held at Cairnes School of Business & Economics at National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG).  The international conference is hosted by Cairnes School of Business & Economics in conjunction with Emlyon Business School, France and the Twitter development team. Nabanita was one of ten researchers selected to present on topics ranging from public health, public policy, political systems, information systems, computer science and marketing.

Nabanita Talukdar presenting her research at Twitter Mixed Days conference.
Nabanita Talukdar in front of the Cairnes School of Business & Economics

In June, she presented a research paper titled, “Tweets, Retweets and Luxury Connoisseurs: An empirical study of the relationship between tweet volume and stock prices for luxury brands in the US” at the LVMH-SMU Luxury Research Conference held at Singapore Management. The inaugural conference brought together over 50 academics from reputed global universities such as Golden Gate University, Northwestern University, Tsinghua University, ESSEC, UCLA and University of Houston. Nabanita’s research included a sample of 12 companies from the luxury apparel, specialty retail, footwear, auto and jewelry sectors ultimately determining a link between tweet volume and stock prices.

Nabanita Talukdar attending the LVMH-SMU Luxury Research Conference
Event space for the LVMH-SMU Luxury Research Conference

To learn more about Nabanita’s research, join one of her courses at GGU, online or in a classroom at our downtown San Francisco location. For more information on our marketing programs, please visit our website.



Ageno Offers Online & In-Person Classes for the Working Professional

Golden Gate University attracts students nationally and even across the globe. Our diverse student body has been recognized by Best College Reviews as one of the top 50 ethnically diverse colleges in America. GGU also prides itself as a institution that is known to provide a quality education to those with an eager mind and time limitations. Today, over 80% of students attend part-time to make room for full-time employment and/or other obligations.

MS in Integrated Marketing Communications candidate Danielle Anderson is projected to complete her degree by December 2016. Anderson, a Chicago native, is no stranger to hard work. She spends her weekdays working as a marketing coordinator for the Edward S. Ageno School of Business, her weekends as a part-time employee with a Bay Area sports team and her nights in a GGU classroom. When asked the infamous question, “Why GGU?” she responded with the following:

After joining the GGU community  as a full-time employee, I realized that pursuing an education at this institution didn’t just mean a lot of reading. It meant learning from an experienced professional who was ready to give back. The campus location also (San Francisco’s Financial District) also made it easy for me to commute from the East Bay. – Danielle Anderson

Danielle Anderson

Many of our programs are available in person and/or online providing students with flexible scheduling. If a student decides to pursue an online education, their course experience will include creative media usage to ensure students receive an experience parallel to those on campus. Anderson stressed the importance of a central location; but, also expressed her need for online courses. “My schedule can get hectic. If online courses weren’t available, I would not be able to complete an MS degree with my schedule in less than 2 years.”

If you are searching for a flexible degree program in business, peruse our graduate degree list to learn why many have chosen our school of business.

Internships: Earn Course Credit Hassle-Free

It is not too late to find an internship to obtain course credit. Utilize GGU’s available resources and begin your search today!

MS in Integrated Marketing Communications candidate Kamran Shaikh has scored an internship with 10Fold Communications, a notable PR agency. Shaikh urges students to begin their search sooner than later.

Kamran Shaikh at 10Fold

“DO NOT wait until the very last minute to start looking for the internship, plan at least 5 months in advance. Especially students who have worked before and are looking to do their internship in the same area. Do not think that if you have experience it will be easy for you to find the internship. In fact, it’s the opposite, companies prefer interns with limited or no experience over someone who has industry experience.”

Nirmata (A SaaS startup) intern, Archana “Arch” Raja, is currently pursuing an MS in Marketing. The VP of Events for GGU’s American Marketing Association believes the best way to obtain an internship is to network.

Archana Raja poses for a selfie

“Many told me that the more you let people know you are looking for internships, the easier it is to get one. I think I will tweak it a little. It is important you talk to the right people at the right time. Find events in your field that help you get closer to people inside the companies. I would say GGU is the best place to start. Take a break from just studying and be present at all events. It has proved to be very effective.”

Office of Career Planning Director Neepa Parikh sat down with Ageno to provide answers to any questions that may arise during your search. Before you create a strategy, check out Parikh’s interview below for resources and information on our internship policy.

FullSizeRender (5)
Neepa Parikh prepares to consult a student

How does the Office of Career Planning assist in the internship process?

The Office of Career Planning supports students in obtaining the skills necessary to be successful in both the internship and job search. We offer one-on-one appointments with career consultants, career development webshops on eLearning that cover a range of topics like resume writing and salary negotiations, and host several workshops and events throughout the year to get students prepared to put their best foot forward.

What can students do to increase their ability to be hired for an internship?

When an industry doesn’t have a specific recruiting cycle, obtaining an internship can happen year-round.  This is good news to students in fields including human resources, marketing, and finance.  Another benefit for these fields is that companies may be open to creating an internship opportunity upon request by a student.   In order to find an internship, students can grow their network of industry professionals, treat class assignments like real-world projects, consider leadership positions either on or off campus, and meet with a career consultant in the Office of Career Planning. In my experience, students who have the most success in obtaining an internship have taken advantage of the many resources and events that GGU has to offer.

What is the process for getting course credit for an internship?

Students looking to obtain course credit for an internship should first download the Step-by-Step Guide to Registering an Internship in GGU4YOU. Keep in mind that in order to qualify for course credit, the internship should provide you with substantial experience in your profession, which should supplement your classroom education. In other words, you shouldn’t spend the majority of your time on administrative tasks or fetching coffee. Prior to approaching your faculty advisor with the internship registration form, obtain a detailed offer letter from the employer so your faculty advisor has enough information to evaluate the scope of the internship.

For international students, what are the options to complete an internship during a degree program and after graduation?

The process for obtaining course credit for an internship while enrolled at GGU is essentially similar for both domestic and international students. The biggest difference is that the international student must pay attention to their immigration status.  This means that during a degree program, an international student needs to check in with their academic advisor to obtain the appropriate work authorization (CPT). After graduation, the student must be on OPT if they are planning to get a internship or job.  International students should attend the OPT/CPT information sessions and labs to learn more about this process as the student needs to apply for OPT months before being authorized to work.

Can a student complete an unpaid internship?

Students are able to complete paid or unpaid internships. That said, it is strongly recommended that employers pay at least minimum wage to stay in compliance with wage and hour laws. Whether or not an internship is paid, international students need to obtain a work authorization.

How can I connect with the Office of Career Planning?

Log in to GGU Careers will give students and alumni access to schedule career consulting appointments, review job and internship postings, register for upcoming events and access other online resources.  If students or alumni are unable to access their account, then email

Ageno Internship Success: Lene Hegland

Many Ageno students have landed “dream” internships this year! Lene Hegland, MS student, provides a glimpse into a one-of-a-kind experience as an intern at a thriving company in the following interview.


What program are you in?  How long have you been studying at GGU? An interesting fact about yourself.

My name is Lene Hegland, and I’m originally from Oslo, Norway. I moved to San Francisco in August 2014 to start my graduate program, M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications. An interesting fact, I’ve traveled to 22 countries (favorite country: Tanzania)

What company are you interning at and how did you find your internship? 

I’m currently interning at Lean Startup Co. (LSCo) ( It started as an opportunity to volunteer at a conference LSCo hosted in San Francisco in November, 2015. At the conference, I gathered feedback from attendees and identified leads for the next event LSCo is hosting. This lead me to meet the Co-founder of the company, and she offered me a position as their Marketing Intern.

San Francisco Conference from November 2015

What kind of work are you currently doing at your internship (only share non-proprietary information – general description is great)?

I assist in promoting LSCo’s events on various social media accounts, and utilize content and direct marketing to connect and engage with current and potential attendees.

Are there any specific class projects that helped prepare you for the work you are doing in your internship?

In particular, the projects I did in my Direct Marketing, Consumer Psychology, and Digital Marketing and eCommerce courses have helped me prepare for what I am doing now. Theory on how to track and analyze consumer behavior online, and strategies on how to implement marketing efforts have been very helpful.

How do you think the skills you are learning at your internship will help in your career?

The experience I gained from the internship is different from what I have learned in the classroom. At Lean Startup, I have gained skills in tracking and analyzing consumer response to each marketing effort. Working with creating strategies based on real numbers is both fascinating and challenging and it presents a great learning experience. I would recommend anyone to work as an intern before they graduate.

Lene interacting with fellow conference attendees

Do you have any recommendations for people looking for internships?

My recommendations are to jump on every chance to network and volunteer during their spare time and to use LinkedIn to personalize each job application. Golden Gate University arranges several helpful events and work shops, online and in person, that focus on networking, resume writing, and LinkedIn review. Students can also arrange a one-to-one time with a professional career consultant at GGU Careers.

Need help? Prepare for your upcoming internship by attending The LAGRANT Foundation’s webinar Friday, April 8th, 2016 at 10 a.m. PST,“So You’ve Landed an Internship, Now What?”.

Deadline to RSVP is Friday, April 1st at 6 p.m. PST. Email your resume to Senior Programs and Outreach Manager, Ericka Iniguez at


Ageno Internship Success: Farhad Kazi

A number of Ageno students have added an internship to their coursework this term. Read the following interview to learn how MS in Marketing student Farhad Kazi recently started an internship at Game Show Network (GSN).

Farhad Kazi at the GSN headquarters.

How long have you been studying at GGU?  What is an interesting fact that you can share with the GGU community?

I have been studying in GGU for almost two years. I am fast learner, I taught myself how to swim, and play the guitar.

How did you find your internship?

I found it on

What kind of work are you currently doing at your internship?

I am a product marketing intern as GSN Games. I manage the editorial calendar and the social media pages of GSN Casino; GSN Casino is a mobile gaming app.

Are there any specific class projects that helped prepare you for the work you are doing in your internship?

Yes, my social media course has been very useful. Through this course, I have been able to understand the real world applications of a Social Media plan. Being familiar with the process of creating a Social Media plan has made it easy for me to add value to the marketing team. It took me less time to get familiar with the process, and I could take up responsibilities faster.

How do you think the skills you are learning at your internship will help in your career?             

I consider my experience at GSN very valuable. While I was studying at GGU, I realized that my interest lies in the gaming industry. Here at GSN, I am getting an overall view of the industry that I wish to pursue for a career. Therefore, the skills that I am developing here will be very helpful in my future endeavors.

What is something that surprised you about this internship?

An opportunity to explore different functions of the business was the most surprising factor. My internship here at GSN games gives me an opportunity to learn and explore specific functions of business that I am interested in. This enables me to develop different skills, in addition to the skills that I am developing while performing my current function.

Do you have any recommendations for people looking for internships?

The best recommendation that I had received during my internship search was to connect with individuals who are at a position/company where I would like to work. These individuals were the best source of information to help me build a road map towards my goal. Their experiences helped me identify gaps or skills that I needed to develop for an internship position that I was interested in.

Over the next few weeks,  Ageno will highlight additional students and their internship experiences. Stay tuned!

GGU Ranks Among Top Eight Online Colleges in California

The Best Schools released their top eight online colleges in California and Golden Gate University has made the list! Acquiring such a prestigious award demonstrates our ability to deliver a quality education inside and outside of the classroom.

The ranking was earned based on school awards, faculty strengths, and program offerings. Today, over 3.2 million students are pursuing a post-secondary education in California. Luckily, the internet allows students across the globe to experience GGU with the click of their mouse.


Thanks to online programs, new mothers, full-time professionals and spontaneous travelers can obtain a degree without skipping a beat. The flexibility of our programs allows someone to begin in-person and end online if they choose.

Ageno’s programs include graduate certificates (5-6 course programs) and masters degrees in many areas of business such as psychology, marketing, business administration. For all interested in an online (or even in-person) education, we offer webinars for each of our programs. These online events allow attendees to learn more about GGU course offerings and ask questions in real time.

Who would’ve thought the internet could be used for more than social media and Google searches!?