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.
A career in Supply Chain is not often on the minds of people that are starting an MBA program. I didn’t have a clear view of what I wanted to major when I applied. During a two-day orientation for international students at GGU, the line for the Supply Chain program table not as long as the others—only because people like me did not know much about it. When I got to the table and met program chair Richard Dawe, I began to discover that the Supply Chain career would the right fit for me.
I don’t consider myself a ‘math person.’ I like the fact that much of my job requires human judgment and making a proper interpretation of data.
What is Supply chain?
The Supply Chain includes everything that happens from raw material to the end product in a customer’s hand. This includes many things such as procurement and logistics — getting the right products or services to where they need to be. All companies are complex, and if their employees only think about the end product, it may be more expensive to get it to the customer in the long run. Everyone talks about product price in terms of Supply Chain, but it includes logistics and dealing with manufacturers and choosing the best one that can deliver the part ASAP. There are various roles in the field such a logistics expert, Supply Chain analyst (as I am), or Supply Chain manager just to mention a few.
Because Supply Chain is so important to a company’s bottom line, more people need to take advantage of opportunities in the field. Every type of company needs logistics or supply chain professional, and there are many vacancies. There is also a trend of manufacturing returning to the U.S. which will increase demand. Supply Chain is also a very good field to enter because it relates to all industries.
Supply Chain jobs can be surprisingly rewarding. This career fits my love of research and solving logical puzzles. Supply Chain is not a mathematical discipline, and I don’t consider myself a “math person.” I like the fact that much of my job requires human judgment and making a proper interpretation of data—how to sort it and decide what the most important factors are. I enjoy doing the research to help me come to my conclusions. Another part of what I love about my job is getting to find out about every physical aspect of a product and learn what makes it work.
My Experience at Golden Gate University
I got an MBA from GGU with a field of study that included Operations, Supply Chain Management, International Logistics, and Project Management. Here is what I liked most about my experience:
The faculty teach from their real-world experience
Many fellow students were working adults, which gave me more insights into the supply chain and its wider business context.
The education is actually relevant to what I need in my job today.
Classes are very interactive and conversational. We are problem solving all the time rather than hearing lectures.
I really enjoyed studying in GGU and would absolutely recommend it to everyone who is thinking about pursuing their career with MBA.
The Entrepreneur Center at Golden Gate University will offer a free, 10-week course for those looking to turn their business ideas into reality. Held at the university’s downtown San Francisco campus, the intensive Small Business Preview Course prepares individuals for launching a small business by providing the foundational knowledge essential for success.
Participants will work in a collaborative environment in which they use each other as advisors and sounding boards. They will leave the course with a strong foundation for their business or entrepreneurial plan, a clear direction for the business, and knowledge of what it takes to get started. The course is relevant to all kinds of business environments such as technology, service, retail, or nonprofit.
Michelle Foster – who is creating 2Grow Learning, Inc. and the 2Grow Unlimited Foundation – is a graduate of the most recent course. “I have always been an entrepreneur at heart,” she says. “Attending the class helped push me forward and start thinking about finally making my dream a reality. I refined some ideas and considered new ones to take my concept out of my head and into reality. I got support and advice from two dozen fellow students who were going through the same process. The class enables people like me to take their vision, education, and experience and start making them a reality.”
The Small Business Preview Course will take place Saturdays from June 10 to August 19, 2017 from 9am-Noon, at Golden Gate University’s San Francisco campus. Applications are due by May 31, 2017. More information is available at www.ggu.edu/small-biz.
The course will be taught by LouAnn Conner, Founder and CEO of SagaciousThink and consultant to start-up businesses. SagaciousThink supports companies by offering operations excellence either as interim management or in a project or consulting capacity. Prior, Conner held senior leadership positions at Booz Allen Hamilton, Honeywell- TSI, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
I received my MBA from GGU in 1988, and have been working since in a variety of roles which built upon my education – from startups to giant corporations and everything in between in a variety of industries. I think I can safely say that over the years I have become a “Jill-of-all-Trades.”
In 2016 I was laid off from a very stressful job four days before Christmas, and in mid-January I received an email from GGU regarding the free Small Business Course. The timing couldn’t have been better!
We were not only able to share the driving to and from Los Angeles and San Francisco, but also work on refining our business plans and discuss what we had learned in the Saturday morning classes.All ten thousand miles driven this quarter were definitely worth the effort!
I have been putting the pieces together for a massive educational media and philanthropy business concept for nearly twenty years. In looking back at the last seven jobs I had held I realized that all but one of these jobs had ended badly for one reason or another. That’s not to say I hadn’t done well in these positions or learned from the experience I gained in them – it was, however, a wake-up call to realize that I am and always have been an entrepreneur at heart, and that to continue working for others was not only a recipe for more disaster but would not further my progress towards my true calling. It was time to “get real.” I am creating two organizations – 2Grow Learning, Inc. (a for-profit) and the 2Grow Unlimited Foundation (a non-profit). The two organizations will work together to provide educational and philanthropic resources on a large scale worldwide.
The FREE Small Business Preview Course takes place Saturdays
from June 10th, 2017 to August 19th, 2017 at GGU’s San Francisco campus. Applications are due by May 31, 2017 Apply>>
Because I live in Los Angeles I asked if there was anyone else in Southern California who might want to attend the program, and I was referred to fellow entrepreneur Freddie Scott. Every Friday morning for ten weeks Freddie and I left Los Angeles, drove to San Francisco, attended class for three hours on Saturday morning, and hit the road back to Los Angeles as soon as class was over so we could be back in time for dinner on Saturday evening. We were not only able to share the driving to and from San Francisco, but also work on refining our business plans and discuss what we had learned in the Saturday morning classes.
Attending the GGU Small Business Program helped push me forward and start thinking about finally making my dream a reality. I was able to refine some ideas that needed refining, consider ideas I had not thought of before, and take my concept out of my home office (and my head) and get the support and advice for it from two dozen people who are going through the very same process themselves. What I love most about this program is it enables people like myself to take their visions, education, and experience and start making them a reality. The best part is that ultimately as our businesses take shape they will contribute to the economy as well.
All ten thousand miles driven this quarter were definitely worth the effort!
About the Small Business Preview Course
This intensive, ten-week Preview Course is designed to prepare you for small business ownership by providing you with a foundation of knowledge essential for success. You’ll work in a highly collaborative group of peers who will act as your advisors and sounding board as you develop business concepts through a series of weekly assignments and a final, capstone presentation. By the end of the course, you will have a foundation for a strong business plan, a clear direction for the business, and knowledge of what it will take to get started on your small business journey. Go to the GGU website for more information on the course and to apply. Applications are due by May 31, 2017.
Would you please talk about your cognitive science background and your transition to business? Was this a leap?
I was part of the first attempt at cognitive science in the 1980’s, as the discipline was inventing itself. We researched psychologists of all types, computer science researchers but also linguists, philosophers and even a few math/stat folks. This afforded me the opportunity to learn about anything and not be overly focused on one approach.
At the time, I was trying to use Artificial Intelligence models (Minsky’s Frames) to understand the relationship between learning, memory and attitude change. I had social, memory and experimental psychologists as well as cognitive scientists supervising my work, which proved to be challenging as no one faculty member particularly cared about defending my work as a whole. But I picked up a little bit in a lot of areas.
These skills, when put together, helped me enter work on projects that involved things like machine learning and intelligent computer-assisted instruction with Aerospace and Defense Research and Development at Honeywell. After that, I had the opportunity to work in a data science group at Merck & Co., where I could apply my understanding of behavior change and do things like price elasticity, promotion response, and marketing experimental design.
We are using machine learning techniques to predict the likelihood of trauma-care products needed in a given region based on weather, holidays and, other predictors.
I ultimately found my way into IT where the data is created (or not), and the capability to bring advanced analytics to major problem solving and the development of people-centered solutions is enabled.
Does cognitive science have a relation to what you are doing today at Johnson & Johnson?
I would like to say that I was smart enough to know that the methods and tools I learned in graduate school would be relevant to me as Johnson & Johnson’s CIO. This is not at all the case!
There are two primary aspects of my cognitive science background that are extremely useful today.
The first is the statistical methods that we use to try to comprehend human cognitive behavior, which advances our understanding of consumers’ and patients’ behavior. We have long applied tools like predictive modeling to be able to identify what the next best action is to take.
Now, with machine learning, the system continuously and manually updates the model without human intervention. This means that the productivity of our data scientists can be greatly enhanced. With the ability to create machine learning models that extend the reach and power of each data scientist, we can leverage the creative work our professionals produce and extend it more broadly throughout the enterprise.
To lead a data science group, it is helpful if you are an “outgoing introvert”…who enjoys sharing that work with people, creating teams that do this valuable work, and persuading business leaders that this is an area well worth the investment.
How did you get into the pharma industry?
My father had a long career in marketing, which resulted in my being born in Cincinnati, Ohio, while he was working at Procter & Gamble. Because of his career, I had always been intrigued by the idea of applying cognitive science techniques to marketing. So, once I decided it was time to get serious about establishing my career, I interviewed for a variety of positions, including a marketing job at Merck & Co.
Within its U.S. business, Merck & Co. had created a small group of what we now call data scientists, where we worked on things like promotion response assessment, hospital purchase probability modeling, conjoint analysis, and extrapolative methods for product forecasting. I don’t think there was any other time in the pharmaceutical industry until now, where a company like Merck & Co. would have hired someone like me. This gave me an opportunity to join a marketing development program where I rotated through roles like managing marketing research and product management. This business foundation has been enormously useful in my career leading IT organizations.
What are the specific applications of data analytics at Johnson & Johnson?
Data science is being applied to almost every business and function within Johnson & Johnson. It is being used to help us better understand and target consumer micro-segments in order to meet our people where they are – from the grocery store to the home. It is being used in the supply chain organization to understand how to create an agile response to emerging consumer demand locally, while planning on a global basis. We are using machine learning techniques to predict the likelihood of trauma-care products needed in a given region based on weather, holidays and, other predictors. Ultimately, we are using data science to identify and create people-centered solutions that help meet our consumers’ needs.
At Johnson & Johnson, I have been involved in all areas of data analytics. We have a group of about 30 data scientists in our IT organization supporting Janssen pharmaceuticals. I have played a role in establishing a group of supply chain professionals to model the supply chain flow, end to end. And most significantly, Johnson & Johnson created technology environments that allow us to break down the complexities of modeling, and support the massive amounts of data and power required for today’s techniques.
Is there a type of person that data science appeals to?
I don’t know if there is one type of data scientist. Data science work typically requires someone who is interested in math and in understanding the relationship of metrics to the real world. It requires the type of person who gets excited about finding and quantifying relationships that no one understood before. To lead a data science group, it is helpful if you are an “outgoing introvert”. An introvert can be defined as someone who gets their energy from quiet time working alone, while an “outgoing introvert” is someone who enjoys sharing that work with people, creating teams that do this valuable work, and persuading business leaders that this is an area well worth the investment.
One of the most important soft skills required for a top-performing data scientist is the ability to understand what your business partner is trying to do… If you take the time to ask your business partners, you may be surprised at how happy they are to share their work with you.
For people who consider themselves data scientists first, what hard and soft skills do they most need in the business world?
One of the most important soft skills required for a top-performing data scientist is the ability to understand what your business partner is trying to do. If you take the time to ask your business partners, you may be surprised at how happy they are to share their work with you. You can learn a lot in a short period of time about their business strategy, about the capabilities that are needed to accomplish business objectives, and the barriers that your business faces in accomplishing those goals. Once you have this knowledge, you can aim data science techniques at overcoming the most important obstacles. If you have helpful solutions to answer your business’ most critical problems, you will find a ready audience.
Lastly, what one thing would you like people to know about your field or your work at J&J?
Many individuals know about Johnson & Johnson from our Band-Aids® and baby products. But in reality, our two largest businesses are pharmaceuticals and medical devices. We are a health technology company fueled by empathy, and we ultimately attract people who are interested in our core mission which is helping people live longer, healthier and happier lives. If you’re interested in the opportunity to contribute to humanity in this way, and would rather develop people-centered solutions then say, tune search engines or adjust hedge fund algorithms, then we have a place for you!
Professor Jeffrey Yergler, Chair of the Undergraduate Management department at Golden Gate University’s Ageno School of Business traveled to Seoul, Korea in early April, 2017, to serve as the Leadership Development Instructor in The Asia Foundation Development Fellows Program.
The Asia Foundation Development Fellows Program is focused on identifying emerging national social reformers and social entrepreneurs who are committed to the development of democratic values within their countries. The 2017 Development Fellows are a group of 12 women and men representing 12 Asian countries including Mongolia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar.
The director of the Development Fellows Program, David Kim, asked Prof. Yergler to be the “Lead” Leadership Development Instructor for the first week of orientation. The program included leadership assessments and behavioral styles, team performance and engagement, change and change management, vision, mission, and core values, innovation and rapid design, and ongoing training and development for the Fellows’ organizations and team members. Following their orientation week in Seoul, the Development Fellows flew to Vietnam for another week of training and collaboration on women’s rights and the environment. The Fellows will arrive in San Francisco in September, 2017 for the capstone week of the Leadership Program.
For Prof. Yergler, working with the Development Fellows has been an amazing experience. He said that the Development Fellows Program provides a unique opportunity to learn with and from an exceptionally talented and visionary group of leaders who represent the vast diversities of Asia, and “the priority that each Fellow places on, for example, justice, fairness, transparent governance, the environment, equal access, education, economic opportunity, job training, social equality, and respect for the rights of girls and women and how all of these priorities inform the way they build, lead, and influence within and beyond their organizations was powerful, inspirational, and transformational.”
About The Asia Foundation
The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region addresses five overarching goals strengthen governance, empower women, expand economic opportunity, increase environmental resilience, and promote regional cooperation. Headquartered in San Francisco, The Asia Foundation works through a network of offices in 18 Asian countries and in Washington, DC. Working with public and private partners, the Foundation receives funding from a diverse group of bilateral and multilateral development agencies, foundations, corporations, and individuals. In 2016, we provided $87.8 million in direct program support and distributed textbooks and other educational materials valued at $9.5 million.
Rex Ryan Magadia graduates in 2017 from GGU’s MBA program with a concentration in Global Supply Chain Management.
In one of my favorite books, Connectographyby Parag Khanna, the author states that “Supply Chains are the greatest blessing and the greatest curse for civilization. They are an escape from the prison of geography, creating economic opportunities where none existed, bringing ideas, technologies, and business practices to places that lack the advantages of good climate and soil or other propitious variables. Now for the bad news: Supply chains are “…also a conduit for plundering the world’s rain forests and pumping emissions into the atmosphere.”
Businesses are here to stay. Thus, looking through this paradigm, the next logical step is to ensure that businesses are run in the most sustainable and ethical way possible. This is done by developing good governance practices and taking a holistic approach when it comes to managing the social, environmental, and economic impacts of a business’s product and service life cycles. Examples include any policy or business practice that addresses human rights and labor, the environment, and anti-corruption in supply chain operations. An example may be creating more sustainable products that have fewer environmental impacts and ensuring that worker rights are respected throughout the supply chain.
It is not just the world’s rain forests which are at risk. For example, in the Philippines where tens of millions of people rely on healthy oceans/reefs for food, income, and protection from storms, supply chains are the mechanism that enables overfishing. Fish is the primary source of protein in the Philippines and if the global supply chains which operate in the Philippines are not managed in a more sustainable way, this vital life-support system will eventually disappear, leaving tens of millions of people in a state of low food security. My family is from the Philippines, and it’s been a goal of mine to teach environmental and supply chain sustainability there someday.
My GGU education was focused on real-world success from day one.
After I completed my B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Cal Poly, I worked as an engineer. I felt that my career path would be limited moving forward without having some sort of business background. In addition, I had been introduced to the concept of supply chain management and I saw this as the ideal field for me to pursue my passion for sustainability.
My greatest challenge in completing my degree was to achieve academic excellence in my role as a student/scholar while also finding the time to develop and meet goals that I’ve set in regards to my personal roles such as son, brother, lover, climate activist, teacher/mentor, and explorer.
My mission is to dedicate my life to helping others acquire the requisite knowledge, skills, and values to build a just and sustainable world.
My GGU education was focused on real-world success from day one. In an introductory global supply chain management (GSCM) course, Dr. Richard Dawe had us complete a Career Questionnaire & Career Plan to help us set a path for the rest of our graduate degree studies. Many, if not all, of my subsequent accomplishments were a direct result of the initial planning steps and actions that I took early in that introductory class. When it comes time to join a world-class supply management organization, I will be readily qualified and have the necessary knowledge and experience to do so.
GGU faculty members have had an immensely positive impact on my development as a student and as a human being. I’d like to give special thanks to Dr. Richard Dawe as well as Dr. Douglass Carlberg (Global Supply Chain Management Applications & Analytics) and Professor Howard Bernstein (Management Information Systems).
Changing the World
I believe that sustainability and climate change are the defining challenges of our generation. For this reason, I have worked to develop chain sustainability and climate change as my two primary knowledge areas. Over the course of the next ten years, I plan to work within this space and gain as much relevant experience and knowledge as I can. Ultimately my destination is education. As mentioned above, I’d like to one day teach supply chain sustainability within the context of climate change at the university level, perhaps in the Philippines. What I love about teaching and tutoring is the one-on-one interaction with students. As Dag Hammarskjold, Nobel Peace Prize recipient once said, “It is more noble to give yourself completely to one individual than to labor diligently for the salvation of the masses.” My mission is to dedicate my life to helping others acquire the requisite knowledge, skills, and values to build a just and sustainable world.
About Rex Ryan Magadia, CPSM, CPSD
Rex Ryan Magadia‘s accomplishments include: a 4.0 GPA in GGU’s MBA Program, GGU GSCM Outstanding Award Winner (2017, ISM 2016 Graduate Student of the Year (Northern California Chapter), APICS 2016 L.L. Waters Scholar, APICS supply chain management magazine regular contributing author, APICS Editorial Advisory Board Member, and CSCMP Scholarship AGC Ambassador Award Winner (2017). Magadia is also in the process of writing a 10-part series for APICS Magazine in which he will highlight a particular skill that young professionals will need to succeed in an increasingly dynamic and complex global supply chain environment. Rex is a certified CPSM (Certified Professional in Supply Management) and CPSD (Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity).
Rex Ryan Magadia (MBA ’17) and Zhaoqian (Anna) Zeng (MBA ’17) have won awards from the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals – San Francisco Roundtable (CSCMP-SFRT). Both students selected a concentration in global supply chain management at GGU and study at the San Francisco campus. The pair was selected for the 2017 honors on the strength of their academic accomplishments and essays on their future careers in supply chain management. Zeng received a scholarship award and Magadia won a trip to the national CSCMP conference where he will represent GGU among the thousands of participants.
Zeng’s undergraduate degree in law has helped her develop analytical and deductive reasoning skills along with an understanding of detailed laws, regulations, and customs. Magadia’s undergraduate degree in environmental engineering from Cal Poly reflects his engineer’s penchant for details, and he is also passionate about the intersection between the supply chain and societal issues. Born and raised in the central valley of California, he is the first member of his family to earn a college degree.
Both scholarship recipients are highly focused on the coursework and activities outside the classroom such as membership in CSCMP and attendance at local events. One of the reasons they chose GGU was the close affiliation that we have with industry, particularly through the excellent local professional organizations like CSCMP-SFRT. We truly believe that the habits you form in school will be those you take to your career.
—Dr. Richard Dawe, Director and Professor, Global Supply Chain Management Program
In the near future, Zeng wants to focus on the management of international trade operations while Magadia is interested in the advanced technologies and the supply chain’s impact on future society, sustainability, and risk factors. He will also be honored next month with the ‘Outstanding Student Award’ for the Global Supply Chain Management program this year.
I am enrolled in Golden Gate University’s MBA program with a concentration in Supply Chain Management. I am from China and live in the San Francisco Bay Area. My bachelor’s degree in Law is from Customs College in Shanghai. After working in import and export operations, I wanted to expand my career. I was looking for a graduate school, I saw that Golden Gate University provided a very comprehensive program that covered the aspects of operations I find most interesting—strategy and tactical operations. My study also helps me understand the operational decisions of U.S. companies more thoroughly.
I like San Francisco because it is a fast-paced city where I can meet different kinds of people. It’s a very welcoming place and people from different cultures feel comfortable here. There are young, energetic people here who are absorbing new information every day. These are the reasons I want to stay here after I complete my degree.
GGU gives us more than just academic classes, lectures, and research-paper assignments. The classes are structured to build skills that will help us get our footing in the business world.
GGU gives us more than just academic classes, lectures, and research-paper assignments. The classes are structured to build skills that will help us get our footing in the business world. Here are some of my experiences:
Any real-time news about companies can become a problem-solving exercise in class.
We had an amazing guest speaker from PCH Lime Lab: a company that helps startups in the San Francisco Bay Area build prototypes and put them into mass production in Asia.
Professor Douglas Carlberg took my class to tour DHL’s facility in San Francisco. The streamlined environment, simplified processes, and the responsible staff were quite impressive to us.
The discussions among students with professional experience, and with our professors who are working in the field of supply chain, have been inspirational and keep moving me toward becoming an excellent supply chain professional.
Job Networking in the US
GGU professors give great suggestions for our career development. At the suggestion of Professor Richard Dawe, I volunteered and attended events at organizations such as the Institute for Supply Management, Women in Logistics, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, and the Bio Supply Management Alliance. I also had informational interviews at Genentech, Kaiser Permanente, and Tesla. Those visits gave me an opportunity to learn about the organizations and build a relationship with the people there.
I like San Francisco because it is a fast-paced city where I can meet different kinds of people. It’s a very welcoming place and people from different cultures feel comfortable here.
Working as One
We cannot accomplish any complex supply-chain project solely by ourselves. Teamwork is an important part of our work and is built on trust and understanding. At GGU, my classmates and I have multiple platforms— in class and at networking events — to form these relationships. All these experiences will help us achieve better performances in the real-world of business.
About Zhaoqian (Anna) Zeng
Zhaoqian (Anna) Zeng is in the MBA program (’17) with a concentration in Supply Chain Management. She enjoys working in purchasing and will pursue a strategic sourcing position in the future. Zeng was awarded a scholarship in 2016 from Women In Logistics and won an Academic Excellence Award in 2017 from the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals – San Francisco Roundtable.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we invite you to watch the video of GGU’s 4th Annual Women in Leadership event that took place last fall. The panel event exposed current students to professional women who gave advice and shared stories on the topics of launching a new career, networking, personal values, and work-life balance. Three GGU alumni served as panelists:
The event was hosted by Dr. Marianne Koch who is Associate Dean of the Ageno School of Business, HR Program Director and a Professor of Management. Dr. Koch began the session by posing a single question to the three GGU alumni: What choices did you have to make to get where you are today?Here are a few choice quotes:
You can’t just decide what you like. You have to go through a series of steps to find out what you don’t like.
—Sofia Tulchinsky (MBA ’96)
I sought out successful female professionals in the Bay Area that shared my values. Personal Development precedes professional development.
—Givelle Lamano (JD ’10)
Selecting companies where I could learn from others was important at the start of my career.