Golden Gate University Congratulates Golden State Warriors on NBA Finals Win

The Golden State Warriors have won the 2018 NBA Championship! We’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the ongoing relationship between the Golden State Warriors and Golden Gate University – Proud University Partner of the Golden State Warriors. GGU staff are attending tomorrow’s parade and will be posting pictures to our Facebook account, so stay tuned.

In another chapter in the relationship between GGU and the Golden State Warriors, a group of GGU students presented mobile marketing ideas to Warriors leadership for developing the team’s mobile app. Read more >>

Contrarian Investing Can Be Profitable Investing

By Raj Sharma

Raj Sharma has 12 years’ teaching experience as a Golden Gate University Adjunct Professor teaching Equity Analysis. He is also a Portfolio Manager at Polestar Capital LLC, a value-driven, contrarian investment fund and research boutique, which he founded in May 2005.


Golden Gate University has a reputation for focusing on the real skills our students will need today and are taught primarily by people currently working in their fields. Like many of my peers at GGU, I teach a very practical course and draw on my current work as a securities analyst. No textbooks allowed!  Here are a few of the fundamentals of analyzing companies that I teach, and what I call a contrarian attitude that can be profitable in the long term:

  • A detailed and instinctive look at financial statements going back a decade – financial history of a company can tell us a lot about the likelihood that this company would succeed in the future.
  • Studying and understanding the culture of a company and how important it is in determining future success.
  • An opportunistic look at strong companies during times of minor missteps and bumps – affording them attractive valuations for investment.

Recent News in the Market

Tesla’s dramatic rocket display may not mean that the actual value of the stock is going to get to the Red Planet. Tesla seems to be everyone’s darling now; but you can, as a professional investor, ask pointed questions. Is there new competition? Well, VW says they are going to put 3 million electric cars out by 2020, and Tesla barely makes 300,000.

When Amazon bought Whole Foods that was big news, but it is best to talk about specific situations that a given company may face—not just M&A. Amazon also announced this year a potentially market-changing partnership with Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan announced focused on healthcare. Many questions have to be answered to make investment decisions based on this news. What does that do to the existing companies? What happens to CVS (pharmacy benefit manager) or Walgreens (pharmacy stores) or McKesson (drug distributor)?

It is essential to understand what consumers want and what are the demographic trends influencing the healthcare companies. And what is the industry structure that serves these aging consumers? Everyone complains that healthcare costs are high and you can cut costs, but cutting costs (and austerity) also brings down the overall GDP contribution of this massive industry and who likes GDP reductions! Which companies in this space will be best positioned to help reduce healthcare costs while improving outcomes for their consumers and for the country?

Like many of my peers at GGU, I teach a very practical course and draw on my current work as a securities analyst. No textbooks allowed!

IPOs and Tech Stocks in the Silicon Valley

Tech companies have had a huge impact on our lives and on the economy of the country. How to best invest in tech companies at levels and valuations that seem to head into the stratosphere every day making them riskier investments. Not all tech companies are risky though, and a careful analysis of their business models, their competitive positioning and their balance sheets can help an analyst and an investor separate the wheat from the chaff! Tesla on one had may appear sexy appear to have a lucrative future but investing in it at today’s levels could be fraught with significant capital loss! On the other hand, certain leaders like Amazon, Apple, and Google could still be excellent investments into the future.

Marketplace Behavior

As recently as ten months ago, the market had assigned Apple shares a low value because of repeated concerns that Apple was just a hardware company with a massive reliance on iPhones as its primary source of revenue and that all hardware companies eventually approach zero-margin profitabilities. When you do the fundamental analysis the right way, you see that the company exists in a broader ecosystem. When consumers use an iPhone or iPad, they don’t want to switch out because there is a time hurdle. That user base can keep consuming and add to revenues.

Apple is not a hardware company but more of an ecosystem with a massive installed base that should get a much higher multiple than usual hardware companies. It is not just that you sold someone a printer knowing that people don’t buy printers every year, so you price it really cheap (at zero margins) so that you can get lucrative printer ink business from these consumers till they come back for a new printer (and ink) from you. What Apple has done (and is doing) is creating an ecosystem that is very successful at keeping its users happy and satisfied, consuming digital products and expanding the ecosystem at solid profit margins – such ecosystems should sell at higher valuation multiples than the ones accorded to low-margin hardware companies!

The actual price of a stock relates to the mood of the market and to the current attitude to the industry that it is in. Being a contrarian can help. Being a contrarian versus going with the herd, your answers from a disciplined analysis can often be very counter-intuitive.

I teach that it is very important to know invest in what you know. Buying a great company is important but so is buying the great company at a reasonable price – and that usually only happens for great companies if they are experiencing an operational hiccup or are currently out-of-favor in the market.  The actual price of a stock relates to the mood of the market and to the current attitude to the industry that it is in. Being a contrarian can help. Being a contrarian versus going with the herd, your answers from a disciplined analysis can often be very counter-intuitive. When everything is “hot,” and things look great, it is typically not a good time to invest. People and investors have pushed the stock up in their excitement.

If you generally buy businesses only when all the news is positive, it may not pay off in the long run. If you buy based on this confirmation bias (that trends will continue) — and your friends are saying that you will always make money on this company – you may be falling into a psychological trap. Smart investors go step back and be skeptical of this hype. When there is fear in the market, be “greedy” and roll up your sleeves and get to your analytical best and deploy the cash into solid companies at hopefully reasonable prices!

When Bad Things Happen to Good Companies

Contrarian investors may step back when there is hype. This is an important mind-set and skill set that feeds the ability to spot what I call a “contrarian situation.”  You can look for solid businesses that are run by smart people and have competitive advantages. If they are having issues, the market may see them as a big deal because they are focused on the short term. Buying when a great company has had a misstep or people are questioning their strategy can be something to consider. After your analysis, you may realize the company may work through the current problem.

A way to see if you’re paying a good price for a great or a good company is to use its steady state (past three years’ average) free cash flow and estimate its present value. If the company is not growing much at all but its free cash flows are steady and very reliable then that $1 in annual free cash flows should have a value of at least $1 divided by the average return you would expect from a company in the U.S. to yield on a yearly basis

Getting Going in Investing Research

Valuation of the company is as important as picking a good or a great company to invest in. Warren Buffet is fond of saying that it is far better to buy a great company at a good price than a good company at a great price. A way to see if you’re paying a good price for a great or a good company is to use its steady state (past three years’ average) free cash flow and estimate its present value. If the company is not growing much at all but its free cash flows are steady and very reliable then that $1 in annual free cash flows should have a value of at least $1 divided by the average return you would expect from a company in the U.S. to yield on a yearly basis. That average over the last 100 years has been around 10%, to keep things simple and to be able to compare different companies using the same discount rate.

So perpetual free cash that flows to you from a steady, no-growth, solid company should be worth at least $10 ($1/0.10). I should be willing to pay $10 for a $1 in annual free cash flows from an asset with no growth or a Price-earnings Ratio (P/E) of 10x ($10 value / $1 in free cash flow). Now if you know that this company is growing and is expected to grow at least 5% a year for a long time, the value of that steady state $1 becomes $1 / (discount rate of 10% minus growth rate of 5%) or $20. The P/E on this growing asset is then 20x ($20 / $1) accounting for the growth in the free cash flows every year. If the asset is not growing it is worth $10 and if it can continue to grow its worth $20. Now, this is a modest risk company in the U.S.

If the company resides in an emerging market with greater market and political risks, then we would use a discount rate higher than 10%n (because we should expect a higher return in this riskier situation) and subsequently get a value lower than $10 for no growth and lower than $20 for growth. Again this is a way to put a conservative value on a $1 in free cash flows in the market. Now you may say the discount rate to value a stream of free cash flows should be a lot lower — in case you haven’t noticed the historically low interest rates in the US! That’s why we take a super long-term average of the discount rate to see how companies would compare apple to apples.

More about Raj Sharma

Prof. Sharma is currently Portfolio Manager of Polestar Capital LLC, a value-driven, contrarian investment fund and research boutique, which he founded in May 2005. Prior to Polestar, he was a Managing Director, Equity Research, at Merriman, Curhan, Ford & Co., a boutique investment bank in San Francisco where he covered specialty growth companies and special situations. Before Merriman, he was a co-founder of Landmark Research Group, active in the last few years in advising U.S. hedge funds, mutual funds and corporate clients in investment strategy. Prior, Mr. Sharma was Vice President at Onyx Partners, Inc., an investment banking and buyout boutique analyzing equity and mezzanine debt investments in companies in various industries in the U.S. Mr. Sharma was responsible for due diligence, financial analysis and operational nurturing and turnaround management of portfolio companies.  Prof. Sharma is passionate about pursuing leading, successful companies as long-term investments and is particularly interested in those companies that excel in business and in social responsibility. He counts Warren Buffet, Peter Lynch, and Joel Greenblatt as his primary influences in the shaping of his investment philosophy. Mr. Sharma has an MBA in Finance from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin and a BS in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) at New Delhi, India.

Raj Sharma teaches Equity Analysis in the master’s degree in Finance program. We invite you to request information about the degree.  >>

Business Analytics Project at Digital Ad Agency Leads to Promotion & Google Award

The creative function is what most people think of when you say, “ad agency,” and what attracts people to the field. Although SEO and engaging people through social media are the core competencies, data – if used well – makes a big competitive difference. In an age of all-digital advertising, Jeremy Bice (MBA, ’17) says “everything is data-driven.” Agencies need to crunch the data with great precision to see what ads are working with indicators like cost-per-click, as well as conversions and return-on-ad-spend (ROAS).

Bice started off at Logical Position, a digital marketing agency, as an account manager but had an interest in data that stretched back to his work in signals intelligence in the Marines. He moved from accounts to the paid search team, which relies on Google’s AdWords for its clients’ digital marketing data.

Customer retention is critical to any business, and the agency wanted ways to improve the numbers. “We hypothesized that we might find data hidden in our in-house data and Google AdWords about which clients were in jeopardy and what to do about it,” says Bice. For his efforts and those on his teams, Google gave the agency an award for integrating and leveraging its data.

Discoveries about the Client Life Cycle

Using business analytics skills he learned at Golden Gate University, such as Python and R programming, Bice discovered that there was a relationship between clients’ spend level and the client life-cycle — which spans onboarding to multiyear relationships. The results revealed that clients were most likely to become more engaged or drop at certain stages. The team also discovered that if clients made it past a certain lifespan milestone, their customer lifespan would rise significantly. That’s where services could be bolstered.

Bice and the team also integrated customer interactions with staff with the AdWords data—and did a text analysis on the staff notes with Python. Staff also rated how the calls went on a scale from 1-5, adding another dimension to discover customer engagement.

“…when I look at a data visualization with someone at work,
they immediately say one thing, but I can offer an interpretation based on the business processes as a whole. That is very useful.”

—Jeremy Bice (MBA, ’17)

Predictive Analysis

After standardizing and consolidating data, adding new fields to supplement Google data, Logical Position had what Bice calls a “risk profiler.” He set up a predictive model that allows them to alert account managers about which accounts may not be being served the best and determine what corrective action could be taken.

Business Analytics and Customer Segments

Bice also uncovered data that showed unexpected connections between customer segments and performance. “We did a deep dive for average monetary performance on accounts when we threw in the AdWords metrics.” Through this in-house data analysis, they discovered that fluctuations in revenue were much more useful in predicting cancellations in large clients than small ones.

Making New Business Decisions

Logical Position made company decisions based on their interpretations, making this a true business analytics project. The difference between small and large clients led the agency to change how they served smaller clients — improving onboarding would increase revenue.

Soft skills that Bice learned at GGU also come into play during the project: “At GGU, I learned how to research businesses and got a lot out of class discussions about how they work and use their data. Now, when I look at a data visualization with someone at work, they immediately say one thing, but I can give them an alternative explanation. I can offer an interpretation based on the business processes as a whole. That is very useful.”

Next Step

On the strength of his customer-retention project, the agency created a new position for him in a new department called Operations Development that creates internal tools and processes to help the company scale efficiently. Bice passes on recommendations to programmers; and, with management support, they develop new applications.

The next step for Bice, he says, is to dig deeper into a data science role as his career progresses.

Request information about the MBA or MS in Data Analytics at GGU >>

Podcast Interview: Psychology Chair and Eating Disorder Expert Tom Wooldridge

eating-disorders-san-francisco-therapistDr. Tom Wooldridge, Chair of the Department of Psychology at GGU was recently interviewed for the ED Matters Podcast about the psychoanalytic treatment of eating disorders. Wooldridge recently published an edited volume, Psychoanalytic Treatment of Eating Disorders: When Words Fail and Bodies Speak, that brings together contributions from top theorists, researchers, and clinicians. In this discussion, Kathy and Tom discuss some of the fears, stereotypes, and myths about psychoanalysis and tie everything back to the treatment of eating disorders.

Listen to the Podcast >>

In addition to his role at GGU, Wooldridge has a practice in Berkeley where he works with a wide variety of patients using a psychoanalytic approach. “About half of his patients come in with eating disorders or some struggle with body weight and shape,” he says. “I think my professional practice is really important because it gives me real-world experience that I can then fold back into my teaching in the classroom.

The first article Wooldridge wrote was on anorexia nervosa in male populations, published in the journal Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment & Prevention. The article – recently chosen as the “Top 25” articles it published over the past 25 years –  became the basis of his first book, Understanding Anorexia Nervosa in Males: An Integrative Approach (published by Routledge).

Related blog post: Teacher, Clinician, and Writer: An Interview with Psychology Chair Dr. Tom Wooldridge.

GGU Professor Leads First-Time NeuroStroll™ Exercise

As part of GGU’s recent seminar series, Professor Marcia Ruben (pictured above, standing) led an experiential exercise called a NeuroStroll™. She created the exercise – conducted for the first time – to help current and future leaders to identify and strengthen the parts of the brain and mind that contribute to success. Dr. Ruben has given presentations and taught about the link between neuroscience and leadership, as well as writing about the subject on her Leadership Tangles blog. The seminar, titled “Know your Brain; Boost Your Effectiveness,” was co-facilitated by Dr. Debra Pearce-McCall, who co-authored The Neurochemistry of Power Conversations with Dr. Ruben.

MBA student Yulee Kim-Whetstone volunteered at the event.

Attendees identified a personal development goal such as building confidence in making a presentation, running a meeting, speaking up when they disagree, being more direct, networking in a room of strangers, or showing empathy to others. Next, they visited a series of stations representing the acronym S.T.R.O.L.L: Sensing, Thinking, Regulating, Orienting, Lasting, and Leading Yourself. Each station was led by a volunteer student, who participated in a pre-training just prior to the exercise.

At the “T = Thinking” station

Participants completed pre-survey and a post-survey, contributing to data on the NeuroStroll’s effectiveness for current and future leaders.

Leaders who are aware of the neurochemistry of social interaction are better able to regulate themselves, lower defensiveness, and bring everyone’s best thinking and ideas to the table.

—Marcia Ruben, Ph.D.


Dr. Ruben’s Teaching

Dr. Ruben is an Associate Professor, Chair of GGU’s Management Department, and the 2016-2018 Recipient of the Russell T. Sharpe Professorship. She has incorporated the latest scientific knowledge about the biological basis for leadership behavior in five GGU courses: Management and LeadershipPersonal LeadershipTeamwork in OrganizationsExecutive Coaching; and Leadership Theory, Research, and Application.

If you are interested in the issues raised by the NeuroStroll, you can look for the article, Know Your Brain, Grow Your Leadership, which appears on her Leadership Tangles blog. You can follow Dr. Ruben on Twitter at @TangleDoctor.


More About Marcia Ruben, Ph.D.

Marcia Ruben, Ph.D., began teaching full-time at Golden Gate University in 2012 and was appointed to the Chair of the Management Department at GGU in 2014. She was awarded the Judith E. Browning Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2015. She was awarded the 2016-2018 Russell T. Sharpe Research Professorship. In 2017, she was promoted to an Associate Professor. Marcia continues a private executive leadership development practice. Marcia earned the Certified Management Consultant designation from the Institute of Management Consultants USA in 2002. She is also an accredited executive coach and completed a year-long evidence-based coaching certification program. Marcia earned the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) designation from the International Coach Federation in 2010. Marcia earned her Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University. She earned an M.A. in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University and an M.S. in Counseling from California State University, Hayward. Marcia graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. from University of California, Berkeley. She has co-authored several articles that are recognized as thought-leaders in the change management and coaching industry. Her article, Untangling Conflicting Organizational Agendas: Applying Emotional Regulation, SCARF, and Other Neuroleadership Principles to a Case Study, was published in the 2015 Neuroleadership Journal.

Request information about GGU’s MBA degree >>

What the House GOP Isn’t Telling You About Their Obamacare Repeal Bill: “If you like your workplace health care plan, you probably can’t keep it!”

Absent from the half-time celebration at the White House of the one-vote passage of the American Health Care Act (“ACHA”) by the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, there was many statements about both premiums and deductibles going down and pre-existing condition coverage continuing as a result of this legislation. But no one in the Rose Garden or the Rotunda of the Capitol building was heard to utter the famous magic words associated with the ObamaCare passage from Day One: ‘If you like the health plan you have now, you can keep it!”

Certainly, it has been clear enough for a while that, under ACHA, if you are on Medicaid, you are looking at an $880 billion in overall funding reduction, so million of those depending on Medicaid coverage will lose at least part of that.

The same result applies for those who purchase policies on the ObamaCare Exchanges with direct subsidies from the Federal treasury because those subsidies will be replaced by substantially lesser advanced tax credits that will, therefore, force choices for less generous coverage.

In addition, if your state chooses to waive the Federal requirement that your individual (ie non-workplace) market plan include ten “essential” coverage elements—like maternity and infant care, mental health, prescription drugs, hospitalization)—you will lose whatever benefits are waived no matter what your pay. And there will be even greater coverage degradation of existing policies if protections for those with a pre-existing medical condition (Here’s a list of them.) are waived by your state and you somehow lose coverage for over 63 days, and in any event whatever coverage of your condition is not waived will cost a lot more.

But nobody on the GOP side has acknowledged that the famous “you can keep it” phrase regarding your family’s current health insurance policy quite possibly will no longer apply to the 160 million persons (nearly 50% of the marketplace) currently receiving their health care coverage through plans provided by their employers. How did this happen without virtually any public notice of this element of the GOP plan until the very morning it passed?

It should have been clear enough that at least those who work in many small businesses across America and get their health insurance though their employer would be at risk to losing coverage. The late-April revisions to the AHCA offering states the options to waive essential benefits and pre-existing condition protection against price discrimination would apply not only to the ObamaCare Exchange and individual marketplace but also to the small group market relevant to firms with 50-100 employees or less, depending on the relevant state regulations.

But even employees of our largest public and private companies could have their current coverage limited or eliminated, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out on the morning the House voted.  Under the ObamaCare rules now, a big company can choose the benefit package of any state to apply to its employees in all states—a rule that hardly matters while all policies are required to provide the ten essential benefits.

If just one state (as Wisconsin’s governor has already suggested he would consider) chooses to pursue the coverage waivers under the new AHCA, a big company could simply impose this ‘lowest common insurance denominator” of coverage to all its US employees, unless the current rules are changed (but the ACHA leaves them place). As a further result, the Obamacare ban on lifetime caps on insurance benefits would also be undercut for any insurance coverage remaining after the waivers take effect.  If you still think the GOP plan won’t affect you because you have a job with insurance, think again.

Neither the GOP generally, Speaker Ryan and his leadership team, nor President Trump ever campaigned on the platform to “repeal and replace your workplace healthcare policies.”  It surely seems that somebody’s got some explaining to do: the town hall meetings during the current Congressional recess might be a good place to start.

About Terry Connelly

terry-connellyTerry 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 of global financial markets, the U.S. banking industry (and all of its regulatory agencies), the Federal Reserve, domestic employment levels and consumer reactions to the changing economic tides.

Terry holds a law degree from NYU School of Law and his professional history includes positions with Ernst & Young Australia, the Queensland University of Technology Graduate School of Business, New York law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore (corporate, securities and litigation practice in New York and London), global chief of staff at Salomon Brothers investment banking firm and Cowen & Company’s investments, where he served as CEO. In conjunction with Golden Gate University President Dan Angel, Terry co-authored Riptide: The New Normal In Higher Education (2011). Riptide deconstructs the changing landscape of higher education in the face of the for-profit debacle, graduation gridlock and staggering student debt, and asserts a new, sustainable model for progress. Terry is a board member of the the Public Religion Research Institute, a Washington, DC think tank and polling organization, and the Cardiac Therapy Foundation in Palo Alto, California. Terry lives in Palo Alto with his wife.

#FirstSevenJobs: GGU Joins the Conversation

Over the course a lifetime, most individuals may have 7 careers and over 10 jobs by age 40.

It is not uncommon to find yourself unsatisfied in your career. Maybe you have been in a field 1, 2 or even 5 years and feel like a life-long commitment is not ideal. Well, you are not alone.

In recent weeks, the trending #FirstSevenJobs has inspired business professionals and even celebrities to join in this conversation sharing their own first seven jobs. Assistant Director and Career Consultant for the Office of Career Planning Julie Salzman can attest that your first few jobs are not an indicator of where you may find success. In 2011, the assistant director began her career at GGU as a Disability Services Coordinator leveraging her MS in Counseling to later obtain her current position.

Julie Salzman’s #firstsevenjobs: 

  1. Babysitter & house sitter: private clients (age 11 onward)
  2. Cashier: McDonalds (one week) & Heavenly Hamburgers (high school)
  3. Busser: Kenwood Restaurant & Highland House (high school)
  4. Wine Bartender/ Cashier/Accounting Assistant: Chateau Souverain (college summers)
  5. Student Athletic Trainer: Butte College & Chico State University (college internships)
  6. House cleaner: private client (college)
  7. Athletic Trainer/Physical Therapy Assistant: Mangrove Physical Therapy Clinic (college) & Sports Medicine Institute (after college)


You may be wondering how one can land a job in another field without previous experience and many concur the solution is furthering your education. According to a U.S. News and World report, respectively 26% and 19% of undergraduate and graduate students pursuing an online degree intended to change careers after graduation.  If you are a marketing professional considering a move to HR, an MS in HR Management may be something of interest. Or you may want to transition from an administrative role into a career as an accountant. The possibilities are endless!

For more information on GGU’s in person and online programs, visit our website. *Graduate and undergraduate programs are available


If you are a student, alumni, faculty or staff member, please join the conversation by commenting your #FirstSevenJobs below or tweeting using the trending hashtag and the #GGU. We would love to hear from you!







Fall 2016: 5 Tips for Success this Term

Golden Gate University would like to extend a warm welcome to new and returning students this term!

For over 110 years, our institution has helped over 70,000 seeking to change or advance their career to success. As a result, Washington Monthly ranked GGU as the #1 institution for adult learners nationally.  As the first week comes to a close, we encourage you to take a look at the following tips compiled by faculty and students to learn how YOU can make this trimester a winner in your academic career.

Tips for Success

  1. Become familiar with campus offerings. GGU’s campus, located in the heart of San Francisco’s Financial District, is equipped with the necessary resources to meet student needs. Be sure to jot down business hours for reference throughout the year.
  2. Bookstore – Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 am – 7  
    • Drop in for all of your textbook needs, GGU gear or even a phone charger.
  3. Cafe – Hours: Monday through Friday, 7:30 am – 9 pm, Saturday, 7:30 am – 2 pm
    • Stocked with snacks, our cafe provides a pick me up with Peets coffee products and seating perfect for relaxing.
  4. Library – Open 7 days a week
    • If you are looking to meet with a group, study or locate required course materials, our skilled librarians are available to help.

      GGU Cafe

2. Review eLearning for class materials. Most classes offered online and in person are featured on the eLearning website. To ensure you are optimizing your time, spend a few minutes viewing the online student orientation. Check your email for username and login details.If you are unsure if your class utilizes this site, reach out to your instructor ASAP.

3. Check important dates. We understand being a student is not your only title. Many students serve as professionals and parents. Before the second week begins, carefully review the academic calendar for drop deadlines, the last day to withdraw and other important dates. Failure to do so may result in a lower GPA or unexpected fees.

4. Download the GGU mobile application. Stay informed with our mobile application that includes information on our housing options, student discounts and on campus involvement. Click here to download free.


5. Make your presence known on campus. Many students make taking classes seem like a chore when in reality it is an opportunity to increase your network! Don’t let the classroom be your only learning platform. Join organizations on campus or attend student events to meet like-minded individuals seeking similar careers. Periodically check our event calendar for details.

Jenny LeMaster Photography_GGU-33m

Share your story. If you are a student interested in being featured on our blog, email for an opportunity to share your GGU experience!

The 2016 Braden Business Leadership Speaker Series

The Braden School of Taxation and School of Accounting’s 2016 Braden Business Leadership Speaker Series brings renowned thought leaders to GGU’s campus for 8, free one-hour sessions. The series provides the GGU community and the San Francisco Bay Area with an opportunity to gain information on becoming an effective leader.

On August 30th, Carol Isozaki, Strategic Brand Intelligence owner, executive coach and leadership expert, will kick-off the series with a talk on building one’s brand as a leader. Isozaki has over 20 years of experience in client service, human capital and leadership development expertise with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Additionally, she has served clients such as The Walt Disney Company, Bank of America and Oracle.

Her signature call-to-action messaging, Plan to be Amazing!TM , creates a seismic shift in the way leaders think about themselves and their ability to lead through enhanced intentionality, leadership clarity and personal accountability.

Carol Isozaki

Upcoming sessions in the series will include topics such as growing a successful business, storytelling in the workplace and excelling in today’s innovative professional climate.

About the Schools

Located in the heart of San Francisco’s Financial District, GGU’s School of Accounting ranks in the top ten nationally by hiring authorities, as surveyed by  TaxTalent® 2016 and the Braden School of Taxation’s programs are ranked #1 nationally by tax hiring authorities, as surveyed by TaxTalent® Top in Tax Educational Survey 2016.

GGU West End IMG_8300 edit-sm.jpg

Upcoming Sessions

12 pm – 1 pm | 536 Mission St., Room 2201, San Francisco, CA 94105 

August 30 |  Plan to be Amazing!™ Building Your Brand as a Leader

Carol Isozaki, Owner of Strategic Brand Intelligence

Carol is owner, Strategic Brand Intelligence and an executive coach, leadership expert, and speaker with over 20 years of client service, human capital, and leadership development expertise.

September 13 | How to Grow a Successful Business to a Mega Successful Busines

Nanette Lee Miller, Partner at Assurance Services, Marcum LLP

Miller has more than 30 years of experience in public accounting, providing assurance, accounting and business consulting services to publicly and privately held businesses, as well as not-for-profit organizations. She is a trusted business adviser for start-up and emerging companies, as well as troubled entities that require restructuring.

Eleanor Chang, Founder and Director of UP Education Services LTD

Chang is the founder and director of UP Education Services Ltd., an educational summer academy for high school students from Asia, who aspire to attend universities in the U.S. UP’s mission is to provide international students with a true American classroom experience before they apply for admissions to schools in the U.S. She is a frequent speaker in Asia on how to educate youths to become global citizens of the 21 st Century. In 2014, Eleanor had organized and chaired a symposium in Hong Kong on “Women and Entrepreneurship” where one of the main topics highlighted was education and whether entrepreneurship can be taught in schools.

Rebecca Barfknecht, Member for the Board of Directors at International Women’s Forum

Barfknecht has made her career in Information Technology for over 30 years in the areas of infrastructure engineering and hosting and application development for financial services companies including Russell Investments, Intuit, Charles Schwab as well as Public Utility Pacific Bell. She is known for building strong teams, implementing effective processes, establishing financial discipline, strategic design and implementation of transformative workplace technology and delivering excellent service availability. She is an enthusiastic leader and team player who thrives on bringing out the best in people.

September 27 | Brain Savvy Leadership

Jenifer Lippincott, Principal at Lippincott Associates

Lippincott offers more than 25 years of experience aligning performance needs to achieve organizational goals. Her areas of expertise include leadership, communication and change and she infuses all of her strategy, analyses, design and delivery with a keen understanding of the latest neuroscience.

She is a nationally recognized author who has appeared on The Today Show and NPR. She holds a BA from Tufts University and an master’s degree in Human Development from Harvard University.

October 11 | Leadership, The Accounting Profession & Consumer Protection

Katrina Salazar, CPA, President of the California Board of Accountancy

Salazar was appointed to the California Board of Accountancy in December 2012 by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. and served as Vice President and Secretary / Treasurer prior to her election as President in November 2015. She currently serves as the Controller for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association. Previously, she held positions such as the Executive Director of the Rotary Club of Sacramento, Chief Financial Officer at the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges and the American Red Cross Sacramento Sierra Chapter.

Salazar has also held several positions in public accounting, including senior audit manager for Reznick Group and has been an adjunct accounting professor for the Los Rios Community College District. She is a member of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

For a complete listing of upcoming sessions, visit our website.

Ageno Welcomes New Project Management Program Director, Marie Spark

The Edward S. Ageno School of Business is home to over a dozen graduate business  degree programs and certificates that have led many to find career success.  On August 1st, Marie Spark, an adjunct faculty member since 2015, was appointed Project Management Program Director. The program includes an MS in Project Management and a Certificate in Project Management.

A total of 15.7 million PM jobs will be added in the U.S. and our 10 major trading partners by 2020 (AEG)

Spark brings more than 20 years of experience to the table in the area of project and quality management within the technology sector. She spent the beginning of her career at IBM Global Services as a Technology Project Manager before having a successful 9 year career at Bank of America. Spark’s educational background includes a bachelor’s from the University of California, Berkeley, a Six Sigma Black Belt, a project management certification and an MBA from the University of Arizona.

Marie Spark
Marie Spark

To learn more about our project management program, visit our website for more information.