Buenos Aires! School of Business Administration at University of San Diego! Wal-Mart! Yes, indeed!

One of my main reasons for picking USD for my MBA  was the international opportunities that the School of Business Administration (SBA) provides. We talk about global MBA’s being important in setting one apart from the crowd. The international business experiences at USD, coordinated by the Ahler’s Center for International Business, aim at giving a holistic business and social experience fitted into a 3 week schedule in any of the multiple countries that they have affiliations with. It has always been my life-long dream to visit Argentina and getting the opportunity to do so and work for a major global brand like Wal-Mart Argentina was definitely a dream come true.

Taking the Social Entrepreneurship class in Buenos Aires was an eye-opener. The SBA is keen on teaching its students the values of being a socially responsible entrepreneur in today’s political and business climate. Learning about the different bureaucratic styles of government, the ways to do business and the ways to tackle the severe headwinds that entrepreneurs face made me realize my complete lack of knowledge of a different lifestyle. Visiting the recovered factories where people work on meager stipends and seeing the efforts they make to keep the people happy and engaged was also a humbling moment. These are people working to make ends meet, not to have global safety or quality standards.

Buenos Aires1

For my international consulting practicum my team worked with Wal-Mart Argentina to analyze current accounts payable process and suggest improvements; use the suggested electronic invoicing process and make it leaner; come up with a financial and economic feasibility model for the electronic invoicing go-live that the Wal-Mart finance team was planning. My team fed off each other’s strengths and ensured that the final product was over and above what the client had expected and thus ensured the client’s satisfaction. We compared the old process to the new and eliminated five days of non-value added work in order to implement the new process. We also analyzed cost savings and revenue to come up with a net present value (NPV) analysis with an internal rate of return that exceeded expectations of Wal-Mart finance personnel.

Buenos Aires2

My experience in Argentina can be summed up in two words: enlightening and privileged. It taught me a lot, both academically as well as personally. It was a privilege to be in Argentina. I learned so much participating in group projects during the SBA’s Social Entrepreneurship class as well as the project with a great bunch of people that I would love to work with again.

Buenos Aires3

-Submitted by Swastik Mukherjee,
1st year student in the Full-Time MBA Program,
International Business Track  

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Corporate Social Responsibility… Internationally


Check out the blog post today from the Ahler’s Center for International Business – one of University of San Diego’s Centers of Excellence.  The post talks about the CSR-related consulting projects completed by MBA students in both Brazil and in the Dominican Republic. Enjoy!


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“Reverse Innovation:  The epicenter of disruptive revolution”

Ahlers Center International Speaker SeriesDr. VG
Dr. Vijay Govindarajan

“Nobody has a monopoly over good ideas.”
-Kevin O’Leary

It couldn’t have been proven better than by Reverse Innovation. It was an honor to participate in the talk by Dr. Vijay Govindarajan (popularly known as Dr. VG) – Coxe Distinguished Professor at Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College and undeniably one of the best “Thinkers of the world.” Here are a few highlights of Ahlers Center International Speaker Series Luncheon, and I hope to do justice in summarizing Dr. VG’s thought process.

“Non-consumers have the same issues as consumers.”  With simple yet essential understanding of consumer behavior, the world has been missing out on better serving communities and countries whose needs (that might not seem so significant now – at least from an investment perspective) can be the very stem for innovative ways to address generic issues.  Reverse innovation is fundamentally true across all industries and will change the thinkers’ perception of “price paradigm,” pushing them towards low- cost, yet high- quality solutions.

Dr. VG1-001


Reverse Innovation

Dr. VG gave a number of examples of Reverse Innovation, including the example of Narayana Hrudayalaya, a for-profit multispecialty hospital chain in India. Through this example, Dr. VG demonstrated how a low-cost and high-quality Indian healthcare service provider has become a global healthcare envy. The hospital has been the most profitable in its field by replicating what was demonstrated years ago by Henry Ford, who created mass production lines in the automobile industry, which was only perceived to be a craft until then. They also stand testimony to the fact that quality effectively needs to be better in poorer countries, which makes the solutions created in emerging markets more acceptable to the problems of rich nations. By working on economies of scale, where inventory control, standardization and cost-cutting are key, Narayana Hrudayalaya looks forward to serving the US health care needs in the Cayman Islands – an example of how reverse innovation can be adapted to serve wealthier countries at a fraction of the anticipated cost.

While touching more on the projects that Dr. VG has pioneered, the “$300 dollar house“ is a fascinating initiative that made us rethink the multiple industries from which reverse innovation can emerge. Doing more from less, and committing in doing better to society while making a profit seemed like the perfect advice for MBA students as indeed charity is not scalable but a challenge for innovation.

When questioned about which topics excites Dr. VG the most about innovation, it was great to hear him speak about healthcare, education and housing as the primary motivating issues in the world giving endless opportunities to entrepreneurs and businesses to capture. The fabulous one-hour ended on a great note with Dr. VG highlighting on income inequality being the number one issue in the world and how the future generation should work towards compassionate and inclusive capitalism for the greater good.

Written by
Sudeeptha Jothiprakash, a first year Full-Time MBA student in the International Business track
Prior to joining USD Sudeeptha worked at SAP Labs a global giant in the IT industry. Her experience in her 4 year tenure was as an Operations lead for process improvement, resource & vendor management. She is highly committed to sustainability through CSR and sustainable initiatives.

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USD MBA Students Studying Abroad – Fall 2014

USD’s Ahlers Center for International Business is dedicated to offering students international experiences, including International Consulting Practicums, Short-Term Graduate Study Abroad sessions, and Semester Exchange Programs. Many of my fellow classmates chose to mobilize the Semester Exchange Program opportunity this fall. Here is a brief summary of their experience so far, in their own words.

Andrea Ruiz
2nd year Full-Time MBA student – International Business track, General MBA

“After sharing classrooms in San Diego with an awesome cohort representing 11 countries, I didn’t think it could get more international than that–but it did! I’m spending a semester at KEDGE Business School in Bordeaux, France. My classes will include Sustainable Supply Chains, Retail Strategies, Social Entrepreneurship, Qualitative Marketing Research, and an intensive French language course.

As much as I thought I understood French culture, my preconceptions are turned upside down every day. Class schedules and classrooms are never fixed, locals are closed off, trams and buses are always packed, stores are often closed when I need them, and my head hurts at the end of the day from trying to communicate in a new language.

Then, I take a breath. And I capture the lessons that I will take home – the adaptability, the serenity under pressure, and the curiosity that drives success in any business challenge. It’s a blessing to be in this beautiful city – which is inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. What a wonderful place to internalize a little more of what it means to serve, to lead and to grow!”

Andrea's clicks- Bordeaux, France

Andrea’s clicks- Bordeaux, France

Michael Foster
2nd year Full-Time MBA student – International Business track, Corporate Finance Concentration

“Hello from Spain! I am currently studying at IE Business School in Madrid. So far, I have been impressed with the professors and cohort. In each class you’ll find a wide variety of countries represented, so discussions are typically very insightful. My favorite class in term 1 has been Trillion Dollar Challenges. As the name states, this class focuses on the biggest problems facing the world and the potential solutions.

In my free time, I have been working on my Spanish and exploring the city. I managed to find a traditional Mexican taco shop that is almost as good as California’s Mexican food. Other than the tacos, I have been enjoying the wide selection of Turkish food. In order to keep my figure, I joined a gym and a basketball league.

If you have the opportunity to study at IE, I highly recommend it. The MBA program is one of the best in Europe and living in Madrid is a great experience.

My classes this semester:

1) Applied Corporate Finance
2) Private Equity and Financial Statements
3) Trillion Dollar Challenges
4) Bootstrapping for Startups
5) Corporate Governance
6) Problem Solving through Creative Design
7) War, Sales, & Marketing”

Michael in Madrid, Spain

Michael in Madrid, Spain

Melissa Canet
2nd year Full-Time MBA student – International Business track, Marketing Concentration

“Hola desde Madrid!

The culture here in Madrid is very different than that of San Diego. So far my Madrid city high lights include not having to deal with parking and taking the metro every day to school. The city is beautiful and very clean. I am currently enrolled in 8 classes here and they are split up into two sessions. My first session classes are:

1) Business Analytics
2) Customer Management and Business Intelligence
3) Emerging Economies
4) Social and Digital Media I
5) How to take a company International

My second session classes are:

1) Mobile Marketing and E-Commerce
2) Search Marketing & Social Media (II)
3) Premium, Luxury & Creative Business Entrepreneurship

The students here are very diverse and come from all over the world. I can walk into the cafeteria and will hear five or six different languages being spoken. There is a great group of both full time and exchange students here, and all of them bring so much to the table. Being here is truly one of the highlights of my MBA program, and I’m so grateful to USD for offering it.”

Melissa in Madrid, Spain

Melissa in Madrid, Spain

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Watch this space for more on semester exchange programs!

-Prita Karanjkar

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Summer Internship Experiences

School is back in session for us 2nd year Full-Time MBA students at the University of San Diego as we enter into the final year of the program. I am proud to report that 100% of first year students who opted to intern during the summer found an internship to their liking.  Read on, as I share my internship experience and the experiences of some members of my Cohort.

Prita Karanjkar – Internship with MUFG Union Bank

“I worked for the Data Management Office, within the Risk Operating Office of MUFG Union Bank over the summer. As an international student from India, exploring the different cities of the U.S. has always been something I’ve wished for. Imagine how excited I must have been when I learned that I have been placed in Los Angeles, the headquarters of the Risk Operating Office!

As an intern, I assisted two departments of the Data Management Office- Data Accuracy and Data Integrity. Data Accuracy saw me work primarily in the capacity of a Data Analyst, concentrating on process improvement and testing. For Data Integrity, I assisted the Director with activities related to reporting and operations. My most challenging assignment was when I developed new reporting templates and data charts for the Director that provided both a high-level overview and a detailed representation of project assignment and data request management, which were presented to senior executives in the Risk Operating Office’s business review meeting.  I also assisted the Vice-Presidents of the department in their on-going projects. One of my most interesting projects was creating the concept, format, content and agenda of the first of its kind cross-functional training held by Vice Presidents to benefit different business units.

MUFG Union Bank has many patrons of the Internship Program, amongst them the CEO and the CFO of the Risk Operating office for the Americas, who took the time to interact with me and consider my feedback. While I had my hands full with responsibilities over the summer, the amount of learning was phenomenal, and the experience rewarding and unforgettable. I am excited about my final year in the program. I am obtaining a specialization in Corporate Finance, and have taken all my electives in Supply Chain Management, with the long term goal of having a career in Banking.”

Prita at MUFG Union Bank

Prita at MUFG Union Bank

David Fike-Rosales – Internship with Education Pioneers

“For my summer internship, I was an Education Pioneers Graduate Fellow. This fellowship attracted me because it allowed me to use my business skills in an evolving and high-need sector: education. I was partnered with Oakland Unified School District for 10 weeks to tackle challenges within their Continuous School Improvement department. My main project centered around building an effective practices platform designed for in-district collaboration. I was fortunate enough to meet with many departments of the district to learn the ins and outs, as well as meet the new Superintendent and hear his action plan.

When not directly assisting the school district, I was collaborating with the other 40 fellows on their respective projects. No day was the same as we tackled each others’ problems head on and looked to scale each venture across different organizations. It wasn’t your typical MBA internship experience, but I greatly enjoyed it due to the dynamic structure and changes of a school district organization as well as all the skills I further developed that prepare me for my 2nd year at USD.”

David at Education Pioneers

David at Education Pioneers

David F. Samuel – Internship with 20th Century Fox

“As any full-time MBA student will tell you, the importance of the summer internship for us cannot be overstated. Not only does it lay the foundation for future employment for the MBA student, it also exposes the student to potentially new industries and functional areas. Moreover, it can be a great opportunity to network. I was fortunate enough to land an internship with 20th Century Fox’s motion picture deals analysis department within the strategic planning group for the summer between my first and second year of the MBA program.

Even though I had an entertainment background from my undergraduate years, I had spent the past decade in the Marine Corps so my entertainment exposure had been limited as of late. However, the team I worked with was quite friendly and talented and made sure I felt welcomed and was sufficiently trained for my summer tasks. Deals analysis is a corporate finance position and I can say that without a doubt, my corporate finance concentration and USD’s MBA curriculum set me up for success to hit the ground running and easily understand the work and concepts utilized at 20th Century Fox.

Moreover, I was relieved that the team and my supervisor recognized my work experience spanning more than a decade, as well as my MBA credentials as a justification for giving me tasks commensurate with my education and experience. Instead of getting coffee or waiting for work, I was immediately put on financial modeling assignments, legal deal checks against financials, as well as financial performance metric analysis for the studio.

I also used this opportunity to network as much as possible while I was in Los Angeles by taking as many lunch meetings, dinners, and coffee dates as possible to lay a foundation for references and potential future employment. My LinkedIn network grew by over 100 new contacts while in Los Angeles. I strongly recommend looking at the summer internship as not only an opportunity to learn an industry, hone a skill, gain work experience, but to also expand one’s professional network. I am happy to report that I am now on 20th Century Fox’s bench and will be considered for future employment post-MBA.”

David at 20th Century Fox

David at 20th Century Fox

Neelam Chauhan – Internship with BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc.

“After completing 1st year of MBA, we all were looking forward to a summer full of new experience and accomplishment. I am Neelam and this summer I interned at BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. This company makes drugs to cure ultra-rare genetic diseases. Getting an internship was very exciting news for me but the fact that I got the opportunity to intern for a company that does such an amazing work for human kind, was the best part of this summer. From the get go, I was handed projects that were really crucial for the company at that point in time and it pushed me to put in the best of my efforts. The company is based in North California, hence I wanted them to have a very positive image of University of San Diego and visit our campus more often to hire students in future. These were the fastest three months of my life but I feel highly accomplished.”

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc.

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc.

Maria Szczepaniak– Internship with UTC Aerospace

“I am currently in my second year at the University of San Diego gaining an MBA with an emphasis in Corporate Finance.  Having worked over 7 years within the supply chain industry, I chose USD’s challenging full-time MBA International Track to gain direct exposure to various international business environments.  My student travels so far have taken me to Asia, Latin America, South America, Europe and Africa.

This past summer I interned at UTC Aerospace, focusing on international commercial contracts and strategic negotiations to improve the Fortune 50’s supply chain operations.  There I spent my time analyzing strategic cost drivers, optimizing efficiencies among the existing supplier channels, creating process maps within various value streams, drafting commercial contract amendments, writing standard work procedures and giving presentations to senior leadership.  I additionally took on a peer leadership role and created the “MBA Intern Huddle” as a collaborative learning initiative for all interns across various business units to come together, brainstorm and create optimal solutions for our summer objectives.

From the softer relationship management skills to the tough boardroom negotiations, USD’s MBA program has helped me not only sharpen my business skill set, but it also has given me the confidence to act as a globally minded, influential leader in the workplace.

After graduation I intend to combine this summer’s supply chain internship experience with my corporate financial emphasis and international market exposures to find a role within strategic operations.  I am also an active member of USD’s Women in Business Network, the Management Consulting Association and the Net Impact Club. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at mszczepaniak@sandiego.edu.”

Maria Szczepaniak

Maria Szczepaniak

 Marc Everds – Internship with SKLZ

“Over the summer I worked as a strategy intern for SKLZ, an athletic performance training company in Carlsbad, CA. At SKLZ, I worked with the president on building a business case that aligned the goals of the company with the needs of the athlete. We noticed that there was a void in the market for high-quality, affordable, sport-specific performance training programs. We decided we needed to build sport-specific training programs that could be streamed from any device anywhere by anyone. Over the past 4 months, I have worked with the marketing team and outside consultants to build the business model, marketing plan, financial model and pitch deck for this new line of business. At the end of my internship I had the opportunity to pitch the idea to the executive team and board members, where it was very well received and the project is now moving into the development stages.”

Marc at SKLZ

Marc at SKLZ

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Stay tuned until our next feature, where I catch up with USD students studying abroad for Fall 2014.

– Prita Karanjkar

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Your First USD MBA Experience

Not everyone remembers their very first day of school, but I’m sure you can recall the old photo your mom took on that momentous day. You know, the one she always seems to have handy around the holidays when your boyfriend or girlfriend is visiting. As that photo seeps back into your mind you begin to remember the look on your face. For some it is the look of joy and excitement for what is to come, while others have the telltale scowl and soggy cheeks from the tantrum thrown earlier that morning. If your experience during the two weeks of MBA orientation was anything like mine, then I know you felt a version of both those extremes and just about every other emotion in between.

With the amount of information, new people to meet, and names to remember, it was no wonder the first day of MBA orientation flew by. You were probably thrilled to meet such a professionally and culturally diverse group of talented people. Maybe you felt a rush of pride as Dean Pyke nodded in agreement to the brilliant point you made during his case study workshop. Perhaps you were simply relieved that after hours of flying and more than a few layovers, you finally made it to San
Diego. For some of you, making the decision to go back to school full-time and put your career, and paychecks, on hold was probably difficult to make. In fact you may still have had some doubt as you drove up to campus that first day. But after hearing about opportunities like case competitions, student organizations, international practicums and study abroad classes, all doubts were laid to rest.

As the week went on you began to get more acquainted with your cohort. Countless minutes were spent sharing your 10428596_476013429202030_8400595339663012672_n professional and educational background and listening to the fascinating experiences of others. Soon enough you were exchanging phone numbers with your newly formed team and trying to find your identity as a cohesive work group. The beehive building activity in Rosarito and the sandcastle building activity in Mission beach taught you and your team how to work together. These team projects brought out the best in you, while revealing areas of personal improvement. Having the spotlight shown on your weaknesses was intimidating and uncomfortable, but with help from USD faculty and staff, as well as the support of your cohort, it was amazing how quickly you began taking strides towards self-improvement. After all, isn’t this why you chose the USD MBA program?

So, if you ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of information being thrown at you on a daily basis, or if classes, on top of searching for internships and attending networking events, seem insurmountable, remember that this moment is yours to grow, explore, and take on new challenges. You were meant to be here. You were meant to be a USD MBA student.cohort

–Submitted by Alfred Collazo, a 1st year MBA Student in the International Business Track with a concentration in marketing.

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USD Alum Shares Lesson Learned in Capital Ventures

As I am counting down the 26 days to graduation, I am trying to get in all my “last chance” events. As such, I attended my final Ahlers Center International Business Speaker Series event as a student, featuring USD International MBA alum Michael J. Slater, the CEO and Founder of Entry Ventures, a local potential capital company.

Slater shared with us how he developed Snapseed, a world class product that received Google’s iPad app of the year award (2011) and reached six million customers in the first six months of the product launch, as well as how he sold his company , Nik, to Google (2012).

Here are few key lessons learned based on Entry Ventures Potential Quadrants (EVPQ) model:

1) Have Innovation: To realize potential you must innovate. Slater’s guiding principle is “world class.” When you innovate you must do it so well that no one questions it and you must do it so well that everyone wants to be a part of it.
2) Need Strategy: Dream backwards because you need a strategy. Strategy comes from dreaming backwards. By focusing on the end of a story, you can develop a plan on how to get there.
3) Release Investment: Look for a strategic partner to scale with you. When valuing a company, Slater uses the triangulation valuation method comprised of the absolute value of the target company, value of the target company to the purchasing company and the negative value if the purchasing company does not acquire the target.
4) Enable Scalability: Traditional marketing emphasizes market segmentation and matching products with core customer groups. In industries/products that require early stage adoption, Slater suggests turning the traditional market segmentation pyramid upside down and blending consumers into a broader market. This strategy enables Slater to go after everyone regardless of their demographic.

A final piece of advice: “to reach your potential you have to do more than decide. You must fly away. Learn to recognize innovation in people, concepts, companies. I challenge you to dream backwards and understand that value releases investment. And finally, reach the word through world class products that everyone wants to be a part of.”

–Submitted by Meghan Tracey, a 2nd year IMBA Student. Meghan recently completed an internship with Thermo Fisher Scientific in Market Analytics, Strategic Planning and Development. She will soon begin a new role as Brand Strategist for Audacity, a brand strategy agency focusing on the biotech industry.

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Annual Evening MBA Executive Keynote Dinner

“On Friday night our MBA program hosted the 4th Annual Evening MBA Executive Keynote Dinner. Current Evening MBA students, alumni and professors who were in attendance made it a great event. We were honored to have Grace Cherashore as our keynote speaker. Ms. Cherashore is President & CEO of Evans Hotels and Chairman of the Los Angeles Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.  Her overview of the tourism industry was fascinating, as was her discussion regarding the transition from a post-MBA career in banking to holding an executive position within her family business – Evans Hotels.  Ms. Cherashore highlighted the importance of autonomy in the workplace and her dedication to providing fulfilling employment to the local San Diego market with Evans Hotels.  She also shared with us her perspective on the economy from her experience working with the Federal Reserve Bank. Everyone walked away from Ms. Cherashore’s presentation having learned something new, and she and her husband were gracious enough to speak with students and faculty informally afterwards.”    Image

–Submitted by Lindsey Mancuso, a 2nd year Evening MBA Student
Lindsey worked as Account Manager/Product Promotions for the ACTIVE Network, and interned at Adobe over the summer as a Product Marketing Manager. 

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USD Graduate Students Enjoy Night Out at the Ballpark


“The Graduate Student Council hosted a night at Petco Park last Friday for the Padres vs. Tigers game.  The section reserveImaged for USD graduate students was the Western Metal Building, which provided a beautiful view of the game and a large area for socializing.  I thought this event was particularly great because we got to meet and interact with students from other graduate programs at USD such as SOLES, MSRE and the USD Law School.  The more graduate student social events I attend, the more I see how networking outside of the classroom setting adds an entirely new layer to my learning experience at USD. I’m very much looking forward to the next social event hosted by the GSC or GBSA.”
–post submitted by Lacy Bird, 1st year Evening MBA Student
Lacy is Accounts Manager at Fidelity Remarketing


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Notes from the road: USD MBA study abroad class

Latin American Business Environment, Bogota, Colombia

“We visited Juan Valdez’s HQ in Bogota to learn about globalization from the perspective of a Colombian multinational company.  Many of us could remember the ads for Colombian coffee and Juan Valdez, but what we did not really understand is that the Juan Valdez brand was born from the vision of 500,000 Colombian coffee growers – a vision that people everywhere would associate Colombian coffee with excellence, sustainability and respond emotionally to the brand.

USD MBA students visit Juan Valdez coffee headquarters in Bogota

USD MBA students visit Juan Valdez coffee headquarters in Bogota

Juan Valdez is a member of the Colombian family and stands behind the Colombian President ready to serve coffee to Heads of State. The branding was wildly successful, yet coffee consumption has changed dramatically in recent decades. Juan Valdez had to regroup because of changing consumer tastes. The challenge was “how to retain their uniquely Colombian brand while expanding globally,” said Alejandra Londono, International Business Manager.  She admits that the global expansion has not been easy.  Yet, the company’s passion for the coffee growers and their connection with consumers has propelled them forward. They now have over 200 coffee shops in Latin America, have established a solid footprint in the US and are conquering the globe!  Juan Valdez’s recipe for successful global expansion? Staying true to their Colombian roots, careful selection of new markets, and connection with local partners. They have adopted a franchise model and work only with franchisees that are passionate about Colombian coffee. The company has also deployed well-trained young Colombians to work in their stores around the globe. This includes six excited young people in the Kuwait store who act as ambassadors for half-a-million coffee growers in their home country. Let the expansion continue!”

 -Written by Annik Prasad, a second year IMBA student
Prior to joining USD Annik worked in the Finance industry. Her experience includes 2 years as Account Manager, Portfolio Analytics/Risk for Bloomberg LP and 8 years as Relationship Manager, Institutional Investments for Wells Capital Management.

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