Large diversity of people and cultures from 19 different nationalities working around the globe with very different educational backgrounds and vast work experience in different industry segments - that is truly called diversity and makes this program so unique. The sharing of professional experiences with my class peers and a course outline focusing on the Asian market helps me broaden my view and understand businesses in Asia.
Marc Kleiner Sernrot | Swiss
Class of 2013
ABB Ltd, Taiwan
With such diversity, the program provides an unsurpassed forum for peer-to-peering learning, sharing of experiences and profoundly in-depth discussion of the most pressing business issues - some of the finest global management talent within one classroom. The UCLA – NUS EMBA program attracts highly accomplished individuals who share a record of successful work performance, managerial experience and leadership ability.
Dietmar Rathbauer, Class of 2009
Rodenstock (UK) Ltd.
London, United Kingdom
The UCLA – NUS program enhanced my understanding of different cultures and provided a unique opportunity to have an “East meets West” experience and understand the thinking and decision-making processes of different cultures.
Place of Birth: Ried, Austria
Previous Education: B.A. in Business, Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Austria (Erasmus year, Malardalens Hogskola, Vaesteras, Sweden). I also have attended various executive education courses in Financial Management, Michigan Ross School of Business, Hong Kong and Supply Chain Management, INSEAD, Singapore.
Work History: I have eleven years work experience with Rodenstock, the Germany-based producer and distributor of optical lenses and frames during which time I have assumed various overseas assignments in the Czech Republic, Thailand and Japan. In 1999, I joined the company as a Project Manager for Operations and in November 2001 became the Logistics and Purchasing Manager of a production facility in Bangkok, Thailand with more than 1,000 employees. During the following years, I was involved in the founding and development of a regional sales organization for twelve countries in South East Asia. In May 2007, I assumed the position of Managing Director of Rodenstock, Japan. I still hold this position but since July 2009, I also am the co-acting Managing Director of Rodenstock U.K. and have relocated to London, England where Rodenstock has around 200 employees and operates its own sales organization, production facility and optical retail chain.
Personal Information: I enjoy active recreation and spend my spare time playing golf, tennis, squash, skiing and scuba diving. Over the years, golf has become my main passion and I take every opportunity to enjoy magnificent courses around the world. My preferred literatures are books on global economics and financial markets and since completing the UCLA – NUS program, I have become interested in modern technologies and implications on consumer behavior in emerging and developed markets.
1. If you had to choose, what was the one key attribute or distinguishing feature of the program that inspired you to apply?
The UCLA - NUS program has a unique format. The six segments over a 15-month period are perfect for busy executives who travel a lot and for an expatriate like me who is likely to be relocated on relatively short notice. When I applied for the program, I was still living in Bangkok and during the main part of the program I lived in Tokyo and just before graduation moved to London. Only such a unique format made it possible to continue my degree under such difficult circumstances. Many of my classmates had already lived in more than three different countries which made cross-cultural information exchange even more interesting.
2. How do you integrate and apply the learning and tools acquired during the program into your current role? How has what you have learned helped you?
To summarize the impact of the UCLA – NUS program, it has opened my mind up to possibilities and was immensely inspiring and stimulating. After every segment, I was able to apply new management approaches to my company. The very diverse group of participants offered a tremendous source for new ideas and exposure to different management styles. The program curriculum offered a vast number of conceptual frameworks and business models that can easily be applied to day-to-day business.
3. How did the program’s class of internationally diverse executives enhance your overall experience?
The UCLA – NUS program brings together senior executives from all over the world. Our class had participants from more than 15 different countries - such cultural diversity is of a tremendous value and adds to the overall experience. With this program you do not only learn how to develop your future career - it is even more beneficial because it provides you ideas as to how to live your future life. The most important aspect of any Executive MBA program is the ability to implement what you have learned and actually see change happen in your own life which is a very rewarding experience.
4. How have the skills you learned during the program helped make you a better leader?
The UCLA – NUS program provides a world class education and has given me a foundation for further growth as a leader and as a human being. The program provides exposure to outstanding professors and classmates who are highly experienced senior professionals. The lectures are very practical and different approaches and leadership styles are very transparent. The program provides very qualified feedback about one’s leadership style - such feedback is not easy to get in a corporate environment. There are visibly different skill sets in the class room – this provides a great learning environment where best practices can be easily shared and learned.
5. What advice do you have for prospective students?
The UCLA - NUS program is a life changing experience. It offers an opportunity to rethink one’s career path but more importantly, it offers a mirror to fully understand yourself and ask questions such as: What do you wish for in life? Do you wish for change? Do you want to be challenged? Do you want to set different priorities in your life? For me, the UCLA – NUS program enhanced my understanding of different cultures and provided a unique opportunity to have an “East meets West” experience and understand the thinking and decision-making processes of different cultures. By entering the UCLA - NUS program you enter a global learning environment which will immensely broaden your horizons.
Steven R. Gilmore, Class of 2009
Senior Manager, Operations Support, Fabrication Division
Boeing Commercial Airplanes
The impact of conducting class sessions in Singapore, Los Angeles, Shanghai and Bangalore offers an “up front and personal” view of the cultural differences that affect business deals and professional relationships.
Place of Birth: Pensacola, Florida, USA
Previous Education: B.A. in Architecture, University of Washington, USA.
Work History:I was hired into Boeing directly out of college and have been with the company for over 29 years. I’ve had assignments that have ranged from implementing new computing technologies in defense related programs to running business operations in organizations with as many as 4,100 engineers, evaluating outsourcing of selected manufacturing to 3rd party international supplier partners as well as establishing key joint ventures.
My current assignment is providing leadership to the Operations Support organization within Fabrication Division of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. In this capacity we coordinate the manufacture and delivery of key electrical assemblies for all commercial Boeing aircraft and work with our suppliers to ensure smooth delivery of these critical components. We have a global network of key suppliers in areas such as China, Turkey, Morocco, The Netherlands, Mexico as well as several locations in the United States. Most recently I’ve been involved in decisions involving the location of a second production line for the 787 and dual line fabrication of major structures, interiors, and composite assemblies in support of this second production line.
Personal Information:I enjoy serving as a board member on the Everett Area Chamber of Commerce representing The Boeing Company, travel and outdoor activities with my boys, fishing, gardening and photography. Alaskan fishing trips with my father and sons are a true joy and hope to continue this tradition as long as possible.
1. As someone already so accomplished in his career, why seek an MBA too? What sets the UCLA – NUS dual Executive MBA program apart?
The UCLA – NUS Executive MBA offers an exceptional opportunity to establish relationships with attendees from all around the globe, in a multitude of industries in international settings that contribute to a unique learning environment. The impact of conducting class sessions in Singapore, Los Angeles, Shanghai and Bangalore offers an “up front and personal” view of the cultural differences that affect business deals and professional relationships.
2. What elements of the program and experience were you most impressed with?
I found the opportunity to discuss approaches to innovation and leading organizations through technology change extremely valuable, particularly since this was applied via site visits while in Bangalore and Shanghai. These company visits were extremely insightful and difficult to bring into a purely academic environment. Having an opportunity to develop and nurture personal relationships with the other students while in foreign locations was also highly beneficial. No doubt many of these relationships will be lasting.
3. What has been the program’s impact on your career and leadership skills?
Without a doubt, I’ve learned not to take myself so seriously, rely more on the skills of others, and have a greater awareness of the impact of cultural sensitivity. After having traveled extensively, I’ve learned to embrace a greater sense of humility than before, and find that cultural awareness goes a long way in establishing personal and professional relationships with people from around the world.
4. What aspects of the UCLA-NUS experience have been most valuable and why?
The professors are absolutely first-rate, both from UCLA and NUS. The classes are intensive, but it was the ability to work in teams that I found most valuable. This is all part of establishing relationships, determining strengths of team members, and capitalizing on them to the benefit of everyone that was so valuable. The world is extremely complex, and the more minds you can bring to a challenge, the better the solution.
5. Has there been an experience that challenged you in a way you didn’t expect?
Again, this gets back to the heightened awareness of cultural differences and how important it is to listen (and not talk all the time). We, as executives, tend to talk too much and listen too little. I found myself gravitating towards helping others in the program get through challenges and making sure everyone understood that the goal was to see that everyone got through the program, rather than a strictly competitive, traditional academic program.
6. Would you recommend this program to other candidates? Why/ Why not? What advice would you have for prospective candidates?
This program challenges all participants, regardless of where they are in their career. I was one of the most senior participants, and went into the program thinking that there may not be that much that would be new to me. I couldn’t have been more incorrect. I have strongly recommended that others take this program due to the international influence. The business world is truly global, and the more sensitized we are to the cultural differences the better we are prepared for the realities of international markets. No longer can we be confined to doing business within just the United States. The growth opportunities in the international markets are too significant to be overlooked.
Loke Wai Chiong, Class of 2009
Health & Wellness Project Office, Ministry of Health;
Singapore Economic Development Board
My class was a melting pot of cultures, experiences and backgrounds….I found myself taking on a new and expanded role even before the program ended.
Wai Chiong’s Background
Place of Birth: Singapore
Previous Education: B.S. in Business Computer Information Systems, St. Cloud State University, Minnesota, USA.
Work History: After graduation from medical school, I spent 11 years in full-time clinical practice and during the last five of these years served as Director of two busy primary care polyclinics in succession. In 2006, encouraged by my success in various clinical improvement projects and keen to make a broader strategic level impact in healthcare beyond outpatient operations, I took on hospital and Cluster Headquarters roles. Over the next three years, I served (at times concurrently) as Director of quality, resource management, clinical standards and improvement, and clinical manpower (human resource). The latter role required me to launch recruitment trips and roadshows across 8 countries, reaching out to approximately 1,700 medical professionals over two years. In 2009, I embarked upon a new challenge as Program Director of Health & Wellness, a joint Ministry of Health – Economic Development Board initiative, coherently pulling together my background, training and passion in medicine, business and system transformation.
Personal Information: I enjoy reading, learning, music, and spending quality time with my wife and two young sons (ages 3 and 7) – “it’s a joy to watch them grow each passing month!”
Wai Chiong’s Perspective
1. You are already so accomplished in your career. Why seek an MBA too?
When I decided to “go back to school,” I had already worked 13 years and been in senior management positions for 8 of those years. However, my formal education and training had all been medical in nature, and much of what I knew about management was on-the-job. Family Medicine trained me to see patients and issues holistically. The patient must be managed across the continuum of care, where continuity and teamwork become important. Interesting opportunities had also opened up as I pursued my passion in systems thinking, process improvement, and human resource management. I found crucial gaps, where medical school had not equipped me with skills in finance, operations management, strategy, marketing, organization dynamics or leadership. I knew the UCLA – NUS Executive MBA program would not just be about me imbibing theoretical knowledge, but that I also could learn much from fellow participants across a range of industries and backgrounds. I saw myself adding value by bringing fresh perspectives and new ideas to the class, and in exchange bringing new insights and tools to apply back to my challenges at work.
2. If you had to choose, what was the one key attribute or distinguishing feature of the program that inspired you to apply?
I would say there were two related attributes. One was its truly global nature, with experienced executives originating and based everywhere flying in to classes together to spend a truly intense time together. The other would be the unique schedule of two immersive full-time weeks out of every ten to twelve weeks, which enabled me (and others like me) to juggle busy work responsibilities, family commitments, and still be able to focus fully on studies every quarter.
3. What has been your impression of other program participants? Please comment on adjusting to diverse cohorts and learning.
My class was a melting pot of cultures, experiences and backgrounds. It was amazing to meet fellow leaders and managers with such different perspectives and styles, and yet find that we have so much in common when it comes to managing people and organizations. In class discussions, there was always a fresh perspective from someone who had a different experience, which added to the richness of what the professors and course material could provide. We did many group projects together, giving us many opportunities to deal with the complexities of team dynamics across international boundaries. This included a memorable six-month long Management Practicum which required six team members to work across different time-zones, for a company operating in an industry different from each of our own. You could say we formed, stormed, normed, and ultimately had to perform! It came to a fitting close when we gathered for a personal feedback and evaluation in our final leadership module. We all felt we knew each other and especially ourselves so much better through our Management Practicum experience.
4. Have you been able to integrate and apply the learning and tools from the program into your current role?
Most definitely yes. Like quite a few others in my class and preceding classes, I found myself taking on a new and expanded role even before the program ended. And it was more than because of what I had learned in any particular subject, but rather it was the depth and rigor of thinking, the ability to speak confidently the language of business, and most of all (personally speaking) the opening of the mind to new career possibilities beyond all that I have done in the past.
5. What aspects of the UCLA – NUS experience have been most valuable and why?
The opening and challenging of the mind as I interacted with faculty and fellow participants, seeing how solutions are formulated and applied across different settings and industries; the rigor of the academic modules, grappling with and applying the theories into hard business practice; the fun and camaraderie we had amidst the labor, despite our myriad backgrounds and personalities – all these and more I will treasure for years to come!
Michele Lum, Class of 2009
Head of Marketing & Communications
Malaysia, Thailand & Indonesia
The program brought together like-minded, motivated executives from the U.S., Asia, Europe and the Middle East and helped foster valuable relationships and opportunities to explore new areas of business and professional role changes.
Place of Birth: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Previous Education: Master of Arts in Journalism, Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA. Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication and Dance, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, USA.
Work History: More than 12 years work experience in Malaysia and the United States. After a short time in the U.S. as a reporter, photojournalist and media relations specialist, I returned to Malaysia in 1997 and gained extensive public relations experience with the leading international firms of Shandwick International (currently known as Weber Shandwick) and Edelman Public Relations. During my tenure with these consultancies, I served clients such as Northwest Airlines, Unilever, Volvo, New Zealand Milk, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Nu Skin, and TOPS Supermarket.
In 2003, I joined DaimlerChrysler as the Strategic Marketing Manager responsible for marketing and communications initiatives within Malaysia. In the following year, I implemented the Network Development Program for the Mercedes-Benz dealerships and was responsible for the launch of the new Mercedes-Benz Autohaus Showrooms and corporate image nationwide; in 2005, I was seconded to the pioneering team that launched the Smart car brand and vehicles to the Malaysian market. In 2006, I joined Accenture as Marketing Lead for Malaysia and was promoted a year later to Head of Marketing & Communications for Malaysia and Thailand responsible for image building, market campaigns, and relationship building programs across three key target audience groups such as clients, employees, and potential recruits. In 2009, my scope was further expanded to include Indonesia.
Personal Information: I enjoy climbing, scuba diving, white water rafting, and hiking experiences throughout Malaysia and South East Asia. Prior to my extreme sports adventures, I spent many hours rehearsing for creative arts and dance productions at ballet studios in Malaysia and the United States. I also lead a Christian discussion group at my current workplace.
1. How do you integrate and apply the learning and tools acquired during the program into your current role? How has what you have learned helped you?
The classroom discussions, business concepts and frameworks learned in the UCLA – NUS program have all helped shape my thinking and approach towards day-to-day business, leadership and management issues within the marketing organization at Accenture. The program also prepared me to ask critical questions and enabled better think-through of various branding, marketing and communications campaigns that help fulfill the organization’s business objectives. The richness of learning among participants from the U.S., Europe, Middle East and Asia, coupled with the opportunity to meet with senior leaders of multinational organizations during site visits in Shanghai and Bangalore provided invaluable experiences that are rarely obtained outside of such a global Executive MBA program.
2. What was your experience with having classes in four different business epicenters spanning four countries?
I love to travel, experience new cultures/adventures and meet new people. The UCLA - NUS program enabled me to have a clear sense of purpose and mission for self-improvement within 15 intensive months. During this time, I was able to foster meaningful friendships, travel to different locations especially the manufacturing and outsourcing hubs in China and India respectively, fulfill my professional objectives of moving to the next level of my journey in continuous learning and build a significant network of entrepreneurs and business professionals around the world.
3. What aspects of the UCLA – NUS experience were most valuable and why?
Firstly, the facilitation of continuous learning among leaders and executives from around the world during the well-structured 15-month program while maintaining a full-time job enabled immediate application of the learning to everyday work. Secondly, the ability to expand my network of business professionals that can create new opportunities to enhance professional growth and entrepreneurial endeavors.
4. Would you say the program format is “one-of-a-kind”? If so, did this influence your choice of program to apply to?
Yes, the sufficiently intensive format of six, two-week study segments within 15 months to obtain two MBA degrees from top-ranked universities in the U.S. and Asia provided a good opportunity to stretch and upgrade oneself personally and professionally. The program brought together like-minded, motivated executives from the U.S., Asia, Europe and the Middle East and helped foster valuable relationships and opportunities to explore new areas of business and professional role changes.
5. What has been the program’s impact on your career and leadership skills?
The necessity to juggle work and study has highlighted my capabilities and potential as well as limitations. The course content has enabled me to better appreciate business issues and equipped me with the knowledge and tools to help shape my thinking and approach towards the design and implementation of marketing campaigns, as well as the ability to tackle day-to-day work issues with greater confidence.
I have also had to further prioritize day-to-day work pressures and take on challenges that come with managing teams across several markets. The intensity of the program has also shifted my focus towards becoming a better steward of the resources with which I have been entrusted. By this I mean the increasing desire to contribute and help build people’s lives, i.e., train and coach the next generation of marketing professionals and leaders, as opposed to just delivering programs.CLOSE