Nation, World + Society

Dual M.B.A. program draws execs looking for a global focus

Ten years, students from 30-plus countries and counting

Students and alumni celebrate the program's 10th anniversary at the Annenberg Community Beach House.

Students and alumni celebrate the 10th anniversary of the UCLA-NUS Global Executive MBA for Asia Pacific program at the Annenberg Community Beach House. Listed among the world's best executive M.B.A. programs, it boasts 350 alumni from more than 30 countries.

When David Leonard, senior counsel for Chevron Global Downstream LLP, was looking for an academic program with a global focus that could provide him with an expansive network of contacts, he found it at UCLA Anderson School of Management.

In the 15-month UCLA-NUS Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) for Asia Pacific program, Leonard found out he could earn two M.B.A.s — one from Anderson and another from the National University of Singapore Business School. The program draws executives with at least 10 years work experience in industries that range from engineering and law, to medicine and music. And many of them are looking to expand their business in specific markets and enhance their careers. Some even launch new companies with fellow graduates.

“The UCLA Anderson GEMBA program was perfect for me. It provided an Asian focus and a global education from two very good schools,” said Leonard. Since he graduated in 2005, Leonard has kept in touch with key professors for thought leadership and taps his network of classmates who have become friends and colleagues. He also has been a mentor and adviser in the Anderson program since graduating.

Anderson professor Christopher Tang addresses alumni and students of the program he founded. Listening in the background is Anderson Dean Judy Olian.

This summer marks the 10th anniversary of the UCLA-NUS GEMBA program, which offers senior executives from around the world – 20 countries are represented in the class of 2014 – a global perspective on leadership and management. Students meet for six, two-week sessions across Shanghai, Bangalore, New Delhi, Singapore and Los Angeles, where they are immersed in site visits, meetings with executives and projects with international companies. The program culminates with a management practicum, a global strategic consulting project.

On Saturday, the program graduates its 10th class comprised of 46 students, compared with 18 graduates in the inaugural class of 2004. The ceremony will take place on Alumni Plaza and feature Craig Ehrlich, chairman and co-founder of Novare Technologies and board chair of UCLA Anderson’s Center for Global Management, as commencement speaker.

At the time Anderson professor Christopher Tang founded the program, it was one of the first dual-degree programs offered by a business school, and the first degree program ever approved between a UC school and a foreign university.

“I felt many M.B.A. students were exposed to management tools, but still lacked an understanding of how global business is conducted; they lacked that on-the-ground interaction and experience,” said Tang, former dean of the NUS Business School.

Tang’s dedication to the program and his students is reflected in his having won five Teaching Excellence Awards at the school since 2004 while teaching in the UCLA-NUS GEMBA program, as well as a campuswide UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award in 2012.

The UCLA-NUS GEMBA program is among the world’s top executive MBA programs – most recently ranked No. 3 by The Economist and No. 5 by The Financial Times. The program now boasts about 350 alumni from more than 30 countries.

“We oftentimes think very narrowly about international education,” said John Mamer, senior associate dean and director of all EMBA programs at the Anderson School. “We’re creating a unique learning environment in a global setting, rather than just sending U.S. students abroad.”

For more details, visit the 10th anniversary website.

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