McCallister-Castillo says the students come to the program from backgrounds like manufacturing, social media and advertising, and real estate. However, entrepreneurs have shown the the largest surge in interest. “I think a lot of these students have been doing really well in their careers and they want to make the jump into doing their own thing,” McCallister-Castillo says. “They assumed they didn’t need business school but the market is getting increasingly complicated and global. If you are an entrepreneur, you really need to understand how to do business in different cultures. There are different geopolitical influences on an economy. This program really allows them to meet people in these large economic hubs and really learn about them.”
Michael Jang Parker is one of those entrepreneurs. In 2007, he started his own consulting firm, DSFederal, Inc. Parker considered programs at Wharton and Duke (Fuqua) before deciding on the Global Asia program. His reason? China.
“If you were an extra-terrestrial in a flying saucer, trying to figure out what the big event on planet earth was, there is absolutely no doubt that event is in China,” Parker says. “I have spent a lot of time living overseas, particularly in developing countries, and am always aware of how incorrect much of the news media is in regards to events on the ground overseas, but what I have found to be true about China has been astonishing. Even as a person who has spent time in Asia, in a few short months my entire worldview has almost been turned upside down, which is exactly what I am in this program to do.”
One of those lessons came from a class meeting with representatives of Alibaba. “I think the big takeaway was that Alibaba became successful not because it sold products, but rather because it sold trust,” Parker says. “In other words, and especially in emerging markets, there is so much information asymmetry that you as an entrepreneur your first obstacle is the asymmetry between
INTERNATIONAL LEARNING TEAMS
Another unique aspect to this program is that students work in six-member learning teams comprised of students from around the world. Operating in different time zones, students work together regardless of location in the online portion of the program. Still, McCallister-Castillo points out that the degree will never fully go online because of the importance of relationships built throughout the program.
The program is particularly helpful for students wanting to break into new markets career-wise. Students are encouraged to use the resources of the career services department at any of the three schools. “The career services departments are focused on career management instead of recruiter relations,” McCallister-Castillo says. “They help students grow within companies and train them to stand out within an organization.”
WOMEN GAINING GROUND
Unlike many programs, the cohort is nearly half female. For McCallister-Castillo, it is a sensible approach. “It makes sense to put in more viewpoints and experiences,” says McCallister-Castillo. “The importance of women in the workforce in Asia has sky rocketed. There is an increasing amount of daughters in China who have been groomed by their fathers to take over family businesses. There is much more gender equality there now than there used to be.”
Merichovitis says the one of the best parts of the program is you quickly gain deep self-awareness from the start of the program. “Through such a demanding and intense program you learn your deepest weaknesses and your greatest strengths,” Merchovitis says. “The lesson I learned during my first week in class is that the skills that made me who I am and made me successful at work are the same skills that could derail me in the future and if not further developed could become inhibiting factors.”
The average work experience of current students is 11 years. The majority come from general management positions (36%) in finance (30%).