2019 Best EMBAs: Tu X. Dao, Southern Methodist University (Cox)

Tu X. Dao

Southern Methodist University, Cox School of Business

“I seek memorable moments and joy in daily activities with family and investments/entrepreneurship.”

Age: 44

Hometown: Wichita, Kansas

Family Members: Wife (Alex) and Kids (Agnes-2, Peter-1)

Fun fact about yourself: I used to ride a cool motorcycle until I got married.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

University of Houston/Baylor University

Southeastern College of Medicine

University of Texas Medical Branch Medicine/Anesthesiology Residency

Where are you currently working? Arcadia Anesthesia Partners, Co-owner and CEO

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

Member of Board of Director of Global Oil and Gas Resources -$2B AUM, a South Texas and Permian (Delaware) Basin oil and gas company

Member of Board of Director Black Raven LLC (Utah natural gas company)

General/Managing Partner of Texas Tea LLC, and private investment company

Member and RCIA sponsor at St. Rita Catholic Community Church

Fundraising for Dallas International School

Gleneagles C.C Member

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am proud of my investment and partnership with classmate Derek Pedersen, CEO of Crystal Clearwater Resources, who recently won the Chevron Tech Challenge for his low-temperature water distillation demo plant in Midland, TX. Also, Global Oil and Gas Resources, a $2B company with majority owner, Temasek (Singapore), asked me to be a member of that company’s Board of Directors. I look forward to meetings in Singapore.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My most proud achievement so far is creating a reputation for regional anesthesia, patient satisfaction, and that every single patient in the last 12 years has my personal cell phone number.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Harvey Rosenblum was my favorite professor because his lifetime of national service in the field of economics and experience with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is filled with fascinating stories that highlighted his reverence for integrity and duty.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? My favorite course was Mergers and Acquisitions with Professor Shane Goodwin. M&A is the pinnacle and culmination of all accounting marketing, economics, organizational behavior, strategies, and management classes exemplified with each case study of landmark successes and failures. Professor Goodwin’s insight from decades with Goldman Sachs is priceless.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? I chose the SMU Cox MBA because it’s highly-rated, well-respected, and the network is immense.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? I enjoyed the camaraderie of my classmates and world-class professors.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? The biggest lesson I learned? The biggest lesson I gained is that you must cultivate trust within your team. I now focus on organizational behaviors and cultures that bring out the best in our company.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? I would study in the middle of the house so my toddler kids would still see me and not forget who I am.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? You must have an incredibly understanding spouse, especially if you have kids.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school?  The biggest myth is that the Executive MBA program is easy. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I regret not taking advantage of more of the resources the program had to offer.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I most admired my classmate Grimisha. She delivered a healthy baby and was in class 2 weeks later. I had no room for complaints about the rest of the program.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I feared sitting in meeting with businessmen as a physician and feeling like “a rabbit in a fox’s den.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My long-term professional goal is to be on different Boards of Directors and contribute to the success of many companies.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I would like my peers to remember me as always available for advice, support, laughter, and a great bottle of wine.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? My top two bucket list items:

1) To spend family summers in Bordeaux, France.

2) To take a long walk in a wine cellar filled with goodies.

What made Tu X. Dao such an invaluable addition to the class of 2019?

“We love having physicians in the Executive MBA program. They are very smart, know how to study, and they know what they don’t know. Dr. Tu Dao epitomizes that description. He wrote in his application essay that he may have been “flying by the seat of his pants” too often in previous business decisions.  He believed that achieving his MBA was going to be the first step to remedying that. From where I sit, he’s more than accomplished his goal.

Dr. Dao is one of the most entrepreneurial MBA candidates ever to graduate from the Cox Executive MBA Program. After a couple of early career disappointments, he learned from them and founded a very successful anesthesia group and became a managing partner in a wellness center franchise. Despite his success as a doctor and as an entrepreneur, Dr. Dao remains humble. He seeks always to be the best he can be and never settles for less than the best in anything he does. For example, he reached out to me often to review his verbal presentations and provide him feedback to ensure that he was prepared for class presentations.

While in the Cox Program, Dr. Dao has been involved in a number of start-up concepts with a number of his classmates. It seems like everyone wants to start a business, or at least a project, with Dr. Dao, and he’s always willing to listen, if not actually get involved. When it comes to helping others, he is generous with his time. The SMU Cox Class of 2019 is all the better for having had Tu Dao as a classmate.”

Tom Perkowski

Assistant Dean, SMU Cox Executive MBA Program


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