A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
TRIUM Global Executive MBA participants are among the most qualified and insightful in the international business world today. They are experienced executives and successful entrepreneurs who have excelled in their careers but thirst for more. They come from all corners of the globe and every type of business endeavor. Their varied backgrounds, perspectives and areas of expertise make the TRIUM educational experience-both in and out of class-one of the richest and most rewarding of any executive MBA program. The exchange of knowledge and ideas that takes place among TRIUM students during the resident modules, through collaborative assignments between modules and culminating in the term project creates a powerful network of global relationships destined to last well beyond completion of the TRIUM program.
PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL GROWTH
KATHLEEN TRAYNOR DEROSE
Kathleen found finance right out of college, thanks to a "serendipitous" entry job at Chase in 1983. In her eight years there, she showed a flair for investing, earned her CFA, and rose from analyst to portfolio manager - and married and had a daughter. Her next employer was Scudder Stevens & Clark, where she specialized in turnarounds, building and redesigning investment processes for both institutional and retail portfolios. Scudder merged with Zurich Insurance, which was then acquired by Deutsche Bank. Kathleen, as a Managing Director, ran Deutsche Asset Management's largest domestic equity product, with $12 billion in assets and assisted in integrating the merged firms. Next stop was Bessemer Trust, where she managed the firm's biggest portfolio and whipped the research and technology processes into shape. She's characteristically modest about her accomplishments. "In a way, finance is not unlike history," she says. "There's no one right answer. The same situation that seems like a tremendous risk to one person could be an incredible opportunity to another."
In 2006, Kathleen sought a new opportunity, co-founding a hedge fund with investment guru Robert Hagin. Her fund performed relatively well, she says, but raising capital during the recession ultimately proved too great a challenge, and by 2010 the fund had disbanded. Still, she says, "I learned more in three years of an entrepreneurial venture than in the decade prior." She joined an angel investor group in New York and began writing a book with Hagin on investment strategies, which will be published by Wiley. A co-founder of Women on Wall Street (WOW), a forum for senior women in finance, Kathleen also donated funds to create a research fund for women students in Princeton's Bendheim finance program.
Enter TRIUM. Says Kathleen: "Business school was a long-time dream, and I found I finally had the time and resources. In my personal life, my daughter was graduating from college. I wanted a program with global experience so that my next job could be in a more global managerial role. There's no other program that offers the kind of global perspective that TRIUM does -- that's what's so unique about it." She points out that not only is TRIUM a triumvirate of three outstanding schools, but "it combines academic challenges with an international aspect and exceptional classmates, with an emphasis on personal and professional growth and global leadership skills. In our class of 65, there are only six Americans, and everybody's resume is amazing," she says. "The experience has been everything it promises and then some.""
In the midst of working on the program's term project, she was bowled over by the possibilities. "We are truly living in a globally integrated world, and the US is now sharing economic and political power. In my group we have people from around the world and of all religious stripes: Muslim, Hindu, Christian, and atheist. In our first group project we wrote a paper about radical Islam and whether it is a threat to western liberal democracy.
For Kathleen, one of the most rewarding aspects of TRIUM has been the focus on global entrepreneurship. TRIUM executives identify a strategic global issue, form a team, and develop a complete business plan. "Working with my group on the term project has been incredibly inspiring. We began with an idea, applied everything we had learned, and created a business. "
A year into the TRIUM program, Kathleen moved to Zurich to start her current job. Credit Suisse has a $400 billion asset management business, all over the world, offering alternatives, asset allocation, and traditional and emerging markets products to institutional, high-net-worth, and retail clients. The post is the capstone of her career - so far. "I credit the TRIUM program with positioning me for this role and helping me believe I could do it," she says. " >>close
THE CHILEAN WHIRLWIND
In his day job, Henry, a native Chilean is CEO of EuroAmerica SA Chile, a Santiago-based, privately held company offering a full array of financial products for individuals and corporations in Chile, including health and life insurance, investments, savings, and lending. Prior to joining EuroAmerica in 2005, Henry had spent 21 years with Citibank, serving as country CEO in Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Paraguay, and Venezuela.With practical experience as substantial as this, it's hard to imagine Henry would need an additional educational feather in his cap, and in fact, he observes that, in Latin America generally, not many executives go back to school for an MBA once they are more than five years out of university. "That's slowly changing," he says, and his positive experience could be persuasive.
He had taken a few disparate graduate business courses in the US, but, not surprisingly, found them disconnected. He searched for a program that met all of his needs. Now, with about nine months of TRIUM under his belt, he says: "After London, I improved my historic background to discuss the euro situation. After New York, I improved my corporate finance skills to analyze a company from different perspectives. After China, I can better evaluate an investment opportunity."
In addition, Henry points out, these valuable residential classroom learning modules, scheduled at roughly three-month intervals, present less of a burden to high-level executives than other global EMBA programs he had considered. "TRIUM is truly unique, you can do it while you work," he says. "It certainly requires commitment, but it can be done. Other programs I checked required excessive and frequent travel and/or an excessively long stays."
Henry adds that the TRIUM program's intense global commitment was most appealing: "I found very interesting that the program is run by three different universities, which are the best universities of the US, France, and the UK. The idea of diverse locations, plus the fact that more than 30 nationalities are represented in the class, is truly unique."
The class of 2013 was roughly halfway through the program in May 2012, at which point students were occupied with organizing teams and assigning tasks for their term projects, while they continued with asynchronous learning and prepared for the next residential module in India. Henry's term project is a direct-response market insight platform powered by social media and targeted to retailers selling over the Internet. The platform will give the retailers self-served, real-time access to consumer insights and will operate by leveraging social media to drive respondent registration, interaction, and demographic designation.
Powerful alumni networks
As that project proceeds, Henry is advancing his other professional interests by tapping into another TRIUM resource - the alumni networks of NYU Stern, London School of Economics, and HEC Paris, as well as TRIUM's own alumni network. "I have contacted some alumni to check certain international investors that want to invest in Chile," he notes. "Others have contacted me to explore business opportunities in the Chilean market. And I have started a dialogue with one of them to invest in his business. This is a very exciting group and the network opportunities are unbelievable."Although he began his career in engineering, Henry says he always knew he would end up in business. He thrives on the energy of the constantly changing business environment and the ceaseless uncertainty. "There is a constant need to adapt strategies, resources, and tactics, and I like this constant change," he says. Still, with a full-time job, a family, and a challenging EMBA program - not to mention hobbies that include singing, golfing, skiing, stamp-collecting, reading, and math - Henry may actually have reached his limit, at least for now. "I would say my plate is full," he admits, with a large degree of satisfaction. >>read more>>close
NEVER LIMIT YOURSELF
With over twenty years of diverse experience in finance, corporate governance, audit, risk, and management, most individuals would feel quite accomplished and content in their careers. This was not the case for Tatiana, who continuously seeks new challenges. In 2010, she decided to attend TRIUM. At the time, she was a member of the Executive Board of Sekerbank T.A.S, which was ranked third among Turkey's privately owned banks in terms of geographical coverage in Turkey. Despite her professional achievements, she still felt the need to challenge herself and grow. Tatiana's limitless desire and determination made applying to TRIUM a natural career progression.
Seeking New ChallengesWhen looking at Executive MBA programs, Tatiana was attracted to TRIUM's diverse student body, renowned global faculty from three premier universities, and the "world-wide" network of alumni, and, not to mention, its top ranking. When she joined Sekerbank T.A.S.'s Board in 2007, she had extensive assignments on the Board due to her experience, thus becoming an elected member of the Board Credit Committee (CC) and the Corporate Governance and the Remuneration Committee. As a member of CC, she was responsible for the credit policy of the bank, including the "credit review, improvement of the credit processes, and credit risk evaluation."
Under her initiative, the Board enhanced its corporate governance by implementing a Corporate Governance Policy and establishing a Corporate Governance and Remuneration Committee. Sekerbank was the first in its industry in Turkey to be rated by the international corporate governance rating company in line with the Corporate Governance Rating, introduced by the Istanbul Stock Exchange. And every year since, the Bank's corporate governance rating has increased, making Sekerbank the highest rated bank for compliance in the banking sector in Turkey.
In addition to this accomplishment, Tatiana also took an active role in structuring the risk management system in the Bank and working out risk management policy.
As her role grew, Tatiana realized that she needed to broaden her horizons and exposure globally to better prepare herself for the tough decisions she had to make as the Executive Member of the Board of Directors. TRIUM's rigorous program not only provided her with the academic preparation to grow, but the entrepreneurial experience of her capstone project gave her the confidence she needed to explore new ventures.
Tatiana's capstone project, Media Cab, became a live business this past October. The project offers a 'superior taxi fleet service' in Moscow. The entrepreneurial endeavor, a required part of the TRIUM curricula, provided the perfect opportunity for her to combine her background in corporate governance, finance, risk management and her knowledge of the Russian marketplace.
THE 'TRIUM Effect'
Post TRIUM, Tatiana says she experienced what most graduates refer to as the 'TRIUM effect'. "After TRIUM," she states, "I had been changed, but the environment that you go back to has not. I had a lot of ideas and the biggest question I had was, what now? What would I like to do next?"
One of Tatiana's mottos is "never limit yourself." One year after graduation, she decided to nourish her desire to explore more entrepreneurial endeavors and embrace the 'TRIUM effect' head on. In order to do this, she took on a new role as a business consultant to the Board of Directors at Sekerbank, which gave her more flexibility to explore entrepreneurial opportunities. Fearless as ever, she continues the family tradition.
But, as Franck explains it, as accomplished as he was, in regard to the elements that make for a successful entrepreneur - vision, resourcefulness, energy, perseverance, assertiveness - he knew that his management skills could use improvement. "At TechnoMarine, I suffered from not appointing a CEO," he says. "I was flying around the world between our three offices in Geneva, Hong Kong, and Miami, doing it all myself, and I was burnt out within 10 years."Franck, 50, born in Algeria to French parents, was an infant when his family moved back to France after Algeria won its independence. Raised in Marseille, he attended university and law school in Aix-en-Provence. By age 23 he was one of the country's youngest CEOs -- his first company created billboard advertising for trucks in Paris and Marseille. After two years, he sold his interest to his partner and realized a boyhood dream of living in southern California. When not surfing or running the small surf shop he opened on State Street in Santa Barbara, he consulted on international licensing.
In 1989, at 28, he moved back to France and founded a creative advertising agency called GRAM that handled consumer and luxury products, including major lifestyle brands, and launched, among others, Nespresso Coffee Company. He sold the company in 1996, and a year later founded TechnoMarine, having carefully identified a niche combining luxury, sports, and ultra-hip styling. The watches sold for thousands of dollars. In 2007, just before the subprime mortgage crisis plunged world economies into a recession, Franck sold TechnoMarine to private equity investors.
At that point, Franck determined to better his management skills. In 2008, an "inspiring" summer course at HEC in Paris led to his applying to the TRIUM program, he says: "I was hungry to learn more, and I was impressed with the reputations of the three partner schools." Because he feared his quantitative skills weren't up to snuff, he hired a finance professor from another top business school to tutor him for six months prior to starting TRIUM.
TRIUM has more than lived up to Franck's expectations. "The program has the ability to gather professors and speakers who have accumulated an incredible wealth of knowledge" he says. "I had goose bumps listening to the professors, from the moment I sat in the first class at LSE."
For Franck, the consummate entrepreneur, TRIUM's capstone project was one of the program's highlights.
The capstone project may have been the program's most in-depth group effort, but Franck says that the multiple work groups he was involved in throughout the two years have all been invaluable collaborative experiences, especially given his entrepreneurial background: "It was good not always being the boss. The qualities of leadership fell into place naturally, and the process always went very smoothly."
Franck reports that he is graduating in September as a more effective businessman, manager, entrepreneur, and investor. "I acquired the tools to evaluate potential investments more rapidly and effectively. Quantitative tools, corporate strategy, marketing strategy - all became much clearer," he says. These lessons are coming in handy for Franck's other ongoing projects, including biodiesel production and real estate in Argentina. And another TRIUM class "changed my life," he says: "Conflict resolution is no longer an issue that I try to avoid. That comes from what we learned about group dynamics and management skills."TRIUM "is a great place for entrepreneurs," Franck says, "because not everybody there is an entrepreneur." The diverse backgrounds of his cohort made for a culturally and intellectually rich experience, with peers from government, military, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals, to name a few. "You share a lot," he adds. "TRIUM delivered the message I was looking for." >>read more>>close
Tony Farwell has a knack for being where the future is about to happen.
After college, the Southern California serial entrepreneur started a career in finance, buying convertible bonds in the tech sector during the Michael Milken junk-bond era. He spied an opportunity in the nascent cable industry, which was just moving out of rural America into major metropolitan areas. Tony got in on the ground floor in metro Los Angeles in an operating capacity with a company called Cable America. In 1988, he left that company with its general counsel to form CableSouth, which they built into one of the largest operators in the southeast and later sold to Charter Communications.
Farwell was similarly prescient with his next ventures: electronic TV listings and sports data. STATS Inc., a company he built with another business, invented live in-game scores and box scores. STATS still serves the AP, most broadcasters, major Web sites, and many other organizations. Farwell sold the TV listing company, which is the data source for the TiVo guide, to the Tribune Co. in 1998 and STATS to News Corp. in 2000.
Then there are Hollywood.com and Broadway.com, online ticketers that Farwell also helped found and served as president - and sold, also in 2000, to Times Mirror, now part of the Tribune Co.>>read more
After this 12-year period of prodigious creativity, Tony took his family to live in Paris and decided to pursue an executive MBA. He found TRIUM and joined its inaugural class, with 27 other ambitious executives. "I was looking for an interesting program based in Europe," Tony says.
He was not disappointed. The TRIUM inaugural class included only a handful of students from North America, with the rest scattered from around the world, including South Korea, Germany, Switzerland, France and Japan. Most were corporate execs from larger companies, Tony recalls, with just a few who had been involved in early-stage ventures. The quality of his cohort was one of the program's key advantages, he says. "I gained a tremendous amount from my fellow classmates."
Though it was TRIUM's debut year, "It was incredibly well organized and just fascinating," Tony says. "The professors at the three main schools as well as the Brazil and Hong Kong partner universities [the emerging market venues at the time] were all magnificent. I loved every venue: HEC for its operations expertise, NYU Stern for its finance and state-of-the-art classroom technology, and especially LSE for its global socioeconomic studies." He recalls being in class at LSE on 9/11 and the next day being guided around Parliament by one of the professors, a member of the House of Lords, while Parliament held an emergency session to discuss the attack's implications.
A fertile mind
For his term project, Tony worked with a classmate from South Korea. Because NewsCorp at the time was looking to divest non-core assets, he sought to reacquire STATS, so they prepared and presented a strategy to accomplish that. The repurchase didn't happen in the real world, but probably just as well: Tony has created several new companies since graduating from TRIUM, though, he points out, none has crossed any borders.
In 2005, Tony founded ClosingCorp, a real estate information services company. Then there's year-old Barc Inc., he co-founded with his son, a software company whose patent-pending technology enables users to interact, chat, post, and share, wherever they are, on any Web page, Web site, and even on a Wi-Fi network. Just last year, he founded GovX, an online e-commerce site exclusively serving U.S. military, law enforcement, and first-responder customers. Despite his ventures' American focus, his TRIUM experience influenced him in less obvious ways. "You learn how to think through strategy, with a more global sense of who you are and how business is conducted," he says. "It was wholly enlightening."
TRIUM is still part of Tony's life. He attends reunions, keeps up with classmates, and has even acted as a sounding board for ventures that some have proposed. A self-described warm-water surfer, a tennis player, and a skier, he is planning to step back a bit from the operating side of his businesses. His string of successes masks the fact that "being an entrepreneur is horrendously stressful, and it's hard work," he says. Besides spending more time in France, he is looking forward to repeated visits to his old stomping grounds at LSE, where his daughter is beginning her master's in management science.>>close
MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN CHINA'S FUTURE
"Chin, 37, founded his own startup in 2007, after completing the last TRIUM module. His company, Qifang, is a for-profit, microfinance Web service that uses social networking to help Chinese students find a way to pay for their education by connecting them with individuals, companies, and organizations willing to loan them tuition money. In Chinese, Qifang refers to flowers’ bursting into bloom seemingly simultaneously, an apt metaphor.
Qifang was born when Chin sought a way to combine the skills he had acquired through TRIUM with his desire to make a difference in China’s future. “I was talking with two friends about common ideas and goals,” he said. “We were inspired by microfinance in South Asia, online financial services in the US and Europe, and our own passions for equitable development and education in China.” The percentage of students receiving state education loans in China is insufficient, Chin pointed out.
The TRIUM program, which Chin first encountered at an MBA fair, seemed tailor-made to help him realize his dream. He selected it from among other programs for three main reasons: the schedule and format of the courses, which he found “unique” and could fit his work schedule; the content on political economy and its relevance to global business leaders; and the international cohort and content. “I especially loved adding Europe and South America to my network after having studied and worked in the US, and now of course working in Asia,” he said.
With Chin already on the hunt during his TRIUM experience for how he could start a company and make a difference at the same time, TRIUM functioned as an entrepreneurial incubator. Explained Chin: “Many of us were thinking about new ideas, and many of us were exploring new chapters in our professional lives and thinking about transitions. Working on the team project was a catalyst as well. The opportunity at TRIUM to hang out with really smart people from different backgrounds and industries is amazing for creativity.”
Chin hopes Qifang’s success will help make innovation and startup companies more acceptable in China. In fact, he is now exploring ways to use Qifang’s technology for other types of funding and donation, and also as a platform for the exchange of innovation and intellectual property. >>close
CREATING AFRICA'S FUTURE
Dayo was born in The Gambia and lived there until she left for university at eighteen. At that time, she recalls, there were no universities in the country, and "if you wanted to get a degree you simply had to go overseas."She started out in medical research, studied statistics and computing as a combined first degree, and then earned a doctoral research degree in health information systems. She worked as a data manager at a medical research institute handling both epidemiological and clinical studies.
Currently, Dayo is managing the research program for a financial sector development organization based in Lagos, Nigeria. Previously she was project leader in East Africa for the World Savings Bank Institute (WSBI) Gates Project, a project funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation aimed at doubling the number of savings accounts held by the poor. "I have always been interested in using data to support decision-making, so I guess that's the link that runs through all my various career options," Dayo says.
When Dayo, who is married with three children, was considering TRIUM versus other EMBA programs, a key deciding factor was the convenience of the schedule. "The way the resident modules were structured fit in closely with my children's school terms, and meant my being away wasn't that disruptive to family life," she says.
Dayo found that some of the lessons she absorbed through TRIUM's classroom learning and between-module assignments were particularly useful right away. "I immediately applied marketing lessons while on a consulting assignment in Uganda, and have also been able to use negotiation skills straight away."
Overall, she adds, "The program has generally made me more curious, and it has widened my ability, or at least my confidence, in tackling new aspects of my work. I have been able to think through HR issues related to building a research team, for example, considering the skills required and how to build a blend of abilities and personalities. Also, it has helped me apply a bit of rigor to the hiring process - formal CV and interview evaluations and developing tests for interviewees, to name a few."
Putting the global into EMBA
One of TRIUM's strengths is teaching students to understand the global economy from a larger perspective, and this was an especially important takeaway, Dayo says: "Getting insight into what China and India mean for the world - and for Africa - meant a great deal to me. I liked how the program tried to integrate some local content into the modules, so that I got a sense of what made business in China and India tick."
For the near future, Dayo plans to stay in the financial sector, but just exactly where is unclear. "My career could either take off in the policy direction, figuring out how to make financial systems work better," she says, "or it could switch completely into the commercial realm of designing mass-market financial products that can be deployed at scale through technology."
Whether policy or commerce, Dayo's contributions will have a positive impact on the lives of ordinary Africans. In the novels she writes in her spare time, she says, "I love to create alternative worlds." In a way, that's exactly what she does in her day job, as she helps to create a brighter future for Africa.>>read more>>close
FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS
In mid-2012, after nearly 20 years with GM, Dharmesh became President and CEO of Schaeffler India, based in Pune, and prepared to move back home. Schaeffler, a $13 billion company headquartered in Germany, produces components for industrial and automotive sectors and is represented in the marketplace by three brands: FAG, INA, and LuK. In India, Dharmesh will oversee its five manufacturing plants with sales of about $500 million.
At GM, Dharmesh, led its global sourcing and supply chain team, responsible for strategy development as well as execution and management for sourcing transmissions, transmission components, precious and nonferrous metals, and fluids.At the time he applied to TRIUM, Dharmesh was based in Mexico. "Until that time I wasn't very serious of pursuing an MBA but hearing of all that TRIUM was offering, I became very interested," he recalls. "I was looking for a course that provided utmost flexibility, since my job at that time required lot of travel, and relocation to another place was always a possibility. I researched other programs, but I was so sold on TRIUM that I really didn't seriously consider those options."
The program fully lived up to Dharmesh's expectations, he says: "The classroom sessions during the modules and interaction with cohorts were most valuable. All the modules were very well integrated and designed with each leading seamlessly to the next. Debates in the classroom and follow-through with the cohorts and the professors were engaging and stimulating. Cohorts brought varying perspective to an issue that was enlightening."
With his responsibilities at GM particularly demanding during the global financial crisis, Dharmesh managed to thrive in the rigorous TRIUM program. "Residential modules were the most demanding with the requirement of travel, very engaging sessions, follow-through readings, assignments, and most of all social networking with the cohorts," he acknowledges. "But bustling locales such as New York, London and Paris provided the perfect backdrop to develop a network that will last forever!"
For the required term project, Dharmesh and four teammates conceived a project in the health sector to improve the efficiency of healthcare, concurrently with the Obama administration's focus on the healthcare mandate. "The term project was the culmination of everything we had learned in the program," Dharmesh says. "You really had to bring all your knowledge and apply it toward building a robust and sustainable business case."
Much of what Dharmesh learned at TRIUM has been of immediate practical use. "TRIUM has helped me shape up my skills in areas that I haven't had much experience in, like accounting, corporate finance, and marketing/sales," he says. "Experiences gained in the past combined with the analytical framework provided by a structured course like TRIUM has given me the skill sets necessary to come up with creative solutions."
Down the Road
Dharmesh is eager to bring those skills to Schaeffler. "Having done mostly operations roles in the past 20 years of my career, I am intrigued and very keen to run an organization wherein various functions come together in a seamless and collaborative fashion for the success of the organization," he says.
Dharmesh and his wife are raising two daughters to be prepared for the flat world of the 21st century that he experiences professionally. He says, "I can see my daughters becoming global citizens with cultural sensitivity and appreciation for diversity, and who are networked around the world and equipped to lead a successful life in a highly competitive world."
His time at TRIUM helped refine this worldview, he observes. "I have realized that there is no right answer to the complex problems we face in the global world today. Every person can come up with a different but perfectly acceptable solution to the same problem.">>read more>>close