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Graduation Speech: Stanford Senior Executive Leadership Program

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Today I am thrilled to be surrounded by my fellow Stanford Senior Executive Leadership Program graduates. This experience in our course has been intellectually stimulating and socially enriching. I would like to express my appreciation to the class for allowing me to share my thoughts and to represent our group in delivering the commencement speech. We owe special thanks to all of the professors who made time in their busy schedules to travel to Hong Kong. This group of high quality faculty members made our classes engaging and entertaining, making our weekend commitments more than worth it. Our profound thanks also go to all of the families who have supported each of us as we undertook the challenges of the program. I am sure I speak for everybody here in saying that your understanding and encouragement have been motivating forces pushing each of us completing the program.

My personal progression over the course of the program has been intense, as you all saw me gradually expand then shrink again as I delivered my second baby. This balance between professional and personal goals tests everybody, and addressing the extra challenges that women face has been an important cause to me. In the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report, China ranked 99th out of 144 countries on gender equality, which was actually a better ranking than other regional economic powers like Japan and South Korea. Looking closer at China, women actually outnumber men in higher education, and have relatively high labor force participation rates. However, women are less than 11% of board directors and barely 3% of CEOs in China. Women are still being held back from leadership due to a combination of internalized and structural biases; we need both confidence and connections in order to be able to access leadership positions within companies. According to a recent study by Hays, a recruiting company, only 38% of women in Asia feel they are able to self-promote in the workplace, 10% lower than the global average. Many of you probably saw the bronze statute named “Defiant Girl” installed in New York last week with hands on her hips, chin up high and pony tail out, staring down Wall Street’s famous charging bull. I loved the strong clear message, which is to challenge bias – not just towards gender equality, but to question all forms of status quo – we are too smart to not do so. This isn’t just about women’s rights, this is about not accepting the ways things are just because that’s how they have always been. Diversity is not simply some end ideal, but rather the most efficient means of achieving the originality of thought and variety of background necessary for effective boards of directors to lead companies. Gender bias isn’t a women’s issue, it affects everybody by holding back performance. Empowering women empowers companies and economies.

I am proud to have taken part in a program as part of a university that was co-educational from its very first year of existence in 1891, at a time when the vast majority of private universities in the US were all-male. The Stanford program emphasizes international awareness; a concept that I would love to see even further embraced and integrated by focusing on Asian dynamics. Beyond studying Amazon, Google, or Facebook, it is necessary in our increasingly intertwined world to understand Alibaba, Baidu, and Weibo. Asian economies are dominating global economic growth with China alone accounting for almost 40% of the world’s GDP expansion in 2016. This region is now more relevant than ever and requires a true appreciation and deeper understanding of how companies are evolving and what that means for corporate governance. Japan’s corporate governance code is pushing new standards in transparency and independent directorships, while Chinese companies are actively making overseas acquisitions and merging distinct board cultures. The globe is not seven separate continents - it is truly one world now.

The primary goal of our program is to create more effective executives and board members. Serving on a board of directors can take many forms – from boards of companies to schools to startups to nonprofits – any of which is a great honor carrying an important burden of responsibility. Questions about how we as board members can serve stakeholders, effectively communicate with management, create value, avoid conflicts of interest, dissect financial statements, and ask intelligent questions were all thoroughly addressed in our courses.

I feel blessed to have met so many wonderful and accomplished individuals, who have inspired me to push myself further. Like Angie, a well-established CEO in the male-dominated garment industry, who is now head of the Hong Kong Manufacturing Association. Or Paul, who thrives as one of the youngest law firm managing partners in Hong Kong while innovating legal practices in the aviation industry. Or Alfred whose company in Canada is now working closely with governing bodies in China to expand their alternative energy business. Or Stefan, head of marketing for a prominent hedge fund. Or my fellow Canadian Patrick who is a strong supporter of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Youth Mentoring Program, and introduced me to his unbreakable Otter Box phone covers. Or Preetika, who has kindly and thoughtfully worked hard to connect everyone in our cohort together. The list goes on - each one of us has an impressive and unique story, which combined yields a network that should serve all of us as a great resource to connect with senior professionals in various industries. As we convert from students to alumni, I hope we can maintain a strong network going forward and personally welcome any opportunity to talk to and help anybody here.

In conclusion, let us fully absorb the lessons we worked hard to obtain over the course of this program, and go forth down each of our paths with pride in our accomplishments and ambition to apply our skills to do good. I encourage everyone to embrace the spirit of Stanford – to be bold, be innovative, be forward thinking, be flexible and willing to take risks, be outspoken thought leaders and create provocative debates. Be dreamers, be entrepreneurs, and be the pioneers of what could become the next big thing. Appreciate that the world is rapidly evolving and we can be part of the change. Be involved, be present, active, and engaged; and be parents that inspire and motivate our children to be different. 

I’ll skip a butchered attempt at the original German quote, but Stanford’s unofficial motto translates to “the wind of freedom blows.” For us as executives we can use our knowledge and our positions to challenge the accepted norms and advocate unconstrained thought. Believe in yourself and tap into your own vision and style of leadership. Sheryl Sandberg asks “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” Put another way, she advised “If you are offered a seat on a rocket ship, do not ask what seat! Just get on.” We have all been blessed with tremendous skills and opportunities, we must treat those gifts as an obligation to put forth our best and play any role we can, large or small, in making our companies, our industries, and our world better places.

Maryann Tseng

Executive Director, Institutional Equity Division

Morgan Stanley Asia

Stanford Quant Fin Info Session

Professor Key Giesecke, Director of the Quantitative Finance Program at the School of Engineering at Stanford University chaired an information session for prospective students. The financial sector is undergoing significant changes, driven by the ever increasing importance of data and information technology. The new program takes advantage of the growing importance of data in modern financial practice.

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Cocktail Reception at the Continental Hong Kong

CEG organized a reunion cocktail party for the alumni of Stanford Senior Executive Program and Harvard Negotiation Program. A fabulous night for alumni to reconnect with Professor Daniel Siciliano & Priya Cherian Huskins! It was gratifying to see our graduates have managed to balance their professional and personal lives, advanced their careers, built a strong network, and emerged as leaders in their company and community.

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Iowa Graduation Speech

The Iowa Hong Kong MBA 15th Graduation Ceremony was held on Sunday 26 June, 2016 for the graduates students of 2015/16 at the JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong. The function commenced with academic procession walking into the auditorium, more than 150 guests joined and celebrated the event. The Hong Kong MBA program Director Mr. Tony Hui welcomed the gathering.

Associate Dean for the Iowa MBA Programs Mr. David Frasier gave the presidential address. He said to the graduates “You are well prepared as you leave the University of Iowa and the Tippie College. Your Iowa education has given you world class leadership skills and competencies, real world experiences that have developed, fine-tuned, and honed these leadership skills, a true global perspective, and a genuine appreciation for and understanding of the importance of being socially responsible and ethical in the way you conduct your business and personal endeavors". He further said “You are now ready to advance in your careers to fulfill your dreams and ambitions. Remember that regardless of where life takes you, the resources of the Tippie College will be at your disposal and the Tippie family will be behind you. We are all forever bound together by the core values and spirit of our College”.

Dr. Clark Cheng, an MBA with distinction from the University of Iowa gave his keynote address. In his speech he said to the graduates: "It is important to go out of your comfort zone every now and then to test and rediscover yourself. The constant hunger for new ideas and knowledge will help you to become more innovative, and take you to places you would never image yourself to be. Your career would be no fun if you knew exactly what you will become before you start.". He further said "Now you are part of an elite group with great competencies, you shall continue to encounter more people and be able to differentiate who are the ones you can invest and gain from. It is very easy to become complacent so do not allow your learning curve to drop."

Student Representative Mr. Anthony Chan shared his inspiring thoughts to the graduates and the guests.

After the award of degrees the graduates took the pledge to maintain their personal and professional integrity and make the University and their families proud.

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Cocktail Reception at InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong

Downing Thomas, associate provost and dean of International Programs at the University of Iowa has visited Hong Kong and hosted a get together with UI alumni in the area for informal conversation and a chance to make and renew personal connections.

The cocktail was held at the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong Hotel, with 20+ alumni in attendance.

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Graduation Speech: Stanford Senior Executive Leadership Program

Eric Li
Director of Solutions Sales
Microsoft Hong Kong

Good morning, Prof Siciliano, Prof Weil, graduates, classmates, current cohort, family and friends.

When Rain called me Friday afternoon to inform me that I’ve been selected by my intake to be the class representative to make a speech at this event. I was very surprised. I was surprised because I’m not the best student in my intake, we have Karen, Michael, Margaret, Surinder, Kim, Mr. Basu, Margaret, Preetika, Paulo, Paul, who were smarter students. There was no class clown. Why did they pick me? Is mediocrity the theme here? I don’t think so. At any rate, I must say I’m deeply honored to represent the class, those who will be graduating from the program this morning.

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I still have vivid memories of the first few things Dan said at the beginning of my first class last April, he said, “, you guys are a little older and you’re more experienced, you are balancing between your family life and work life, you’re busy. In this program, we won’t have projects or homework like other MBA classes. All we have is some pre-course reading but nothing that would require a lot of your time. There’ll be a lot of discussions, there will be guest speakers to reinforce the learnings and to provide real-world perspectives.”

Well, these were exactly what we got. During the 5-course SSELP, we had a team of lawyers from LA, also had someone to talk about the M&A process, the cross-boundary regulations, laws we need to consider during M&A, we had the lady from California who taught us about Director’s insurance.

Of course, the teachings from the professors were astounding. The examples that Dan gave in each class never ended. I don’t think anyone would disagree that Dan seems to know everything about anything. . Prof Weil, we learn from you that we need to read financial articles with critical eyes. Because of you, we’re very prescriptive with the financial terms we use, we won’t use the generic term ‘money’ when we meant ‘estimated liability’.

Dan and Roman, thank you for guiding us through the 5 courses, thank you for the insights and the learnings. Dan, your zeal throughout the 9 mths (or more for some of us) have made this journey of learnings and discoveries so much more memorable.

To the fellow graduates, the classmates, thank you for offering your experience during the classroom discussions. Your sharings have made the class a lot more fun. We do not only value the learnings in class, but it’s the wonderful classmates we have met, the friendship we have built and the bonding among us that are as important.

After my application for SSELP was accepted, I told my daughter about going back to school (who BTW just turned 13 yesterday) and she replied, “Yew Daddy, you’re going to school, what’s wrong with you, why?” My reply, Learning is a lifelong journey. Daddy still wants to know if I have the capacity to learn, Daddy still wants to be challenged, Daddy still want to learn new things. I think a lot of us shared that thinking as you enrolled in this program.

I have a confession to make. I was actually quite concerned when I signed up for the program that I won’t be able to stay alert for the full 2.5 days for each course. I was afraid that I would doze off once in a while or my mind would wander off. 5 courses later, I’m proud to report that there was not a single moment when my mind was not focused on the class. This speaks volume of how interesting the material was and how great of a job Dan and Roman have done to make the Stanford Senior Executive Leadership Program a success.

You guys all seem to have the hungry look in your eyes. This is not simply the look of hunger for knowledge. Ah, I know, I’m standing between you and the sumptuous buffet at the Conrad. I should stop now.

Oh, one more thing. If you don’t remember any part of this speech, I hope you remember the following, it is an analogy for a speech that I learned in high school. I learned that ‘a speech is like a miniskirt, it should be long enough to cover the essentials, but short enough to be interesting’.

Thank you for listening to me. Have a great lunch. Have a great day. Enjoy the rest of the Stanford Senior Executive Leadership program.

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Event in Collaboration with Stanford GSB HK Chapter

Breakfast and conversation with GSB Professor Paul Oyer, award-winning author of “Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned from Online Dating”; co-author of Roadside MBA: Backroad Lessons for Entrepreneurs, Executives and Small Business Owners; and upcoming author of Sports & Economics.

Prof Oyer is one of the world's most creative observers on how big economic theory boils down to unexpected and often highly personalized decisions in each of our daily lives.

In his book on online dating, the then-newly divorced professor discovers how phrases such as "utility", "liquidity", "thick and thin markets" and "adverse selection" take on dramatically different meanings when applied to the search for love. In Roadside MBA, from overlooked corners of America emerge unexpected lessons - be they the Missouri tobacco and candy distributor whose unusual hours of operation match the needs of its best employees..."single mums...with deadbeat ex-husbands", or the billboard operator in Illinois who places his signs adjacent to the region's longest-wait red-lights for optimal exposure. In his forthcoming book, Prof Oyer explores how game-theory explains the use of performance-enhancing drugs and why hosting the Olympics is almost always a bad economic decision.

FT Ranks UI's MBA Program No. 1 in Finance

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The Financial Times has named the University of Iowa’s full-time MBA program as the best in the world for finance.

In a recent list of rankings for business education, the London-based financial journal ranked the UI Tippie College of Business over No. 2 Columbia Business School and No. 3 Warton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania for its two-year, full-time MBA program tracks in finance. The ranking was based on the 2012 graduates’ ratings of their programs.

For the UI program, the employment rate at three months after graduation is No. 2 in the world and No. 1 in the U.S, according to the ranking. The overall program ranks No. 45 nationally and No. 93 globally.

“(The ranking) will mean additional eyes will be on the program in terms of perspective students considering whether to enroll,” said David Frasier, associate dean for MBA programs at UI. "When you look at the Top Five … we are by far the smallest program. So we take more of a boutique niche.”

UI currently has about 115 students enrolled in the full-time MBA program, Fraisier said, with slightly more than a third in one of the two finance tracks.

UI’s program didn’t rank in the Top 10 for any of the other categories: corporate strategy, e-business, economics, entrepreneurship, general management, industrial/manufacturing/logistics, international business, IT/computing and law.

The Cross-Countries MBA Alumni Gathering

A great opportunity to network with the US students and alumni to exchange ideas at Marriot Hotel. Led by Professor Mikhail Grachev, there were 30+ full-time MBA students from Iowa joining the gala.

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Stanford QF Graduation

A time to celebrate with the latest group of graduates who have completed the 5-module program in Hong Kong.

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Stanford QF Alumni Cocktail

More than 30 alumni of the Stanford Quantitative Finance Program shared the joys in an exclusive evening of networking at Marriot Hotel. A wonderful opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new connection.

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SSELP Alumni Cocktail at Marriot Hoteln

In an effort to develop a network of past graduate students and strengthening the ties between the current graduate students and the alumni, a alumni cocktail reception was held at Marriot Hotel. All alumni and faculty members enjoy a refreshing drink and re-connection.

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The University of Iowa MA in Counseling Psychology Program

CEG works with The University of Iowa College of Education on offering a MA in Counseling Psychology program in Hong Kong. The mission of the MA in Counseling Psychology Program aims to train students in both science and practice of counseling psychology, as well as contribute to the advancement of the profession who can function effectively in various professional roles across diverse settings.

The first class is expected to commence in Mar 2016.

Commencement Ceremony: The University of Iowa HK MBA

The University of Iowa Hong Kong MBA Program has been providing world-class graduate management education in Hong Kong for well over a decade. The goal of the program has always been to produce global business managers and leaders with the capability of competing in the global marketplace, consistent with the global engagement vision of the University of Iowa.

The 2015 Commencement Ceremony took place at JW Marriot Hotel. Steve Zidek, a Iowa HK MBA graduate who is presently Vice President and Finance Business Partner, Asia Pacific, Marriott International, delivered a keynote speech.

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CEG partners with CSU Global to offer online Degree Programs

CEG is pleased to announce a partnership with CSU Global to bring the graduate degree programs to learners in Asia. Students in Greater China who apply via CEG will enjoy a special discount.

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CEG Family Fun Day

A wonderful party and a great time for our students, graduates and their families!

More than 40 alumni and family members participated in a relaxing and entertaining day full of fun and enjoyment. Led by a really fun and professional clown, children enjoyed being able to play Toy Story bouncy castle, watch magic show, and play balloon twisting, as well as mingling with other kids. The party has turned into a sea of color and motion while twisting caricatures, characters and animals!

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Networking Seminar on American Pivot to Asia: Perspectives on the Geopolitical Landscape

A terrific talk delivered by David Adelman, Head of the Office of Government Affairs for Asia Pacific, Government Sachs and former US Ambassador to Singapore. Mr. Adelman shared his insights about US return to Asia Pacific on both political and economic considerations. This is in line with expansive free-trade agreement being negotiated by 12 countries (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam). By 2015, the Asia Pacific region is expected to exceed NAFTA and the Eurozone to become the world's largest trading bloc

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SSELP Alumni Association Inauguration Dinner

The Inauguration Dinner for the Stanford Senior Executive Leadership Program in Hong Kong was held at Banker's Club, with support from Stanford GSB Hong Kong Chapter. The association provides a platform for prominent executives and academics to share insights and best practices on interesting topics through various channels such as workshops, events and forums.

In his keynote speech, Professor Dan Siciliano shared his insights about corporate governance issues of Alibaba. Despite its poor corporate governance, investors still buy its stock as they believe Alibaba can outperform the market.

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Job Placement with Oracle

Oracle Asia Pacific offers a position of "Business Analyst" to graduates of Stanford Quantitative Finance Program in Hong Kong. This position provides advanced analytics support to business areas through statistical and financial analysis, to facilitate decision making and future business strategies. As a member of Oracle's finance organization, this role will be responsible for providing all aspects of advanced analytics support for planning and control.

Qualified graduates can apply for this position, and choose to work in Hong Kong, Beijing, Singapore or Bangalore upon employment.

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Fourth Intake Graduation: Stanford Senior Executive Leadership Program

Professor Dan Siciliano and Professor Roman Weil joined the graduation class in a warm graduation party to celebrate their splendid accomplishment of their academic pursuit. Rameses Villanueva spoke on behalf of the graduating class. He expressed his deep gratitude to the Stanford professors and high-profile speakers who have imparted their valuable knowledge, experience, wits and insights to the students. What is more, throughout the spectacular learning journey the classmates have inspired him through their industry and work experience and through their active class participation.

Rameses concluded his speech by quoting some parts of the speech of Steve Jobs in the 2015 Stanford Commencement. "Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers".

Congratulations to all graduates!

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Graduation: Stanford Quantitative Finance Program

Professor Gerd Infranger hosted the graduation party for a small number of graduates in Hong Kong. This is the first cohort of graduate since the program was renamed from the previous Stanford Financial Engineering Program. This is the Recognition Ceremony — to individually recognize graduates for their successful completion of requirements.

The Stanford Quantitative Finance Program elevates and integrates core business fundamentals with the specialized skills delivered in quantitative finance. Graduates received their diplomas evidencing that they have made it through. Each diploma represents not only the hard work and sacrifices that they have given, but more importantly, the sacrifices, support and love that you have received from the people who made it possible for them to be here.

Most of students graduating from the program today are executives working full time, having to balance the responsibilities and family lives with those of graduate study. . Professor Gerd Infranger encouraged graduates continue to make productive or effective use of time, whether at work, with their families or pursuing an interest or entrepreneurial venture.

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Seminar: Introduction to Currency Risk Management

Professor Eric Lie from The University of Iowa Tippie School of Management delivered a timely and inspiring speech with overwhelming attendance from CEG graduates and alumni. An impressive number of 60+ attendees were welcomed at the seminar.

Widely recognized as one of the leading influential scholars in business education and research, Professor Eric Lie gave a short and concise presentation on issues including: What is currency risk? Why should firms manage currency risk? How can firms manage currency risk? Are managers more or less inclined to manage currency risk than what is optimal for the firm?

His research, first published in 2004, has since come to the attention of federal prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission, who are investigating dozens of companies that may have given illegally backdated stock options to executives. Companies such as Apple Computer, Research in Motion, United Health Care, Brocade and McAfee are being investigated, and numerous executives have stepped down as a result.

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