George Cheung, '11
Senior Vice President - Group Head of Commercial Operations and Strategic Materials Management, Roxas Holdings, Inc.
"I looked at my [Duke] peers as my leaders and me as theirs."
Overall, Fuqua's Global Executive MBA program has given me a valuable social and professional network. I have always believed that it is better to be associated with people who are smarter than you and my peers fit that mold. They came from exceptional and accomplished backgrounds and from all over the world.
Despite all my international experience, traveling to different countries as a part of the program really opened up my eyes, especially during our trips to Russia and India. There, I experienced cultures that I had only read about. Some of my classmates were from the cities that we traveled to, and it was amazing to have them become our tour guides. They not only showed us the sites, but provided insight on how people in their country do business.
My studies in finance, statistics, and decision sciences immediately helped me better analyze problems and opportunities in my job at the time—I was the Director and China Manager at Wilmar International, Asia's leading agribusiness group. Though agricultural products may seem to be simple commodities, they are actually complex products with volatile price, production, and consumption sequences. Most of the time, pricing and inventory planning were done through intuition and experience, but as I went through my MBA courses, I was able to apply historical, statistical, and financial analytical techniques and found a more scientific way to segregate the risk factors in the price volatilities of sugar, for example.
Since then, I have moved on to a position at Roxas Holdings, Inc., which is the largest bio-sugar and bio-energy company in the Philippines, and I continue to apply lessons learned from my MBA studies.
Fuqua is not a business school separate from the greater university and at times we were able to leverage the larger Duke network during our residencies. While in Shanghai, we attended a Duke IDEA event. There, we heard from Gao Xiqing, a guest of Duke's President, Richard Brodhead and head of the China Investment Corp. Gao went to the US to earn his law degree from Duke, a very unusual course to take for such a high-ranking Chinese government official. When he spoke with us, I found him to be particularly candid about where China is going and he dispelled many of the misconceptions about the Chinese government.