Clayton State University MBA students in Dr. Leon Prieto’s International Business & Global Logistics summer semester class have had the opportunity to work with two international CEOs; Rami Abu Ghazaleh of the successful Saudi Arabian fast food restaurant, ALBAIK, and Dar Vasseghi, of Yoshinoya America, a quick service restaurant originally founded in Japan in 1899. All parties involved agree it was a case of dreams made real.
“Working with Rami Abu Ghazaleh, CEO of ALBAIK, was such a great experience for me! I had never worked with someone from Saudi Arabia before; therefore, I didn’t know what to expect,” says Angela Harrison, an MBA (Supply Chain) student from Little Rock, Ark. “Mr. Ghazaleh was very accommodating and willing to assist us with whatever we needed to successfully complete our SWOT and PEST analysis project in spite of his very busy schedule. He not only supplied us with the necessary information and tools needed for the project, but also offered some advice on life that will stick with me forever. Working with him on this project was an experience that I will never forget.”
"Five of my kids are half-Georgians from Albany. When Angela first contacted me, asking for my support, my answer was a yes... simply because I thought it would make my kids proud,” says Ghazaleh, whose firm has been featured on an episode of No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain. “Then I became so impressed with the level of commitment, professionalism and knowledge Angela had for this project. Her knowledge about ALBAIK impressed me, and the support she had from Professor Leon Prieto was remarkable. She is a future leader that I know Clayton State will be very proud of. I wish her and her classmates the best of luck always."
Another MBA program member whose dream was made real is Brandi Luongo, an MBA (Supply Chain) student from Newnan, Ga.
“I am more than halfway into the MBA program and I have completed a number of successful group projects,” she says. “My most recent project was by far the most rewarding. In analyzing Yoshinoya, I was able to work directly with the CEO of Yoshinoya America, Dar Vasseghi. He did not hesitate to take time out of his busy schedule to offer his input, which helped our group to get a better understanding of the company as a whole. It was an honor to be able to work with Mr. Vasseghi and it is an experience I will carry with me as I progress through my remaining time in the MBA program and into my career.”
"I applaud Brandi and her team for reaching out,” comments Vasseghi. “Closing the gap between academics and the corporate world early on is just smart. I'm surprised, again and again, how relevant my own business school -- Stanford University -- experience has been in my work. The foundational tools and models become second nature to the decision-making process. Without them, variables like opinion, emotion, context and partial data will take over the process and lead you down the wrong road. Here's my two cents to any business school student; immerse yourself in the experience - take chances, do everything! Take classes in a variety of functions. Make a lot of friends and go out of your way to stay close to as many of them as you can - they will make your life richer.”
Not surprisingly, Prieto was thrilled with the partnerships.
“Through Clayton State’s MBA program, dreams are definitely made real because of the experiential learning that occurs in the classroom that links theory to practice,” he explains. “I am proud of the fact that my students are working with top level executives in international firms and offering their analysis on a variety of issues related to global expansion and logistics. They are well poised to become global leaders.”