Most MBA graduates would love to have just one job as an officer of a Fortune 500 company. SDSU business alumnus, Zane Rowe (’92, MBA), has been there three times.
Rowe previously served as the chief financial officer (CFO) for Continental Airlines (later, United Airlines post-merger), and as a vice president for Apple. He is currently the executive vice president and CFO for EMC Corporation, a data center infrastructure company based in Massachusetts.
“I chose to get my MBA at SDSU because the business school had a great reputation and I was impressed with diverse background of its students who represented countries throughout the world,” said Rowe, a native of South Africa. “The school did a good job in attracting a student body that reflected the direction of the global business environment. I also thought the quality and caliber of the instructors was tremendous.”
I chose to get my MBA at SDSU because the business school had a great reputation and I was impressed with diverse background of its students who represented countries throughout the world.
Rowe focused his studies at SDSU on finance because “a career in finance enables you to have the flexibility to take those skills and apply them to other parts of an organization,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have experience in a wide variety of roles that were all helped by my background in finance.”
After earning his MBA and serving as an economics lecturer at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Rowe began his corporate career at Continental Airlines in 1993 where he steadily moved up the corporate ladder to become their executive vice president and CFO in 2008 and was named CFO of United Continental Holdings upon the merger of the two airlines in 2010.
Rowe changed his career course in 2012 when, after 19 years, he left the airline industry and assumed responsibility for North American sales at Apple. He decided to return to the finance realm at the end of 2014 when he joined EMC.
And even though his days at SDSU are behind him, Rowe still thinks of his time at the College of Business Administration with fondness. “While I don’t have one favorite professor, I do remember how much they cared for the students and how much they wanted to be teaching at SDSU,” he recalled. “I think the school has the ability to attract some of the best professors in their respective fields. Their passion for teaching really impressed me as a student.”
I think the school has the ability to attract some of the best professors in their respective fields. Their passion for teaching really impressed me as a student.
In accessing the corporate environment, Rowe noted the rapid evolution of technology and its impact on the business world and on society. “I’m not sure there’s ever been a time in history when someone can accomplish so much in business and have a significant impact on the world in such a short amount of time,” he noted. “Both small and large, old and new companies are driving technology and business transformations in an unprecedented way.”
Rowe’s advice for today’s SDSU students follows along the same lines. “As an SDSU student, you have the skills, knowledge and power to participate in this major change – it’s part of the curriculum taught and demonstrated in institutions like SDSU,” he said. “There are also a number of opportunities for graduates to connect with each other and to create, develop and grow companies using technology within the global marketplace. SDSU grads should use the resources and talent available at the university to develop a network with alumni and others to help drive change and to achieve their dreams.”
SDSU grads should use the resources and talent available at the university to develop a network with alumni and others to help drive change and to achieve their dreams.