Much thanks to US Bank’s Mr. Denzinger for his endorsement. It describes exactly what me and my book is all about…

“As a Senior Wealth Strategist at a major bank, I am contacted by young college grads with Business and Finance degrees asking for direction toward their career path in the Financial Industry.   Tony’s book will become a great resource and a recommended “Must Read” for that younger person trying to compete with the herd for that first time corporate job.    Tony’s book not only walks you through the necessary preparation steps before the interview, but more importantly gives insight on how the employer will be viewing you and what they are looking for!   “Mooove Ahead” carries you through from the interview to the promotion.  I highly recommend his book to both those seeking first time employment as well as the seasoned Corporate Executive.”

Michael Denzinger, Senior Wealth Strategist, The Private Client Reserve, U.S. Bank

LearnVest.com Interview


LearnVest.com recently conducted an interview with me and posted the following article – http://www.learnvest.com/2013/04/advice-from-an-insider-how-to-move-up-the-corporate-ladder/?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews

LearnVest.com is a fee-based personal finance website that helps people, especially young professionals, get their personal finance together and excel. The website started out targeting young women but have expanded to marketing to men. [Tony comment- Money doesn't see gender difference.]

I direct your attention to the article’s comments. You’ll see them anyway therefore I’d like to comment on the comments.

First off, I totally understand the “rage” and “cynicism”. Women aren’t the only ones feeling helpless and frustrated at trying to crack the “White Men” club and the glass ceilings. Basically anyone who aren’t “white men” are on that boat. That includes Asians like me. Let me take that to another level, anyone not in management are out of the club. That includes non-managerial white men.

Further, the commenters missed out on some solutions. By being so fixated on rage, they will likely never read my book and miss the fact that I wrote the book to help people just like them (women, minority, non-managers, etc.) to mooove ahead.

Lastly and on that note, it is a shame that I had no control over what LearnVest.com published. I seem to have gotten a guilty rap by association. The article does look like an advertisement for my book. The fact is that I encouraged, offered, and proposed to the LearnVest.com editor to print some of the content of the book (at least to their paying members), offer the book at a discount, give some books away, and other brainstorming options. I wanted to give their members more value. It’s nice if my book sells. That just means I have more money to donate to charity causes. But as I told LearnVest.com, my primary interest was to get visibility with their help and the win-win would be to give their members (who are the perfect target audience for my book) valuable information.

Nevertheless, I was very encouraged by LearnVest.com’s evaluation of my book (the writer and editor actually read it) and thus their interest in an article. I’m grateful for LearnVest.com’s interest and support to help me get the word out. As they say in the PR world…any PR is good PR.


Presentation to Chapman Univ. students 5/2/2013


Typically my talks at colleges are not open to the public, however for those in Orange County interested in attending my talks, this coming Thur, 5/2, 7pm is your chance!

I’ve been invited by the Chapman American Marketing Association student group inconjunction with other student business groups to give a presentation. The event is open to the public so bring your high school, college, or young professional kid, friend, neighbor, or even strangers!

The talk will be held in the Argyros Forum room 206C. Park in the Argyros Forum Parking lot at corner of Center St & E. Sycamore Ave. You’ll need to pay for a parking permit at the machine.


Followup >> Great talk to the Chapman Univ. American Marketing Association group. The feedback was extremely positive….

“Hi Tony,
Thank you again SO much for your talk tonight. Your guidance is invaluable and very appreciated. It would be great if we could keep in touch!
Looking forward to future events, connections, and endeavors, ”
-Haley Wragg, President, Chapman University AMA

“I really appreciated your coming out to Chapman to speak to our AMA chapter tonight! I learned a lot of great tips and I look forward to applying them in the future. ”
- Eric Bigley, Treasurer, Chapman University AMA

Chapman University AMA Executive team

Why employees don’t take risk?


The other day I was talking with a Professor friend (Mark B.) who teaches (of all things) Engineering at University of California Irvine. We got on the subject about risk-taking and how there are so many books and articles written recently on this topic; how organizations and especially employees are not good at taking risk. Most of the books and articles are directed at business disciplines like project management and implementation, decision-making, cost-cutting, efficiency, sales and marketing tactics, etc. Mark described his belief that the main reason employees/people are not good at risk-taking is because people have been conditioned since childhood to “play it safe”.

Mark elaborated…at the start of every semester, he gives his students “the talk”. The talk has to do with un-brainwashing them from 19 years of SAFE. Mark goes on to describe how we/society raise kids to follow direction, be rewarded for completing exactly what they’re told, that only good grades matter, and as one commercial put it — “stay within the lines”. We don’t allow our kids to explore, try things out (within boundaries and limits of course so health and infringing on others don’t occur), and be rewarded for doing something different and novel. We train them to conform. Conformity is good. Conformity is rewarded.

Engineering is in fact a great place for risk taking. How can we tell students about the many great discoveries achieved through experimentation and even by accident while at the same time we force them (and reward them) to follow rigid rules all the way through their schooling? Mark shares how he has to breakdown 19 years of the student’s comfort and put in place an atmosphere that encourages risk-taking, all the while within the university system that perpetuates the same old paradigm of the not taking risk.

There’s a whole research and more articles about the implementation…the how-to…in developing, providing, managing for risk-taking. I’ll get to that later. But for now, Mark’s comment was a real conscious-raiser for me.

10 things Managers don’t want you to know

1. It’s really hard to fire someone. And it’s a lot of work. And it takes a bit of time…could go on for months (especially in States like California where there are a lot more ways to sue employers)

2. But Managers can give you lousy assignments and limit your advancement and salary increases and make work life less enjoyable.

3. Managers (and companies) prefer hiring contractors…it gives them much more flexibility (but not manager positions…reason you have to Mooove Ahead into a manager position).

4. Managers want to spend all their time with A & B players; C and lower players are a waste of their time (many Managers rank employees, A being the stars and of course F being the ones to work out of the job/company).

5. Your HR rep is really on the manager’s side, not the individual contributors. Other than answer individual contributor’s benefits and HR administrative-type questions, the HR department’s role is to keep the company out of lawsuits and thus they work closely with management.

6. Managers don’t have absolute authority over many things such as promotions, pay increases beyond the average amount budgeted, hiring, firing, expenses beyond spending limits. They have to get approval from HR, Finance, and their Manager.

7. Most managers don’t want mavericks/innovator/ideas/suggestions/reports…they really prefer more implementors. They don’t want to hear talk; they prefer those who can do the walk.

8. For that matter, most are uncomfortable with staff members who are smarter (either annoyance, threat, or those staff members will leave)…managers want worker bees.

9. Managers actually know a lot more about what the company is planning, but they can’t tell you due to legal reasons or sensitivity reasons.

10. Chances are you make less then new hires with the same background/experience…or less! That 3% annual merit increase…it generally won’t keep up with what the company is offering comparable new hires. Most companies don’t conduct timely compensation surveys. And most companies are under pressure to keep budgets down. Besides, budgets are set up 6 months in advance of the performance review and merit increases. Therefore companies are always behind the job market.

“Leaning In” isn’t just about women


Much has been made about Sheryl Sandberg’s book and crusade about how women are holding themselves back in the workplace “by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands and pulling back when we should be leaning in.” Irene Corner, chief executive of HSBC USA uses the term, “sticky floor”–asserting that women who remain in lower-tier jobs because they don’t proactively try to climb the corporate ladder.

The focus is on women, but I submit that you can insert any minority group and certain personality types into her definition. In fact, I strongly believe it’s in part a lack of education/insight.
The core insight in my book, Mooove Ahead! of the Corporate Herd, is exactly about the education, insight, and motivation needed for EVERY PERSON to mooove ahead in the corporate herd. It’s not just about women. It’s not just about a minority class. My definition of minority in the corporate world is ANYONE who is NOT a Manager.
All the attention is directed at the C level. It’s true there is a dearth of women at that level. There is also a dearth of minorities at that level. Before you can get to the C level, you have to start at the S level and the M level (Supervisor and Manager). Perhaps the first level young professionals need to wake up to and get mentoring, education, and desire for is the L level (leadership).
No disrespect to women and their corporate career challenges. I have a 24 years old daughter. I get it. But I submit again that it is not about women. I see all the same things holding back males (and females) from Asian, India, Eastern Europe, and many Americans. Granted American Caucasian males have an edge but there are still ones who do not mooove ahead. Again, it’s not a minority thing.
There is a very good reason leadership positions are still white male dominated…human beings favor those they are comfortable with.
With that, as an experienced upper level Manager, here are common behaviors and lack of insight I’ve witnessed holding people back:
  • you have to want to get ahead.
  • you have to know where you stand. You have to know what your superiors think about you and how they view you. Get feedback…about you, where you stand, do you have potential, what’s holding you back (strengths and weaknesses), does your perception of you and what you think you are accomplishing match what they perceive
  • you have to let your superiors know you want to get ahead…more specifically, you want to take on more responsibilities
  • you have to invest in your career…that’s what 5pm-8am and weekends are about
  • you have to get superiors to be comfortable with you…that starts with you investing effort to “conforming” with what your superiors are interested in. White males generally enjoy sports. You may not like sports, but you need to take an interest in it so you can interact with those who do…in many cases, those are your superiors.
If you’re not a manager, regardless whether you are a woman, you need to LEARN IN and LEAN IN.

How to build up your network?


This was from Vicki, CSUF MBA Candidate — I’m building up my network and reaching out for career opportunities in Finance and Risk Management field. Do you know who else should I connect with?

My response –

I figured out late in my life that the only way to build a diverse network and “break” into other circles is to literally get into other circles. There are the obvious ones that are directly related to your field of interest — associations, clubs, tradeshows, conferences, and even placement agencies. I had a staff member get an offer for a promotion (outside our company) based on a person he met attending a technical writing training on a product called Flare. But the real trick as I mentioned in my talk is to build a DIVERSE network. For example, when I started getting involved in my daughter’s chartered school fundraising, I got connected to a lot of the rich, philanthropic, community movers & shakers even though I wasn’t rich or a mover/shaker. I play a lot of tennis and have been in tennis leagues and tournaments in Orange County for the last 16 years. I constantly run into tennis “friends” everywhere I go in OC. More importantly, all those tennis players are valuable diverse connections. You may not play tennis, but it could be a Zumba class. I’m in a community choir and that’s connected me to over 50 people with diverse “offerings”. Letting people in these other circles know about your interest will likely lead to someone with an opportunity or know of someone else with a related connection. One tactic I’ve used (and my daughter tried and validated)…instead of asking for job openings, ask your network connection if they can help set up an informational interview with the Finance or Risk Mgr to get their insight into the job, their industry, what they would recommend for someone new to the field, etc. It’s a sneaky way to get exposure and at the very least, build repoire and get education. Don’t forget that people in your circle include businesses you frequent such as your insurance agent/carrier, landlord, and your parent’s vendors. Finance is not industry-specific therefore all business have this function. So tell them what you’re looking for. Lastly, don’t forget to stay connected with your classmates (not just business majors). The “poor” tony never understood that the campus “extra curricular” activities were not just fun and educational, it was to network with students outside my major who will move on (and up) into places that might need a Finance person.

Don’t forget to have your elevator speech ready about what you are looking for, why, and what you’ve done to be qualified. Write it out, run it by someone, and practice practice practice. 

Hope this helps.

Tony Wong

Cal State University Fullerton MBA Group


I had the longest session so far with the MBA group at CSUF. They had great questions such as — “what are your thoughts about recent articles and books on the topic of “failure”. I’m all for allowing and even rewarding for people to fail (aka. taking risk and allowing for innovation). However, what I haven’t seen much is how managers and organizations are going to implement this. This would require massive and radical changes in culture all the way to the shareholders. Allowing for failure is easy to talk about. Perhaps these new MBA grads will figure it out!

San Jose State Univ. Corporate Networking Pow WOW


I was Keynote speaker yesterday at San Jose State Univ networking event put on by the College of Business and Financial Mgmt Assoc in conjunction with the College of Engineering and Computer Science. They had recruiting teams from Cisco, Polycom, NetApp, and Robert Half Associates to talk with students and participate in the panel sessions (in the photo). I received a lot of validations and interest from students about my book, its message, and my keynote. And they bought my book!

Golden West College Marketing class


Enjoyable presentation experience last night at Golden West College Marketing class. “Don’t judge a book by its cover”…this held true with this class and its students. Some people would expect at a Jr college a bunch of young “kids”. But not the case with the evening classes which this was the case. Don’t let their dress-down casualness fool you. These students were mature, experienced, and motivated. I was impressed. And kudos to their instructor, Mr. Moore.

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