Seeking a Global Perspective

Frederick Johnson enrolled at CGU in 2018 with 20-plus years of management experience as a senior manager and IT professional with expertise in the manufacturing sector.

Johnson grew up in a gritty manufacturing town in southeastern Wisconsin. Manufacturing’s in his blood. He went from throwing rocks at coal trains running along Lake Michigan as a kid to taking on big, lucrative IT management positions with various Fortune 50 companies before settling in Southern California.

Johnson could have gone anywhere to continue his graduate studies, but he was interested in CGU’s program for two reasons: location and flexibility. He said he was attracted to Southern California because his mother had relocated here and because the region is perfect for someone with his background.

“Southern California is amazing,” he said. “It’s a gold mine for manufacturing IT professionals.”

He also chose CGU because the school champions working professionals. He liked the idea of being able to keep his consulting work, which allows him to support his family—wife Felicia and two young daughters—while pursuing his degree.

Only a few programs allowed for that kind of flexibility, he said, but none of them had the vibe and reputation that CGU has.

Or the diversity.

“I’m telling you it couldn’t have been a more widely diverse group of students,” he said. “I loved it. It felt like I was sitting in the UN.”

Diversity mattered to Johnson because he said too many students lack a global perspective that is critical to job performance.

“I wanted a program that values the differences in people, that values the international experience of culture, race, gender, and sexuality. I wanted a place where people are free to be who they are and bring their whole self to their education,” he said.

Growing up in southeastern Wisconsin, Johnson didn’t have access to a global perspective—and he made plenty of mistakes early in his professional career because of that.

“I started working for multinational organizations and, in the beginning, found myself struggling hard,” he said. “I had a hard time understanding other people. I didn’t even know what “kosher” or “halal” meant, or how women were treated in different cultures, and I made a bunch of mistakes because of things like that.”

These experiences changed his understanding of the purpose of an education.

“I think I realized that if I kept going with my education, I wanted to be somewhere that appreciates diversity and the international experience,” he said. “I needed to keep exercising that muscle.”

Johnson understands what it takes to succeed. Johnson understands CGU.

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