The most recent discussion in the Roy S. Pung Executive Speaker Series was led by Derek Tang (B.A. Economics ’07), real estate portfolio manager for JGP Asset Management. In this role, Tang contributes to a real estate platform that invests in three strategies: listed securities (dealing with credit, equity and real estate investment trusts); developing real estate projects (in multiple segments, such as logistics, industrial, residential or commercial); and investing and acquiring existing properties.

Derek Tang headshot

Derek Tang (B.A. Economics ’07), real estate portfolio manager for JGP Asset Management

Tang connected with undergraduate students virtually from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and gave a snapshot of a corporate business case to illustrate how students could deal with similar challenges in the future. He also relayed the importance of seeking international experiences.

Prior to his current role at JGP, Tang spent 13 years at brMalls, the largest shopping mall company in South America.

“While a student at MSU, I used to go so many times to Meridian Mall, and who would’ve known I would end up in a shopping mall company years later?” Tang said.

In his role as a partner and director of finance, mergers and acquisitions, and investor relations, Tang was able to raise over $2 billion in more than 25 equity and debt offerings in Brazil and abroad.

Although the company was successful in Brazil’s emerging economy, Tang shared about the launch of an equity offering in which the company introduced a new strategy and faced challenges during the process. Meetings were held worldwide during the deal roadshow to announce the changes in strategy and deal rationale to investors. After the launch, implications were introduced in the market in which the fate of the deal was unknown. Tang and his team decided to push it forward despite the consequences, knowing their beliefs and thinking long-term with the new strategy.

“This case is an example of how quickly things can happen in the corporate world/financial industry,” Tang said. “You have to be prepared for the unexpected and be ready to make tough decisions in a short period of time when needed.”

“MSU offered me the ability to see the world in a different lens,” Tang said. Although he is far from East Lansing and calls Brazil home, he has strong Spartan ties — he is an inaugural member of the Broad College International Advisory Board. Through his membership on this board, Tang promotes education abroad as well as global opportunities and internships in order to develop students’ global mindset.

“MSU is making significant progress in promoting study and education abroad,” Tang said. “Look into these opportunities, because I definitely think it’ll be something valuable for all of you to take into consideration.”

Throughout the discussion, Tang gave valuable insight into international work opportunities and things to consider based on his experiences working both in China and Brazil. “Because of all the technology and work from home, you can have an international experience from the comfort of your home,” he said.

Tang named many benefits of international work experience:

  • Building up your resume as a key differentiating factor
  • Creating a global mindset and increasing your ability to adapt
  • Learning, understanding and respecting different languages and cultures
  • Networking with professionals internationally, which offers a different business mentality
  • Pursuing entrepreneurship by applying a concept from home in a foreign country
  • Seeking places that will give you a competitive edge
  • Finding a new place with an outstanding work/life balance

“Put yourself out there, meet new people, have those different interactions, because it will help the language adaptation aspect,” Tang said.

More information on upcoming events in the 2021–22 Pung Speaker Series, as well as information on past events, is available at the Full-Time MBA program page.