How do you say "success" in Chinese? Teng was born in China and grew up in Hong Kong. His family moved to the U.S. when he was 13, and Teng became a citizen by age 18.
Technically, he didn't need the MBA: Teng got his undergraduate degree from Cornell University's respected school of hotel management. "While I think my undergraduate degree prepared me well to run hotels, I felt that to run a company, the MBA degree would be beneficial."
Okay, but why Hawaii? "For me, it wasn't about picking a school and pursuing a program. I'm the wage earner at home, and I wasn't able to take a two-year sabbatical to pursue another degree. I was also moving around and never had the stability to stay in one place and pursue an MBA until about 10 years out of school, when I went to Hawaii."
Still, Hawaii isn't exactly a marquee name in the world of biz schools. Was the classwork worth it? "Some people look at MBAs from a credential standpoint. I don't think the credential is as valuable as the education itself."
It wasn't all good, though: "If I did it all over again, I wouldn't do an executive MBA program in two years and work full-time. The family suffers a great deal from that."
Favorite classes: A strategy course and a summer field study in four different Asian countries. "We visited factories, embassies, and corporate headquarters and sat down and talked about what was driving the economy in each of those countries. That was an incredible, eye-opening experience that prompted me to go to work in Asia for seven years."