UK MBA alum Dr. Z. George Zhang continues to advance and lead at Valvoline, Inc.

George ZhangGeorge Zhang, alum of the Professional MBA program at the University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics, was recently promoted to Senior Director and General Manager of Valvoline China out of their Valvoline World Headquarters which is located in Lexington, Kentucky. Valvoline serves more than 100 countries worldwide and is a leading marketing, distributor and producer of quality branded automotive and industrial lubrication products and services.

George has been with Valvoline for almost 20 years, advancing through different roles as a Staff Scientist, Research Scientist, R&D Manager, Technical Director and now as a Senior Director and General Manager of Valvoline China. In this role, George will be managing the business operations of Valvoline in China, including affiliate and joint ventures.

"Currently we are starting to invest and build a lubricant blending plant at the city of Zhangjiagang, which I will be very involved," says George. My objectives include building a strong brand for Valvoline in China, expanding the customer base and distribution channels, continuing the momentum of business growth and developing local talents." 

After completing his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Nanjing University and his PhD in Physical Chemistry from Clarkson University, George then joined Valvoline. A few years later, George decided to get his MBA from the University of Kentucky. George pursued the program that is now known as Gatton's Professional MBA, which is designed for full-time working professionals. 

George says, "I feel that my UK MBA is one of the key factors in the transformation of myself from more of a scientist/researcher into a well-balanced business leader." 

The Professional MBA at Gatton brings together a diverse network of working professionals and executives from various work experiences, companies and industries such as engineering, law, healthcare, agriculture, transportation, manufacturing, technology, banking/finance, government, military and more. Candidates bring their daily work responsibilities into the classroom and then immediately apply what they learn in the workplace the following day in order to advance and lead in different ways. 

"Some of the important skills that I learned are P/L (profit/loss) management and global management through the classes, projects and seminars offered at Gatton," says George. "The UK MBA did a great job in developing the program so we can learn and hone these specific critical skills along with many others."

George current serves on the Board of Directors for the Shanghai Valvoline Cummins Lubricating Oil Co. Ltd., Valvoline Cummins Private Limited and the Child Development Center of the Bluegrass. He also is the Secretary/Treasurer of the Lexington Leaders Club 8718 for Toastmasters International. 

Regarding advice to working professionals considering an MBA at the University of Kentucky, George says "At times, it can be very hard for working professionals to balance work, study and life. It's all about time management, concentration and focus when you are adding a commitment like an MBA. Remember that you are not alone in this journey as you have your peers in the classroom along with the UK MBA faculty, staff, and the vast alumni network."

Valvoline Inc. (NYSE: VVV) is a leading worldwide marketer and supplier of premium branded lubricants and automotive services, with sales in more than 140 countries. Established in 1866, the company’s heritage spans more than 150 years, during which it has developed powerful brand recognition across multiple product and service channels. Valvoline ranks as the No. 3 passenger car motor oil brand in the DIY market by volume. It also operates and franchises the No. 2 quick-lube chain by number of stores in the United States with more than 1,170 Valvoline Instant Oil Change centers and the No. 3 quick-lube chain by number of stores in Canada with more than 100 Great Canadian Oil Change locations. It also markets Valvoline lubricants and automotive chemicals, including the new Valvoline™ Modern Engine Full Synthetic Motor Oil, which is specifically engineered to protect against carbon build-up in Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI), turbo and other engines manufactured since 2012; Valvoline High Mileage with MaxLife technology motor oil for engines over 75,000 miles; Valvoline Synthetic motor oil; and Zerex™ antifreeze.