Getting to Know the New MIM Ambassadors: Josh and Susan

This week we welcome 2 new MIM Ambassadors, Susan Forrester and Joshua Thorpe. Here Josh shares a little about his background and reasons for choosing to study in the Master of International Management program.
Josh – The Accidental Businessman
If you had asked me 3 years ago what I wanted to be in the future, International Businessman is not what I would have answered. To me, business was something for people who cared only about money and their own profit, often at the expense of society or the environment. Being the idealistic young person that I am, I was looking for ways to fix the world’s problems, but business seemed to me to be at the root IMG_2180of many of those same problems. I was more interested in international relations, and on building understanding and cooperation across cultures; on finding solutions to the shared challenges that many countries face. Business careers were not on my radar.
Yet here I am now, having already finished the first term of the Master of International Management program, a unique master’s degree focused on doing business in Asia.
And I love it.
How did I get here? How does a person that studied Japanese as an undergrad, taught English in Japan and China for 5 years, and who previously had such an aversion to the business world come to Portland, Oregon to pursue a business degree? IMG_1582
The short answer is that my outlook quickly changed once I arrived in China. I was amazed at the enormous level of interest in building international connections that I felt from people around me, virtually from the moment that I stepped off the plane.  Chinese people that I met were proud of the developments that their country has made, but were eager expand on those developments by establishing connections through education, culture, and of course, business. It’s no secret that there are significant economic, environmental, and political challenges shared by countries in the Asia Pacific region, including China and the United States.  But throughout my time in China, little by little, I began to see the opportunity to capitalize on the enthusiasm and optimism from locals there, and started to see that business relations could be an important part of building positive relationships between Asia and the U.S.
Which brings me back to why I chose the MIM program. The answer is I came here because of the program’s focus on business across the Asia-Pacific region, the combination of both business classes and classes on language and cultural understanding, the chance to workThe Longmen Cavesalongside a cohort of students from around the world, and the great environment and quality of life in Portland.  Add to that the fact that PSU and Portland are both leaders in the field of environmental sustainability, and the question quickly changed to why wouldn’t I want to study in this program?
I never planned on moving toward a career in business. It has been a direction that I found more or less by accident. Now that I am here though, I have a much clearer picture of how a master’s degree in business can prepare me for any number of future careers. And as a MIM Ambassador, I look forward to sharing many of the great opportunities that this program (and Portland) has to offer future students and those considering a graduate degree in business themselves.
How about you? What are your business interests? Where are you coming from, and what direction do you want to take in the future? We’d love to hear from you.

Joshua Thorpe is a full-time student in the Master of International Management program.  After graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in Japanese, he taught English in Tokyo for 3 years, before moving to China and teaching at a university in the city of Zhengzhou.  Inspired by his experiences in Japan and China, he was drawn to the MIM program because of its regional focus on Asia, as well as  Portland State University’s reputation as a leader in the field of sustainable business. He is studying Chinese in the MIM program, but enjoys practicing his Japanese whenever he can.


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