MIM Alumni: Brandon Little

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Brandon (far left) and other MIM students in true Portland fashion at the Great Wall of China on the Asia Trip

· Hi Brandon. Can you tell us a little about what are you doing now? What advice do you have on finding a job after the MIM program and making the transition from being a student to working?

Right now I working for Expeditors International of WA, Inc., in Portland, Oregon. In my current position I currently handle the daily operations for Air Import freight going into Portland. Before finding a job with Expeditors, I was interning at the US Department of Commerce in the US Export Assistance Center. I spent 6 months with the U.S. Department of Commerce, of which 3 months overlapped with the final winter term of the MIM program. The hardest part of going from a full time student to full time work is the enduring gap in between finishing your Masters and landing the job. After graduation you want to put what you learned to use, having an internship allowed me to do exactly that while learning real world application at the same time. My internship also allowed me to expand my network, which ultimately led me to full time employment. Internships are good. Networking helps. If you stay positive and motivated, good things will happen.

· What was your experience before the MIM program? What drew you to the MIM program?

Prior to the MIM program, I graduated from the University of Rhode Island (Rhody Rhody Rhody!) with a B.S. in International Business. I graduated and soon found myself underemployed; I was stuck in a customer service role at a pharmacy. After a year and a half of not using my degree, I saw grad school as my ticket out of the rut that I felt I was in. I wasn’t drawn to the MIM program, I was guided towards it. After speaking with a faculty member about the MIM program, I saw it as an opportunity to learn about doing business with Asia while pursuing further studies in Supply Chain Management.

· In what ways do you feel you most benefited from the MIM program?

Thinking back on what I learned in the MIM program, the most valuable idea I took away was the power of relationships. The people that I studied with became the most valuable assets that I gained because of studying in the MIM program. These are the people that helped me get my job, my internship, gave me advise, and were always there to help me out when I needed it. Because of this experience of working together towards mutual goals, these are the people that I can count on for advise, help, and guidance in the future..

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Brandon and other MIM students getting hugs in Tokyo

· What would you most like to see change about the MIM program?

Working in intercultural groups is difficult at times. If the Intercultural Communication class was more about sharing real experiences in group work, it might have translated into less frustration between teammates. We also had half of the course at the beginning of the program and half at the end. It would have been better if it was sprinkled throughout, that way we could have thought about recent experiences and learn ways to communicate better.

· How can MIM students make the best use of their time in the program? 

1. Internships are great. Do them.
2. Spend time with the people in your cohort outside of school work. Get to know them. They will be assets in the future.
3. Get out in the community and meet people, even if networking isn’t your thing.

Joshua Thorpe

mail.google.comJosh 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 for Portland State University’s reputation as a leader in the field of sustainable business. He is studying Chinese in the MIM program, but tries to keep up his Japanese whenever he can.

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