Category Archives: Alumni

MIM Alumni Profile: Patrick Dedrick MIM 2010

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Patrick outside adidas North America headquarters

Students come to the MIM program for many reasons. For Patrick Dedrick, a MIM graduate from 2010 who now works in supply chain at adidas, building a career as a supply chain analyst and working for one of the largest companies in the footwear industry were two things that were actually not on his radar.

Patrick came from much more of a cultural and liberal arts background. He majored in Anthropology and Japanese as an undergrad, studying abroad in Japan at Kansai Gaidai University for a time as well. For him, the hybrid nature of business curriculum combined with Asian culture and language was what interested him about the MIM degree.

Yet during the 15-month MIM program, somewhere between coursework at PSU and factory tours on the Asia Trip, Patrick found that he had an affinity for the analytical aspects of supply chain work. Since completing his MIM degree, Patrick has held a variety of supply chain positions in several companies, first at Oracle as a supply chain analyst, then at TE Connectivity in their medical division, before finding himself in his current role at adidas.

When asked about his series of relatively quick transitions from job to job over the past 3 years, he acknowledges that this can sometimes make it seem like he has trouble staying in one place very long. He clarifies though that in each of the transitions he has made, it was due to opportunities at one place coming to an end, at around the same time that opportunities elsewhere opened up. Furthermore, Patrick emphasizes that it was through personal connections that he learned about opportunities, and that although these personal connections proved very helpful eventually, they were not connections that he made explicitly to gain some tangible benefit; they were people that he met and stayed in touch with, and when the opportunity arose, they contacted Patrick to let him know.

Patrick (left) and other MIM students at the Great Wall

For students who are making a career transition, or moving from one job to another, Patrick suggests building a story and  making sure the transition is a conscious decision (or at least seems like one). Having focused on supply chain and purchasing work for most of his professional career, Patrick is able to demonstrate familiarity with a variety of processes and aspects of supply chain work, in ways that he says often stay relatively the same from industry to industry.

For advice on getting a job out of the MIM program, he recommends balancing the need for being open to a variety of opportunities with having a specific company or industry in mind. In other words, it is great to be focused on trying to get specific positions, but try to be open to other opportunities that may not seem obvious at first. “I have seen some missed opportunities for people who were too selective in their job search” he says. Have a plan, but be flexible.

One other recommendation of Patrick’s is to consider looking into supply chain certifications such as CPIM and CSCP, administered by APICS. Having these certifications has helped open doors for Patrick and gotten him interviews.

Patrick and other MIM students in Shanghai

As for himself, Patrick is very happy where he is right now at adidas. “I wanted to continue with supply chain and operations of course, but I was also looking for a corporate culture where I would feel at home”, he says. “Landing a good position in a well-known company can certainly help your career, but finding a company where you are a good fit regardless of other factors may help you enjoy your work more, and also get more out of the job itself”.

With many MIM students set to graduate in December and currently on the lookout for jobs, these are both timely and wise words!

 

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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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Fifth Annual SBA Alumni Golf Tournament

IMG_6493 quick editIt was an exciting day on the green at Langdon Farms Golf Club on September 18 as alumni from all school of business programs participated in the Fifth Annual SBA Alumni Golf Tournament. Each year this event invites alumni to enjoy 18-holes, contests and more for the benefit of the SBA scholarship fund. The event is coordinated by the Graduate Business Program Office every year and staffed by both student and employee volunteers from the SBA. IMG_6508

This year at Langdon Farms, alumni were encouraged to participate in a putting contest, a contest for the longest drive, and five additional activity holes. Some of the activities included Ding the Dean, the Marshmallow Drive and Beat the Pro (a wager to beat a pro golfer). There were also two hole-in-one tournaments sponsored by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Beaverton Toyota with incredible prizes; a $10,000 cash prize and a brand new Toyota Prius.

I thoroughly enjoyed managing the Marshmallow Drive with new MIM student Ana Lia Barragan. We cheered on as SBA alumni drove marshmallows across the lawn, sometimes resulting in multiple pieces flying about. Many were quite creative in their choice of tactics, from the type of club used to how to best reform the marshmallow, and of course many marshmallows never made it to the green, instead residing in happy alumni (and volunteer) bellies.IMG_6674

At the conclusion of the event the Dean of the School of Business Administration, Scott Dawson gave a thank you speech to all participants, sponsors, and volunteers (next to his cardboard cutout). The Fifth Annual SBA Golf Tournament was a record-breaking year in terms of alumni turnout and many look forward to the tournament next year.

Juli Tejadilla

juli

  Juli Tejadilla is a full-time student in the Masters of International Management program. She previously graduated with two Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and Studio Art from Linfield College. While her interest in international business began as an undergraduate student, she has been traveling around the world since she was nine months old. Her travels have taken her all across Western Europe, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, and most recently to Japan, China, and Vietnam. She hopes through the MIM program to learn key insights to conduct business internationally and to establish herself as a global citizen.

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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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MIM Alumni Aaron Daniels Develops Wind Energy in Thailand

A graduate from MIM Class of 2007, Aaron Daniels is currently the Vice President of Business Development at Wind Energy Holding Company Ltd. in Bangkok Thailand. As part of this position, Daniels also acts as a project manager and recently completed the construction of two utility-scale wind farms budgeted at an estimated $450 million (12.3 million THB). This is the first wind project in Thailand to be developed on such a grand scale and is part of Wind Energy Holding’s plan to erect three farms with 90- megawatt capacity each in Korat province by 2016. According to the Ministry of Energy in Thailand, the country is actively pursuing a goal of obtaining 25% of all energy needs from renewable energy sources by 2022. As such, the government provides incentives for the development of wind energy and anticipates an additional 1,200 megawatts of energy from wind farms by 2021.

windinthailandThis isn’t the only “first of a kind” wind project that Daniels has worked on. Previously, he was the Director of Field Operations at FloDesign Wind Turbine working on innovative wind technology for a $120 million wind power development project. Next for Daniels is an international conference next week titled “Renewable Energy Asia 2013-New Opportunities in the ASEAN Community” where he will speak on the outcomes of Wind Energy Holding’s projects in Thailand.

To see these projects in action, check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpeop-nMdLk&feature=youtu.be

As always, we are proud of our alumni and wish Daniels the best in continuing his work in the wind energy sector.

Juli Tejadilla

juli

  Juli Tejadilla is a full-time student in the Masters of International Management program. She previously graduated with two Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and Studio Art from Linfield College. While her interest in international business began as an undergraduate student, she has been traveling around the world since she was nine months old. She hopes through the MIM program to learn key insights to conduct business internationally and to establish herself as a global citizen.

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MIM Alumni Nat Parker and His Start Up GlobeSherpa

Trimet GlobeSherpa ticketFor those of us constantly using the Trimet system in Portland it can be a pain handling exact cash for the buses or when the Trimet ticketing stations start to malfunction. These hassles may soon be avoidable with a new ticketing application for smartphones designed by MIM alumni Nat Parker’s startup, GlobeSherpa. The concept for GlobleSherpa began in Professor Brian McCarthy’s Marketing class while Nat was working an an assignment to create an business plan for a new product. The iPhone had just recently debuted and Nat, realizing the potential for this Star Trek-like  communicator, dreamed up an app with complete travel guides and location based services. His classmate, Michael, read the business plan and like many Portland businesses begin stated, “Let’s get some beers.” Michael also happened to be a software developer and was keenly interested in Nat’s ideas, but believed it could be optimized for B-B solutions.

Of course, that isn’t the whole story. During his talk on GlobeSherpa last week, Nat detailed his company’s painful process in getting started, almost failing, and then the rise to a deal with Trimet. There were five key lessons from this whole experience that Nat shared with his audience. First was that ideas are essentially a commodity and that “execution will differentiate a good idea.” The second was persistence. Gaining investment through angel investors and venture capitalists is a tough business, and it’s important to realize that most people will say no. However, this leads into Nat’s third point: serendipity does exist. At the lowest point in GlobeSherpa’s momentum, Nat had written a letter of defeat to friends and family who had supported him thus far, stating that he and Michael were going to put the project on the back burner. The next day as he was biking through downtown Portland to Music Fest NW, a yellow Tesla Roadster pulls up next to him. Noting the expensive car and geeky looking guy inside, Nat immediately asked the driver if he would invest in the start up. While at first laughing it off, the driver invested $50,000 into GlobeSherpa.

With this boost in self confidence, Nat once again plunged into the world of searching for investors. However, his charisma  still wasn’t enough for some investors who wondered why he still held a job while attempting to run this start up. Hence the fourth lesson: either commit full-time to a start up or invest all of your money. Nat describes this more as a change in himself than in external factors. When everything was riding on the line, Nat’s pitch to investors was more passionate and inspiring: “I am risking everything because I believe in this so much.” Within five weeks, Nat raised $500,000 and began recruiting software developers.

The last takeaway is about marketing solutions, specifically, “What pain are you solving?” For years, Trimet has had issues with expensive maintenance and complaints about their ticketing booths at Max stations, as well as a long lead time on conducting and analyzing research. GlobeSherpa is not only offering a cheaper solution than the ticketing booths, but has also developed an internal system that Trimet can use to track online sales of tickets, system use, and rider activity which updates automatically. The inspector system of visual validation is also being enhanced through innovative app designs, animations, and QR codes to ensure that people aren’t cheating the system by taking a picture or video of an iPhone ticket. This app will also make it easier for Trimet to change ticket designs, fares, and even give refunds.

The ultimate vision for GlobeSherpa is to change how people go about their daily lives through commercial transactions. Nat has plans to take his ticking system to other cities in the country, and perhaps delve into the ticketing systems of gated parking structures as well. As for the current MIM students, we’re exciting to begin using the app later this summer and proud that such an innovative system came from one of our alumni.

Juli Tejadilla

juli

  Juli Tejadilla is a full-time student in the Masters of International Management program. She previously graduated with two Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and Studio Art from Linfield College. While her interest in international business began as an undergraduate student, she has been traveling around the world since she was nine months old. She hopes through the MIM program to learn key insights to conduct business internationally and to establish herself as a global citizen.

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MIM Alumni Profile: Jackie Wang, MIM 2011

Jackie Talking CroppedSome students come to the MIM program fully knowing what career path they want to follow and how the MIM program will help get them there. Other students come here with less clear ambitions, but through the program are able to find their direction.

Jackie Wang is a MIM alumnus who graduated in 2011, a young man full of enthusiasm, ambition, and new ideas. He now works for a compliance and safety testing company in Los Angeles, but was nice enough to sit down and share his experiences on a recent trip to Portland. Talking with Jackie, I get the sense that he was the kind of student who came to PSU knowing he wanted to work internationally, and that he wanted to broaden his horizons and skill set, but didn’t exactly know what career path to follow when he first joined the MIM program. One also gets the sense that he quickly learned to thrive in the program, and is now thoroughly enjoying the direction that he is pursuing.

Jackie always knew he wanted to study abroad. He came to PSU based on a personal recommendation, and was drawn to the MIM program specifically because of its focus on Asia-Pacific business.

When asked to comment on his impressions of the MIM program, he is ready with a quick response. “The program really benefited me, because it was something different than I had received in my previous education. I could really meet true professionals who have extensive experience working in different companies and who want to give back to the community. It’s very different than the education system in China.”

“I learned a lot from this program, because I got to meet professors like Brian McCarthy and Melanie Billings-Yun. I feel very lucky, especially Jackie Wang %22niche%22 2for Melanie. She has no reason to teach at PSU, she can teach anywhere. But you know, she’s from here, and she wants to give back to the community.”

Of Melanie Billings-Yun’s International Business Negotiations class, Jackie mentions that this course helped change the way that he approaches communicating with others, and influenced other aspects of his life than just business. It even provided him with skills that he used to negotiate his salary at his job. “I learned to try to think from the other side. Instead of having this battle, and arguing about what you want or what I want, try to find some common interest, work together, to benefit both sides.”

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Jackie and other MIM students on the Asia Trip

These would seem to be skills that Jackie now uses on a regular basis in his current job, where he functions as a liaison between his company’s office in China, and their American clients, who are mostly companies that make automotive parts and who want to sell their parts overseas.  “Let’s say they have a new product they’re working on and they want to launch it in the future.  These products need to comply with certain standards, to make sure that first, it’s safe to use, that it doesn’t set itself on fire, and in the case of electronics, that it doesn’t interfere with other electronic devices.” This compliance process can require time, patience, and a lot of negotiating between parties in both countries, which is where the people skills and cultural sensitivities Jackie developed in the MIM program become important.

Jackie recognizes that there are challenges facing international students who want to work in the U.S., but he sounds a note of encouragement for those willing to try.  “I understand that for business, and especially for marketing positions, it’s less likely that companies will sponsor you.  My advice would be to not be afraid of the restraints that you have as international students. Find your own niche. Find what you can contribute to a certain field you are interested in, and focus on that. Emphasize the strengths that you have, and that other people don’t. It’s difficult to find work in the U.S. as an international student, but it’s not impossible.”

Networking is crucial, both during and after the MIM program, says Jackie. He knows that international students especially can feel awkward when attending networking events, since they may not know how to start a conversation with strangers, or may be unfamiliar with other customs, but he encourages MIM students to get out and network as much as possible. “Networking might be hard at first, but keep at it. Make smart mistakes. Make a mistake once, but don’t make the same mistake again. Learn from your experiences.” Having a presence on social media is also important, he says. “LinkedIn has become more and more important for recruiters looking for potential candidates, so a LinkedIn profile is something that as a business professional….is a must have.”

As for his own future plans, Jackie says he is helping his company to expand their own social media presence, and is putting into practice some of the marketing skills he learned from the MIM program. He even has ideas for businesses of his own someday, but knows that for now he has plenty of room to continue to grow where he is.

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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MIM 2012 Graduation

After 15 months of hard work, the MIM class of 2012 earned their degrees on December 7th, with friends, families, and teachers all there to help them celebrate.  The MIM program follows a rigorous schedule, combining traditional MBA business coursework, Japanese and Chinese language courses, a real-world business project, and a 3-week trip to some of the most dynamic cities in Asia.

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When asked to comment on what their favorite part of the MIM program was, a majority of students mentioned traveling on the Asia trip in the spring. “The Asia trip is what everyone references as their favorite part of the MIM program, and I’d have a hard time disagreeing”, says Ryan Reichert. “I particularly enjoyed our extended week in Vietnam and Thailand, and I won’t even get started on the food…” A large part of the Asia

2012 MIM Graduation

trip includes visiting companies and factories in Asia, giving students a unique insider’s view of multinational business operations. For Michael Everson, the Asia trip provided a chance to get to know people in each country the MIM program visited in 2012, and make some lasting connections. “I’d like to think that after things are all said and done, there will be people in Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, and China who like me enough to show me around should I come to visit”, says Everson.

Other graduating students also had pieces of advice for current and future MIM students. Regarding networking, Reichert says “talk to anyone and everyone without ego, because you never know where an opportunity will manifest. Don’t just stick to what’s easy, take some risks and make an effort to learn something new. And try to practice key skills, whether it’s public speaking, interviewing, answering behavioral questions, or simply working on a personal IMG_6233challenge. This will pay off later when you’re in front of a potential employer.”

In terms of searching for jobs, Everson adds that students shouldn’t be afraid to apply for jobs, even if they don’t think they have enough prior work experience. “Even if you have an interview that doesn’t go well, it’s good practice for ones that may follow.” Everson himself will be starting a new job at Oracle, which he says he found through a guest speaker in a MIM class who ended up taking resumes from interested students. Goy, a graduating MIM Ambassador, also agrees that searching for jobs early and often is a good way to be better prepared for other interviews down the road. She herself will stay in the U.S. and continue searching for jobs here.

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Pear, another graduating MIM Ambassador from Thailand sums up her advice this way: “The MIM program is a busy program, but keep fighting! Do not give up! You not only gain knowledge that is broad, and useful, but you also get to be part of the MIM family, which is very memorable. Time flies, so enjoy every minute!

Congratulations MIM class of 2012, and good luck as you pursue your next steps!

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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