Category Archives: Careers

MIM Resume Contest Winner: Suresh Kumar

By Jodi Nelson

Over half of the current MIM students participated in the resume contest offered in January. This is our second time hosting the contest as a way to motivate and encourage students to get their resumes updated in anticipation of summer internship hiring. In addition to the motivation to get an internship, students were also incentivized by the opportunity to win one of two Amazon gift cards.

20150210_083357The winner of the 2015 MIM Resume Contest was… Suresh Kumar. We had such strong resumes that we also awarded a second place prize to… Fraya Saquina. Here are some of the highlights from their resumes and these are also tips that all students should consider adding to their own resumes:

  • Include a link to your LinkedIn profile. Employers want to learn more about you so include your profile link and make sure you profile and photo are updated. Current students can learn more about how to utilize LinkedIn at the upcoming workshop on February 25.
  • Add details about your education. Include bullet points for highlights such as specialized coursework, a high GPA, student organization leadership, etc.
  • Incorporate all relevant experience including class projects and volunteer experience. If you are early in your career, then you might not have a lot of paid work experience. But you probably do have some substantial class projects that can demonstrate your skills. Or maybe you demonstrated leadership abilities through involvement with a community organization. Include these experiences on your resume.
  • Highlight your language skills. Many MIM students speak two, three or even four languages. That is very impressive to potential employers. So don’t leave those details off your resume!

In addition to the MIM Resume Contest, we offer many other resources and opportunities. Students are actually required to participate in the MIM Professional Passport Program where they are earn their way to gold status by completing checkpoints such as attending networking events, participating in the mentor program and completing an internship. The goal of the MIM Professional Passport is to help students stay on track with these career activities throughout their education and ultimately so that when they graduate they are ready to land their dream jobs.


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MIM Networking Social Event

by Megan Nelson

On Friday, January 24, 2014, the first MIM Networking Social Event occurred at Rogue Brewery in the Pearl District. The event was designed to bring together MIM alumni and current students in order to discuss the merits of the program and what makes it such a unique experience. There was a mix of part-time and full-time alumni. The part-time students who have successfully completed the program worked full time while taking courses and participating in program events. Many of the full-time students entered the program in anticipation of a career change, and many have proved successful in those endeavors.

Networking is very important for the MIM program for a number of reasons. Networking helps:

  • Promote the importance of being more international in our thinking and within our companies.
  • Create awareness and help the program become well-known and competitive with MBA programs.
  • Create a lasting bond amongst alumni, current students, and prospective students.
  • Continuously show the strength of what is being taught within the MIM program through our connection to the community and world at large.

A major topic of conversation at the networking event was the Asia trip, which many former students discussed as being the turning point in their program experience. From gaining a new worldview to bonding with their classmates, everyone spoke positively about the trip. The current class of MIM students will be visiting Tokyo, Shanghai, and Ho Chi Minh City in March. They will also have the opportunity to travel on their own for a fourth week, with many students choosing to spend that time in Thailand.

The most important part of the event was making connections with new people and knowing that we’re all part of a strong but intimate group of professionals who have had a unique experience we’re willing to share with each other.

There will be more opportunities, as it is hoped that MIM Networking Social Events will become a monthly program. We hope that more people choose to join the upcoming events and make this program even more special and unique than it has already become.


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Careers in International Business Event

IMG_0457The graduate business programs office at PSU is very good at organizing events to help students learn about careers and connect to business professionals in the Portland community. One recent event was the Careers in International Business event, which featured 8 panelists from companies such as DHL, Daimler, Nike, EcoZoom, and Mercy Corps. These panelists hold a variety of positions within their organizations, and MIM students had the opportunity to meet with them face to face to get some insights into the career opportunities in their respective fields.




Other career events that are held throughout the year include workshops on resume and cover letter writing, interviewing skills, and workshops specifically for students who are changing careers. These are events that are exclusively for graduate business students. And since the MIM program is only 15 months long, students who hope to have a job at the time that they graduate should get involved with career and job search planning as early as possible. For more information on the career workshops and events available to PSU graduate business students, please contact career advisor Jodi Nelson at



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2013 Northwest MBA Consortium Career Conference

Last week the NW MBA Consortium hosted its annual career conference at the Portland Convention Center. Students attended from the following business schools


Portland State University, Oregon State University, University of Oregon, University of Washington and Willamette University. The conference featured company information sessions, workshops and panel discussions. 

The companies that were featured were both local and national businesses from Daimler Trucks, Waddell and Reed, Target,  Hitachi Consulting and many more.


The company information sessions gave students an idea of
what a typical day was like, the company culture, work schedule, positions within the company and potential career development timelines.

IMG_8459 (1)

The panel discussions helped students to understand the employers perspective of the recruitment process, tips for case study interviews, international student panel, sustainability and how to perfect your elevator pitch.

Many current students are searching for summer internships and looking ahead to the job application process, this conference helped kick-start our strategy for the year.


Susan Forrester


 Susan Forrester is a full-time student in the Masters in International Management program. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Portland State University. After living in Seoul, South Korea for two years she was interested in finding a career that linked Oregon and Asia together through trade. Susan enjoys the diverse background of the MIM student body that allows her to frequently practice her beginner level Chinese.

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Supply Chain Conversation With Lee Buddress: Part 2

IMG_8447This is the second part of a recent conversation with Lee Buddress, the operations management instructor for the MIM program. Here he talks a little about recent developments in supply chain and operations management, and the type of skills and experience required for those who are interested in careers in supply chain. (For the first part of this conversation please see here.)

 You’ve mentioned before that sustainability has been one of the biggest developments in Supply Chain in the past several years. What has led to the increased focus on sustainability ?

Yes. Sustainability and supply chain risk, those are the two hot topics. Risk, as in continuity of business. For example, what if your major supplier or a key critical component is in Japan and they have an earthquake and your supplier is now out of business? What do you do? The collection of major natural disasters in the last year or year-and-a-half has really caused people to rethink a lot. First the Japanese earthquake, then we had the big floods in Thailand, then we had Superstorm Sandy, and the consequence of that was people were scratching and scrambling all over the place to try and keep their facilities operating in the face of significant part shortages from all over the world. So, the whole idea then is, “Let’s rethink how we do business, in the face of what appears to be a procession of ever increasing risks to our long supply chains. As we begin pulling our parts from all over the world, the length of our supply chains dramatically increases the risk from storms at sea, to natural disasters, to labor shortages, to political unrest, to changing legal environments.

For sustainability, clearly global warming and its consequences have been big factors in increasing the emphasis on sustainability and sustainable operations, but the other piece of it is that people are finding out that it actually can be profitable. In Europe for example, most of the manufacturing companies have ISO 9000 registration, which is a quality process registration, but the companion piece to that from sustainability is ISO 14000, and that has become, in many cases, the first cut of supplier selection. If I’m a company that has ISO 14000 registration and we have a significant focus on sustainability, then I want my suppliers to begin thinking the same way. So the pressure then begins with the first cut of supplier selection, and says, “You got it? Fine, come talk to me. If you don’t have it, then tell me when you do.” So that’s part of how it begins to appear in the supply chain. The companies that are environmentally conscious are beginning to put pressure on the companies they do business with to develop those same focuses. There’s another piece to sustainability though, and that is the social responsibility piece. There are lots of different motivations for that, not the least of which is keeping off the front page of the newspaper. So, totally aside from the fact that it’s the right thing to do, to treat your people fairly, pay them a decent wage, give them decent working hours, and gender equity and all the other things that go along with social responsibility, the other piece of it is that customers and the general public are demanding it. When it shows up on the front page of the newspaper, it’s a huge black eye.

What kind of skill set does a person need to have in order to work in supply chain? 

There are expectations from recruiters. One, that you’ll be thoroughly proficient in all of Microsoft Office, with an emphasis on Excel. That you will be proficient in analytical analysis, because there’s a fair amount of that that goes on. I mean, when you look at a supplier and you have to decide between supplier A, B, and C, there’s a whole lot more than just a warm fuzzy feeling for one or the other of the suppliers that needs to be done whenever you sign a long-term contract with a supplier. So, a certain amount of analytical skill is necessary. It’s absolutely critical to have good people skills too, because a big part of the job is managing relationships between your organization and all the other ones outside that you work with, whether those are suppliers, or carriers or people who are managing your third-party logistics activities,or people who are representatives of your customers who want to come and see the machines work and watch their product being built. So the interaction, the people skills are pretty important.

Language skills are always extremely marketable. Cross-cultural skills and understanding are also extremely marketable. You know, the way business is these days, if it’s not already all international, it’s rapidly heading that way. So, it’s not going to be long before the whole supply chain field is the core of a company.

What other courses are part of the MIM Supply Chain specialization, beyond the basic Operations Management course?

The two courses that you would take in the summer are the Global Sourcing class, and the Global Logistics class. And the fourth course of the sequence is the Integrated Supply Chain class, and that’s very largely a case class which allows people to take all of the knowledge that they’ve acquired in the first three classes and bring it to bear on actual business environments. Part of the reason we do that is because when you guys graduate, you’re going to be going to work for companies, and the companies are going to say, “OK. You’ve got a Master’s degree in this stuff. Here’s this huge mess. Fix it.” So the course gives you the opportunity to fix some messes in a non-costly environment.

What career opportunities are there within the supply chain field?

Depending on what a person’s interests are, you can go all the way from being involved in purchasing and supply management, dealing with global suppliers. You can get into transportation and logistics and third-party logistics. You can get into production planning and control, there’s always an opportunity there. Several of our former students are working at what used to be Sun Microsystems, and is now Oracle. There always seems to be more opportunity available than students to fill the opportunities. Since we’ve started the undergrad supply and logistics program, we’ve always had 100% employment [after graduation] since we started it 15 years ago. So there are lots of good jobs.

The bottom line is, for people who appreciate a highly predictable lifestyle…. accounting is for them. If however, you like to be in the middle of where the action is, supply chain is where it’s at. I tell my students two things. Number one is, in supply chain, you’ll never have a dull day. You may tear your hair out half the time, but you’ll never have a dull day. Number two is, in supply chain, two days are never the same. There’s always something different going on. Always. And that’s what makes it fun.


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 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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Supply Chain Conversation With Lee Buddress: Part 1

Lee Buddress

Lee Buddress

Lee Buddress is a professor in the Supply and Logistics program at PSU, and teaches the Operations Management course that MIM students are currently taking. In this interview he provides some background on the field of supply chain, the supply and logistics program at PSU, and also shares a little about his own business experience. This is the first of a two-part interview.

Can you tell us a little about your own business background, and what made you decide to begin teaching?

Before teaching full time I had 20 years work experience in virtually all aspects of supply chain management, with the majority of that time spent working for the biggest tugboat company on the West Coast. Throughout my career I worked in everything from running a production crew, to purchasing, to warehousing, to inventory control and production planning, as well as transportation and logistics. While I was doing that I began teaching at a community college, and the more I did it the better I liked it. I had one of those once in a lifetime opportunities to go back to Michigan State University and teach in what was arguably one of the best supply chain programs at the time, and get my PhD in supply chain management at the same time. I did that, then came here [PSU], and have been here ever since. The reason I came here was because this was the only place in the entire northwest where purchasing and supply chain was offered, and where it gave me an opportunity to teach those disciplines. So coming here was a no brainer.

I hear people say that Portland State University has a fairly robust Supply Chain program. What would you say to that?

Well, obviously I’m biased, but I think we have the most extensive, comprehensive supply chain program of any school in the country, and I’ll tell you why I think that. A number of years ago, Boeing, who recruits very heavily here, decided that they were recruiting at too many schools around the country for supply chain, so they put us all through a fairly rigorous analysis of our program and cut back to about 12 schools. They then sent me a spreadsheet of all the courses in all the schools where they recruit; Michigan State, Arizona State, Tennessee, Ohio State…Portland State; with the list of courses we offer we run right off the bottom of the page. We have the most extensive, comprehensive program of anyone in the country.

The reason it has been so successful is because there have been an incredible array of adjunct instructors who’ve been willing to come here and teach. The guys that teach the Logistics class in the MIM specialization, one is the former Vice President of Eagle Global Logistics. He was stationed in London for a long time and ran all of Eagle’s operations throughout Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The guy that team teaches with him is director of logistics for Intel. The guy that teaches our Japanese Management class, Norman Bodek, is probably one of the half dozen leading experts on Japanese management in the entire world. He has made 81 trips to Japan to study Japanese management, he is on a first name basis with everybody who’s anybody, he has published over 400 books on Japanese management and he has written 7, and he comes over here and he teaches a class for us on Japanese management.

There is no place else in the country where people can go and get exposed to that kind of expertise. In part, because Portland State’s a little different than some of the more research oriented organizations. Other universities have professors that tend to be more academics, they come up through the academic ranks, but they haven’t had the feet on the ground experience that these sorts of people [at PSU] have so, it makes a big difference. When the recruiters come to me and they say, “The reason we like your students is because not only do they have the book learning but they have some street smarts…”, that’s exactly what I’m hoping for. Based on that, you guys get jobs. Whereas students from other universities might have to scramble a little more.

In the simplest terms possible, how would you define supply chains for someone who has never heard of them?

At its most fundamental, supply chain is really all about managing the flow of materials from suppliers to the organization, and on the the final customers. Purchasing, global contract negotiations, transportation, logistics, warehousing and inventory control, production planning and control, and then outbound distribution and finished product. You know, if you look in the finance books, they all say the fundamental objective of any organization is the maximization of shareholder value, to which I say, “prune juice!”. If you look at the maximization of shareholder value in another sense, it’s really an outcome. If we do our jobs really well in supply chain, if we pick world class suppliers, manage transportation and warehousing costs, are effective in managing our production processes and distribution processes, if we do that really well, it’s easy to sell product and make a good profit. If we do our jobs badly, it’s darned near impossible to sell our product and make a good profit. If we make a good profit our stock goes up, so the influence on the stock price is driven by the supply chain effectiveness.

You’ve mentioned before that supply chains are the only place in a business where value is truly created. Can you explain this a bit more?

Supply Chain is where you manufacture the products. This is where you devise and deliver the services. This is where you actually create the value that your company represents. It’s also the fun part of the business too! This is where the action is!


The second part of this interview will be posted next week.

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 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 Career Tips: Interview With Jodi Nelson

IMG_7951One of the most common questions students ask when they apply to the MIM program is “What can I do with this degree?” I sat down with Jodi Nelson, the Career Advisor for the MIM and other graduate business students, and asked her a few questions about the unique skills that the MIM degree offers students, and how students can best prepare for the job application process.

Josh: Hi Jodi. My first question is very basic. What kind of careers can people get after finishing the MIM program?

Jodi: It partly depends on a person’s background. The MIM program is a great program, but it is not an equalizer. A person with little or no work experience and a person with 20 years work experience in a given field will not get the same job after graduating.

For many students, their first job after graduating from the MIM program will be similar to they type of work they could get after completing a bachelor’s degree in business. However, students with a MIM degree will have skills and experience that will allow them to progress faster along their career paths. Features of the MIM program like leadership training, the capstone project, and the Asia trip in the spring are all things that will help position students for faster and higher level career paths.

Josh: What about the MIM specializations (Global Marketing, Supply Chain, Finance)? Can students expect to really be “specialists” in these areas after completing the program? Will students be limited in their career options based on which specialization they choose?


Career Conference

Jodi: The short answer to the first question is that, yes, the MIM specializations do give students an extra level of expertise in whichever field they choose. Generally, marketing and supply chain are the specializations that most students gravitate towards, and a smaller number choose finance. The supply chain program here is actually quite good.

As for whether a student’s career options are limited by the specialization they choose, I wouldn’t say this is the case. The core curriculum of the MIM program is broad enough that students should be qualified to work in a variety of careers. For example, even if a person chooses the Supply Chain specialization in the MIM program, but later sees a job opening in marketing at a company they are really interested in, they should still go ahead and apply.

Josh: Does the international focus of the MIM program give students an edge in the job market, compared to a traditional MBA? 

 Jodi: Certain companies are increasingly looking for applicants who have foreign language skills and intercultural competency. They want people who have the ability to communicate, to lead, and to step out of their comfort zone. Chinese and Japanese language classes are key elements of the MIM curriculum, and this will be attractive to many employers. Even if you’re not fluent in a second language after finishing the MIM program, companies will at least like seeing that you have some familiarity with another language, and a conversational ability in that language.

Besides that though, the Asia trip and even the international nature of the classroom environment in the MIM program are things that allow students to get used to working with a diverse group of people, and these are experiences that will help you stand out from other applicants when you begin applying for jobs.

Josh: In terms of landing a job soon after graduating, what do you think are the key things students can do to position themselves for being hired soon after completing their degree?


Marketing Careers Panel

Jodi: For students who aren’t yet sure what type of career they would like, Career Panels are valuable resources for learning about a variety of career fields. We invite professionals to come in and speak about their jobs, and students can ask questions to get a feel for what that particular type of work is like. Beyond that, getting involved with student groups, conducting informational interviews, and networking are all important.

The important thing to understand about networking is that people knowing you doesn’t get you a job, but it can get you an interview. You still have to sell yourself. Internships are also great opportunities. Summer term is a good time for internships since the MIM course load is a little lighter.

Josh: Speaking of the job application process, when do you recommend that students start doing this?

Jodi: The earlier the better. Generally, I recommend applying 3 months or so before you hope to have a job, and since MIM students graduate in December, this means they should start applying for jobs in July or August. What’s important though is not just the number of resumes that you put out there, but taking the time to tailor your resume or cover letter to the key positions that you really think you want. Some large companies will notice if the same person is just applying for every single job opening in the company, and this does not reflect well on the applicant.

International students who want to work in the U.S. after graduating have a few options. One is CPT (Curricular Practical Training), which is good for students who want to do internships in the summer. This is a good option because it helps international students get their foot in the door and establish a relationship with a company, which has the potential of leading to more permanent work later. The second is OPT (Optional Practical Training), which allows students to work for 12 months in the U.S. after graduating. To work in the U.S. permanently, international students would need an H1B visa, but this is usually very difficult to get. It requires a lot of legal work on the part of the company that is sponsoring you, and therefore smaller companies are not likely to go through with it. Some large companies with the resources to handle this extra work will sometimes hire international employees for technical positions, but this is much less common for general business positions.

The most important thing is to try and narrow down your career interests as early as possible, and to take advantage of career resources available to you during the program. Students shouldn’t worry if they don’t know specifically what kind of career they would like at the time they start the MIM program, but if a student can find their focus sooner rather later, it will help them make effective use of their time and resources when they begin looking for jobs.

For more information on the career resources available to MIM and other graduate business students, please see the PSU School of Business Administration website here.

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 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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