Category Archives: Common Questions

Connect to Community Networking Event

By Jake Culian

One of my favorite parts about the MIM program and the School of Business Administration at PSU in general are the networking events that they put on.  Last night several members of our cohort attended the quarterly event known as Connect to Community.  The event is held in the Pearl District at Bridgeport Brewery, .   This is one of many fine breweries in Portland which has helped develop its nickname of Beervana.

This was the first time that I’ve been able to make it to the Connect to Community event and I’m definitely planning on going back.  I felt it was a great event, not only because of the free food, but also because of the diversity of people who attended.  Not only where there current and previous MIM students, but also representatives from the other Masters programs out of the SBA.  In addition there were local business people, some members of the school administration as well as a few undergraduate alumni.

I really enjoyed this event because it got me into contact with a whole variety of new Alumni outside of my current program.  It’s always interesting to see which direction people have taken relatively similar degrees.  I particularly appreciate knowing all the different avenues you can possibly pursue with a degree in business.  I know that one of my bigger problems when looking for jobs is not even knowing what sort of options are available to consider and events like this one are great demonstrations of the length and breadth of the opportunities available.

This event is but one of many opportunities available to students and I would highly recommend going to as many of them as possible.  They’re almost all free and frequently put students in the same room as executives from companies like Nike, Boeing, Intel, or Blount.  If you’re interested in getting a job in the Portland area there’s no better way to get your name out there.  So I suggest you go check out the campus event page and find something you’re interested in.


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How I Spent My MIM Summer Break Travelling Across The U.S.

By Patamaporn Hirunlap

During the summer break, I had a chance to travel to six states within eleven days—from California, Nevada, Colorado, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Utah. My friend, Fang, and I bought a tour from a Chinese agency because we cannot drive. On the bus, all of us were Chinese except the two of us and three Americans, but that wasn’t a problem as the tour guide spoke both Chinese and English. It was a good time to practice Chinese after studying the language for the past eight months. We were so proud of our language skills when the Chinese people on board understood what we were saying.

We were scheduled to travel to San Francisco three days before the tour started. Mostly, we relied on Google Maps and a San Francisco paper map. I had a list of places in mind from my searches on the Internet. The first day, we decided to go to Twin Peaks as we wanted to start from the farthest place, but Google Maps could not find the exact location. Therefore, we took a subway to a place close to the destination. We thought we could find a bus from there that would take us to the top of the hill. Well, after waiting for twenty minutes, we did not see a single bus. We thought to ourselves, how does everyone who doesn’t have a car go up this hill? Then we saw an older man walking on the trail. We asked him how to get there, and he smiled and told us he was going up the hill too and asked if we wanted to walk with him. We thought, well, why not. We are young and should have no problem walking uphill. If this older man can, we sure can! So, we decided to walk with him. We learned that this year he turned seventy-five-years-old, and he always walks up and down the hill to go to the market or downtown. His home is on the hill. As we walked with him, we grew more confident. We didn’t walk on the street but through a forest. He said he knew a shortcut that would help us arrive at the destination quicker. So, we kept going through the jungle, hoping to get there soon.

After we climbed up two steep hills, Fang and I started to look at each other. We were so tired. Our legs started shaking. We could not walk anymore. It was so windy, and we were feeling cold. It was time to say goodbye to the older man—damn he was tough. Below is the picture of the highest point that we could get up to.

Pike Peak

After wasting our time and energy walking and finding places to go on the first day—mostly because of our bad planning—we searched online, gathered all the details about the places we wanted to see, and ended up having a very nice trip in the city. We visited a lot of popular places in San Francisco, such as Alcatraz Island, Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, Palace of Fine Art, Lombard Street, and the Golden Gate Bridge. At the bridge, however, it was so foggy that we barely captured it in this photo.


Clam chowder bread bowl is considered one of the most well-known dishes at Fisherman’s Wharf. It was so creamy and tasty. We loved it very much but still wanted some spicy food, so we went to a Thai restaurant afterwards.


On the fourth day, the tour began! The tour brought us to Yosemite National Park, Arches National Park, Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Grand Canyon West Rim, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City.

Mt rushmore

In Las Vegas, we went to eat at Gordon Ramsay BurGR, which is one of the most popular restaurants in Las Vegas. We were so lucky that there was a very short line on that day. Everything was so yummy. The restaurant also had a lot of great desserts—sticky toffee pudding push pops.

Las Vegas

At Arches National Park, we visited only one attraction, which was Landscape Arch. Unluckily, the tour did not give us enough time to hike to Delicate Arch, which is the symbol of Utah and a landmark in Arches National Park.


The most interesting place to me was Yellowstone National Park. Places such as Old Faithful Geyser, Grand Prismatic Springs, and Fountain Pain Pot were really awesome. Old Faithful is a cone geyser located in Wyoming. Old Faithful was named in 1870 during the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition and was the first geyser in the park to receive a name. It is also known as one of the most predictable geographical features on Earth, erupting almost every ninety-one minutes and lasting only four minutes.

Summer break is probably the best time to enjoy travelling to Yellowstone National Park, but if you plan to take a long trip and visit many areas, it is smart to pack clothing for various kinds of weather. You cannot expect every place to be warm or hot during summer. For example, the weather in Yellowstone was constantly changing. It can be rainy, snowy, and sunny all in one day.

Taking a tour is a best option if you want to see many places in limited time. However, the tradeoffs are waking up early every day and limited time to spend at each location.

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MIM Alumni Interview: Gigi Rong

By Gayathri Selvaraj

Gigi Rong was a full-time student in the MIM program. She graduated in the year 2010 and started her internship with Xerox. After working with Xerox for four years, she recently got a new and exciting opportunity to work as a supply chain consultant for LLamasoft. In this interview, Gigi talks about her experience in MIM program and her current job at LLamasoft.


Gayathri Selvaraj: Can you tell us about your experience in the MIM program at Portland State University?

Gigi Rong: I attended the program between 2009-2010 as a full-time student. Till date, choosing the MIM program is one of the best decisions I have made in my life.

Like most international students, I had to improve my English language skills, learn to make meaningful contributions in class, and function as a good team player, while adjusting to an entirely new and different culture. In addition to the business curriculum, such experiences definitely broadened my vision and made me more flexible.

GS: What specialization did you choose? What motivated you to choose this specialization?

GR: I started my internship at Xerox as a procurement specialist (buyer) during the fourth quarter of the MIM program. As a result, Supply Chain Management was my specialization in order to better equip myself with the needed skills for the job.  Also, I have to mention that it was Dr. Lee Buddress who spoke about the internship opportunity at Xerox during his class. And in my case, this internship opportunity later materialized into a full-time position.

GS: Can you tell us about your new job? What kind of responsibilities does it involve?

GR: I’ve started my new job as a supply chain consultant at LLamasoft. LLamasoft develops software and provides expertise to help clients design new or improve their existing supply chain operations. This leads to major improvements in cost, service, sustainability, and risk mitigation. As a consultant, I will work with our clients, utilizing our supply chain model to improve and optimize their supply chain operations.

GS: How has the MIM program benefited you in your new job?

GR: Through the MIM program, I greatly benefited through networking and meeting new people. Ryan Wilcoxen, a 2011 MIM graduate, helped me identify this opportunity with LLamasoft. He mentioned the company was expanding their operations to Japan, which I thought was very interesting. I also got referred to the company’s management team through him and was later contacted through LinkedIn. After few conversations, I thought what LLamasoft does is amazing, and I decided to proceed with this great opportunity to further specialize myself in Supply Chain Management and do meaningful work.

GS: Can you share some tips for fellow MIM students looking for jobs?

GR: 1. Be prepared always. Always work hard and deliver good work both inside and outside of the classroom. 2. Evaluate yourself (talk to your peers, mentor and/or professors) and identify your skill sets. This will help you identify job opportunities that are a good fit for you. 3. Go to networking events. Let people know that you are actively seeking employment opportunities, so people will think of you when they have an opening available.

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An Interview with GlobeSherpa’s Founders, Nat Parker & Michael Gray

By Megan Nelson


Started in 2010, GlobeSherpa is a Portland-based company started by Nat Parker and Michael Gray, two MIM alumni. The company provides a secure, mobile ticketing platform for mass transit systems. They are using the same technology to develop mobile ticketing systems for parking, events, and local destinations. Recently GlobeSherpa won the 2014 Juniper Research Future Mobile Award, which supports companies that have made a significant contribution and have the potential to have a significant market contribution in the future.

GlobeSherpa has developed a large talent pool focused on mobile application development. They are now recruiting for openings with their growing company, and have developed a unique video to grab the attention of potential associates, which supports the flare for innovation and fun corporate culture that Nat and Michael have developed into GlobeSherpa.

Nat and Michael will be available for questions after the Age of Pacific Lecture series on Friday, September 26. Recently, I was able to ask some questions about how the MIM program made an impact in the lives of Nat and Michael and for any advice they have for future MIM graduates:


Why did you choose PSU’s MIM program and how did it help you in the development and growth of GlobeSherpa?

We were both working in Portland and enrolled in Portland State University’s MIM program because it was convenient, had a strong international focus, and offered a comprehensive curriculum. The professors in the MIM program provided guidance early mentoring to us as we built out the idea for GlobeSherpa.


GlobeSherpa seems to be making headway in areas all over the U.S. What are some locations internationally where you are looking to integrate this technology? Why those locations (Personal interest, demand, etc.)?

Today, we are focused on winning North America. We have a lot of momentum in the US with TriMet, Virginia Railway Express, and Los Angeles Department of Transportation among others. In addition to the US, we are actively pursuing opportunities in Canada, including Toronto, Saskatchewan, and Vancouver B.C. As we look out into the near future, Europe and Asia hold a great deal of promise for our technology. We believe the appetite for mobile ticketing is high in all these locations due to high adoption of mobile phones and the desire by transit systems to adopt technologies that make paying for transit easier.


GlobeSherpa has won many awards over the past few years. How has this affected the growth and recognition of the company, and how do these awards connect to your brand messaging and what GlobeSherpa wants to be known for?

Winning awards is a great way to be recognized in the marketplace as a leader and innovator. It’s also humbling to be considered for recognition next to other amazing companies we admire and have learned from.  Awards also provide an opportunity to attract talented engineers and designers. We want GlobeSherpa to be known for our focus on innovation, agile development, and design/user experience.


The new recruiting video is very unique and fun. How did this idea come about, and is it reflective of the working environment at GlobeSherpa? How has it worked for the company in terms of recruiting?

The recruiting video was created by a friend of the company’s named Carl Tietze. He had created a video for Turbo Tax that we really loved. So we brought him in and talked to him about our platform and company. He then created the music and drafted the words based on that meeting. We worked with him over the course of a few weeks, and the video was done. For the most part, it is reflective of our company and our culture. We are a close group that appreciates each other’s company. We work hard and play hard, and we wanted a video that appropriately pushed the limits but also would resonate with the kind of developers and designers we wanted to hire. Yes, the video has been successful. We have hired four people over the course of the past three months.


What advice do you have for those graduating from the MIM program and others looking to start a business in Portland?

For individuals looking to start a company right out of school, we would provide three pieces of advice:

  1. Tell it like it is. Don’t try to be all things to all people. Being upfront and forthright has enormous advantages. Focus on being genuine and authentic in your pitches, your selling, and your products, and learn to say no!
  1. Kill Your Darlings. Focus on the end-user experience vs. the product that facilitates the experience. Its also very important to recognize your own emotional attachments, and don’t let those cloud your judgment about what the customer wants and needs.
  1. Go straight to the top. Communicate early and often with your target customers. Don’t get caught in middle management. Cultivate and maintain a champion that will help you move forward on your goals. And very important, people want to tell their story if you are bold enough to ask—so ask! Stories are often filled with solutions that address their pain point.


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Portland in the Fall: Fashion, and Music, and Beer, Oh My!

By Megan Nelson

September Events

Portland Fashion Week

If you enjoy music and fashion, this is a week of events for you! Portland Fashion Week, the only comprehensively sustainable fashion week, features seasoned pros and up-and-coming designers. All events take place at Pioneer Courthouse Square, a great meeting point for a day (or week) of fashion fun. Fashion Week runs from September 29 – October 2. Come see what the fuss is all about, offering fashion for all aesthetics.

Time-Based Art Festival

Art in the Pearl

Portland VegFest

October Events 

Hood River Valley Harvest Fest

Set at the Hood River Riverfront, this festival celebrates the end of the fruit growing season and everything that can be made from it. About an hour outside of Portland, this festival is great for all ages, with a variety of shopping, arts and crafts, and tasting. The Harvest Fest runs during the weekend of October 17 – 19.

West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta

In conjunction with a 5K Run/Walk, people looking for a good time dress up like superheros and row pumpkins across Tualatin Lake of the Commons. This is a popular event that can be a day of fun for the whole family. The regatta takes place on October 18. Knowing Portland as being “weird,” rowing a pumpkin across a lake fits right in!

Great American Distillers Festival

Portland is known for craft beer, but it also boasts some great local distilleries. There are tastings from local distillers, but also from distillers that have come from all over the nation to share their creations. This is yet another way to see what the city has to offer, while mingling with friends, new and old. This year is the 10th anniversary of the event and takes place at the Leftbank Annex on October 24 – 25.

Corn Maize on Sauvie Island

Portland Open Studios

Portland Queer Film Festival

November Events

Northwest Filmmakers Festival

A festival celebrating documentaries and short-film makers from the northwest area, offering one stop on the “best of Northwest” film tour. This event gives young and emerging artists a platform to show off their talents. A week long event, the film festival runs from November 7 – 15.

Wine Country Thanksgiving

The Willamette Valley is known for having great wines, and the weekend after Thanksgiving is a great time to sample your way around Portland.  This is an opportunity to check-out family-owned wineries that aren’t normally open to the public. This event takes place November 28-30, so grab a glass a taste some local wine!


Christmas Ship Parade

Whether you are new to Portland or have been here for years, get out and enjoy the city. There is plenty of fun for everyone and definitely an event to meet the likes and desires of people from all backgrounds. Enjoy Portland, it’s a great place to live!Portland landmark

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Our Journey to Mexico

By Qufei Xue

The short spring vacation was the perfect time for Tianjing and me to go to a not-so-far-away but very special place—Mexico. The beautiful Caribbean Sea, white sand, and historical cultures were just a few of the reasons why we made the journey. Mexico also grants visa-free entry to international students who hold an I-20 and a valid Visa.

IMG_3569 (1)

Our first destination on the trip was Cancun, which is famous for its Mayan culture and seaside resorts. As soon as we landed, the first thing I noticed were rows of palm trees lining a tropical beach. In Cancun, there are plenty of opportunities to participate in activities in the water, like snorkeling, sky rides, jungle tours, and diving. Amidst the crystal like water of the ocean, lies an abundance of myriad fish and colorful corals—we will never forget our experience snorkeling in its depth. Yet what stood out most to me about Cancun was its Mayan culture. The Maya civilization was one of the greatest that Mexico and the Americas has ever seen, and the Mayan culture is preserved today throughout the Yucatan—some of the places worth visiting are the islands of Cozumel, ruins of Chichen Itza, Tulum, and Isla Mujeres. We spent a superb five days with the blazing sun, rows of palm trees, and blue seas, and then we went to Mexico City, which is one of the biggest cities in the world.


Fortunately, since we are from China, we were not surprised to see so many people in one place, although we were amazed at the city’s old colonial architecture. When we arrived at the center of Mexico City, Zocalo, which is the biggest square in the world, we saw many colonial-era buildings that were not properly maintained. The Zocalo Square is surrounded by the Cathedral Metropolitan, Temple Mayor, and Palacio National. Afterwards, we went to one of the highest modern buildings in the Latin Americas, the Torre Latinoamericana, which overlooks the whole of Mexico City. This experience was unforgettable. The entire city represented a blend of deep history and modern civilization. We were able to appreciate another one of the greatest cultures in the Americas, the Aztec civilization. There is a view of the Pyramid of the Sun and Moon at the archaeological site of Teotihuacan in Mexico City. At the top of one of the greatest pyramids in the world, we were shocked to witness the remains of this ancient place.


This vacation gave us a lot of surprises. The ancient civilizations, historical buildings, and dazzling pearl that is the Caribbean Sea left us with memories that will last a lifetime.

IMG_4422 (1)

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MIM Resume Contest – Winner Announced

By  Jodi Nelson
Thank you to the 15 students that submitted resumes for the MIM Resume Contest. It was great to see how many of you were motivated to get your resumes updated. A polished resume is essential to getting an internship or job!And the winner of the contest is….. Chun-Wei Wang! Chun-Wei’s resume highlights her MIM degree and capstone project nicely. She includes lots of details about her work and volunteer experience with quantifiable results. Also, the format is consistent and easy to read. You can see Chun-Wei’s resume attached and it will be included in the updated Resume Guide.  Chun Wei Wang’s Resume

We had two runners-up: I-Ting Chen and Katie Thomas! I-Ting and Katie also did a nice job of highlighting their skills, education and accomplishments.

I know that all of you put time into your resumes and there were some other strong resumes submitted. Over the next week, I will send individual feedback from the committee to each student that submitted a resume. We want you all to have a resume as strong as possible. If you did not submit your resume for the contest, but would like some help, then please let me know.
Thanks all. And congratulations to Chun-Wei, I-Ting and Katie!

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