Category Archives: MIM GENERAL

MIM Life Series: Portland and MIM Classmates

By Yuanqian Sun

I want to say, I love all of our MIM members! They are like my family right now. We are working together and learning together almost everyday. Here are some memorable moment I personal took during the term.

  1. Portland, Oregon
  2. Portland State University
  3. Chinese group in Japanese class
  4. Classmate’s wedding reception
  5. Have Chinese traditional dim sum with my friends

First of all, I want to say, I love Oregon, I love Portland. This is the place I have lived for already five years but I am still liking it.

Mount Hood is the best place we can go outside with our classmates. I came with my classmates on the weekend and it was so beautiful. We can climb or drive to the mountain top.

Rita

Then, I want to say, Portland is the beautiful city that I like the most in United States. I have been to a lot of states and a lot of cities, none of them makes me feel like home. Portland people are so nice, they always smile to you even if they don’t know you. Also, the weather is so nice in the summer. I like it.

Rita2

I like my classmates in Portland State University MIM program. Although we are Chinese, we didn’t know each other before we came to MIM. I would like to say, MIM gave us the opportunities to let us meet and know each other. I am very happy to know them and be their friends.

Rita 3

This is the picture we took in Japanese class. it’s so fun that MIM program provided us a chance to learn a different culture and a second language. The Chinese students were learning Japanese in the past year. We were not only learning Japanese, but also the culture.

Rita5

This is the picture at Derek’s wedding party. He was the second MIM member to get married in our program, and the first one who held a wedding during our school year. We all came to celebrate. This makes us just like a family. All of the MIIMers are like sisters and brothers. We are all very happy that he can find his love.

Rita6

After class, we would have lunch or dinner together. This is the picture we have Chinese traditional dim sum in HK Café. They are my Thai friends. They are all very nice. They were learning Chinese for a year and they really like Chinese culture. When we have dim sum, they try to use their Chinese to made the order.

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What is your BHG? Inspiration from Patrik Nilsson, President of adidas North America

Patrik Nilsson

Patrik Nilsson, President of adidas North America

Last Friday I attended an interview with Patrik Nilsson, President of adidas North America, in one of a continuing series of “Power Breakfasts” organized by the Portland Business Journal. I had heard of these events before, but had never actually been to one, and therefore was not sure exactly what to expect. I was interested in learning more about adidas though, and so decided to go check it out. In the end, what I got out of the event was a thought provoking idea or two, both things that I could apply to how I look at companies, and also how I view my own potential as a job candidate (more on that in a bit).

The event was held in the fancy Governor Hotel in downtown Portland, and was very well attended. I had been told that these events are often good networking opportunities, but what surprised me somewhat was that most of the other attendees seemed to be from companies not related in any way to the footwear industry. I spoke with a local banker who said that he simply liked the adidas brand and their products, and that is why he was there. Mostly, I seemed to meet folks who came for the breakfast, and to hear an interesting conversation.

….And an interesting conversation it was. Once the early morning mingling died down and everyone had taken their seats, Craig Wessel, Publisher at the Portland Business Journal invited Patrik Nilsson to the stage, and proceeded with a lively and informative interview. Patrik Nilsson’s personal background itself was fascinating enough (originally from Sweden, played hockey and dreamed of making it into the NHL when he was younger, never graduated from university, but has now been President of adidas North America since 2007). What really interested me though was what Nilsson had to say about a company’s brand and identity.

Quoting the Harvard Business Review, he said there are 4 things that successful companies tend to have in common:

1: They have a vision.

2: They have a clear values system.

3: Have a BHG (a Big Hairy Goal).

4: Finding a position in the marketplace that they can defend over time.

To explain a little more, having a vision is important because it gives the company a direction, and a framework for what the company would like to accomplish. A clear values system is important because it communicates internally to employees and externally to customers what the company stands for, and helps to define the company’s culture. More specifically, Nisson said, people like to work for companies that they feel have integrity, this can be one of the best ways to instill trust and loyalty among employees. A Big Hairy Goal (also known by some as a Big Hairy Audacious Goal), is something that gives the company a target to strive for, and hopefully fits with the overall company vision. The words hairy and audacious point to the fact that this goal should not be something that is simple and straightforward, but something that will take time, effort, and creativity to accomplish, with payoffs to the company along the way. The fourth point, finding a position that you can defend over time, is about differentiating yourself and doing something that no other company can do as well as you.

Youth Soccer Support

The Portland Timbers and adidas support local youth soccer programs

How might adidas fit into each of these points? Nilsson himself did not directly answer point by point, but he did reference values of the company, such as efforts toward more sustainable business practices, as well as support community outreach such as youth soccer programs. For a vision and BHG, he mentioned the goal of becoming the world’s leading sports apparel company (which in Portland certainly qualifies as an audacious goal, given a certain industry-leading competitor located just across the river).

While these four points may be easily related to companies, reflecting on them made me think that they can just as easily be applied to individuals. Maybe it’s just that I’m in full job search mode right now, so I can’t help but think along the lines of stating my goals, and how these four points can serve as a nice framework for a job candidate in articulating the direction that they would like to move.

Using myself as an example:

I have a vision of global corporations as drivers of more equitable business practices, and that make decisions with all stakeholders and externalities taken into consideration.

My values are that I believe businesses can and should be more than organizations that seek only thin financial profits, and I want to work for a company that sees the value in its natural, human, and financial capital.

My BHG: To help bring about industry-wide changes for footwear and apparel companies, to make it the first industry that has zero (yes, you heard me), zero impact on the environment, while working to increase profits of the companies themselves.

Position I can defend over time (what is something that I can do better than anyone else?): I have been following a personal interest in materials and manufacturing for footwear and apparel, I have work experience and language proficiency in two countries, Japan and China, that have and will continue to be major players in the design and manufacture of footwear and apparel. I want to use these experiences and knowledge to work toward my goal and my vision.

That’s my simple attempt at articulating the direction that I would like to take my career, and what I have to offer. Whether it’s for an individual, or an organization, establishing a framework and a direction can give a much needed sense of purpose to what you do.

So these were thoughts that I was left with as I walked away from the Power Breakfast the other day. Would I recommend these events to other MIM students as networking opportunities? Not necessarily, but you never know who you might meet at business events around town. If however, you are looking for thought provoking talks with dynamic and influential leaders, the Portland Business Journal does a good job of inviting fascinating individuals in the local business community, and Patrik Nilsson is a great example of this. Definitely check out their list of upcoming talks, and find one that interests you.

In the meantime, try thinking about how you would answer the four points above. What are your career goals? What direction would you like to point yourself in? Which companies do you feel best fit your own values? And what is your BHG?

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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Managing Info Tech Globally Class Reflection

ryan-reichertContent manager for Nike, managing editor of Palate Press, MIM graduate, and now as a MIM adjust professor, Ryan Reichert is currently teaching the MIM Managing Information Technology Globally course!  Continue reading

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Asia Pacific News Update 9/30 – 10/6

Asia-Pacific_Economic_Cooperation_nationsThis week’s articles focus on strengthening military ties between Japan and the US, the World Toilet Summit being held in Indonesia, the “Silicon Valley’s” of Latin America, China’s booming recycling industry, and Lego’s expansion into the Chinese market.

From the New York Times – Japan and the United States have cooperated militarily since the end of WW2. It appears this trend will continue for years to come.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/04/world/asia/japan-and-us-agree-to-broaden-military-alliance.html?_r=0

From the Diplomat – With over 2.5 billion people worldwide without access to toilets or a functioning sewer system, world leaders began discussions yesterday to discuss this growing problem. 

http://thediplomat.com/asean-beat/2013/10/03/indonesia-opens-the-lid-on-world-toilet-summit/

From Venture Beat – Latin American, in recent years, has become a hub for promising tech start-ups. Three governments (Chile, Colombia, and Brazil) are at the forefront of attracting innovative entrepreneurs. 

http://venturebeat.com/2013/09/29/the-silicon-valleys-of-latin-america-a-tale-of-3-nations/

From ABC News – The world has long sent their garbage to China to be disposed of. In the past, this industry was largely unregulated. Chinese authorities aim to change this amid growing concerns over contaminated waste.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/china-recycling-cleanup-jolts-global-industry-20453641

From Quartz – Everyone’s favorite childhood toy is looking to expand its operations in China. China has long been a haven of knock-off and imitation Lego play sets. 

http://qz.com/131355/lego-looks-to-expand-in-china-the-land-of-lego-knock-offs/

Luke Hudson

Luke_HudsonLucas Hudson is a full-time student in the Masters of International Management program. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Spanish from the University of Oregon. During his studies, he lived in Valdivia, Chile, studying Spanish language and Latin American history. After graduation, Luke has spent his time traveling extensively throughout South America and working as a banker and accountant for local Portland businesses. He is interested in using his business experience and language skills to find a career that will allow him build relations between Latin America and the Asia-Pacific.

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Welcome to the new MIM cohort and the beginning of a new term!

Accounting Class Starbucks Prank

The infamous “Starbucks Prank” in Global Accounting class last year. Will the new MIM cohort beat us in goofiness?

The Fall term at PSU is officially underway now, which means that a new MIM cohort has started the program! Classes in the Fall term include Global Marketing, Global Financial Accounting, Pacific Rim Economies, Global Strategy, and Chinese or Japanese language courses.

Halfway through the first week, new MIM student Terry Donahue said that the program already felt like it was moving very quickly. Terry is studying Japanese in the program, and although he felt a little daunted by the fact that some classmates had had previous experience studying Japanese or living in Japan, he was excited to begin learning the language. He also recognized though that the packed schedule of the MIM program really forces students to develop good time management skills.

Time management and good organizational skills are things that many current MIM students also recommended for incoming students. In a poll of what their biggest advice was for incoming students, almost half of all respondents said that managing time well is the most important thing in the MIM program. Others said that networking in the community is important, which is true especially for those who are trying to find jobs in and around Portland after they graduate.

Other pieces of advice were to participate in the SBA Mentor Program, an opportunity that matches PSU graduate business students with professionals in the local business community, who act as mentors for their students throughout the academic year.

Jason Carnahan, a MIM alumnus from years past, suggested finding classmates with similar goals, who could act as study partners and help motivate you throughout the program.

Whether you are a new or a continuing MIM student, good luck with the new term!

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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Late Weekend Recap: Asia-Pacific News 9/23-9/29

MIM special correspondent Luke Hudson returns with a collection of some of the biggest news stories of the Asia-Pacific! In case you missed any of these, Luke has pulled together several articles that focus on issues in China, Japan, and Southeast Asia that are both timely, and also encapsulate longterm issues that the region faces.

This week’s articles focus on China’s new high-speed train system, developing trends in the Chinese labor market, Japan’s successful Summer Olympic bid, green energy in Japan, and an update on ASEAN economic integration.

From the New York Times – After years of sluggish ridership and safety concerns, China’s high-speed rail is set to revolutionize transportation for business and individual travelers.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/24/business/global/high-speed-train-system-is-huge-success-for-china.html?_r=0

From the Wall Street Journal – Facing rising wages and demands for better working conditions, Chinese manufacturers have been looking for a work-around. Robotics could be a solution to their problem.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303759604579093122607195610.html?mod=WSJ__MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsForth

From CNN – This article speculates about the economic and social benefits of Tokyo’s recent selection to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.

http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2013/09/23/is-japan-really-back/

From Fortune – With concerns over the use of nuclear power and the recent heat wave, Japan has been forced to use its supply of electricity with greater efficiency.

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/09/23/japan-energy/

From Rappler.com – The countries of ASEAN are getting closer to economic and political integration. Here is an update about recent happenings and predictions for the near future.

http://www.rappler.com/world/regions/asia-pacific/39481-apb-survey-asean-economic-integration

Luke Hudson

Luke_HudsonLucas Hudson is a full-time student in the Masters of International Management program. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Spanish from the University of Oregon. During his studies, he lived in Valdivia, Chile, studying Spanish language and Latin American history. After graduation, Luke has spent his time traveling extensively throughout South America and working as a banker and accountant for local Portland businesses. He is interested in using his business experience and language skills to find a career that will allow him build relations between Latin America and the Asia-Pacific.

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Capstone Mid-Project Presentations and FAQ

IMG_2831

The author and his teammates presenting the initial findings of their capstone project research.

MIM students have been busy this week with presentations for their capstone projects. For most groups, this is the halfway point of their capstone project, and a good time to assess the progress made so far, and also think critically about what steps need to be taken to ensure successful completion of the project in November.

The mid-project presentations themselves are a chance for capstone teams to meet with their project advisor, capstone project advisor, and the director of the MIM program, and present their progress, challenges, and plans for the remainder of the project. Teams are given 15 minutes to present their findings, which often include the results of secondary and primary research they have conducted, as well as any initial recommendations that they may have for their clients. Advisors will then ask some general questions and provide feedback which may be of use to teams as they move forward.

Although we are only halfway through the projects so far, there are a few lessons and insights that my team and I have discovered through our experience in this process that could be helpful for future MIM students to know. Below is a quick FAQ list with some tips and advice on MIM capstone projects that may come in handy.

What are the MIM capstone projects?

Capstone projects (also called Exit Projects by some people) are real-world business projects that MIM students do for participating companies. These projects are intended to provide students a culminating experience over the last two terms of the MIM program, and a way to apply their knowledge and business skills to real projects that their sponsors (companies) provide. Projects typically focus on specific questions that the company is trying to answer, such as how they might enter an international market, find and qualify suppliers, or develop a plan for future growth and expansion.

What is the timeframe for MIM capstone projects?

Most projects begin around late June or early July and wrap up around the end of November, although exceptions are sometimes made if the project sponsor needs a different timeframe. Students are expected to work continuously for the duration of the project, which means that although MIM students have a break from classes during the second half of the summer, they should still be staying on schedule with their capstone projects.

Who is responsible for finding project sponsors?

In most cases the business school and the MIM program director will be in charge of finding companies to sponsor projects, but some savvy MIM students will sometimes propose projects for companies that they may have connections to in the local area. The best advice here is that if you have an idea for a project yourself, start early by talking to the company and proposing a project idea, and try to be as specific as possible. An even more basic tip would be to network with business people around Portland as much as you can during the early part of the MIM program, so that when it comes time to start thinking about capstone projects, you have some good connections within the business community that you can tap for this purpose.

How much time should students expect to dedicate to their capstone projects?

Students should expect to meet with their teams at least once a week for most of the 5 months that they are working on their projects, and should also be spending a few hours each week doing individual research. The MIM program says that teams typically put in a total of around 600-900 hours of work on the projects over the course of 5 months, but this will vary considerably depending on the specifics of each project, as well as the dedication of each team and individual. Regardless of how many hours a team actually spends on the project, the important thing is to work consistently every week, so that you are not rushed over the last month or two trying to finish everything at the last minute. The mid-project presentations that MIM students do in September are therefore useful in giving students a chance to assess how much they have done, and whether they are on track with their projects.

What are MIM students expected to deliver to their project sponsors by the end of the project?

Students must put together a written report of their findings and recommendations on the project, and give a presentation to their project sponsor detailing the results of their research. Students should approach the project as if it is really a professional report for their actual job. While you shouldn’t expect that doing a capstone project for a company will get you a job their after graduation, this has happened for students in the past, so put in your best effort on the project as if you were trying to impress a future employer. At the very least, the project sponsor may be able to give you a recommendation for other future jobs that you may be applying for elsewhere!

What are some tips for how students can work most effectively throughout their project?

As mentioned above, time management and working consistently are two big points here. Beyond that, communicating openly and respectfully with team members can also help with the collaborative aspect of the project. In most cases, MIM students are assigned teams, and are therefore not able to choose who they work with on their projects. You may be working with people who have very different communication and work styles than yourself, so the capstone experience can be just as valuable an experience for building teamwork and leadership skills as it is a chance to work on research and “hard” business skills.

We hope that these tips may be useful for future MIM students when they begin their own capstone projects. Congratulations to the current MIM students for completing their mid-project presentations, and good luck as you work to complete your projects in the coming weeks!

Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about the Master of International Management program.

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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