Category Archives: Networking

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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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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MIM Survival Guide: Where to find networking events in Portland

jackie wang talking
Many 2012 cohort MIM students are deep into their job search requesting informational interviews, applying to various positions and attending networking events. The new cohort may ask, “How did you get started? What resources did you use to jumpstart your career search?” Networking is certainly one of the most important aspects of any job search today, so below is a list of community and SBA resources our cohort has found useful over the past year.
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MIM Students Network at the Northwest China Council


MIM students enjoying the lunch and presentation provided by the NW China Council

It’s still summer vacation right now  in the MIM program. Many students are on the road traveling, some are busy with internships, and others are catching up on lost sleep from the previous months of the program.

For several MIM students who attended the Northwest China Council’s China Business Network event yesterday though, this time off from class is an opportunity to get out and network in the business community. The Northwest China Council is a non-profit organization in Portland that promotes understanding and connections between China and the Pacific Northwest. In addition to the cultural activities that the group organizes, there are also a number of business events that are held throughout the year, that serve as both as networking platforms for those interested in growing their business connections, and also provide educational information on issues relevant to doing business in China.

Yesterday’s event dealt specifically with the internationalization of China’s currency, the RMB. This included a presentation by Joseph Soroka of Key Bank, who gave an overview of China’s recent currency and foreign trade policy, followed by a Q&A session . The discussion was of course decidedly finance-heavy, and in many aspects covered material that MIM students learn in their International Finance class in the second term of the program. That being said, the presentation was a much-needed review of some key finance concepts, and also went into more detail on certain aspects of China’s currency policy, such as the fact that China has one currency used for onshore trading (i.e. trading within China), referred to as CNY, and another currency used for offshore trading, referred to as CNH (see here for a fuller explanation).


Networking after the presentation

With any networking event, I often say it is good to go there with at least a general goal in mind of what you want to accomplish there. Do you want to meet new people and build connections that could potentially lead to jobs later on? Do you want to learn about a specific topic that is covered at the event? Or do you simply want to practice your networking skills, like how to strike up a conversation with someone you’ve never spoken with before, or practice your elevator pitch? All are great goals to have when going to networking events, but I will add that sometimes I feel it is good enough to just get out there (“there” being the business community) and see who else is in attendance at these events, and see what opportunities are available. Portland has a relatively small and close-knit business community, and what I’ve discovered from going to a variety of networking events is that often the same people are going to the same kind of events, month after month. Sound repetitive? Maybe. But what’s great about this is that the more events you go to, the more you will recognize and become familiar with people in the business community, and the more they will become familiar with you. And the more familiar people are with you, the more they will begin to think of you when opportunities (i.e. jobs) become available.

So what’s the lesson here? Should a student participate in every networking event that comes their way? Should you always expect to get some tangible outcome from networking, like a handful of business cards and people you can connect with on LinkedIn? The answer to each of these points is of course no, not necessarily. The MIM program keeps students very busy, and it is not possible to go to every networking opportunity, but getting out to at least one event a month is both manageable and makes sure that you are actively getting involved and meeting new people.

If you are interested in learning more about China and building contacts with people doing business there, the Northwest China Council puts on some great events that are worth checking out. So whether you are in the MIM program, or interested in learning more about business opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region, I encourage you to get out and network as much as possible.

Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for more information on the Master of International Management program.

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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Portland’s Thriving Athletic and Outdoor Apparel Industry

AYOP-logo 2If you are at all interested in working in the athletic and outdoor apparel industry, Portland is the place to be.

I came to this realization long ago, but had it confirmed yet again after attending the first ever networking event for the Athletic and Outdoor Young Professionals of Portland. The AOYP is a relatively new group that brings together young professionals working in retail, marketing, materials supply, and design for athletic and outdoor apparel and footwear. Their recent networking event drew a large crowd of well-dressed Portlanders, and featured a keynote speech by Jeremy Moon, founder and president of Icebreaker.

So why do I say that Portland is the ideal place to become involved in this industry?

Is it because Portland is home to a number of global apparel and footwear companies’ global and North American headquarters, including Nike, Adidas, KEEN, Columbia Sportswear, and Icebreaker, not to mention the many smaller niche brands that are in the area?

Is it because the PSU School of Business Administration is starting a brand new certificate program in the Athletic and Outdoor Industry for interested undergraduate students?

Is it because of Portland’s ideal environment for a variety of outdoor activities, from running and cycling, to skiing, fishing, and hiking?

Is it because of all the opportunities to attend networking events like this one, and the chance to hobnob with people who work for industry leading companies?

The answer, of course, is yes to all of the above. More than that though, what I have discovered repeatedly during my time as a student here is that people working in the athletic apparel and footwear industry in Portland are always friendly and accessible, and willing to sit down and help you learn more about their companies and the work that they do. It is also an industry full of people who live the same active lifestyle that they promote through their respective brands. It is an industry full of creativity and talent, that embraces a forward-thinking attitude toward integrating sustainability in their brands, and balancing function and form in their products.

Again, if you are interested in the athletic and outdoor apparel industry, Portland offers opportunities that are hard to match. And if you are thinking of returning to school to pursue a business degree that can prepare you for work in this industry, I can say from experience that Portland State University offers ample opportunities to learn about and get involved with the industry, both in and outside of the classroom. Whether you want an international business degree like the Master of International Management program that can prepare you for a career in this highly globalized industry, or a business degree focused on sustainability and strong business fundamentals like the MBA program, PSU has a variety of options. And with any of these options, you have the chance to take your education outside of the classroom and connect with local groups like the AOYP and other apparel and footwear networking events.

Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about the Master of International Management program and the great opportunities that Portland has to offer.

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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Muddling Through Networking Events

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m rather horrible at networking. Part of the reason I joined the MIM social media team was to become more involved in these types of events and begin to build my brand. Although not my first plunge into this stressful and awkward situation, I recently attended two networking events in the same day: a Digital Marketing Breakfast and the SEMpdx Networking Rooftop Party. While my goal for the first event was more to learn about social media marketing than to network, the day began splendidly with a locked door. Continue reading

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The Power of Sustainable Business Networking

Sustainable-Business-Oregon LogoSustainable Business Oregon, an offshoot of the Portland Business Journal, is a publication that connects the local sustainable business community in Portland. Together with PSU’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions and the PSU School of Business Administration, they recently held a networking event for those interested in connecting with others in the Portland community on sustainable business. Business professionals from a variety of fields were there, from local coffee roasters, to consultants, from people who practice law, to people working with renewable energy, and it was an interesting mixture of individuals representing Portland’s tight-knit and vibrant business community.

Several graduate business students from PSU attended the event, including Brigid O’Donnell, an MBA student at PSU, who said that she liked the opportunity to network with people who were all there because of a shared interest in sustainability. Like many students, Brigid noted that it sometimes feels awkward trying to meet new people at networking events, but in this case she felt that the emphasis on sustainability provided a ready-made starting point for striking up conversations.  “I was also able to set up an informational interview with a new contact from the event, and really look forward to learning more about his field”, said Brigid. Josh Monifi, another MBA student, felt that people at the event were welcoming, and said those that he spoke with were interested in learning about what he is studying in school, and what he plans to do with his degree later.

As a Student Ambassador for the Master of International Management program, I sometimes get questions from people who say that they are interested in applying to the program, but wonder about career opportunities available to graduates of the program, while others are also interested in opportunities within the program to focus on sustainable and socially responsible business. While the MIM program and the PSU School of Business do a good job of offering ways for students to develop career opportunities and learn about sustainable business practices, to truly be effective in either of these areas, students must step beyond the classroom and engage with the community.

This is where networking becomes important, and is one reason why I thought that the Sustainable Business Oregon networking event provided a good chance for students interested in sustainability to meet with local business professionals who are trying to put sustainability into practice. As I’ve written before on this blog, networking isn’t necessarily about getting in with the right people; it’s about establishing meaningful relationships with people who have common interests and values, and who can help you learn something. Whether you leave a networking event having met some exciting new contacts that you can follow up with later, or simply leave with a better understanding of the work that others are doing in a field that you are interested in, the time you put into networking will pay off for you over time.

So whether you’re a student who is just starting your career, or a person trying to make a career change, try to network as much as you can with people in the areas that interest you. For those in Portland with an interest in sustainability, the ISS and SBO are great places to start, so check them out and look for upcoming events.

This article is cross-posted with PSU’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions blog.

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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Filed under Josh's Entries, Networking