Category Archives: Patrick's Entries

The changing of the guard

It’s hard to imagine that we’re almost done with the MIM program – or harder yet to imagine that it was just over a year ago that this journey started for us.  Speaking only for myself, I can say that this has been one of the best experiences of my life – I’ve learned a lot, had some great opportunities to kick-start my new career path, and met some amazing people that I know will continue to be a part of my life for years to come.

As my cohort is on its way out, though, a new cohort is coming into the spotlight, and it’s time for a new round of ambassadors!  So, on behalf of Austin, Adam and myself: it’s been a pleasure being able to write blogs for you about the program for the past year or so.  To new MIMers: good luck, keep up the good work, and before long, you’ll be finished as well!

Stay connected!



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Vestas Graduate Programme

One of the hardest parts about looking for a job coming out the MIM program is finding an entry-level position that requires little previous experience.  Whether MIMers transitioned immediately from undergrad to the MIM program or are looking to make a career change, it isn’t uncommon for there to be a lack of applicable work experience in a desired field.  The obvious solution would be for students to take advantage of their student status to get internships.  However, there are alternative programs, or, at least one excellent one.  I’m talking about the Vestas Graduate Programme.  Vestas is a wind turbine manufacturing company with offices all over the world – including one office in downtown Portland, only blocks away from PSU’s campus!

Here’s the lowdown on the graduate programme, from the Vestas website:

A great job can change your life – and a great company can change the world. By joining the Vestas Graduate Programme you can kick-start your career and contribute to a sustainable tomorrow!

The Vestas Graduate Programme began in 2006 and currently welcomes 60-80 top talents divided into two intakes every year. The two-year programme is divided into functional Graduate tracks each containing three eight-month modules in three different locations. Our goal is to challenge and develop strong professionals to undertake key positions in Vestas in the future.”

Sound good to you?  There are a lot of MIMers this year that are excited about this opportunity, especially after speaking with recent MIM graduate Casey Cleary, who is currently enrolled in the Vestas Graduate Programme!  There’s still time to apply for the upcoming batch or positions (applications are due in by October 3rd).  Just be sure to have:

  • A recent resume/CV
  • A cover letter for the track(s) you are interested in
  • Academic transcripts for undergraduate and graduate work
  • A complete set of answers to specific questions asked as a part of the application (different for every batch of positions)

While this isn’t the only opportunity if it’s kind, it is certainly an exciting one that has been proven to be looking for the skills and capabilities that the MIM offers.  Do you know about similar opportunities, or have questions about this program with Vestas?  Leave us a comment, and we’ll see what we can do!



Filed under Alumni, Careers, Patrick's Entries, Portland

In Review: 2nd Annual Asian MBA Leadership Conference and Career Expo

Apologies for the delayed update on the AMBA conference that MIM attended earlier this September – between whirlwind travel, sleep deprivation and catching up on MIM-life, this is the first chance I’ve gotten to do a proper recap.  When I think about it, it’s probably better this way – I’ve had some time to process and assess the event, and weigh it’s real benefits, both from an MIM student perspective and from an ambassadorial perspective.  First, for those that did not catch the small snippitblogs that we posted while actually at the expo, here’s a quick expo of the event:


Check-in and welcome from the Asia Society, one of the main sponsors for the event.  We heard some great, heartfelt speeches about the importance of the event, namely the importance of promoting cultural diversity in the workplace – in all workplaces.  While it was nice to be in New York, and hear these speakers, after a day of travel, we all wanted to get some sleep… especially considering the 6:00 am wake-up call for the following morning that awaited us.


This was the leadership conference portion of the event, and started promptly with a presentation by Frans Johansson that really kicked off the day right!  Peppered throughout the day were breakout groups, panel discussions and networking opportunities.  The nice part about this day was the fact that there were enough options at every breakout session that there was bound to be a topic of interest for everyone.  Even better, was the fact that the corporate social responsibility (CSR) panel session that I attended, as well as the session that described how to best get a job overseas were, more or less, redundant information for MIM students!  The MIM program is definitely preparing graduates for positions in the sustainability and international-oriented fields.  This was the best take-away from the day, if not the entire conference – to hear first-hand the value of preparedness that all the time, money and effort of the MIM program is giving us!  Friday night was also the night of the gala – a formal dinner and awards ceremony, filled with entertainment, surf and turf and more networking!


This was the most heavily attended day, as it had the potential to yield the greatest return – the career fair.  Literally a sea of black suits, pleather pad-folios and elevator pitches, this was a chance for recent MBA graduates to try and impress potential employers.  From the perspective of a soon-to-be MIM graduate, things looked… okay.  On the one hand, this was an opportunity to see a cross-section of a job market outside of Portland, which was very refreshing and promising.  However, there were a lot of financially focused jobs, which don’t exactly play to the strengths of the MIM program.  Another plus was the abundance of overseas jobs.  While the MIM program does have the language aspect of the program, the downside is that many of these overseas jobs were looking for native-level fluency, which the MIM program doesn’t quite deliver on (due to the short time-frame of the program, rather than the quality of instruction).

Overall review:

While I was fortunate to attend the entire conference, for students, the time and money commitment (four days during the crucial summer term of MIM, and the $350 or so price tag for the conference alone) may be too steep.  Coupled with the fact that this expo is still in its infancy, there is definite room to grow that may make paying attendees feel as though they did not get their money’s worth.  However, for MIM student in the future, if you can spare the time, and the airfare, then I would recommend doing what a couple students this year did, and just pay the $65 for the career expo (Saturday only), so you can really maximize your chances of job leads for the lowest possible cost.  Just come ready with printed out resumes, business cards and a compelling elevator pitch!


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Asian MBA Conference – Day 2

“Follow your passions, do not check boxes.”

“Know who you are – live your brand.”

These were two quotes that we were treated to by Manish Mehta, Vice President of Social Media at Dell, during his speech today at the AMBA conference.  Manish was just one of many excellent speeches that were scheduled for today – a full day of workshops and informational sessions.  Other incredibly interesting speeches were Frans Johansson, of The Medici Effect, and Michael Chen of GE (not to be confused with current MIMer, Michael Chen).  The range of speeches ran the gamut from Corporate Social Responsibility, to how to find a job in Asia.  What was most surprising to me as I was sitting through these talks was that the material that was being spoken about – the importance of diversity in groups, cultural awareness and understanding, and being aware of paradigm shifts as a way to bring about significant change – were all topics that had been touched on in the MIM program!  While these speeches were engaging and inspiring, there was nothing too terribly new for any MIM student that has been paying attention and engaged in class.

The point of all this?  That while employers may not know exactly what a Master of International Management can do by title alone, we have the skills that they want – we just have to let them know!  We’ll have more information on how this fact pans out in actual practice after tomorrow, when we’ll be at the career expo portion of the conference, getting some face time with potential employers!  Stay tuned to see how things go!


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The 2nd Annual Asian MBA Leadership Conference and Career Expo

If you’ve been following our Facebook page, then you may know that MIM has been added as a sponsor of the 2nd Annual Asian MBA Leadership Conference and Career Expo!  This expo is a three day event with the intent of connecting Asian MBAs with employers, and providing workshops to help equip MBAs with the tools they need to succeed.  Today was the opening keynote and registration, tomorrow is a day full of workshops, and Saturday is the much anticipated career and education expo!  I was fortunate enough to be able to come out on behalf of the MIM program with Pamela Duschee, and Austin will be joining us tomorrow, along with current MIMers Lauren Morice and Raisa Trifanov.  We’ll be here spreading the word of MIM, and learning about new ways to put these MIM degrees to work, so that we can share them with all of you!  So stay tuned – we’ll have a few short blogs during the conference, but you can expect longer, more in-depth posts regarding specific employers, interesting individuals we meet and tips for maximizing your MIM degree when you hit the job market.

In the mean time, be sure to follow our posts on twitter, as we’ll be updating real-time, from the conference floor!


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Equipping yourself for the job hunt (pt. 2)

Continuing my last entry, this post is meant to share some of the valuable information that I’ve received from my mentor, to help me figure out what I want to do with my life after MIM, and how to go about getting there.  While the last post dealt mainly with the means to getting a job (how to track down the job of best fit for you, and then present yourself in the best possible light), this is aimed at creating a guide to finding your ideal job.  Let’s face it, it’s rare to actually land your dream job right out of the gate – we’ve all had to work jobs that we weren’t thrilled about, or found jobs that have redirected our career goals.  In fact, even though we’ve been there before, it’s not out of the question that we’ll end up there again (hopefully not for long, though).  This set of advice is meant to help you chart out and plan for these less exciting jobs, and hopefully help you leverage those jobs as stepping stones to more interesting and fulfilling opportunities.

From what I’ve been told, all jobs can be broken down into four categories:

  • Survival jobs
  • Interim jobs
  • Transitional jobs
  • Ideal work

Now, these four types of jobs are laid out in ascending order of preference, with “survival jobs” being those that we’d rather forget, and “ideal work” being where we want to end up.  These kinds of jobs can be described as follows, and have the attached “recommended” time of employment to insure steady career growth:

  • Survival jobs – what you need to do to get by and pay the bills.  Likely, these jobs have nothing to do with your career goals, but you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.  In a perfect world, you’ll never have to have one of these jobs (especially after MIM), but if you do have one, try to keep it to 3 months, with a 6 month max.
  • Interim jobs – while maybe not on the right track to getting you to doing what you really want to do, these jobs help you understand for yourself your own work preferences.  Again, you’re doing this mostly to pay the bills, and gain some experience for bigger and better things.  Ideally, you’ll try to keep this to a 6 month and an 18 month range.
  • Transitional jobs – you’re headed in the right direction!  While not perfect, these jobs help you gain the skills and knowledge that you need for your ideal job.  It’s likely that these jobs are in the same field as what you really want, and are potentially with the same firm that you may want to work for.  Plan on 18 months to two years at these kinds of jobs.
  • Ideal work – you did it!  You’re at your ideal job!  But, even though you’ve made it, it’s likely that your goals and interests will change, so don’t expect to spend the rest of your life here.  It’s suggested that you prevent yourself from burnout, and stagnation, after five years here, you should think about moving on.

There you have it – your career path, all laid out for you!  If only it were that easy.  I know that the road to your dream job isn’t so formulaic, but for me, I found this useful in framing jobs that I’ve done in the past with my expectations for jobs I can look for now.  Most importantly, I know that I don’t want to burn out on a job, so the suggested timeframes that my mentor provided me with for each job type really help me to put things into perspective.  This about wraps up my two-part mentor-driven career building blog post.  Do you have any interesting advice or anecdotal career story?  We’d love to hear it!


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Equipping yourself for the job hunt (pt. 1)

Summer term is two-thirds over now, and the job and internship hunt is officially beginning for many MIMers.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have scheduled two classes in the first third of the term, meaning that I have no class for about two months, meaning that I can devote all of my attention to looking for work and professional experience (and my exit project…).  To help with this process, I’ve been meeting with my mentor for advisement and informational interviews with local business professionals.  While these leads are not designed to segue into a job offer or work opportunity, they are helping me develop a more refined idea of exactly what I want to do and the kind of company that I might want to work for.

Now, as current MIMers are in their specialization courses, they’ve developed some idea of what kind of job they might like to pursue after finishing the program, and have some kind of idea of what their dream job might be.  However, there’s more to finding a job than finding a position that you want – there’s the company that the job is with, what you can bring to the table, your own personal views and opinions.  One of the tools that my mentor introduced me to is the “VIP ToolKit.”  The purpose of this tool is to help anyone looking for a job figure out qualities and skills that they have, what is important to them in their life, and how that might affect what kind of potential employer they might want to work for.  The tool works in a handy anagram kind of matrix, in which you fill out, under each header things about yourself, that fit into each category, like so:

V(alues) – what you hold to be important in your life.  This can include your relationships with friends and your significant other, how you view the environment around you and the degree to which you strive to protect it, and even how important financial stability and growth is to you.  The purpose of this section is to help you understand how your own values may clash/mesh with employers and even certain kinds of jobs.

I(nterests) – how you enjoy to spend your free time.  This includes your personal and recreational interests, and is meant to make you think about how a job might affect your ability to pursue those interests.

P(references) – simply, what kind of environment you want to work in.  When explained to me, “preferences” were to include things about your personality that might contribute to how you work and what kind of surroundings you are comfortable with.  I was told that it might be useful to use your Meyers-Briggs type as a foundation for this kind of thing (though I’m sure that other personality tests would work well too – I just happen to prefer the Meyers-Briggs).

T(alents)ool – skills and talents that you possess.  The way that this was described to me, the “talents” section of the tool should include some input from friends and family that know you well – while you may have certain things that you think you’re good at, there may be some other things that you’ve overlooked that third parties may be able to help you realize.  Talents are meant to provide a list of things that you can talk about with potential employers that might accentuate your applicability for the position you are interested in.

K(nowledge)it – what you know.  In addition to any formal education that you have, this can also include any kind of certifications that you may have received that make you more attractive to employers.  These certifications can include anything from a food-handler’s license to being a Six-Sigma black belt.

The VIP ToolKit does a pretty good job of at least making you think about yourself and why an employer might want to hire you.  There’s more helpful information that I’ve been given by my mentor to help with job searching and career building – that’s why this particular blog entry is the first in a two-part series that I’ll be writing to share some of what I’ve learned to prepare me for post-MIM life.  So, stay tuned!


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