Tag Archives: Vietnam

The MBA Business Tour in Southeast Asia

The MBA Tour is an independent and high quality information source regarding MBA admissions. Portland State University leads by Kelly Doherty, Director of Marketing and Recruiting, Graduate Business Programs will be setting up the Portland State University booth around the Southeast Asia from September 10 to September 18, 2012 in the following locations:

  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Monday September 10, 2012            16:00 – 21:30  at Legend Hotel Saigon

  • Bangkok, Thailand

Thursday September 13, 2012         16:15 – 21:30 at the Westin Grande Sukhumvit

  • Jakarta, Indonesia

Saturday September 15, 2012           11:30 – 17:00 at Sari Pan Pacific Jakarta

  • Singapore, Singapore

Tuesday September 18, 2012            16:00 – 21:30 at Marina Mandarin Singapore

The registration is free of charge. Kelly Doherty will be there to introduce the graduate programs: MBA, MSFA, and MIM offering by Portland State University. We are welcome the alumni to go visit our booth and helping us answering any question to our perspective students who are interested in enrolling at Portland State University.

Thunyarak “Goy” Katikavongkhachorn

Thunyarak Katikavongkhachorn or Goy is a full-time student in Master of International Management Program. She received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Portland State University. She was interested in studying MIM program because she would like to broaden her career in supply chain and logistics at the global level that focusing on Pacific Asia while studying Chinese as a third language. She currently specialize in supply chain and finance in the MIM program.

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Filed under Business and Asia, Business Tours, Goy's Entries

Tips for doing business in Vietnam

Vietnam is one of the popular country that many investors are interested to invest. Vietnam located in Southeast Asia Region which having about 88 Million people. Vietnam is a culturally rich country whose distinct history played a role in the development of the modern day state. Percent of income per capita is about 10.6%.  The official language is  Vietnamese. Their money currency is Dong or VND. GDP of purchasing power parity is $241.8 billion. Today we have a tips for doing business in Vietnam for readers. What you should do and what you should not do in order to develop strong and successful business relationships with Vietnamese counterparts.

1. Vietnamese Culture – Key Concepts and Values tradition

  • Confucianism– Based on the teachings of the early Chinese philosopher , Confucian teachings emphasise the importance of relationships, responsibility and obligation. This philosophy is still a vital component of Vietnamese society and is prevalent in Vietnamese business culture in conserving the harmony of the collective good.
  • Face– The idea of saving face is very important concept in Vietnamese society. The Vietnamese will do anything to prevent loss of face, even if it means to avoid confrontation or telling others what they want to hear rather than dealing with immediate issues. Criticising someone in public and not staying true to promises are various ways that people may lose face. Continue reading

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Master of International Management Asia Trip 2012

The Asia trip is consistently one of the most talked about highlights for anyone in the Master of International Management program at Portland State University. Each year students have the opportunity to travel overseas for 3 weeks filled with factory and business tours, special lectures, and plenty of cultural exploration in Japan, Korea, and China. Continue reading

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CardioStart International Fundraiser – a Big Team Effort

Is it possible to pull off a fundraising event involving 150 people in just eight weeks? You betcha, but it’s a heck of a lot of work. What’s involved? The joint effort of many, from a dedicated planning committee of six (including two PSU MIM students), to the volunteer help of friends, coworkers, family, and many generous hearts.

The CardioStart International Fundraiser planning committee included a heart surgeon, an ICU nurse, a nurse practitioner, a respiratory therapist, and two PSU Master in International Management students – myself a former ICU nurse and Kim Morrison who works in the pharmaceutical industry. Kim provided a great deal of knowledge and expertise on the area of the organization of medical-related events and auctions. My main task was to organize a fashion show for entertainment for the evening – my fashion show debut!

So how does this event relate to business school? First of all, we were working closely on a team with an end-goal in sight. Just like in school, we met regularly – usually once a week, in person and by conference call (necessary, since one party was in London for a month and another out of town on business trips at various times) to discuss event planning. As the organizer of the fashion show I had to round up 12 volunteers to be my models – six of whom I had to convince to switch their work shifts to come to the event, then get all of them fitted into two custom Cocoon Silk cocktail dresses. So not only was I working within a planning committee team, I also had to manage my “team” of models. From my end, the event required constant communication not only with the planning committee team, but also with my 12 models, my donor contacts, and the volunteer DJ and lighting person.

What is a big component of pulling off an event on limited funds? You have to tap into your network (hey, here is that word – NETWORK). I was able to secure a donation of hair and make up through Aveda Institute Portland through my fellow MIMer’s sister who is a beauty student at the school – an approximate $650 value. One member of our planning committee (and a former coworker of mine) secured a donation of a free pair of heels for every model from Shoes.com (Brown Shoe Company/Famous Footwear) – an approximate $1,300 value. Kim provided the connection for my DJ, and Dr. Aubyn provided our lightening person. All 26 beautiful cocktail dresses were provided by Cocoon Silk, whom I did some work for a few months ago, so I was allowed to come and go and take dresses home with me as I pleased.

What else comes out of going out of your comfort zone to help with an event such as this? Exposure to something new and different. Although I have experience planning and organizing medical-related events, I have never worked on one involving an auction or a professional auctioneer – that component significantly increased the amount of planning involved, even for my fashion show entertainment piece. I finally found a way to mix fashion and medical – two things I love! Kim and I got to put our education to use and ask “the business questions” of the planning committee since the other four members did not possess a formal business background. We gained non-profit work experience. And we got to network, network, network! Not only did we tap into our own networks and strengthen those ties, but also we increased our network circle with a mix of very talented and diverse individuals, and MIMers got to meet my new PSU MBA in Healthcare Management friend!

One of the things I like to stress about participating in events outside of class is the “surprise” benefit that you might get from the event. Sometimes the benefit is not obvious. What was my surprise from this event? A table was sponsored by a company that the planning committee referred to as “Edwards Life.” I looked into the company – Edwards Lifesciences– and discovered that they are an international medical company and have a number of job openings available. Their jobs that I’m interested in combine my grad school education with my health care background…imagine that! Guess where my resume will be headed soon…

(Click on the photos for larger view.)

All hair and make up for the event was generously donated by Aveda Institute Portland

Farah, a student at Aveda Institute Portland, happily makes MIM student, Ali Mondragon, ready for her fashion show debut - Farah did such an excellent job!

The models (two nurses and a pharmacist) get made up by Aveda Institute Portland's talented beauty students

A full house for the first west coast CardioStart International Fundraiser held at Mercy Corps' event space, dinner catered by DeAngelo's Catering and beer donated for the event by Widmer Brewery

PSU MIM students and Aveda Institute Portland student (L-R Farah Abubasal, Ali Mondragon, Lisa Stensby, Jackie Wang, Rana Abubasal, and Eric Dretzke)

Half the model team - including a PSU MSFA alumni, two PSU MIM students, a pharmacist, an aspiring medical student, and members of the Vietnamese community from Portland and New York. (All beautiful cocktail dresses designed by Cocoon Silk.)

Models pose for photographer, Donny Fite, who was particularly interested in snapping pics of the great heels donated by Shoe.com (Brown Shoe Company/Famous Footwear)

PSU MIM student in the spotlight, Lisa Stensby (center, looking at camera)

PSU MIM students and Aveda Institute Portland student

PSU MIM students, Jackie Wang and Rana Abubasal

Ali Mondragon, a PSU MIM student, CardioStart planning committee member and fashion show organizer for the event, waits backstage for show time.

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Filed under Ali's Entries, Events, Networking, Non-Profits

Spotlight on MIM Alumni: Steve Fenker

Name: Steve Fenker
Company: Columbia Sportswear
Company/Job Location: Portland, Oregon
Current Job Title: Director of Sourcing and Strategic Operations
Duration at current employer: Four Years
MIM graduation date: August 2005

Steve Fenker, MIM 2005 Alumni and Director of Sourcing and Strategic Operations at Columbia Sportswear, Portland, Oregon

Steve would like to first point out that he already had an established career in the apparel industry prior to applying to graduate school. He chose to be a full time student in the Master in International Management (MIM) program and did not work while he was in school. Steve continued to keep an eye out for job opportunities while in school, hoping to find a job and start working immediately after graduation. He used Portland State University’s (PSU) resources to help him find opportunities, but his main tactic was to make sure to tell as many people as he could about what it was he wanted to do. He says, “Some people were not very interested but some people were happy to give me a lead and get me in touch with other people.”

Dr. R. Scott Marshall, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Research of the School of Business gave Steve some leads, as well as Faye Yoshihara a part time PSU professor who taught a class for sustainability in the MIM specialization track. Yoshihara gave Steve two leads: the name of a start up company and a recruitment firm within the apparel industry. Steve recommends following up with all contacts and leads that people give you because you never know which one of these will open the door to an opportunity. One of Yoshihara’s leads was successful for Steve. He then smiles and says, “I guess you could say all of my hopes and dreams came true because of the MIM program.”

In all, Steve pursued probably a dozen leads that were dead ends. The recruitment firm, Yoshihara’s lead, had an exclusive job posting for Hanna Andersson that was not even posted on the company’s own employment website. He interviewed for a Director of Sourcing position and eventually got the job. He stayed with Hanna Andersson for a year following graduation from the MIM program.

In addition, Steve stayed in contact with an old colleague who took a position at Columbia Sportswear who suggested Steve look into some of the opportunities Columbia had to offer. Steve felt he should pursue Columbia Sportswear because it was a larger and more international organization than his current employer at the time and a better fit with what he had been pursuing for his MIM degree. Steve eventually found a job with Columbia and was able to easily transfer into the position with his background, experience and education.

To get the job at Hanna Andersson Steve began following up on leads sometime before the March MIM Asia Trip. He made the Hanna Andersson connection in July, applied in August, graduated that same month and about a week later had an interview with the company. By December he got a job as Hanna Andersson’s Director of Sourcing (current MIMers, take note that this seems to be a very typical time frame for MIMers looking for jobs – that it appears to be at least a six-month process!). Hanna Andersson had a three-step interview process, each separated by a few weeks before the company made Steve an offer. He met with approximately five people, including the head of human resources, a company recruiter, the recruiting firm who gave him his original lead, and their vice president and CEO.

The interview process with Columbia Sportswear was similar. It will typically start with the human resources department, followed by panel interviews that include your direct boss and others within the company who will have to work with you. Columbia interviews candidates for job fit as well as job skills.

Steve’s current job is in line with his previous work experience, however, his role at Columbia is much broader in scope than his previous roles in the apparel industry, which is part of the reason he chose to apply to the MIM program. Steve hoped “to gain the broader perspective of multi-functional areas of the apparel industry” and “wanted to find a job or have the opportunity to have a job that was broader in scope.” His previous work experience was with Nike and Under Armour in apparel production sourcing and development roles with a strong emphasis on overseas sourcing. Steve has lived overseas in Thailand and Hong Kong for the majority of the time that he worked for Nike. He believes he was hired at Under Armour specifically for his overseas experience and contacts he had made as Under Armour had hoped to establish an Asia supply chain.

About two to three times a year Steve travels internationally for Columbia Sportswear primarily to source countries, which involves two weeks on the road while in the foreign country. His most recent trip included two to five days in each location in Hong Kong, Hanoi, Taipei, and Shanghai. His tasks on these trips vary, but in a nutshell, he primarily attends strategic meetings with Columbia employees who manage local suppliers. Some of his time is spent at site visits to suppliers.

The primary reason Steve believes he was hired into his current company is due to his previous work experience, however, he feels that the MIM program helped him add some “tools” and skills to broaden the type of role that he could do within the apparel industry and at his job at Columbia Sportswear. Steve says, “MIM wasn’t the foot in the door for me, but I think it improved my skills so that once I got in the role I was able to succeed because I had these extra skills and knowledge that I didn’t necessarily have before.”

It is difficult for Steve to explain what his job is like on a daily basis because he is moving away from the sourcing part of his job and moving into more of a supply chain focus. He says he starts his day by checking his emails that came in through the night from Asia. He best explains that a typical day at work involves a mix of meetings, management duties, what he describes as “people management, ” and developing new processes and plans. He attends a lot of cross-functional meetings regarding problem solving supply chain issues. He says his role is “not about the daily fire-fighting activities” and that “it’s more about building future supply chain activities.”

As far as what the future holds in store for him, Steve does not have a specific answer at this time, but within the company he has been working on creating a more efficient supply chain with growing sales in Asia. He likes that Columbia Sportswear is a Portland-based international company, which is in a “change mode,” meaning that, “the company needs to create itself into something new to be successful in the future.” Steve works with “a good group of international-focused people which makes showing up to work that much more fun.”

When asked what is his most valuable take away from the MIM program Steve says, “It’s gotta be the people – the continued connection with the school through the alumni network, mentoring programs and exit projects.” Steve explains how MIM ties are quite strong even across cohorts. Recently he met up with a MIM alumni from another cohort on his business trip to Shanghai – a best friend of one of his previous mentees whom he had only met twice before. Steve has also been involved in the PSU Graduate Business mentor program since the first year following graduation and is proud to say he still keeps in touch with some of them. I would like to point out that Steve also likes to give tours of Columbia (as he has done for my previous cohort – thanks, Steve!)…continued NETWORKING…Steve thinks it is fun.

As far as favorite memories of the MIM program, Steve says, “It’s the fun stuff – not necessarily the classroom.” Like many other MIMers he looks back fondly on the MIM camping trip, the first time most of the cohort gets to meet and bond over roughing it in Southern Oregon wilderness. Steve says, “Yeah, it was getting to know my cohort on the initial camping trip back when MIM used to ‘camp’ in actual tents instead of cabins.”

Steve advises current and future MIMers to “take advantage of the diversity of the students in your cohort – both in a networking opportunity but also to learn how to interact and work with people from various cultures and backgrounds, because in the work environment you will be working with a wide variety of people.” He also recommends using the all the resources that students have access to at PSU such as career services, the professors, and the school’s network, so “when you start pursuing your career direction you are going in the direction that you think that you want to go.” Steve wraps up by saying, “Use this opportunity to learn more about yourself, what you want to do, and gather more information by learning about what other people do.”

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Filed under Ali's Entries, Alumni, Asia Trip, Business Tours, Careers, MIM Specializations, Networking, Portland

The Diary of a Nurse in the MIM Program: Entrepreneurship in Sapa, Vietnam

Meet Gia (pronounced “Ya”) a tour guide for ET Pumpkin Adventure Travel in Sapa, Vietnam. She is a member of the Black Hmong hill tribe people who live in the mountains and valleys of Lao Chai, a few hours trek from Sapa. Gia, in her early 30s, is quite fluent in English but admits that she cannot read or write. However, Gia has plans to someday start her own tour business in Sapa. She is building her clientele by handing out her cell phone number and email address to visiting tourists for referrals for future tours. How does Gia read her emails if she cannot read or write? She asks nice tourists to read her emails to her!

Gia has four children and is quite proud that three out of four go to school–one of her sons stays at home and helps run the household. Gia is also pleased that she and her husband own their land and are fairly well off in comparison to their neighbors. Although the floor in their house is made of packed dirt (very common in hill tribe homes) they have now had electricity for the past eight months.

Gia’s family’s livelihood revolves around planting and harvesting rice. In addition she grows other crops on her property to supplement their diet and raises livestock. She has three pigs and some chickens. Gia is able to contribute more to her family’s income by being a tour guide for ET Pumpkin Adventure Travel. In all of her spare time she is busy weaving and dying fabric from cotton or hemp, sewing, and hand-embroiderying clothes for her family to wear for special occasions. She is currently working on hand-embroidered outfits for everyone in her family to wear for the new year. The hill tribe people are known for exquisite hand embroidery.

Meet Gia, member of the Black Hmong hill tribe posing by pumpkins growing behind her

This is like one of the trails that Gia must trek to get to and from her home in Lao Chai to town in Sapa--she regularly treks in the dark with only the light of her cell phone (this is like the trek that most of our group did with Gia on day two in Sapa)

Gia's aunt weaved, dyed, and sewed this traditional outfit that Gia picked out for me to try on. It consists of a inner coat (no sleeves), exterior coat, and, a fancy wrap belt. Gia laughed and laughed because she thought I could almost pass as a hill tribe person.

Gia took us for a tour of her friend's house in Sapa, Vietnam during our first day of trekking

Gia's friends are sitting around in their house hand-embroidering goods for sale

The hill tribe people are known for their exquisite hand embroidery. They often weave and dye their own fabric from cotton or hemp.

This is indigo dye from a plant that is used to hand dye fabric by the hill tribe people

This is an indigo plant used by the hill tribe people to dye clothing blue

Gia (Black Hmong) and Ali Mondragon (MIM 2011 candidate) posing at the waterfall in Sapa, Vietnam


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The Diary of a Nurse in the MIM Program: Christmas in Vietnam

I was a little disappointed that I would be gone to Vietnam during part of the holidays and miss the Christmas decorations back home in Portland, Oregon. Much to my surprise, Christmas decorations are alive and well here in Vietnam — although sometimes interpreted a little differently than in the U.S.. Apparently, Vietnam has a very large Catholic community. I have complied a variety of photo proof from the Vietnamese cities of Hanoi (northern), Hoi An (central), and Sapa (very northern). (Click on the photo to see a bigger version.)

shop in Hanoi

Christmas lights in Hanoi

Christmas in a tailor's shop in Hoi An (Tanya, RN and Ali RN, MIM class of 2011)

Christmas ornaments in Hoi An

Christmas ornament in Hoi An

Christmas decoration in Hoi An

Santa ornament in Hanoi

Typical Christmas ornament on the left but not so typical color-wise on the right in Hoi An

Decorating with spray snow and stencils in Hanoi

Almost like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree in Sapa

Garland in Sapa

Asian Christmas ornament in Sapa (and turquoise garland)

This is a huge silver ant on the tree in Hanoi...interesting...

Christmas scene in Hanoi by Turtle Lake

Christmas decoration in Sapa

Snowflake decoration in Hanoi

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