Meet New MIM Ambassador Part 2: Jake Culian

By Jake Culian

Hello, my name is Jake, and like Fraya I’m a member of 2015 MIM cohort. I was elected by our cohort to co-represent the MIM program amongst the graduate business school ambassadors in December 2014. I always have a hard time explaining where I’m from because my early life dragged me back and forth across the country and beyond. I was born in North Carolina, but have lived in 3 countries and 9 states. Most recently I lived in California where I received my BA from University of California San Diego in 2012.

Jake Culian

Jake Culian

While I was at UC San Diego I began studying Chinese and after I graduated I traveled there. I spent 3 months living and traveling in Southern China, particularly around Shenzhen and in the Guangxi province. I found that I loved the country but wasn’t yet prepared enough to be able to succeed in the environment. I then returned to the US and began trying to figure out how I could go about preparing myself to have a positive impact on the ongoing business, social, and political interactions between the US and China.

When I returned to California I interned with a technology incubator called SARTA, where I assisted the clean technologies program director with event coordination and company outreach. I found this to be an enormously rewarding experience and motivate me to incorporate sustainability and development of clean technologies into my future goals. In addition to this I was working at Target and found that I enjoyed logistics. Eventually with these two motivating factors and a desire to make a difference in the world I decided that going to grad school and focusing in an international business program was my best available choice.

When I began searching for schools I wanted a program that would simultaneously allow me to continue studying Chinese while gaining a globally competitive specialization. Almost immediately I came across the MIM program at PSU and was quite intrigued. I didn’t settle on this program at first and looked at other business schools like UCLA and San Francisco State University, as well as the International Relations Pacific Studies Program out of UC San Diego. Eventually after comparing tuition, housing, school ranking and location I decided that the MIM program would give me a great education at a much lower cost than many of its competitors. In addition it was the only school which had language study as an integral requirement of its course load. When I got back my acceptance letters with an offer to work as a graduate assistant I was hooked and dived headlong into the program.

So far I have had an amazing time studying with the MIM program. I found that as a student without a background in business, the summer prerequisite program was immensely helpful in bringing me quickly up to speed as well as reintegrating myself with being in a school environment. I find that much of what we study isn’t just applicable to our future careers but to what I’m doing right now in my everyday life. I’m surrounded by students from 9 different countries all working towards a common goal and we each add a special component to the cohort’s whole. In a world with increasing international interconnectedness this experience learning in a multicultural setting is a powerful tool to have in the future.

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Meet New MIM Ambassador: Fraya Saquina

By Fraya Saquina

Hello, my name is Fraya, and I am part of the  MIM class of 2015 cohort. I was elected as one of the MIM and the graduate school ambassadors in December 2014. I was born and raised in Indonesia before coming to the U.S. for my undergraduate degree in 2007. I  received my bachelor’s degree from Portland State University in Marketing in 2012.

My journey to the MIM program was quite interesting. Originally, I never planned to attend graduate school at all. However, while I was an intern at Business Oregon in 2012, one of my colleagues who was a MIM student, Jackie Wang, introduced me to the program. The fact that the the program has a strong international emphasis caught my attention; there are not many programs like PSU’s MIM in this country. However, attending graduate school was not part of my priority, since I thought I should pursue a  professional career before starting graduate school. I wor20141217_131606ked at an au pair agency in Lake Oswego, Oregon for almost two years until an unexpected opportunity came.

I was active as one of the officers for the Indonesian Student Association (Permias PDX) at PSU. In summer 2013, I was chatting with a new MIM student from Indonesia, Clarina Andreny, from whom I found out about a full graduate school scholarship from the Indonesian Ministry of Finance called  the Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP, in Indonesian). Later in that year, I applied for the scholarship and was invited for an interview! I finally officially became an LPDP scholar in summer 2014, and I started my MIM program in the end of September 2014. It was a very overwhelming year.

One of the reasons why I came back to PSU, was specifically for the MIM program. As I was studying for my bachelor’s degree, I came to understand that business today is conducted more internationally than ever. Becoming someone who is internationally competent and able to understand the cultural differences between countries and peoples when doing business internationally is very important. The focus on the Asia-Pacific region in the MIM program is its distinguishing feature. As the fastest growing region in the world, and as an Asian myself who wants to work in the Asia region this focus is very relevant.

I really enjoy learning about cultures and how multinational companies operate and market in different countries. It is an art of its own, although there are many challenges that come with it. We also get to learn Chinese or Japanese, depending on the students’ preferences. I like learning Chinese and the cultural elements that are taught in class. If it wasn’t for the MIM program, I would not be able to learn Chinese, and our Chinese classmates always support us in our Chinese-learning journey that makes the MIM program even more exciting!

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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.

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