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.

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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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MIM Resume Contest – Winner Announced

By  Jodi Nelson
Thank you to the 15 students that submitted resumes for the MIM Resume Contest. It was great to see how many of you were motivated to get your resumes updated. A polished resume is essential to getting an internship or job!And the winner of the contest is….. Chun-Wei Wang! Chun-Wei’s resume highlights her MIM degree and capstone project nicely. She includes lots of details about her work and volunteer experience with quantifiable results. Also, the format is consistent and easy to read. You can see Chun-Wei’s resume attached and it will be included in the updated Resume Guide.  Chun Wei Wang’s Resume

We had two runners-up: I-Ting Chen and Katie Thomas! I-Ting and Katie also did a nice job of highlighting their skills, education and accomplishments.

I know that all of you put time into your resumes and there were some other strong resumes submitted. Over the next week, I will send individual feedback from the committee to each student that submitted a resume. We want you all to have a resume as strong as possible. If you did not submit your resume for the contest, but would like some help, then please let me know.
Thanks all. And congratulations to Chun-Wei, I-Ting and Katie!

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MIM Resume Contest

School of Business Administration is launching a MIM Resume Contest. Now is the time to make sure your resume is high quality and fully updated so that you are prepared to start your job search. Although most of MIMs don’t graduate until December, but with the average job search taking 3 – 5 months you should get started soon!


Here is how the contest works:

  • Update your resume using the attached Resume Guide and come in to see me for a resume review appointment. To schedule an appointment, log into www.PSUCareerForward.com and click on “request an appointment”. From there you can view all my available times and select the one that works best for you.
  • Send a copy of your resume to me via email by Monday, August 4.
  • A committee will evaluate all the submitted resumes based on the quality and relevancy of the information you include as well as on the format, spelling, and grammar. You do not need to have a lot of work experience to win. You just need to do a good job of explaining your experience and accomplishments.
  • The winner will be announced by Friday, August 8.

If your resume is selected as the winning resume, then:

  • You will win a $50 gift card to Amazon
  • Your resume will be featured in the next version of the Resume Guide as an example for all future MIM students

If you have any other questions about your job search, then please contact our Assistant Director of Career and Student Services, Jodi Nelson with her email jodi.nelson@pdx.edu. She can help you identify potential career paths and companies, write your resume and cover letter, learn about CPT/OPT, prepare for an interview, and more.


Be prepared and come to get the $50 gift card to Amazon!

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Student Highlight: Jonathan A. Ruff

By Jonathan A. Ruff

Why would someone study international business in Portland, Oregon? If you would have asked me six months ago, I would have told you major companies like Intel, Nike, Adidas, Vesta and Daimler have large offices located here. However, ever since I started my new internship this summer, my understanding of Portland’s connection to international commerce has expanded. Starting in June, I began working for a company called U.S. Wheat Associates (USW). USW is an export market development organization that actively promotes the sale of American-grown wheat to more than 100 countries around the world. The company has offices in fifteen different countries and two in the U.S.

As it turns out, the Port of Portland is the largest export port for wheat in the country. In fact, 90% of the wheat grown in Oregon is exported. The variety of wheat grown in the Pacific Northwest, soft white wheat, is unique to the world. Soft white wheat is a type of wheat ideally suited for Asian style noodles and primarily imported by Asian counties. Historically, Japan has been the largest consumer of U.S. wheat and remains a major customer. Interestingly enough, there are a number of Japanese-owned grain elevators and laboratories that assist in exporting and verifying wheat quality located in Portland. It should come as no surprise that Portland exports a lot of wheat to Asia. Take a look at a map; it is one of the closest U.S. ports to the Pacific Rim and has a highly developed infrastructure for wheat exports.


It’s been an exciting and busy summer for me. Besides taking a full load of classes, I have been dedicating a lot of time to my internship. During the harvest, which takes place in the summer, a number of international buyers come to Portland and the Northwest to learn about the year’s crop. The USW office in Portland hosts many of those international trade teams, and I have had the opportunity to assist in hosting duties. So far we have met with teams of flour millers and food producers from Panama, Japan and Taiwan. Still to come this summer are representatives from China, Korea, and the Philippines.

Not only has the internship opened up new horizons, but it has also given me the opportunity to use many of the skills I have developed during my studies in the MIM program. The intercultural and language skills learned in the daily language classes have proven to be invaluable, as have some of the hard skills acquired in the accounting, finance, and supply chain classes. All in all, I am very happy I decided to study international business in Portland, and I am continuing to learn about our region’s connection to the rest of the world.


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My Experience in the SBA Mentor Program

By I-Ting Chen

The School of Business and Administration (SBA) Mentor Program is designed to help students increase their workplace savvy, gain clarity on their career interests, develop their networking skills, and successfully make the transition from college to the workplace through a mentor relationship with a business professional. As an international student in the MIM program, I really benefited from the SBA Mentor Program because my mentor helped me better understand my career goals and build connections with professionals in the US.

My mentor, Todd Ruberg, helped me edit my resume, gave me advice on choosing my specialization, taught me how to use LinkedIn, and helped me analyze my strengths and weaknesses. Most importantly, he did his best to help me build connections with his employees, friends, and even business partners.

Todd is Vice President of Customer Business Development at P&G, which is the company that I have always wished to work for. He arranged a P&G company tour for me and introduced me to many important employees. He also arranged three one-on-one meetings for me to have a deep conversation with some managers and specialists experienced in the Asian market. These meetings were extremely helpful because the people I met with have the careers I want in the future.

When Todd found out that I applied for the internship at Nike, he tried to figure out which connections he had at the company for me. Then he introduced his friend, Kevin, who is a Global CRM manager to me. We arranged a meeting at Nike, and I now finally have the chance to get into the Nike campus and learn more about this company. Next month, Todd will also introduce me to one of his important business partners, Franz Lazarus, the Executive Vice President of Costco. I am looking forward to this meeting as well.

As an international student, I am so grateful that I can have this amazing mentor who is willing to help me build connections with his employees, friends, and business partners. Although he is very busy, Todd always makes time to meet me in Portland. If I have any questions, he is always available. I feel like he really wants to help me find a good job, and I feel so grateful for him and this mentor program.

At the end of the mentor program, the SBA holds a Mentor Appreciation Event in the lovely Simon Benson House, which is located on the PSU Campus. This is the time for refreshments after finals and networking as we thank our outstanding mentors! I brought a special gift that I bought in Shanghai for Todd. It is a Paper Cut Art of the 12 Chinese Animal Zodiac. He was so happy, and we took a nice picture with the gift. This Mentor Appreciation Event will be the end of our mentorship, but a start of our friendship.

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For more information about the mentor program at PSU:


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MIM Alumni Interview with Joe Colistro

By Megan Nelson

Learning from former MIM students’ achievements and reflections can be a huge help for current and future MIM students. Sharing their reflections gives more people access to this information and to the success that these students are currently enjoying as a result of their time in the MIM program.

Joe Colistro graduated in 2013. When I spoke with Joe, he explained what he enjoyed and fondly remembers about his time in the program and where he is today as a result. Joe was able to use his connections and learning from the program to project him into a career that he truly enjoys and continues to grow within.

Can you tell us about your experience in the MIM program at Portland State University?

Going back to school and joining the MIM Program is hands down the best career choice I have made to date. I came to the program at a transitional period in the program’s history, but even with the organizational shakeups that occurred and the sudden changes to the curriculum, I can safely say that I had access to an amazing group of students and faculty. Sure, the international aspect of the program is great and all, but the real meat of the program is the connections that it enables, in terms of future business leaders (students), local businessmen, and amazingly knowledgeable and capable faculty.

What specialization did you choose? What motivated you to choose this specialization?

Interestingly enough, I did not choose a specialty. I began the program intending to specialize in supply chain and logistics, but after the Asia trip I snagged an internship doing marketing in the shoe industry that seemed like it had serious potential to turn into a career, so I opted instead to take extra marketing classes that would be more applicable to my career. The result was that I sacrificed my specialization tag on my diploma, but I netted seriously relevant knowledge and made tons of extra Nike and Adidas connections that continue to serve me in my career.

Can you tell us about your new job? What kind of responsibilities does it involve?

I am the Business Development Manager for the Asia Pacific at Brooks Running. At high level, this involves developing ways to grow and develop the business (retail networks, distributor relationships, supply chain and manufacturing issues) in several countries in the Pacific Rim. The nitty gritty of the job revolves around managing key distributor accounts, handling purchase orders, and aligning the business strategies of each country with those of our HQ. The role is broad because at this stage Brooks still has tons of growing to do in Asia. I also get to use my Chinese and Japanese on a consistent basis!

How does the MIM program benefit you in your new job?

The language skills are huge. Never underestimate the impression that being multilingual will have on prospective employers. DON’T NEGLECT YOUR LANGUAGE CLASSES!

Additionally, I can directly trace my career trajectory back to the internship that I had during the MIM Program, so that alone was worth the price of admission. The negotiation skills that I learned in Melanie’s classes and the Insights courses also play an almost daily role in my life.

Can you share some tips for fellow MIM students looking for jobs?

Get an internship. Nearly everyone I know from my cohort who ended up with a job they like did so through an internship in one form or another. If there isn’t one you like available, go out and make your own. Attend business forums on campus and straight up ask the employers there if you can work for them for free. The jobs aren’t going to come to you, at least not until you make that first step. Also, try to pick your Capstone project accordingly. If your project can serve as a relevant supplement to your resume then you are that much better equipped than the rest of the job hunters out there. Oh yeah, and stay in touch with your classmates. I promise you that they will go on to do big things, and you will be very glad that you met most of them.

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Women of Influence Awards 2014

By Gayathri Selvaraj

Megan Nelson and I got the opportunity to visit a very inspiring event in Portland on April 25, 2014. It was the Portland Business Journal’s 2014 Women of Influence Awards. The ceremony is about honoring female executives with special awards for their leadership. These leaders are some of the most highly successful women in their respective fields. Portland State University School of Business Administration, KeyBank, Comcast Business, Mass Mutual Financial Group, and Regence were the main sponsors for the event.

The award ceremony started with a welcome speech from our very own Erica L. Wagner, associate dean of Undergraduate Business Programs at PSU. After the welcome speech, there was the orchid awards ceremony, which was presented to women leaders from various organizations such as Umqua Bank, Daimler Trucks North America LLC, and Salt & Straw.

The next program that followed was honoring the women executives of the year. There were four award categories presented: Nonprofit, Small/Medium Company, Entrepreneur of the Year, and Large Company. The women executive of the year for the category Large Company was awarded to Wendy Collie, the new CEO of New Seasons Market. Wendy also served as a senior vice president at Starbucks before taking the new position as CEO of New Seasons Market, where she manages nearly 2,600 employees. The other women executives that were honored include Laura K. Lee Dellinger, Metropolitan Group, in the Small/Medium Company category; Nancy Stueber, OMSI, in the Nonprofit category; and Tara Kramer, Ri Ky Roofing & Sheet Metal LLC, in the Entrepreneurs category.

Following the award ceremony was a panel discussion, which in my opinion was the most interesting part of the program. We got to hear from four amazing women leaders about their career, family, and valuable advice for women who aspire to be future leaders. It was very inspiring to learn how strong they had to be when there were challenges in their way and what they did to overcome such barriers. For example, Tara Kramer is a single mom who got involved in the construction business in 2007. Even in 2007, for a woman to be in the construction industry was not seen very positively, but she fought against all the odds and emerged as a successful businesswoman.

In addition to managing their successful careers, these women also manage their time with their families and engage in social work, which is very striking. Some of the most important advice that was offered by these leaders was: 1. Be yourself no matter what. 2. Never give up even when everyone else says “you can’t.” 3. Do what inspires you the most. 4. It is not always about profits and self-interests. Social good matters too. IMG_7645

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