MIM Life Series: Portland and MIM Classmates

By Yuanqian Sun

I want to say, I love all of our MIM members! They are like my family right now. We are working together and learning together almost everyday. Here are some memorable moment I personal took during the term.

  1. Portland, Oregon
  2. Portland State University
  3. Chinese group in Japanese class
  4. Classmate’s wedding reception
  5. Have Chinese traditional dim sum with my friends

First of all, I want to say, I love Oregon, I love Portland. This is the place I have lived for already five years but I am still liking it.

Mount Hood is the best place we can go outside with our classmates. I came with my classmates on the weekend and it was so beautiful. We can climb or drive to the mountain top.

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Then, I want to say, Portland is the beautiful city that I like the most in United States. I have been to a lot of states and a lot of cities, none of them makes me feel like home. Portland people are so nice, they always smile to you even if they don’t know you. Also, the weather is so nice in the summer. I like it.

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I like my classmates in Portland State University MIM program. Although we are Chinese, we didn’t know each other before we came to MIM. I would like to say, MIM gave us the opportunities to let us meet and know each other. I am very happy to know them and be their friends.

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This is the picture we took in Japanese class. it’s so fun that MIM program provided us a chance to learn a different culture and a second language. The Chinese students were learning Japanese in the past year. We were not only learning Japanese, but also the culture.

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This is the picture at Derek’s wedding party. He was the second MIM member to get married in our program, and the first one who held a wedding during our school year. We all came to celebrate. This makes us just like a family. All of the MIIMers are like sisters and brothers. We are all very happy that he can find his love.

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After class, we would have lunch or dinner together. This is the picture we have Chinese traditional dim sum in HK Café. They are my Thai friends. They are all very nice. They were learning Chinese for a year and they really like Chinese culture. When we have dim sum, they try to use their Chinese to made the order.

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Filed under Food, Guest Bloggers, MIM GENERAL, Portland, Student Life

MIM Life Series: Internships and Future Career for MIM International Students

By Linda Quach

My name is Linda Quach and I come from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In this blog, I am going to share my personal story in how I ended up choosing MIM for my graduate degree, what am I doing right now and what my plan is after graduation in terms of being an international student.

Linda with Ma Weihua, a famous Chinese calligrapher during the China-Oregon conference. She received a scholarship from PSU Confucius Institute of which Master Ma is one of the donors.

Linda with Ma Weihua, a famous Chinese calligrapher during the China-Oregon conference. She received a scholarship from PSU Confucius Institute of which Master Ma is one of the donors.

I was born in  family with a strong business background, so I was always fascinated to learn about the business world since I was very little. I had a chance to come to the United States to study, and I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management in 2013 from Oregon State University. My initial plan was to go home right after I graduated and start looking for jobs in Vietnam. However, we can always change the plan. My interests in supply chain motivated me to go further, and I chose MIM because it is a perfect combination of international management, a specialization in supply chain, and Chinese. The Dean of Business School in my previous university recommended me to PSU, and I am very happy about the choice that I made.

I am now doing an internship for a web design and software provider company located in Downtown Portland. Honestly, it was hard for an international student to find internships/jobs and get hired. However, I think if we are willing to commit putting time and efforts, we could get it. I spent almost two months looking for an internship. I went to PSU career services website everyday, attended networking events, joined the mentor program, career roundtables, and the career fair. I know we hear these all the time, and they don’t work for some people. Rather than directly being offered a job, I think we go to those events to make connections, get to know more people, build relationships, ask for advice. The most important thing from these events is keeping in touch later on with the new connections that we made during the events. If we go home and do nothing, we will get nothing. Those are pieces of my advice and I hope they help. As graduation is getting close, I hope everyone in my cohort will come out as a strong candidates for the jobs they want to do.

My plan after graduation is to take a short break to travel and then find jobs in the United States, especially Portland. I’d love to run my own business later on, and it would be exciting if I can have my fellow MIM-ers as partners. We all go find jobs and work for others, but why don’t we get together and work for ourselves.

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MIM Life Series: Peak into the Life of an MIM student

By Suresh Kumar

IMG_1794Life in the MIM program is hard. It is hard because there is barely any time do anything other than studying, that is if you want to learn a lot and earn good grades in the process. We are in school for most of the day. Our classes start at 8:45 in the morning and end at 5 ‘O clock in the evening. Yes, there is a couple of hours of break, but should we use that break to study? Or should we use that break to eat and socialize with the other members of the MIM program? When we get out from class at 5, do we go home and relax or should we stay at school and complete our homework? I would like to tell you how I have approached this dilemma for the past terms that I have been a member of this program. Since, I had a girl friend at the beginning of the program, I would spend the couple hours of break with her and sometimes with my fellow MIM friends. About 95% of the time, I stayed in school to complete my homework after the 5 O’ clock class because my productivity goes up if I am studying in the library. I just cannot concentrate at home. Even when I went straight from class to the library, it would take me 4 to 5 hours to complete my homework, meaning I wouldn’t get home till 10 or 11. This was and is frustrating to my parents as they do not believe that I stay in school to do homework. I don’t know what they think I do, but certainly studying at school is not in their frame of reference. I do not even have time to eat as if I stop to take a break and eat, that takes away at least 30 minutes from completing my homework. Thus, I stay at school and complete my homework before eating anything. On the days that I decided to go home, it was almost always that I did not go to bed before 2 am in the morning. I remember during the first two to three terms, I went to bed around 2 am almost every night. One thing to note is that I work 14 hours a week while going to school full time. I would advice working more than 10 hours in this program as this program takes a lot out of you- physically, mentally and emotionally. It is important to note that I work slower than a regular graduate student. If a task takes me an hour to complete, it would probably take another graduate student 30-40 minutes. However, different have gone through the same experience as me.

IMG_1793Talking about maintaining a good work life balance, I was in school for 5 days a week and I would only go home to sleep. There would be nights when I would only see my dad and brother while they were already asleep. By the time I would wake up, they would have already gone to work and school. Additionally, there was also times when I would see my best friend only once or twice every two weeks. During the initial stages of the program, our director said that if you like working out, then forget about working out. Your life will be about studying now, you will not have time to work out. And he was not lying. I used to work out and play sports for about 2-3 hours each day, and now it would be a miracle if I could work out 2-3 hours a week. This can speak for the demand of this program.

Nonetheless, this program isn’t jus negatives as it may have sounded like. The above paragraphs are just to indicate the rigor and challenges of being in this program. This program will help you become very successful in the future due to the services being provided, the professors as well as other personnel such as Jodi Nelson and DeAnne Preston. This program is designed in a way that would lead you to becoming a successful individual if you follow each step in the process. “MIM Professional Passport” is one example which pushes us out of our comfort zone and enables us to make connections which is invaluable in attaining jobs in the US as well as abroad. The MIM program is also very similar to the MBA programs; the only difference is that this program teaches you the cultural aspect as well, such as how to interact with people from different cultures, why people act the way they do etc. So, you are learning the best of both worlds. And most importantly, you will make friends that you will keep in touch for the rest of your life. You literally spend more time with your cohort than your family, thus the bonds and relationships you create here will last a long time.

Life in the MIM program is hard, but will be an experience of a life time.

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Group Work

By Jake Culian

As our spring term comes to a close I want to take a little while to discuss another topic which anyone who enters the MIM program will have to deal with on a regular basis, the dreaded group project.  During my time in the MIM program group projects have been the norm and for all the complications that arise because of them I have really appreciated that.  Working well as part of a team isn’t really something that comes naturally to a lot of people and to get better at it you must practice.

This quarter we had one class in particular which tested our abilities to perform good group work.  Our marketing class this term was composed of 25 people split into two groups each working on half of a 8 week long research project for the Office of International Student Services and Office of Admissions at PSU.  Our goal was to identify what they were doing well and what was going poorly and then offer advice on how to both highlight their achievements and what they needed help with.

In order to execute this project we started with in person interviews with international students, then secondary research at the school library on international enrollment trends at PSU and in the US, and finally sent out a survey to all the international students currently enrolled in PSU.  We ended up having over 300 respondents with approximately 196 usable responses.  All this research eventually culminated in an hour long presentation given to the two Offices as well as a 70 plus page study which will be distributed to various officials within PSU.

My point here is that it would have taken a year or so for a single person to gather all this information, but as a group we were able to accomplish everything in 8 weeks.  But it required communication, organization and a strong sense of direction on where the project was going and what was required next.  In order for groups to be truly successful everyone needs to know what they’re supposed to be doing.  Now some cultures will be given the overall goal and told to take off running and that works for them.  Others need extremely fine detail at every step along the way.  It is the group leader’s responsibility then to know what each member of their group needs in terms of guidance as well as making sure that everyone has the information they need to accomplish their tasks.

Group work can be immensely rewarding and create great big things, but don’t underestimate how much effort it will take just to get things rolling.  The bigger the group the bigger the inertia until things moving.  I really appreciate working with groups, but thinking about 70 page research papers and 12 person teams makes me a little nervous.  They shouldn’t be something to be feared, but at the same time taking the time to do them right is essential to quality work coming out at the end.

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MIM Asia Field Study Part 3 – Vietnam

By Jake Culian

Well our grand journey has come to its last stage. After leaving Shanghai we traveled further into Southeast Asia and ended up in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam.  Since we arrived late on a Friday night we spent the weekend doing cultural tours.  Our first tour took us down into the Mekong River Delta where we took multiple boat rides, some nice walks and a motorcycle buggy ride.  Here we’re enjoying the warm temperatures, the river breeze and coconut milk.

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The second day of our cultural tour took us through the Presidential Palace and the Vietnam War Museum. Featured below is the exhibit on Agent Orange. At least for me personally it was definitely one of the rougher sections of the trip.  From the perspective of a business person it makes me think about the long term consequences of the sort of chemical products we create and use in business as well as on a daily basis.

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The first company visit we had was with a Vietnamese Pharmaceuticals company called Amvipharm.  They are one of the companies working to fulfill the local need for antibiotics and dialysis fluids with plans to expand their productive capacities.  This visit was interesting because it gave us a look at the countries growing health insurance industry.  Afterwards we were treated to a lunch at a very tasty local restaurant.

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The second company we visited was a commodities firm called Louis Dreyfus.  This international firm has a “farm to fork” policy where they try to secure vertical control of their supply chain.  This goes all the way down to creating symbiotic long term contracts with their crop producers where they help them become more efficient and sustainable.  One of the things I found most interesting here was all the different ways they had to work to control multiple sorts of risk and their use of insurance, forecasting, and the futures market.

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Over the course of the trip there were several opportunities to take additional tours or excursions, like an acrobatic show. Here is the possible tour of the Cu Chi tunnels which four of our classmates took part in.  This tour shows some of the places and methods that the Viet Cong used to hide during the Vietnam War.  I didn’t take part in this tour, but I’m fairly certain there’s no way I was going to fit in that hole.

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Near and dear to many Portland natives is Nike.  During our time in Vietnam we got to visit one of their 65 contract factories which produce almost half of their total footwear per year.  We got to hear from both the local corporate side of Nike as well as talk to the local factories management and their ongoing efforts to improve efficiency.   After coming seeing just how automated the factories in Japan were it was interesting to see the mix of automation and sheer manpower behind creating all these shoes.

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Our last visit was to Datalogic, an Italian tech firm which mainly produces scanners and bar-code readers.  This facility offered us some of the most direct comparison on the differences in companies in Vietnam and China.  Datalogic and a firm I discussed earlier, Hella, had very similar layouts, but Hella made much more efficient use of its space and was far more organized.  This all said Datalogic received a Priority Enterprise Certificate from the government of Vietnam which grants it many privileges.

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As our trip came to a close we spent some time at the Vietnam International University where we explored their campus and visited with local students.  After listening to short lecture we reunited with our professor and got right down to the serious business of singing.  Many groups had gone out to Karaoke at various points on the trip, but here we had a live audience of local students.  To wow them with our talents, our program director started off with a duet with one our cohort members and then we serenaded them with Chinese songs we had learned for the New year.

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After we finished singing we dragged everyone down for the largest group photo of our entire trip.  The students here had been extremely welcoming and nobody had booed us off stage so I think it was a pretty great success.  Particularly fun for me was some assistance from a local student in finding an awesome Salsa club to go dancing at later that night in downtown Ho Chi Minh.

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Well it was a crazy trip full of long plane rides, lots of buses, and even more awesome memories. Ho Chi Minh was definitely my favorite part of this trip, I loved the environment and the food was delicious.  Here was our closing banquet where we talked about plans for spring break and enjoyed one more night spent with each other before many of us started our mad dash back to the US.  While I went home the next day I highly recommend staying in Asia someplace, but do yourself a favor and make sure to rest a bit before you come back cause when you do school is waiting to start off sprinting.

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Filed under Asia Trip, Business and Asia, Business Tours, Vietnam

MIM Asia Field Study Part 2 – China

By Jake Culian

Last time we discussed our travels through Japan, but as soon as that was over the MIM cohort of 2015 dashed off to Shanghai.  While we had all greatly enjoyed Japan it was time to continue our adventure and visit one of the largest cities in China.  To start things off we had lunch on our first full day there on the eastern side of Shanghai.  In the background you can see faintly one of the tallest buildings in Shanghai.

China 1

One of the first companies we went to visit was an electronic car components manufacturer named Hella.  Hella is a German based firm with 4 facilities in China and we got to visit their Chinese headquarters.  This firm produces many car parts which include circuit boards or other electronic components and this facility prides itself for having the lowest defect rate among Hella factories.  After viewing their factory we got to talk to a top facility manager who was able to discuss with us many of the issues of their business in Shanghai and new market trends.

China 2

While we had traveled by bus on all our company visits in Tokyo while in Shanghai we got a special treat and got to ride the bullet train up to Nanjing to visit one of the Hanes factories.  It was amazing watching the speedometer march up towards 300 km/hr and not feel anything.  The Hanes factory was interesting in that they actually ship 70% of their yarn to China from the US and then ship the cut products elsewhere to be made into garments and finally back to the US as a finished good.  The excitement wasn’t over though because on our way back into Shanghai our train stopped less than a mile outside the station for an hour because of technical issues.  Guess everything can’t go smoothly.

China 3

One of our two cultural excursions during the China section of the trip took place in Nanjing where we got to visit the Nanjing History Museum.  Never one to miss the opportunity for a photo when we saw the development of man pictures we just had to recreate them as a development of the modern businessman.  The museum had a wide variety of artifacts from many different periods of Chinese history including pottery, art, furniture and recreations.

China 4

The next day we returned to making company visits and this time visited a Toll Global Forwarding facility located nearby our hotel in Shanghai.  The Toll Group is an Australian based logistics solutions provider which prided itself on coming up with innovative total solutions which help companies in more ways than just cutting costs in logistics.  In the background you can see an example of these logistics solutions where they would pick and pack multiple types of wine and send them together to end users as a way of saving their customer an addition step in the shipping process.

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One of my personal favorite things about Shanghai was how centrally located we were.  Below you can see the hotel with a spaceship on top.  That’s the Radisson Blue Hotel and it’s located on Nanjing Road, a major commercial area with lots of shopping and amazing food.  From the hot pot restaurant we nicknamed painful pot to the Xinjiang style restaurant 2 blocks from where we were staying we never lacked for good food.  The park across the street had a really fun bar in a little pond as well.  Then of course there were the two buildings we decided were probably Sauron’s tower, one of which you can see right in the middle here.

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My favorite company visit was this one below, a flavoring and fragrance company called Symrise.  Our host was a little hesitant about our visit and started out not entirely pleased to see us, but like everyone we have visited on this trip so far we were able to win them all over.  Everyone we have talked to so far has been surprised how international our cohort is and then even more surprised how challenging the questions we ask are.  Since school has started some class members have struggled with being forced to speak up and exit their comfort zones, but now we get to see the vast rewards as potential employers are impressed time and again by the level of thought we present.

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Our second cultural tour was visiting Suzhou University about an hour and a half outside of Shanghai.  This was the second of three colleges that we will visit and seeing how different programs work is an extremely valuable part of this trip.  In addition it allows us to start making connections with people who are going to be working in the same sort of fields we will be.  The students guided us around Suzhou and then took us to a large garden complex.  It was fun getting to walk around a more traditional Chinese city and cool to get to know more international students.

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As business students it would never do to leave a city like Shanghai without doing some firsthand research on local small business strategy.  Towards this end many of visited the old market district up near the bund above our hotel.  Walking through the market was a little bit of an overwhelming experience with huge numbers of people and endless little shops.  Since this is China they also take their lights and colors seriously as can be seen below.  Don’t let the colorful exterior fool you though, the shop owners are vicious bargainers.

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And now we come to the end of our time in Shanghai and the beginning of the next adventure.  Our time in Shanghai wasn’t very long, only until the afternoon of Friday the 13th but we all had a fun time.  As the trip kept going we all started getting tired from the constant running around, but with only one country left we can’t stop now.  Here we’re waiting with our brave program director in the Shanghai International Airport for our airline to let us check in.  It was a great time in Shanghai, and next stop Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam!

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Filed under Asia Trip, Business and Asia, Business Tours, China, Food, Japan, Vietnam

MIM Asia Field Study Part 1 – Japan

By Jake Culian

One of the coolest parts about the MIM program is the Asia trip.  We left Portland for Tokyo on March 1st and were there till the 8th.  We had all finished off finals the previous week and before any of us knew what was happening we were sitting in the airport waiting to fly overseas.

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With the glories of the International Date Line we took off at 11am and didn’t land until 3pm the next day.  After being stuck on a plane for almost 11 hours we did what any hungry college student would do… we went and found food.  Needless to say we were not disappointed with the food we found here.

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We had the pleasure of staying the Grand Prince Takanawa Hotel during our stay here.  The first morning we all got dressed up and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast.  Then before we got on our bus to go visit our first company we took a group photo to commemorate the occasion.

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As our very first company visit we got to see the Kewpie Mayonnaise plant.  This is a really interesting facility which has the ability to automatically crack around 20,000 tons of eggs per year.  We got to see these machines in action and they were quite interesting and part of a highly automated process, but like in most of the facilities we visited we weren’t allowed to take pictures of the process, so this is the line-up of salad dressings the produce which they allowed us to sample during lunch.

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Later during the week we got to visit one of the Nissan plants located near Tokyo.  They produce 4 kinds of cars here including the Leaf electric car all on the same assembly line and in the order they are desired.  It was cool to see the differences between this plant producing regular sized cars and the Hino Toyota plant producing large trucks.  In this picture one of our translators, Hiroshi from Direct Force, is helping us ask questions to the guide from Nissan.

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As is probably becoming clear I really enjoyed all the opportunities we had to eat good food and no trip would be complete without the opportunity to eat from a chocolate fondue fountain.

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As someone who grew up in the United States it never ceases to amaze me just how huge cities in Asia can be.  From our hotel rooms we could look out across the city and see Tokyo Tower.  Getting the chance to go and explore the city definitely exposed us to a vast set of cultural differences for those of us from the US and China.

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Almost as important as seeing how facilities and factories work in Asia is looking at the local culture.  We were given a free day to go out and explore the city on Saturday March 7th and most students explored the city.  This was one of the most impressive sights anyone found, a shrine which our Thai students went to go see.

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On one of the last days before we left for Shanghai we visited with a group of Japanese economics students at Tokyo Kaizi University.  They really made us feel at home and helped teach us how to prepare a variety of Japanese traditional foods.  Here we are trying to evenly cook Takoyaki.

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Finally as we prepared to leave Tokyo to make our way to Shanghai we all posed back in the gardens behind the Grand Prince Takanawa Hotel.  We had a blast visiting Japan and I know I really look forward to making it back at some point.  We got a chance to grow as a cohort and see how many of the concepts we learn in class are applied in real life.

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Filed under Asia Trip, Business and Asia, Business Tours, Food, Japan