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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Balancing Life, School and Other Activities in MIM

By Jake Culian

One of the most challenging parts of the MIM program is just how fast it goes.  This week is our finals week and February isn’t even over yet.  Needless to say it kind of feels like everyone is sprinting around here so I wanted to talk a little bit about time management and stress relief.  The first thing to know about MIM is that there is always something you could be doing.  There are projects for Operational Management, studying Chinese, endless amounts of reading and many wonderful events that the SBA offers http://www.pdx.edu/sba/events .  The first step to surviving the madness is organizing everything.  Personally I like writing it down so I picked up a large desk calendar and wrote out all the assignments, projects, tests and events that I need to take care of for the entire quarter.  This way I know what’s coming ahead of time and if anything new comes up it goes on the calendar.  It takes an hour or so but in return you always know what you need to take care of.

Now that you know when everything is due the biggest piece of advice I have is stay on top of it.  Many of us like to procrastinate, but this is a great way to get completely overrun.  For example yesterday we had 5 assignments due and we have final exams today and tomorrow.  By taking care of assignments sooner rather than later you can stay more relaxed and actually sleep some every night.

MIM Students and instructors at the MIM Chinese New Year Party

MIM Students and instructors at the MIM Chinese New Year Party

There are some day’s when everything stakes up against you and you just have to prioritize.  Prioritization is key skill to learn and with it you can make sure that the things that really need to get done are finished on time.  We can receive hundreds of pages of reading a week and it’s always important to take the time to actually finish it, but if you need to choose between reading and finishing off a couple assignment, finish the assignments first and read as you can.  It’s also good to remember that you can negotiate with professors.  They aren’t mind readers and don’t know everything that’s happening in your other classes.  If you’ve got a bunch of stuff coming due at the same time it can really pay off when the class asks for an extension, just don’t abuse the privilege.

Finally it’s always good to take some time off.  Eventually you can just run out of steam and trying to study for another hour just isn’t worth as much.  That’s the time to put away the books and go do something physical.  My personal favorite stress relief activities are running and dancing.  Portland has a lovely waterfront park which is great for walking, breathing some fresh air and letting things go for a bit.  Portland also has a fantastic array of dance venues which are within walking distances of school as well as classes offered through the recreational center.  For those of you interested in picking up a social dance I highly recommend checking out http://www.portlanddancing.com/ .  So remember organize, don’t procrastinate, prioritize, and find some time to relax.

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Lunar New Year Celebration at PSU

By Jake Culian

Well it’s that time of year again! Yep it’s New Years! But wait you say, didn’t New Year’s happen at the beginning of the year on January 1st?  Well yes it did but this is the Chinese New Year.  And for China the New Year isn’t just a one day event either.  This year the New Year celebration begins on February 19th and goes until March 5th.  This celebration is one of the biggest celebrations in China and is full of performances, fireworks and family gatherings.

3J5A0448_ProcessFBChinese New year is a truly enormous production in the major cities of China, but everyplace will have a celebration of some kind during the festival.  Every year the transportation systems are full to bursting as millions of people try to get home for the holidays.  And once the holiday really does start the firework usage is enormous.  Fireworks are believed to scare off evil spirts who bring bad luck and thus make sure that a person starts the year off right.  With low restrictions on who can purchase fireworks and where they can be used, cities like Beijing and Shanghai report picking up thousands of pounds of left over firework debris after every day of New Year celebration.

Every year in the Chinese calendar is attached to a different animal in 12 year cycles.  This year is year of the Ram and last year was year of the Horse.  Each of the animals is said to indicate something about people born in that year.  For example people who were born in a Ram year are supposed to be thoughtful, persevering and honest among other qualities.  In addition to giving details about their personality they are seen in much the same way that people from the west use their astrological sign.

http://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/chinese-zodiac/

3J5A0424_ProcessFBTonight I attended the Chinese Student Unions Chinese New Year party in the Smith Memorial Student Union Ballroom with about 500 other students, professors, and locals.  We spent the first hour watching videos of people wishing everyone a happy new year.  After that though the real show started.  First there was a traditional Lion Dance followed by a dance to Xiao Ping Guo, or little apple. Then the local Confucius Institute had many people come in to do singing.  http://www.pdx.edu/confucius-institute/  My personal favorite though was a really cool Tai Qi performance.

3J5A0923_ProcessFBIn addition to the performances all Portland States got in free and could get a Chinese meal.   They also had a raffle full of fun prizes which everyone there was eligible for.  All in all it was a really fun way to spend my Friday evening and it made all the MIM students were excited about putting on our own Chinese New Year event next week.

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MIM Resume Contest Winner: Suresh Kumar

By Jodi Nelson

Over half of the current MIM students participated in the resume contest offered in January. This is our second time hosting the contest as a way to motivate and encourage students to get their resumes updated in anticipation of summer internship hiring. In addition to the motivation to get an internship, students were also incentivized by the opportunity to win one of two Amazon gift cards.

20150210_083357The winner of the 2015 MIM Resume Contest was… Suresh Kumar. We had such strong resumes that we also awarded a second place prize to… Fraya Saquina. Here are some of the highlights from their resumes and these are also tips that all students should consider adding to their own resumes:

  • Include a link to your LinkedIn profile. Employers want to learn more about you so include your profile link and make sure you profile and photo are updated. Current students can learn more about how to utilize LinkedIn at the upcoming workshop on February 25.
  • Add details about your education. Include bullet points for highlights such as specialized coursework, a high GPA, student organization leadership, etc.
  • Incorporate all relevant experience including class projects and volunteer experience. If you are early in your career, then you might not have a lot of paid work experience. But you probably do have some substantial class projects that can demonstrate your skills. Or maybe you demonstrated leadership abilities through involvement with a community organization. Include these experiences on your resume.
  • Highlight your language skills. Many MIM students speak two, three or even four languages. That is very impressive to potential employers. So don’t leave those details off your resume!

In addition to the MIM Resume Contest, we offer many other resources and opportunities. Students are actually required to participate in the MIM Professional Passport Program where they are earn their way to gold status by completing checkpoints such as attending networking events, participating in the mentor program and completing an internship. The goal of the MIM Professional Passport is to help students stay on track with these career activities throughout their education and ultimately so that when they graduate they are ready to land their dream jobs.

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Connect to Community Networking Event

By Jake Culian

One of my favorite parts about the MIM program and the School of Business Administration at PSU in general are the networking events that they put on.  Last night several members of our cohort attended the quarterly event known as Connect to Community.  The event is held in the Pearl District at Bridgeport Brewery, http://www.bridgeportbrew.com/ .   This is one of many fine breweries in Portland which has helped develop its nickname of Beervana.

This was the first time that I’ve been able to make it to the Connect to Community event and I’m definitely planning on going back.  I felt it was a great event, not only because of the free food, but also because of the diversity of people who attended.  Not only where there current and previous MIM students, but also representatives from the other Masters programs out of the SBA.  In addition there were local business people, some members of the school administration as well as a few undergraduate alumni.

I really enjoyed this event because it got me into contact with a whole variety of new Alumni outside of my current program.  It’s always interesting to see which direction people have taken relatively similar degrees.  I particularly appreciate knowing all the different avenues you can possibly pursue with a degree in business.  I know that one of my bigger problems when looking for jobs is not even knowing what sort of options are available to consider and events like this one are great demonstrations of the length and breadth of the opportunities available.

This event is but one of many opportunities available to students and I would highly recommend going to as many of them as possible.  They’re almost all free and frequently put students in the same room as executives from companies like Nike, Boeing, Intel, or Blount.  If you’re interested in getting a job in the Portland area there’s no better way to get your name out there.  So I suggest you go check out the campus event page http://www.pdx.edu/psy/events/ and find something you’re interested in.

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MIM Chinese Cultural Immersion – Tai Chi

By Fraya Saquina

As part of the Asian-focused global business curriculum, MIM students are able to choose between two Asian language classes: Chinese and Japanese. The Chinese language curriculum at Portland State University is administered by the Confucius Institute. The curriculum is designed to give students understanding about both the Chinese language and culture. One of the cultural immersion that students do regularly is Tai Chi practice.

The Tai Chi practice is led by Wang Rongrong, one of the teacher assistants for the beginning and intermediate MIM Chinese classes. According to Wang, she has been practicing Tai Chi since she was little, but last year she started to practice it more seriously when she was working at Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine with Master Duan.

MIM Students Practicing Tai Chi

MIM Students Practicing Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a form of martial arts that is part of the Chinese Kung Fu. The purpose of Tai Chi apart from self-defense is mostly for self-relaxation. This exercise brings balance to our modern life, where we spend most of our time at school or work that we often forget about our health and happiness. With that said, Tai Chi emphasizes on bringing harmony based on Chinese philosophy of slow and healthy life and improving fitness.

People from all ages can practice Tai Chi and this exercise is widely practiced in China. Wang said that it is especially important for busy working adults to practice it to bring peacefulness and happiness to life. Famous martial arts actors such as Jet Li and Bruce Lee all practice Tai Chi. Tai Chi was born in Henan province around 300 years ago, and it is still the home of Tai Chi schools where people from all over the world come to practice more in depth. The Tai Chi movements are described as slow moving like running water that allows the person practicing it gain more flexibility the more they do it. Tai Chi is usually done outdoors, at home, or training arena.

MIM Students Practicing Tai Chi

MIM Students Practicing Tai Chi

MIM students always look forward to Tai Chi practice every Friday morning. It releases the tension from the busy classes, homework, and exams. Beginning and intermediate Chinese MIM students are able to move their bodies while breathing fresh air every Friday morning outside of the Business School building.

To read more about The Confucius Institute at Portland State University, please visit: http://www.pdx.edu/confucius-institute/about

If you would like to try practicing Tai Chi by yourself, please check out this video below:

 

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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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