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.
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.