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Career Services’ Newest Advisor Provides Career Coaching for International Students

Xiaoying Chen ’14 hails from Guangzhou, China. On the day she departed for Eugene and said goodbye to her parents at the airport, she realized she was going to be on a unique journey. One where she would not only learn how to embrace huge lifestyle changes, but one in which she would also discover who she would become in a new culture.

What does your job with Lundquist Career Services entail?

I serve as an International Career Advisor with Lundquist Career Services. As the international student population with the Lundquist College of Business has been largely increasing, I am providing career advising and programming for international undergraduate students as well as facilitating workshops. I am also the director of the International Student Career Empowerment (ISCE) initiative, which is dedicated to help pre-business international students with their early career development.

How did you find out about this opportunity?

I actually found this position through Jane Evarian, director of Lundquist College Career Services. I talked to Jane about my passion for student career development and my work experiences in the field. I also had some awesome supervisors in the past who could and were willing to speak of my work ethic and ability. Jane and her team know how much I have invested into career education, so they selected me to head up this new unit.

Can you talk a bit about your Lundquist experience?  How and why did you decide to pursue a degree in business?

I used to work at the Lundquist Career Services as a Career Ambassador for two years when I was an undergraduate. It was a wonderful work experience for me as the work culture has been very inclusive and nurturing. I was able to develop my customer service and interpersonal skills and observe or sometimes even engage in some career development “behind-the-scenes” strategy sessions.

I was also a club leader with the UO Human Resources Association, a student-run organization with the Lundquist College of Business. This experience was very important for my leadership development because it helped me learn about, not just the HR culture in the U.S., but also the ways I could also work with domestic students in a leadership team.

Do you have advice for international students about to embark on their job searches?

My first and biggest piece of advice I can give for international students is to start your career preparation sooner in your college years! If you want to gain a competitive edge in today’s job market, do your homework ahead of time. You can start to develop transferable skills and build up your resume by being actively engaged in student club activities or via on campus student employment. Talk to a career advisor and learn about how to make your job search efficient. The Resource Library in DuckConnect can also be a very helpful research resource.

Job seeking is essentially about relationship management. We have job search and networking workshops designed specifically for international students throughout the year. By conducting informational interviews with alumni and potential employers, you will expanding your network, obtain practical advice and increase your chance of success.

If students want to talk with you about your experiences and make an appointment how can they contact you? 

If students are enrolled at Lundquist, they can make an appointment with me through DuckConnect.  Or feel free to contact me via email at xiaoying@uoregon.edu.

Is there anything else you would like readers to know about your new position with Career Services or what international students can do to make their time at the UO/Lundquist a good experience?

As an international student in the U.S., gaining practical experience and expanding our professional networks are the keys to enhancing your future career and employability skills, no matter if you choose to go back home or stay in the U.S. after you graduate. So do not just sit in a classroom and listen, go out and be engaged on campus! Find out what you like or what you are good at by being an active club member or leader or a dedicated student worker or volunteer.

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.

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Ventures Abound in Bend

For the 6th consecutive year, the Entrepreneurship MBAs ventured over the Cascades to attend the 11th annual Bend Venture Conference.  This is becoming one of the largest Angel conferences in the region with about $940,000 awarded in cash and prizes.  That is no small chunk of change.

Since I attended the conference last year, I had the benefit of having some frame of reference and a comparison.  Overall, I enjoyed this year’s conference more than last year.  The variety of companies presenting were closer to my interests and I could understand the concepts a lot better.  Let’s just say that understanding many software startups is not my forte.  Anyway, the companies that won are very deserving and it will be exciting to watch them over the next few years.

In addition to the conference, the MBA students took this opportunity to visit some local Bend companies.  This was the first year in a while that we added the company visits and I felt it was very successful.  Oregon is such an entrepreneurial state but it is not very visible until you are introduced to that culture.  We managed to schedule meetings with Hydroflask, Kialoa Paddles, and Deschutes Brewery.  While each company produced a tangible thing, they were all at different stages in their development.  Kialoa is still very small and regional and was working on growing sales.  Hydroflask is #244 on the Inc. 500 fastest growing companies with over 1800% growth over the past three years.  The challenges it faces are more scaling, marketing, and human capital expansion.  Finally, Deschutes Brewery was the wrap up and they are the 6th largest independent brewery in North America.  The challenges they face include navigating intense competition and maintaining both consistency and culture amongst its large distribution.  Rather than expand its reach, Deschutes is looking to reclaim some of the lost market share where they are already present.  This is different from both Kialoa and Hydroflask which are looking to extend influence.

No trip is complete, however, without engaging with our wonderful alumni.  Before our company visits, John and Bonnie Rosen were very generous in hosting us for pastries in their custom log home in La Pine.  The attention to detail and the balance between glitz and functionality clearly demonstrate how they were able to be so successful.  It was great for the first year students to hear their story and absorb John’s words of wisdom.  In a nutshell: it is okay to fail as long as you learn from it.  If you beat your head against a wall and it doesn’t move, find a new way around the wall. Small steps can be more beneficial than giant leaps.  Follow your passions.  These last words are ones I personally take to heart.  What is life without passion?

Written by Jenny Palm

Jenny a current Oregon MBA and Graduate Teaching Fellow in the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship. When she is not busy exploring how she can change the world, you can find her outside doing almost anything...especially finding that secret stash of powder on her skis! She has hopes to either help develop an awesome outdoor-oriented start-up or flex her organizational prowess in ski resort event operations.

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Warsaw Heads to Singapore

The Warsaw Sports Marketing Center capped off a whirlwind trip to Asia with a few days in the cosmopolitan island nation of Singapore.  We knew it would be different than Mumbai, Shanghai and Beijing, but the physical differences were felt as soon as we stepped outside of the Changi airport. Singapore is only 85 miles from the equator making for a very hot few days in business casual attire as we attended conferences, visited golf courses and paid a visit to the Singapore Sports Institute before taking in an F1 Racing night practice.

The initial culture shock came as we transitioned from the confines of Beijing to the more Western feeling Singapore, but with a twist. Extreme cleanliness and order, along with the intersection of multiple cultures, differed greatly from the homogenous hustle of China’s capital city.

Our entire entourage was graciously admitted into the second annual Sports Matters Conference. We listened as leaders of sponsorship, leagues, development and large-scale events expounded upon the opportunities and challenges facing southeast Asia and the global community. For two days our group experienced small panel discussions with professionals from HSBC, Samsung, Manchester United, the Women’s Tennis Association and more. Holding true to the global theme of the event, we met another attending group of students from Australia, allowing us to engage a bit of Oceania as well! Lord Sebastian Coe delivered a thought-provoking speech on large scale, worldwide events and what innovative strategies need to be vetted for future success, saying “The old chestnut that sport and politics shouldn’t mix flies in the face of reality.”

The next stop came on the island of Sentosa, a short ride from the center of Singapore. Sentosa Golf Club’s General Manager Andy Johnston hosted us, explaining how the club serves its 1,557 international members. The mix of international membership illustrated just how interconnected business in Singapore is with other parts of Asia.  We closed with a guided tour of the Serapong course, experiencing a green that included a preserved footbridge from WWII and stunning views of the harbor.

Our final visit for the entire trip was with Sport Singapore (SS). Two of our classmates interned there for the entire summer, continuing to enhance the relationship between Oregon and SS. The day included a deep dive into the emergence of sport in the lives of Singapore’s youth. We worked in teams along with SS employees to brainstorm ways to overcome challenges they face working with disadvantaged youth and government red tape. Though we were halfway around the world some of the SS’s challenges felt quite familiar. A tour of the lavish facilities preceded a “Sporting Friday” activity – netball. Though we brought our A game the Warsaw Class of 2015 did not prevail; we cannot wait for the rematch.

On our final evening in Asia we took in the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix practice event with the skyline as our backdrop and two weeks of multicultural business experiences under our belts.  The invaluable experience provided not only exposure to diverse ways to approach the business of sport in southeast Asia but also a once in a lifetime bonding experience for the Warsaw Class of 2015.

Written by kkostal@uoregon.edu

After a college experience filled with opportunities in journalism, creative advertising and guerrilla marketing Kostal began her career with a cross-country move from the University of Illinois to Las Vegas. There she worked as a producer in an event and media production company. She crafted sizable proposals to secure client projects worth over $100,000 in the pressure-cooker environment of live events. She spent the last five years at a Chicago medical liability insurance company in the risk management division. While there Kate utilized her event planning and marketing skills to promote, plan and execute multiple live events for over 10,000 policyholders and their staff throughout Illinois. During that time she also acted as the Sponsorship Chair for the Chicago Triathlon Club on a volunteer basis and earned her RRCA coaching certification for endurance runners. Another cross-country move followed when she decided to pursue her passion for sports as a career. Kate’s marketing experience, communication skills and drive to succeed will be an asset in any organization. Her passion for sports will lead her to pursue opportunities more closely tied to sports business after graduation, focusing on sponsorship and marketing.

Hong Kong Skyline

Typhoons and Travel: Hong Kong Edition

Geographically, it quickly became apparent why the British had colonized Hong Kong. The land was full of deep natural ports surrounded by large mountains, offering ships protection from typhoons or whatever else Mother Nature might offer-up.

I guess we should have taken a ship.

In the days leading up to our travel from Beijing to Hong Kong there was a lot of talk about a typhoon that was hitting HK precisely when we where scheduled to arrive. Sure enough, it did. Flights were delayed and we spent a few extra hours in the airport but the storm cleared out just as fast as it came in and the rest of our trip was typhoon free.

Our first meeting was at a business complex called Cyberport. Cyberport was located on the west side of HK Island, so when taking the bus to Cyberport we got to see the layout of most of the city. For those of us who are Oregon natives it was very refreshing to see many parks scattered throughout the city and mountains in the distance. (We later found out that 60% of the land in HK was set aside for public parks and nature reserves, making only 40% of an already small landmass buildable.) Cyberport was a massive complex geared to spur the start-up environment, as well as cater to small businesses. Business located within the Cyberport complex had access to amazing resources. There were 3-D animation rooms, recording studios, prototype building facilities, unlimited office space, and grant funding that Cyberport offered to businesses deemed as having ‘great potential’. While talking with some of the entrepreneurs, it was not unusual for them to share that starting a business in HK only took “6 hours, and that you could conduct business the same day”, supporting the notion that HK was a business friendly environment.

We had a fantastic lunch meeting with Mr. Edwin Keh, the former SVP COO of Global Procurement at Walmart and currently the CEO of Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel. The location, The China Club, could not have been more fitting when talking to a man as acclaimed as Edwin. The China Club is a restaurant/private club in the old Bank of China building, which is now dwarfed by the new Bank of China building and other large skyscrapers. Keh discussed the business environment of China in depth, talking about the mass migration of people from the country side to urban areas, the role of the Chinese government in its immense growth and how business in Hong Kong is different than that conducted in mainland China. Many of us did not want to conclude the meeting due to the wonderful food and the fantastic stories that Keh was sharing.

In the final days of our trip we met with Lizette Smook, the founder of InnovAsians, a sustainability driven lifestyle brand building the “bridge to biodiversity”. Lizette was full of new and exciting projects underway at InnovAsians using a variety of eco-friendly fibers to create anything from clothes to towels at hotels to the plates and bowls restaurants serve food on.

After two weeks of traveling through Asia, dozens of business meetings, long days and short nights most of us were more excited to see the suits we had tailored the day earlier than meeting with the founding members of the investment bank REORIENT. Little did we know we were about to sit-in on what some may describe as the highlight meeting of the trip. The founding team consisted of highly educated young men who dressed like they had their own personal tailors, (a little better quality than we had got from our street tailors) and were paving the way for investment banks in Hong Kong. The banks’ senior management included Mr. Uwe Parpart, who took a few economics classes from Mr. John Nash himself (who Russell Crowe depicts in the movie ‘ A Beautiful Mind’) and has experience conducting business in China that dates back to the 1980’s. REORIENT’s strategy is to conduct business on a personal level, fully understanding the power of Guanxi (relationships) when doing business in China. The meeting was full of innovative ideas by the founders and compelling stories of start-ups that had crazy potential, much like REORIENT themselves.

Not only was business in Hong Kong exciting but the city as a whole was equally thrilling. The endless restaurants, amazing views atop skyscrapers or mountains, and the variety of people located in HK made this a great way to end a fantastic whirlwind trip to Asia.

-Blake Thompson (Class of 2015)

Blake is a second year MBA student focusing on Sustainable Business Practices. The experience of growing up involved in his family’s business, has led Blake to realize the importance of a holistic approach to business. He hopes to bring this approach to the organization he works for after completing his MBA. Blake received an undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon where he was also a student athlete. 

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.

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Engaging Asia Part IV: Hong Kong

Just to recap, thus far on the trip we have experienced the organized chaos of Mumbai, the sparkly newness of Shanghai and the communistic tradition of Beijing.  Traveling to Hong Kong, in hindsight, is the culmination of all of these places.  The streets are packed and busy with people from all over the world intermingling and hustling from one place to another and exuded an attitude of capitalism and democracy.  Some buildings and attitudes were fresh and new. Finally, it was very much Chinese in appearance and language (I know they speak Cantonese over Mandarin, but the foreign feeling is the same).  If Shanghai is where the west meets China and Beijing is where the western attitudes conflict with China, then Hong Kong is where the west first engages with China.  There are strong sentiments reflecting British imperialism and they are joined with those of Chinese central planning.  It brought two worlds together wonderfully and was a great conclusion to the expedition.

In HK, I felt a stronger emphasis on the entrepreneurial ideas being applied in sustainable ways.   Our other visits ran the gambit in terms of size and focus.  From such conglomerates as J. Swire, which started out as a shipping company but has grown to an international conglomerate, absorbing multiple aspects of its individual supply chains and having a net zero impact strategy, to individuals like Edwin Keh and Lizette Smook who provided a wealth of knowledge over all aspects of business.  (On an aside, the places where we met these two individuals, the China Club and the Foreign Correspondents Club, were so historically important and prestigious that just being able to go in, let alone have a meeting with a member, was quite an event.)

The entrepreneurial community itself even had a large spectrum of opportunities.  We visited Cyberport which is a huge facility used to foster and create the next successful technology companies.  The great thing is that the technology was not limited to computers but digital art/media, telecommunications, and general digital tech as well. It was an accelerator and incubator and college campus all rolled into one and then put on steroids.  What made this even more interesting, was that it was a private company but the government owned a majority share.  Think on that one.  It had to delicately balance the needs of its shareholders with the needs of the government, which I am not sure always aligned.  It will be interesting to see what comes out of that facility in the future.  In addition to Cyberport, we also visited a smaller entrepreneurial incubator located near Central, Paperclip.  This had the more traditional focus and feel of incubators found in the US which highlighted the universal feeling of entrepreneurship.

Since Hong Kong has long been considered the financial hub of China, our trip was not complete without visiting a financial institution of some sort.  For our last meeting we visited Reorient, a startup investment bank formed by American and German expats.  This company is only three years old yet already listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. That is not a common occurrence.  While this was our last meeting and all of us were spent-emotionally, physically, and mentally-it was a fantastic finale in that it, for me at least, restored some lost trust in investment banks.  They emphasized the personal aspect of banking, which has been lost in recent years.  The bankers we talked to (including the CEO) were very open about personal and professional life in Hong Kong and were genuinely passionate about what they were doing.  They wanted to be successful, but not at the expense of carefully established relationships.  They had a deep understanding of not only where they got their money but also how.  Not to mention, the CEO had the best outfit of the trip.  Not many people can pull off pastel pink pants with royal blue and bedazzled house slippers.  It was awesome!

Final remarks: the Engaging Asia study tour will be an aspect of my MBA that I will never forget.  John Hull, director of our Business Innovation Institute, has said many times that one objective of the trip is to get students comfortable traveling overseas so when they have a professional job and the opportunity to go to Asia is presented, we can volunteer with confidence.  While it sounded really hokey before the trip, he was right.  Should I find an amazing company and have the opportunity to do work in Asia, I have complete confidence that I can go over there, not feel overwhelmed and jump right into my job.  I don’t necessarily have the desire to live over there for long periods of time, but a short assignment (6 months or less) would suit me just fine!

Written by Jenny Palm

Jenny a current Oregon MBA and Graduate Teaching Fellow in the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship. When she is not busy exploring how she can change the world, you can find her outside doing almost anything...especially finding that secret stash of powder on her skis! She has hopes to either help develop an awesome outdoor-oriented start-up or flex her organizational prowess in ski resort event operations.