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Giving Back in Los Fierros, Nicaragua

This past spring break, I was one of ten students from the Lundquist College Honors Program who traveled to Nicaragua on a service trip. Working in partnership with Panorama Service Expeditions, we built a house in Los Fierros, a village near the city of Managua.

This experience was made possible by the incredibly generous donations from the Lundquist College of Business, Oregon Community Credit Union, Allann Bros, and Mike Dore. We are also very grateful to Deb Bauer, director of the Honors Program, who spent her spring break working side by side with us and contributed greatly to our experience over the week.

For all of us, the experience offered the opportunity to give back to a community that desperately needed assistance while also immersing ourselves in Nicaraguan culture. It also gave us a new perspective on the endless resources we are provided with in the United States.

The purpose of the week was to give back to the community of Los Fierros by building a house for a local family—in just five days. Our group worked together with students from University of California San Diego. Each morning we traveled about forty-five minutes on what was mainly a dirt road to reach the village of Los Fierros. There, we worked tirelessly in the 100-degree weather to reach our daily goals. On Monday, we built the foundation for the entire house. By Friday, we added the finishing touches to a completed house.

As college students, we live in our planners—especially during dead and finals week—so I didn’t have time to really cultivate any expectations for this trip before we plunged in to it. But once we landed and were welcomed with open arms to help this community, I realized how big a difference we were making in the village of Los Fierros.

We spent each day working on the house, but we also took the time to get to know the family that would live in the house, as well as people from the community, and all the children we came to help. We will carry these interactions with us forever, because they changed our perceptions, our way of thinking, and what we are grateful for. We all left a little piece of us in Nicaragua, but we will always have a little piece of Nicaragua wherever we go.

This opportunity not only put things into perspective, but it was also an opportunity for all of us to find fulfillment individually and as a group. I spent seven days with some of the hardest working and most dedicated students I have ever met. I believe that our experience in Nicaragua has inspired all of us to continue making a difference in the world.

Now that we have been back for a couple of weeks and I’ve had a chance to reflect on the experience, I couldn’t imagine not having had the opportunity to participate. When I look back on Nicaragua I think of all the wonderful memories our group was able to develop and the difference we made, but I also see how we came back changed for the better. While many skills are important in the workplace, I believe that empathy is a skill that can help anyone in their life and with whatever career they pursue. Empathy is the force that moves businesses forward, and if we as students can embrace this skill, not only will it set us apart, but it will also strengthen the relationships in our lives.

On behalf of the Lundquist College Honors Program, it was an honor to represent the University of Oregon on this huge accomplishment outside of the country. Go Ducks!

Written by Ana

My name is Ana Pena; I am a 20 year old Junior here at the University of Oregon studying Business Administration with a concentration in Information Systems/Operations Management and a double major in Psychology. I had the privilege of being accepted into the LCB Honors Program last Spring, and it has been one of the best decisions I have made while being at U of O. In addition to school, I am involved in Women in Business and will have the great honor of being President for the upcoming year. Outside of school I enjoy spending time outdoors, creating DIY crafts, and traveling to new places!

Emerging Market Fund: Winter 2014 Summary

Overview

Winter term proved to be a challenging investment climate for the UO EMF team as emerging markets experienced a volatile start to 2014. When classes began in January our benchmark, the MSCI Emerging Markets (EEM) was at $39.57 per share. It subsequently fell to a low of  $37.78 on January 29th before finishing the term with a strong rally, ending at $41.01 on March 31st.  The volatility also affected our portfolio as we followed a similar trend as the EEM, losing value early in the year and recovering as the semester came to a close.

Portfolio

At the beginning of the semester our fund had returned 11.08% for the holding period (12.73% in equities return) versus our benchmarks return of 0.99%. The following shows the makeup of our portfolio at the start of the first week of winter term:

Compare this to our portfolio at the end of the term:

Sector Allocation

The group took steps to better diversify our fund by trying to get a more consistent sector allocation. Although it is difficult for us to invest in financial firms due to regulations in our bylaws, we still wanted to try our best to match our benchmarks sector allocation. Below is a table of both our portfolios weight per sector, as well as our benchmarks weight.

Portfolio Activity

This semester marked one of the first times where our fund was strapped for cash and needed to sell off some of our holdings in order to purchase more stocks. It ended up working out well as many of our updated stocks proved to be overvalued, signaling it was time to sell. This term we sold our holdings in SK Telecom, Sterlite Industries, and Tencent Holdings.

In addition to the stocks we sold, we also added a few stocks to the portfolio this term. This included Melco Crown Entertainment, Infosys Limited ADR, and China Cord Blood Corp.

Stocks that were pitched but didn’t get purchased this term were Ever Groly, BYD, Silicon Motion, Air China, and Gravity.

Be sure to keep checking in to see how our performance is during the spring term!

 

Written by strub@uoregon.edu

Ryan Strub is a second year MBA student in the Finance and Securities Analysis Center. He currently works as an Acquisitions Analyst for ScanlanKemperBard Companies, a Portland based real estate merchant banker. Ryan plans on developing socially responsible communities upon graduation.

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The 2014 Warsaw Bay Area Adventure

The incredibly rich experiential learning opportunities provided by the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center (and the Oregon MBA) are unrivaled in the sports marketing space. Along with the rest of the first-year MBA class, I recently returned from a whirlwind week of information and education in the Bay Area. In six short days we met with both Oregon alumni and influential sports industry members at the San Francisco Giants, the Golden State Warriors, Visa, EA Sports, Google, and a number of other companies. Read on for some of the highlights of the 2014 Warsaw Bay Area trip.

Read More»

Written by Jeff Angus

Jeff is a 2015 MBA Candidate at the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. He was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada and obtained a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of Victoria (BC) in 2009.He frequently shares his thoughts on Twitter @anguscertified and is passionate about writing, storytelling, fitness, health, and everything and anything sports-related.

NVC 2014 is in the books!

Every spring for the past 23 years the University of Oregon has hosted a business plan competition. What started with just a few teams from within Oregon has evolved to be an international event with teams competing from all around the world! The New Venture Championship (NVC) is held in Portland, Oregon, giving global student teams a chance to visit the beautiful Pacific Northwest. This year NVC teams came from across the United States, Thailand, Hong Kong, and India.

There are several different competitions within the business plan championship including Best Written Business Plan, Best Elevator Pitch, Trade Show Exhibition, and the overall championship. All 16 competing teams left the competition with cash to help them pursue the launch of their business. With over $55,000 awarded under three days each day and event proved to be very exciting and competitive.

NVC 2014 was a wonderful success and as a first-time attendee I was truly inspired by the business plans and teams that competed. The collaborative nature of these teams meant students of business, law, and the sciences were well represented giving a very well rounded turnout.

Additionally, the judges that volunteered their time, energy, and resources proved to be invaluable! Each team had interactions with several judging panels, each of which provided insightful feedback. These judges range in expertise and industry, but represent some of the brightest minds in business and otherwise in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated group of judges year after year!

Though I will be graduated, I will make every effort to attend this event next year. Not only are the businesses quite impressive, but the students are engaging and the atmosphere is electric! I strongly encourage those interested in business and entrepreneurship to attend NVC and competitions like it!

Final results from NVC 2014 can be found here! Also, please visit NVC’s YouTube channel to see Elevator Pitches and more from this year’s competition!

Here are some highlights from NVC 2014:

Team RediGen from Thailand took home the grand prize of $25,000

 

An NVC competitor competing in the 60 second elevator pitch competition on Thursday night.

 

Friday night bowling: Team members from Chiron Medical, CYANO Solutions, LifeM, and uHoo

Written by lloepp

Lauren is an MBA Candidate in the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship. She is a native Oregonian who came to the Oregon MBA after receiving a BS in Psychology from Linfield College and working in business development at an Oregon Research and Development company. She plans to work with businesses in organizational behavior and culture to manage organizational change.

A Lifetime of Leadership

It is not often that we get to meet our heroes face to face. But on our recent MBA study tour to Seattle that happened for me. I’d known of Denis Hayes and his work since he led the first Earth Day Celebration in 1970. We climbed six stories of the beautiful stairs in the new Bullitt Center, the “greenest commercial building in the world”, to meet him. The Bullitt Foundation office was elegant, yet democratically arranged in an open fashion, a wall full of books behind his desk. We all sat at a glorious handmade wood & metal table in the glass-enclosed conference room, watching the sunset over the city of Seattle, while we listened. He talked of almost fifty years of environmental politics, battles won and lost, lessons learned, changes witnessed, progress made. To say he cares deeply is an understatement, to see his continuing engagement is inspiring. How does one stay out in front, leading the way, for so many years? As the CEO of the Bullitt Foundation, and the driving force behind this amazing building, it is clear that Denis Hayes has a practical streak. But his dreams have never been limited by what looked possible to accomplish….he always tries to actually do things right, the way he knows they could be, even if nobody has done it before. A visionary, yes. But one who understands the value of business, and who has been leading us all towards a more sustainable world, one project at a time. Thank you, Denis.

Written by Dr. Laura A. Strohm, Program Manager of the Center for Sustainable Business Practices,
Lundquist College of Business, University of Oregon.

Written by lstrohm@uoregon.edu

Dr. Laura Strohm is the Program Manager and Senior Instructor of the Center for Sustainable Business Practices at the Lundquist College of Business, University of Oregon.