The Prologue Experience

Prologue — it was a complete mystery to me before starting this program unique to the University of Oregon. What did these two weeks have in store for me?

Well, before I can elaborate on that, I should introduce myself. My name is Paul. I was born and raised in Northern California and lived most recently in San Francisco, where I was working as a Software Engineer at a Y Combinator startup called Heyzap. My undergraduate degree was in Mathematics, and I got that degree from Purdue University in Indiana. While both my trade and my academic history helped me develop strong analytical abilities, I felt a burning desire to be an innovator. Before I could achieve my goal of becoming a successful innovator, I knew that I had to develop myself as a business person.

As I’ve always had a secret love for the Pacific Northwest and also because there are many exciting things going on here at the moment, I knew that an Oregon MBA would provide me not only with the knowledge I needed to innovate, but also with the network and credibility necessary to establish myself quickly in this beautiful part of the country.

The first step to building myself in this program was prologue. Whew! What a whirlwind the first week was. I totally botched an improv activity by misunderstanding the directions, and while I was embarrassed, I knew that the lesson learned (namely, that I need to become a better audial learner) was valuable. And this was just the first day! The rest of the week saw us do multiple presentations, and also form teams for a group presentation, which was a bit choppy but straightforward.

However, the second week was mostly devoted to a big presentation that was to be done in front of many important people in the department. The teams that I talked about earlier were selected on the basis of diversity, and by the time this presentation was being created, I understood the ways in which we were diverse: our personalities! Group work became rough as we realized how different our personalities were (aside from the common “stubborn” trait), but our storming somehow resulted in norming. Reviews of our presentation marked us as having great synergy and seeming like good friends, and we ended up advancing to the finals of the presentation competition. So to recap, you go from not knowing anyone to arguing while developing a competitive presentation to giving as convincing a presentation you can to a large audience within a week and a half… and I wouldn’t have had it any other way!

The program ended with a day in Portland. As I am part of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship track, I was both honored and thrilled about the opportunity to go to the Portland Incubator Experiment’s headquarters, where many budding startups were writing code. While I didn’t see anyone using the best text editor in the world (emacs) I saw a lot of awesome entrepreneurs and coders working hard in developing Portland as a technological hub. Oregon is quite synonymous with innovation, and seeing great coders in Portland makes me very optimistic about what the future holds here in the tech world.

Paul Chun, MBA ’13

 

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.