grimstad@uoregon.edu

Celebrating at the Honors Banquet

The LCB Honors Banquet is a time of celebration, whether it be the senior cohort receiving their cords and preparing for graduation, the junior cohort looking back on their first year, or the newest cohort celebrating their acceptance into the program. Faculty, students, family, and friends were all present for the evening.

The guest speaker was Kimberly N. Ellison-Taylor. She is the Executive Director of Health and Human Services Industry Solutions for Oracle Public Sector. In this capacity, she is responsible for leading Oracle’s Health and Human Services Practice at the federal, state/provincial, and local levels.  She has an impressive work history, as well as a plethora of professional credentials, which were all highlighted during her inspirational speech. She reached out to the Honors Program during her speech, sharing the message that the sky shouldn’t be the limit for us, because we can go above and beyond any goal we set our minds to.

Deb Bauer, the director of the Honors Program, was the MC of the night, along with Tevin Preston, the elected senior speaker for the event. Deb presented a slideshow recapping the recent Alternative Spring Break service project in Costa Rica. Deb also presented the GPA award to Mitch Van Dyke, a member of the senior cohort. In addition, Rachel Bruce was awarded the Leadership Award for her hard work and involvement in and out of the Lundquist College of Business.

The Honors Banquet is a great time for the Junior Cohort, Senior Cohort, and Faculty to look back on the experiences in and out of the program over the past year. The thing that especially stood out to me was the strong bonds that have formed between all of the students within the program. This is an invaluable part of the Honors Program for me. The friendships I have been able to form with students as highly motivated and hardworking as I am, is something I have really enjoyed over the past year, and wouldn’t have been able to receive elsewhere. All of my classmates that were essentially strangers to me at the beginning of the year are now some of my closest friends.

The Lundquist College of Business Honors Program has not only provided me with lifelong friends, but also professional and academic experiences that have helped prepare for the business world. Deb and the rest of the Honors Management Board go above and beyond to arrange site visits, reach out to alumni, and hold networking events that otherwise also would have been out of reach for me.

This first year in the Honors Program has definitely been the most challenging yet, but has also been one of the most rewarding. I can see how much my classmates and I have grown personally and professionally and cannot wait to see what the next year holds for our cohort.

 

– Natalie Millar
Class of 2014

 

 

Written by grimstad@uoregon.edu

Senior Honors Business Student

Sean Oliver ’09 Reflects on the Nyenrode Study Tour

An Interview with Sean Oliver ’09

Sean Oliver ’09, senior audit associate at Grant Thornton, was one of several young accounting professionals who joined students from our Master of Accounting program on their recent study tour in the Netherlands. He shares his experiences in the interview below.

What was the most important takeaway for you?
I took away many important experiences from this trip, with the most significant being a greater understanding of IFRS vs. U.S. GAAP. This knowledge helped me to develop a big picture understanding of my industry and auditing by shifting to an alternative way of viewing accounting issues with more of a substance over form focus. It was a great opportunity to see things in a new light and gain information which will benefit me in my field.

Was there one thing you learned that you just couldn’t wait to tell your colleagues?
I was surprised by the emphasis that Europe’s investor market places on sustainability reporting which focuses on a company’s impact on the environment and the economy as well as the company’s corporate social responsibility. Prior to this trip I hadn’t gained much exposure to sustainability reporting as it is not as prominent in the industries I serve in the States. I was fascinated by the difference in the values placed on reporting by users of financial information and looked forward to discussing it with my colleagues.

You met some major players in the European accounting and financial world. Can you talk a little about that?
I was impressed with the program coordinators’ efforts to put together a schedule with such high-profile individuals as well as the generosity of these professionals to spend the time with us. I think it was beneficial to gain exposure to not only European public accounting firms, but also standards offices and industry professionals alike. We all benefited from learning from their knowledge and experience. It’s not often you get to casually network with such high-level executives, and I was happy to see the students have that opportunity.

What was it like to meet these high-powered people?
I found that although they were highly accomplished professionals, they were more than willing to take the time to share their knowledge with the students and showed a lot of interest in ensuring we had a positive experience during the duration of our program. It was refreshing to see that individuals who hold such high-profile positions can also be down to earth. One of the statements that stood out to me was from the CFO of Aegon, an international insurance company. When discussing his career path, he emphasized the importance of finding a mentor early on in your career and the importance of social and communication skills; I was impressed by his modesty, and found it sound advice for the students.

What kind of value do you think the MAcc students got from the trip?
I think the MAcc students, as well as myself benefited from all aspects of the trip. Daily activities included classroom lecture, foreign language and cultural exposure, professional and technical accounting discussions, and fun social experiences. I thought the program did a great job to challenge the students by requiring them to present speeches on case studies, conduct debates, and interact with high-level professionals. The trip also offered students the opportunity to become familiar with European business culture and just have a good time, relax and enjoy themselves.

What kind of value would you have gotten from a trip similar to this one, if it had been offered while you were an undergraduate at the Lundquist College of Business?
I would have loved the opportunity to gain an international perspective. I think experiences abroad greatly enhance your personal development and it’s for that reason I decided to study abroad during college although it was difficult to schedule a term to do so given the rigorous curriculum of the accounting major. I am happy that the MAcc students are now able to have the opportunity to have such an experience as an integral part of the program as this will allow them to gain confidence in their ability to succeed in the global business world while increasing their knowledge about the accounting profession.

What do you think of the current group of MAcc students?
I was extremely impressed by the high caliber of the MAcc students who attended the program. They were professional, intelligent, and outgoing which made the program that much more enjoyable for me. I was constantly impressed with their ability to do complete difficult assignments, ask thoughtful questions and interact with accomplished professionals with ease.

Was this your first time in Europe?
It was my second time traveling to Europe as I studied abroad in the Netherlands during my time at the U of O. It was great to be back in Europe and see aspects of the Netherlands that I didn’t have exposure to during my first trip abroad. I think going to Europe is always an amazing opportunity to gain a different perspective and learn about history and other cultures. I was grateful to have that opportunity again.

What did you find was most different about being in The Netherlands?
The most difficult aspect of being in The Netherlands was the language barrier as the Dutch language can be difficult to learn. Other than that the landscape has a lot of history, so you’ll see cobblestone roads, unique shops, and narrow homes which line the streets side-by-side and not very many tall buildings like you’d see in major cities in the States.

What was the most unusual food you ate?
The Dutch only have a few notable items which are unique to their cuisine but one thing that repeatedly came up were croquettes, which are breaded and deep-fried ground meat, mashed potatoes, cheese, and vegetables. My favorite part about food in the Netherlands though is the dairy products – no one does dairy better than the Dutch. I brought home cheese from a gift shop for all of my family.

What was the most memorable fun or cultural event for you?
It may have been partly because it was nostalgic for me given I’d been there before, but I greatly enjoyed the walking dinner tour of Amsterdam. Amsterdam is a very lively city. With its historical buildings and lights which reflect off of the water in the canals which line most every street, it is especially beautiful at night. Our guides gave us a highly informative tour about the history of the city, and treated us to some very nice places which had a lot of character. Everyone had a great time, and as it is a uniquely vibrant city with visitors from all over the globe it was a memorable cultural experience.

Written by grimstad@uoregon.edu

Senior Honors Business Student

My Evening at the Women In Business Gala

In February of each year, the Lillis atrium fills with successful business professionals and enthusiastic students. They gather to celebrate women who are living out their careers in the world of business. This year’s seventh annual Women in Business (WIB) Gala, once again, brought a night of networking, mentorship, and fun to the Lundquist College of Business.

The event started off with a welcome from Kelly DeFacci, president of the Women in Business Club. Dean Kees de Kluvver soon followed. In spirit of the event’s theme, “Unlocking your Potential,” the dean recalled a story I was delighted to hear: the story of Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to go into space. When I was in grade school I read Dr. Jemison’s autobiography and have looked to her as a role model ever since. This woman is a go-getter from the core and is determined to accomplish anything she sets her mind to. What a great message to open the night!

I had the pleasure of sitting at the table sponsored by Fred Meyer, the platinum sponsors of this year’s Gala. Sharing my table was a mix of Fred Meyer professionals, women in leadership roles here at the business school, and students.

Kelley Bloom–a Key Bank vice president and district leader of the company’s Key4Women program–delivered the keynote speech. Bloom surprised me when she began to talk about the top five mistakes that women business owners make. I expected her to say “all is well” and “women rock,” but she wasn’t afraid to discuss the unique advantages and challenges women face in the business world.

This was my second year at the gala. Each time I’ve attended it, I’ve had a chance to consider what influences me, the opportunity to connect with meaningful mentors, and it has motivated me to dream about my future. When I look around the room and see it filled with established women professionals, I wonder what marvelous things I will be able to accomplish and what story I will tell when am in their seat years from now.

I really appreciate having the opportunity to attend the Gala, so I would like to give a special thank you to all the companies who sponsored the event and to members of the Women in Business club for making it happen.

Julie Grimstad
Honors Business Student, 2013

Written by grimstad@uoregon.edu

Senior Honors Business Student

Emerging Markets Equity Portfolio Hits Home With Oregon MBA’s

Tareq discusses options with his cohort and faculty

In the Securities Analysis Center at the Lundquist College of Business, a small group of MBAs will get to make a lasting impact on future classes’ abilities to gain industry leading skills and knowledge bases in world financial markets.  The group is doing so through the Emerging Markets Equity Portfolio, a cutting-edge initiative that draws on the group’s international makeup and interests.  Tareq AlMusharaf, a second year MBA from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, took a moment to answer questions about the portfolio, its purpose, and why he got involved.

Q: So, Tareq, in a nutshell, how did the Emerging Markets Equity Portfolio (EMEP) get its start?

This was a faculty initiative, starting with Wayne Mikkelson and John Chalmers in the Finance department.  I believe they wanted to capitalize on the fact that there was a small, yet diverse SAC class; through combining our individual experiences (three of the four team members are from emerging markets) we were able to generate a portfolio investment model that is feasible and replicable at the University of Oregon.

Q: What do you feel was the primary driving force behind the group of MBA’s that got involved?

The driving force was definitely the challenge of replicating a structure that usually costs hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses annually, to one with a fraction of those expenses.

Q: Why did you get involved?

This is my Strategic Planning Project (SPP) graduation project.  I also have worked in the mutual funds business for seven years, hence this related to my previous knowledge.

Q: When comparing this fund to the current University of Oregon Investment Group’s (UOIG) fund, what makes this one fundamentally different?

The UOIG fund is a great platform for undergraduates to hit the job market with hands on analysis and portfolio management experience.  The MBA run Emerging Markets Equity Portfolio, however, offers a more advanced level of complexity and exposure to its participants.

Q: How does that difference change the management and investment approach for everyone involved?

The main difference in approach comes from the additional layers of analysis. One is country analysis, which includes the economics and politics of the relative country. Secondly, there has to be a thorough information analysis, as required levels of disclosure are different from those of the USA. There is also more weight on economic and life cycle analysis, as emerging markets all have an initial boom which provides superior return when compared to developed markets. Our objective is to invest in industries that have a better chance of prospering from those economic booms.

Q: What’s something most people don’t understand about what you all are trying to do with the EMEP?

I think that the success of this fund would definitely prove the success of simpler models.  In other words, sticking to the basics pays off.

Q: When somebody gets experience with the EMEP, how is that going to help him or her understand world markets beyond an academic perspective?

Analyzing an EMEP company goes beyond financial statements and industry growth. The person involved must understand the country, its driving forces, cultural preferences and values, in addition to many more qualitative aspects of individual countries. The analyst must also be able transfer the acquired knowledge and replicate the same information for other markets. In other words, it would give anyone involved a greater global perspective to evaluate qualitative factors along with traditional quantitative decision criteria.

Q: What’s the best part of this experience, in your opinion?

The best part is the ability to plan for others who will manage the fund, and the ability to monitor the results in the future.

Q: Ultimately, what would you say success looks like for the EMEP?

Success for the EMEP is the ability to be fully invested in companies within three years after launching the portfolio (with no investment in the tracker fund), while simultaneously outperforming the benchmark.

 Sean Golin, a second year MBA from Colorado, gives a brief overview of what tools and research students in the Securities Analysis Center use when selecting the companies that will make up the Emerging Markets Equity Portfolio.

Written by grimstad@uoregon.edu

Senior Honors Business Student

A San Francisco Treat

Amanda Rhodes, Oregon MBA class of 2011, takes a moment to reflect on the CSBP’s trip to San Francisco in February of 2011. The group visited multiple companies and organizations that are leading the sustainable industry to extract on-the-ground, real world takeaways.

Aside from the visits with industry thought leaders, the group also got to enjoy the many sights, sounds, and flavors of San Francisco’s world renowned streets and destinations.

Written by grimstad@uoregon.edu

Senior Honors Business Student

Oregon’s Own: VisiRay goes head-to-head with the best at NVC

16 teams vied for more than $50,000 at the University of Oregon’s 2011 New Venture Championship.

This is the story of one of those teams…

About NVC:

The University of Oregon’s Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship hosts an annual competition for graduate teams from across the country and the world to compete against each other in a live-fire, world-class educational experience. 2011 marked the 20th anniversary for NVC, and it is widely recognized as a top graduate level business plan competition.

When NVC started, the Lundquist College of Business set out to leverage the Pacific Northwest’s vibrant community of entrepreneurs to give students the opportunity to test their fundamental business skills in a real-ife, pressure situation. In short, NVC wants them to experience the life of an entrepreneur and what it takes to launch and grow not a business – but a successful venture.

NVC today remains true to those roots. The competition is as much about the latest and greatest technologies and ideas as it is about ensuring students will forever remember the event as a touchstone in their development as entrepreneurial business leaders.
___

Produced and Edited by Nate Kalaf for the Lundquist College of Business
Music Licensing by Rumblefish

Written by grimstad@uoregon.edu

Senior Honors Business Student

What It Feels Like To Not Look For a Job

I felt a clock start counting down the second I stepped on campus close to 20 months ago.  It was my internal stopwatch, and at that moment it told me, “You have two years to figure out your next step, so do what you must between now and then.”  I heeded its advice and opened up as many doors as I possibly could have as an MBA student trying to figure out what there is out there to do with one’s life.  I met many interesting business leaders that shared their insights and advice on what makes the difference in a career, a personal life, and the journey through both.  It’s about that time for me to start planning what I am going to do after the Oregon MBA, and I do not think I am going to look for a job.

That being said, I will not be going the route of professional couch surfer, nor will I be moving back in with my parents and watching reruns of That 70’s Show all day.  What I hope to do is take a shot at growing my company, Tall Palms Creative, and going the independent route for a bit.  It’s a crazy decision, but I feel this is a crazy enough point in life to do it.  I’ve noticed many people are behind me, and I don’t think I could be deciding to not look for a job without the full support of family and friends.

Some people look at you funny when you tell them you have decided to do something like start a company for your main source of income.  It’s not a negative look, but it makes you realize you are going to be doing something that strikes most others as risky, daring, and gutsy.  To me, however, it is the realization of a long held dream to build my own creative agency, and that eliminates a great deal of the fear that comes with deciding what to do with your days.  I don’t precisely know when that became my dream, but I know that it now eats at me whenever I am working directly for somebody else. “You could do this on your own for real,” tends to be the statement I hear in my own head, but I’m realizing it’s also important to answer the question, “Do other people think you can?”

That question will be answered, hopefully, in time.  Right now I’m busy answering the many other questions that come with the startup route:

-Who can I find to help me grow operations?

-What are the ways I can avoid getting sued?

-Who will my clients be?

-What should I charge them?

-What do I pay myself (if I can pay myself)?

These are the questions that make it interesting, nerve-racking, and challenging.  They are also the questions that led me to get an MBA before trying to answer them on my own with only a Broadcast Journalism degree and a few years of experience in the creative industry.  I picked the Oregon MBA because they have people here to help teach you the ways to answer those questions, and it has become a priceless education for me.

The MBA does not, however, teach you to take a road less traveled; it must be your own two feet that walk it unencumbered by other’s orders.  I’m getting closer to the fork between the known and unknown paths each day I avoid mailing resumes to the places I would still consider a great place to work.  That is the hardest part for me – knowing there are still a ton of great organizations out there that I would feel fortunate to work for.  Each time I consider picking up my laptop and opening up the job search engines a voice rises up, though.  It firmly says, “If you don’t try this now, will there be a next time?”  That is the question that answers my doubts, and it focuses me on the path ahead.  I figure the worst thing to happen is I fail miserably as a business owner and have to “get a real job” somewhere down the line.  Six weeks from now, though, I take the first step off the known, worn-in path, and I can’t wait to feel the unpaved dirt beneath my feet.

Nate Kalaf

Oregon MBA Class of 2011

Founder, Tall Palms Creative LLC

(Painting by Lecia Owen Fine Art, LLC)

Written by grimstad@uoregon.edu

Senior Honors Business Student

A Career Services GTF Experience

Pictured Left to Right: Dan Simon, Judy Sheldon, Brett Ratchford

When I first applied to be one of the three Graduate Teaching Fellows for the Business Career Center, I didn’t think it would be nearly as intensive as it is. Now don’t get me wrong, for a position that covers tuition, provides insurance, and gives a monthly stipend, I knew it wouldn’t be a piece of cake either.

However, working with undergrad business majors has been pretty impactful on my own personal job development. I work along with two other graduates (Brett Ratchford and Dan Simon) and the career services staff to help teach undergrad students on how to write resumes, cover letters, and how to go about looking and applying for internships and jobs.  I was lucky enough to have previous experience working with (and being on) hiring committees and thankfully the staff trains us extensively on how to write and teach resume and cover letters, however, the combination of my increased awareness of all that the business sector offers (gained from my MBA courses and networking) and meeting with, at times, over 100 students per quarter has really helped me become a better GTF.

In the end the best part about being the Career Services GTF is being able to take advantage of all the resources that it offers! My resume and cover letter abilities have never been better and I feel confident that my job search will be a successful one. Hopefully, that future job will benefit from the mentoring experience that this GTF position has granted me. I know my classmates have benefited from it!

Judy Sheldon

MBA Candidate – Class of 2011

Written by grimstad@uoregon.edu

Senior Honors Business Student

2 Weeks in the Life of a CSBP MBA…

As I come into the final quarter of my second year I have been taking every opportunity I can to expand my professional network in the Portland area. In the last two weeks, I have attended a number of interesting events I have highlighted below:

CompostAble Summit: This event was organized by a professor in the UO planning department andbrought together various stakeholders responsible for thinking about the impact of and opportunities for the waste stream in Oregon. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, a number of waste hauling companies, Burgerville, Coca-Cola, and even Governor Kitzhaber all presented on what they thought future opportunities from the waste stream might look like. The main takeaway I had from the event was how necessary it is for different interest groups to have this type of opportunity to talk openly about complex issues that affect whole supply chains.

Compost-Summit-19Compost-Summit-22

Left: Jeff Harvey, CEO of Burgerville, talks about how his company’s composting program started out as an employee initiative at one restaurant but is now being rolled out to other locations

Right: Governor Kitzhaber challenged the audience to work to create an economy that is not solely based on resource extraction and material consumption

Green Business Initiative (GBI): Organized by law and business school students from UO, GBI also provides an interesting forum to bring together different viewpoints. As I was at the composting summit all morning I only got to catch the last panel of the day at GBI. The topic was the role of clean tech in the Oregon economy with a panel represented by a diverse group of representatives covering public vs. private sector and urban vs. rural viewpoints. The overriding point seemed to be that tax incentives were key for current and future cleantech to remain profitable in the Oregon economy.

Sustainability At Work: I attended this conference with Amanda Rhodes, a fellow MBA student. The workshop was put on by Portland Business Alliance and focused on actionable sustainability strategies a person can implement in their workplace. I found the activities we did and the discussion quite relevant as I am working on an operational sustainability plan for a bank in Eugene for my Strategic Planning Project. After the conference, I had an interview for a summer internship position across town. I felt the interview went pretty well partially due to my brain being prepped all day at the workshop to talk about current topics in sustainable business.

Pedal Fest 2011: Okay, so this one has nothing to do with school but it DOES have to do with bicycles and fun. Last Saturday, Ninkasi Brewery here in Eugene had a live music and documentary screening event where all the electricity was supplied by two bicycles on the edge of the stage. As the night wore on, the two initial bikers were probably tired (or else thirsty for Ninkasi’s famous IPA) and were relieved of their duty by regular people from the crowd. I didn’t give it a go but my friend who did said it was a challenge as you needed to keep a constant 25 MPH to keep the lights on and the volume levels high enough. I liked how the emcee summed up the event at its conclusion…(I’m paraphrasing here)….”Today we realistically only saved about $0.25 in energy but I hope when you all go back home you tell your friends about this event it will spark some discussions about how we can encourage behavioral change and encourage energy efficiency.”

–Brett Ratchford, CSBP 2011

Written by grimstad@uoregon.edu

Senior Honors Business Student

Skitterlist – The Best Idea You Will Never Hear Of

Over the first weekend in April, I had an opportunity to attend the Startup Weekend event (http://portland.startupweekend.org) in Beaverton, Oregon.  In addition, five other MBA students from the LCE were also able to attend and we all had a great experience participating in the event.

In a nutshell, Startup Weekend is an intense gathering of business, design, and technology people to come up with a great idea and over the course of about 54 hours, develop that idea into a business model complete with a working product and viable business and marketing plans.  On Sunday night, the team leaders present their ideas and the best idea was awarded a $2500 prize to help them keep the project going.

Here are the ideas that had teams formed around them:

  • AudioName acts as an audio avatar, giving people the correct pronunciation of your name in your voice
  • Biznab offers a super simple CRM targeted at contractors and other service industry folks
  • GoodPursuit makes supporting charities a clue-driven game
  • Grepic allows individuals and companies to tag Facebook photos, providing a more rich information set for viewers
  • KidInk makes it easy for kids and parents to share kids’ artwork online
  • MyReplayLive gives everyone a highlight reel by broadcasting amateur sporting events
  • Play Academy helps children and parents manage growth and development around math
  • SellHappLee allows power-sellers to easily post items to eBay, Amazon, and other similar storefront sites
  • Skitterlist tells you what restaurants and bars you’ll like based on people with similar habits and interests
  • Spotzie allows you to rent out your driveway as a parking spot
  • Ulysses Pact enables you to enlist the help of friends and family in achieving your goals

There’s also a video here (http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/13759921) where each of the team leaders gives a brief description of the final status of their product before the presentation.  It gives a great idea of the kind of energy that was present at the event.

I participated in the Skitterlist team.  Our project began as an idea that our team leader had that Foursquare (https://foursquare.com/) should be able to recommend new places (restaurants, bars, coffee shops, etc) to visit; based on places the user has previously visited. Once we hopped into the project and began our marketing research, we quickly found that Foursquare was currently working on this exact application, so we determined that it wasn’t a wise decision to try and compete with them on their own platform.

The development focus was shifted to the Gowalla (http://gowalla.com/) API, which actually ended up being more accessible and easier to develop for.  The level of programming expertise present in our group absolutely floored me.  In only a day, the three developers on our team were able to effectively program an application for not one phone but six different phone types using PhoneGap (http://www.phonegap.com/).

I concentrated on developing an online presence through a Twitter account, Facebook profile, and Launch Rock web page. From there, I tried to generate a buzz about our product and gather some followers over the weekend.  In a very short time, we were able to get about 50 people or so following our development on Facebook and Twitter. Other team members from the OMBA program helped analyze the market and develop a business plan.

In the end, our team determined that this was a fun event and no team members had any current interest in legitimately attempting to compete against Four Square so we’ve agreed that this project has been a learning experience are there are no plans to take it any further.  While my most recent adventure into the startup world has not yet made me independently wealthy, I feel that the experience was priceless.

-Troy Beck
Oregon MBA Class of 2012
Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship

Written by grimstad@uoregon.edu

Senior Honors Business Student