Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship Blog

Team TougHER takes on the Louisville Cardinal Challenge

The Louisville Cardinal Challenge is an annual business plan competition held in Louisville, Kentucky. Hosted by the University of Louisville, the Cardinal Challenge is one of the first events of the business plan competition season and offers students seeking to launch a business an opportunity to measure up to their counter parts from around the nation. The 2016 edition was sponsored by Brown Forman and offered thousands in prize money and services to the winner.

The competition had an opening round of four tracks with three teams within each track. The winner of each track moved on to the final round. Those teams who didn’t advance out of the first round competed in the 60-second quick pitch competition within the competition.Team TougHer at the Cardinal Challenge

The Team TougHER journey began in the opening round where we presented second out of three teams. Our presentation went well and we felt confident coming out of the Q&A session. Our opening round track included a team specializing in a new natural and organic chicken feed that fought diseases in chickens and a team who created a new solid-state rocket fuel source. Needless to say, we quite a challenge in front of us.

Later in the day, the competition hosted a luncheon with all the teams and announced the winners of each track. Unfortunately, Team TougHER didn’t successfully emerge from the opening round. The team pushing rocket fuel edged us out by the narrowest of margins.

Next up was probably the part I found to be most valuable. After lunch we were guided to our feedback session with the judges who evaluated both our presentation performance and the overall quality of our business plan. The judges provided critical feedback and assured us that we weren’t far off from a winning plan and pitch. Once through with the feedback session, our fearless leader, Stacey, put together a pitch for the 60-second quick pitch mini competition.

Stacey competing in the fast pitch for team TougHERFor the quick pitch competition, the moderator called up each of the eight selected speakers from each team and then randomly selected who would pitch. The presenters were allowed no more than 60 seconds which was then followed by two minutes of time for the judges to make notes and score the pitch. After a nerve-racking half hour, Stacey was selected to pitch last. Realizing that she was missing important details of our business in her original pitch, Stacey scrapped the pitch she prepped and free styled the pitch. Later than evening at the awards banquet, it was announced that Stacey had brought home the title for the quick pitch division along with $1,500 for the business.

As a native of Hawaii, I never thought I would find myself bundled up in 19-degree weather in the heart of Kentucky. I knew the Oregon MBA was going to challenge me in many ways but I never expected to be pitching in front of panels of entrepreneurial experts and other MBA’s and PHD students. It made me really value the multiple speech classes I took in high school.

This business plan competition offered me a chance to not only see what my counter parts across the nation are doing, but it also gave me a chance to see just how well I stack up to the competition. After this experience, I can confidently say that Oregon MBAs are just as competitive as any other out there. It was especially cool to see all the different innovations that others are working on and how they view the landscape of their respective industries.

Overall, this experience provided a ton of learning points and exposure to things that I never imagined. I now know more about solid-state rocket fuel than I ever thought I would. I am extremely grateful to be a part of this team and for the opportunities that the Oregon MBA has given me. Next for Team TougHER will be the New Venture Championship in Portland, April 7-9. We hope to see you there!

Written by Brawnson Adams

Brawnson is a 2016 MBA from the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship. A native of Hawaii, Brawnson has an extensive background in retail and an undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Hawaii Shidler College of Business.


Snow was falling softly on the ground in the parking lot outside of the police station as my phone went off. I had just finished a meeting with Flagstaff PD regarding their strategy of “community policing” in the wake of a fallen officer. The meeting still on my mind, I answered a call from Paul Allen, UO’s Director of Admissions, which led to my acceptance into Oregon MBA. As I started my car and defrosted my windshield, I breathed a victorious sigh. I was going to business school.

Some might say that I had a wild roving youth, and one which doesn’t translate well to paper.

Singing for 'We Were There' in winter 2014

Singing for ‘We Were There’, winter 2014

Recognizing this shortcoming, I threw myself into creating the case for why I was a prime candidate to leave my current path and get on the Oregon trail. All of my community-college-attending, essay-editing, resume-tweaking, and GMAT re-taking efforts were steps toward rebranding myself and building that case. The funny part of the whole process? It’s what doesn’t translate well to paper that translates best to the program itself.

A large part of our discussions at Oregon are retrospective and reflective. Every day we are encouraged to synthesize our considerable learning in the light of our direct experience. After all, if you cannot find personal relevance with the material, you will not understand it properly. Different minds subjected to different training, interpret the same data differently (duh). The fun part of the program is collaborating with my peers to combine these interpretations and create additional value.

It is here that I find that my wide and varied skill set aids me most. My background in education allows me to facilitate group discussion for effective decision-making. My work as a tour manager aids me immensely in understanding accounting and finance, while experience as an event planner gives me the linear mindset required for project management. I draw from my time as a punk rock front man to be a commanding presenter, and my experience in the tattoo industry taught me that innovation is iteration. Buffalo Wild Wings taught me supply chain, while Criollo Latin Kitchen taught me supply chain integration. Hosting taught me capacity management, serving taught me how to segment markets, and bartending showed me that hustle is scarce and hunger is your greatest asset

Visiting Theo Chocolate with the OMBA, winter 2016

Visiting Theo Chocolate with the OMBA, winter 2016

Most importantly, however, was the time I spent as a crisis responder for victim’s rights. Becoming a crisis responder was one of my last projects before coming to the OMBA, inspired by last year’s civil unrest and a heightened consciousness of gender issues. Crisis response taught me that risk is ever present and many a well thought out deal goes bad. Crisis response causes me to remember that there is a much larger world outside of the Oregon MBA, one which is created at the community level, and one which demands conscious change agents.

If I could, I would go back to that parking lot and ask myself, “How does your experience color the way you process information? How do you leverage your insight into effective leadership? How do you find freedom in focus?” The answers to these questions are those which show a person’s true quality beyond their worth on paper. Yet, I know I would never have been able to answer them before coming here.

Written by Joey Jaraczewski

Jaraczewski joins the Oregon MBA with a passion for changing the food industry. He grew up in rural Arizona and has spent the past four years exploring the world of food from multiple angles. He’s worked as a server and bartender in Flagstaff and traveled across the country visiting farms, feedlots, food distribution warehouses, and retailers. As an Oregon MBA on the sustainability track, Jaraczewski plans to build on that experience to explore ways to build a more sustainable food system for generations to come. Jaraczewski will graduate as an Oregon MBA with the class of 2017.

Green is the New Black

What do a clothing retailer and a premium chocolatier have in common? A lot more than I thought!

On the Oregon MBA’s recent experiential learning trip to Seattle, I got to see two very different businesses both using environmental responsibility to grow their bottom line—Green Eileen through post-consumer product responsibility and Theo Chocolate through supply chain management.

For the first visit, we headed south to Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood looking for the west coast retail outlet of Green Eileen–Eileen Fisher’s “recycled clothing initiative.” The Green Eileen arm collects, processes, and sells already worn Eileen Fisher clothing in excellent condition—called “seconds” by Green Eileen. I was expecting the store to feel and look like a second hand store, but it has a boutique, spa-chic feeling and features a revolving dry cleaning rack that adds an industrial design element to their inventory display.

Green Eileen TourWe met with Megan Arnaud, Retail Leader in Seattle, who shared her impressive depth of knowledge about the overall corporate responsibility mission of Eileen Fisher. She acknowledged, “We are a teeny tiny tip of an incredibly big iceberg,” within the overall clothing industry, but “we feel a responsibility for the whole lifecycle” of their products. Eileen Fisher is not only committed to environmental responsibility, but are also using their “seconds” to open a new sales market. The Green Eileen model serves as a new, more effective, way to reach a younger market segment—a demographic Eileen Fisher would like to reach, but currently doesn’t have in its traditional customer base.

Over in the Green Eileen recycling center in a very cool old warehouse in the SODO area of Seattle, we met Patty Liu, Recycling Program Leader at Green Eileen. It was impossible not to get excited as she drove home the possibilities inherent in thinking nimbly about dealing with Eileen Fisher “seconds.”  Through the Green Eileen store, pop-up sales at the recycling center warehouse, and planned expansions to factory stores and internet sales, Green Eileen is reaching previously untapped demand for high quality, sustainable fashion from a younger market segment. By embracing the challenge to internalize responsibility for the entire lifecycle of their products, they have started to create a new market for both their product and their mission. Patty shared, “You really have to invest and believe in what you’re doing to drive other people to see value.”

Theo Chocolate TourLater in the afternoon, across town in the Fremont neighborhood, we piled out of the van into the Theo Chocolate Factory and outfitted ourselves with hairnets and beardnets to begin a tour inside the closest thing any of us will ever come to Willy Wonka’s factory. Our tour guide was knowledgeable, funny, and generous with the chocolate samples as we learned Theo’s history and current supply chain processes and commitments. Feeling worlds away from the retail fashion world, I nonetheless started hearing a very similar story from what we had heard in the morning—taking environmental and social responsibility for your product can help you reach whole new market segments and grow your bottom line. While Green Eileen is focused on Eileen Fisher’s post-consumer product responsibility, at Theo, their focus is on supply chain responsibility.

Theo uses both direct interaction and third party certification to ensure social and environmental responsibility at every single step of its supply chain. Of their suppliers, our tour guide explained, “People want to work with us because there’s the immediate benefit of people making more money,” due to the higher price premium fair trade and organic ingredients command. On the customer side, Theo enjoys a price premium compared to conventional chocolate bars, but tries to keep the price point at a level that is accessible for people to treat themselves.

MBA Seattle trip 2016The biggest take away from the day (besides the six pounds of chocolate samples I ate throughout the tour) was a reinforced appreciation for social and environmental sustainability as a powerful business tool to drive both mission-related impacts AND a company’s bottom line. Despite the competitive advantage both companies enjoy from their practices, it was energizing to hear both companies’ desires to share the lessons and tools they’ve found along the way with others in their industries. In Patti’s words, “Do I hope other companies will see what we’re doing and try to do it, too?  Well, yeah!!”



Written by Kate Hammarback

Kate is a 2017 MBA/MPA from the Center for Sustainable Business Practices. Originally from Wisconsin, Kate graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin with a political science degree and spent time working in state and national politics before pivoting to nonprofit resource and program development. Kate is an active member of LiveMove and Net Impact and is happiest when working at the intersection of policy, planning, and business development through social and sustainable enterprise. After graduation, she plans to work where she can use finance and sustainability strategy to impact the triple bottom line.

What We’re Reading: The Oregon MBA’s list of most influential business books

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 12.30.18 PM



by Tom Kelley and David Kelley

Why we love it: Everyone has a creative side and it’s important to learn to tap into our creative powers to be better equipped to tackle tough business problems.



Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 12.09.44 PM



by Richard Shell

Why we love it: Easy to read tips and strategies for anyone from the professional closing a big merger, to the dad encouraging his kid to eat more broccoli.



Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 12.09.21 PM



by Michael V. Russo

Why we love it: Written by Oregon MBA professor Michael Russo, this book explains how following a vision good for the earth and for society can be a powerful route to profits.



Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 12.10.13 PM


by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar

Why we love it: This account of the largest takeover in Wall Street history has been called one of the most influential business books of all time.




The Hard Thing About Hard Things



by Ben Horowitz.

Why we love it: A must read for any prospective entrepreneur who needs to understand the potential emotional aspects of starting a company.



Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 12.13.08 PM


by Clyde Lowstutter and Cammen Lowstutter

Why we love it: A great overall general career book that prepares you for the next step-whether you’re making a career move, or want to take charge of your career.



Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 12.16.05 PM


by Herminia Ibarra

Why we love it: This book is for those looking to change career paths. It presents a new model for career reinvention that argues the way to the right career is to “try on a host of possible selves we might become.”



Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 12.17.26 PM



by Shonda Rhimes

Why we love it: Inspirational and humorous account of how to take control over making your life what you really want it to be, on your own terms. Promotes optimism, a balanced perspective, and to not take it all too seriously.


Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 12.18.53 PM



by Amanda Setili

Why we love it: Speed combined with agility is great preparation and very important for the fast-changing sectors of business in our world today.



Written by Natalie Colvin

Natalie is a 2016 MBA from the Center for Sustainable Business Practices. The experience of living abroad in Costa Rica, instilled in Natalie a passion for improving the world. After completing her MBA, she hopes to bring this passion to a career in corporate environmental and advocacy campaigns. Natalie received a dual undergraduate degree in development anthropology and Latin American studies from the University of Arizona honors college where she was also on the equestrian team.

Cameron Center takes on Seattle

One of the major components of the Oregon MBA experience is the experiential learning trips. Every term, our academic classes shut their doors, and students venture out to metropolitan areas across the country and the world. We visit cities like Seattle, New York, Shanghai, San Francisco, and Portland, to meet with top executives and recent alumni in the field. The purpose of these excursions is for students to experience real world applications of the academic theories we are learning in the classroom. These trips also serves as a major networking tool that garnish connections that continue on well beyond the MBA program.

Seattle skylineThis past week, all first year MBA students had the opportunity to travel to Seattle, Washington and engage with top executives from companies such as Microsoft, Milepost Consulting, D. A. Davidson, and REI.

For me, one of the highlights of the Seattle trip was the key industry and career insights provided by top executives in the finance industry. Due to the small size of the Cameron Center for Finance and Security Analysis, we were able to sit around the board room table with Seattle’s financial giants and speak candidly about issues that were important to each one of us. These topics ranged from sports to hedging future currency rates to how each of these top executives started their careers. These open conservations were immensely valuable because they provided us the knowledge and motivation that will guide us through the MBA program to internships and careers.

Oregon MBAs in SeattleThe Seattle trip was my first opportunity to see how the city stacked up against the other major cities. Born and raised outside of Dallas, Texas, I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to travel much of the United States and abroad. But until coming to the Oregon MBA program, I had never ventured to the Pacific Northwest. So besides getting an excellent education at the University of Oregon, I am also test driving the region to see if I would want to eventually make it my home, and Seattle exceeded expectation. Between the food, the cultural diversity, the career opportunities, the breath taking scenery, and the genuine kind-hearted nature of the people that we got to meet, the city of Seattle has now been added to the list of cities that I could call home.


Written by Alex C. Bibb

Alex is a 2017 MBA in the Cameron Center for Finance and Security Analysis. He started his career in the financial development career field by helping lower-income households and communities gain access to financial services. Upon graduation, Alex hopes to continue this work by bridging the gap between the traditional financial world and economic depressed areas.

Outfitting America’s Toughest Women

Similar to other businesses, the founding of TOUGHER came from frustrations I personally experienced. For women in professional trades or hardcore DIYers like myself, finding workwear that holds up to the abuses of hard physical labor is daunting. Despite the fact that women have been getting it done well before Rosie the Riveter, hard physical labor is still viewed as men’s work- leading to a chronic lack of focus on women as a consumer group among workwear brands.

Until now.


Beth getting it done on her organic farm. She wishes for better work pants that fit women.

Since enrolling last year in the Oregon MBA’s innovation/entrepreneurship track, significant strides have been made in launching our brand. Over 300 women have validated the need for a women’s workwear brand focused on comfortable workwear without the color pink or bedazzlement. TOUGHER was also selected as the regional winner and semi-finalist for the Small Business Administration’s InnovateHER Challenge. Lastly, our team comprised of Justin La Tempa (Finance, Class of 2016), Brawnson Adams (I/E, Class of 2016), and myself have been selected to compete in the 2016 Brown-Forman Cardinal Challenge at the University of Louisville on February 13, 2016.

Starting an apparel brand has many moving parts and takes a special kind of crazy, as one of my advisers would say. However, it is the most alive and creative I have ever felt- hinting that we’re on the right path. Whenever I receive an email or grab coffee with a woman who is craving a better work pant or field shirt, like I am, it fuels me through any hardship experienced at the moment. After all, I founded TOUGHER not as a vanity brand unto myself, but to unite a community of women long ignored and inspire a new generation of young girls to get dirty, grow, build, and make.

Written by Stacey Edwards

Stacey will be graduating in June 2016 from the Oregon MBA's Innovation/Entrepreneurship track. Her past career experience include more than ten years of service in public health. She has successfully authored and passed local and state-level statutes, mentored more than 700 college students in professional development, taught undergraduate and graduate courses at Oregon State University and conducted assessment on client satisfaction and programmatic learning outcomes.

Warsaw Sports Marketing Center Engaging Asia Recap

As second year Oregon MBA students, we experience the trip of a lifetime for two weeks in September to Shanghai, Beijing, and Singapore. This trip was filled with trips to visit companies, amazing food and company, and plenty of time to explore. Students from the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center took some time to highlight their favorite memories and experiences from this incredible trip.

What was your favorite experience in Shanghai, Beijing, or Singapore and why?

Ismael Nunez-Oliva:

Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 3.19.05 PMThe Sports Matters conference was quite the highlight of my trip. We had the opportunity to attend the most important sports conference in Asia at the Marina Bay Sands. During the conference, we met professionals of the industry from different locations, such as China, Thailand and Australia.

James Stewart:

My favorite experience had to be the Great Wall of China. I never really thought too much about it before actually being there and walking along the wall. How something of that size was built on top of these mountains and is still there today is mind-blowing.

Will Eidam:

received_10206952594325133Being able to visit the Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena in Shanghai with Charles Humphrey Smith was a great behind-the-scenes experience that one could only get through Warsaw’s connections. Not only were we given a private tour of the heavily-guarded complex, but we also learned a lot about the political structure of sports in China, specifically Shanghai, that you don’t hear too much about unless you’re talking to someone who has experienced it first-hand.

David Ehrlich:

My favorite experience was the Formula 1 practice in Singapore. I have a huge passion for the sport of Formula 1 racing and to see the cars up close was beyond amazing. The speed, the technology that goes into the cars and the love that fans have for specific manufacturers and drivers. The American market hasn’t embraced Formula 1 much like a country like Singapore. The sport has helped put Singapore on the global sports landscape and provides the opportunity to bid on additional events like junior world championships and the upcoming Rugby 7’s.

received_10206987356154157Vanessa Pollitt:

I most enjoyed the visit to the Olympic Village in Beijing. I remember watching the Olympics back in 2008 and it was incredible getting to see the facilities that made that type of event possible. I personally enjoyed the tour of the Water Cube. As, a former swimmer seeing the pool where Michael Phelps won a historic eight gold medals was definitely a highlight of the trip.


What was the best meal you had on the trip?

Ismael Nunez Oliva:

Chinese hospitality can be overwhelming. As part of the Chinese culture, you need to provide as much food as you can when you are hosting. Some days, we were invited to taste local Chinese dishes that were an explosion of flavors and weird components, such as duck heads.

Will Eidam:

MrShisDumplingsAs great as the large family meals were– and they were amazing and stomach-filling — my best meal was when I went off the beaten path and explored the Hutongs of Beijing. (Alleys formed by lines of historical, traditional courtyard residences.) There, I discovered Mr. Shi’s Dumplings, a Euro-friendly modest restaurant where I was treated to various combinations of steamed and fried dumplings. (The pork, cheese and coriander combo was the best.) Sampling duck head or other non-traditional food items during family meals were great, but it’s hard to beat a well-served plate of hot dumplings.

Benji Bryant:

Breakfast at the hotel in Shanghai was my favorite meal of the trip. It was the most epic breakfast buffet that you will ever see. I seriously spent 2 hours every morning trying to make it to every buffet station. Also, the meals with duck were amazing. It is like a better version of turkey.

What was your favorite company or site visit of the trip and why?

Ismael Nunez-Oliva:Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 3.30.57 PM

I enjoyed our visit to Sport Singapore the most. We had the chance to work and engage with different professionals on a two hour workshop about specific obstacles of the local sports industry. In addition, the opportunity to visit the National Stadium in Singapore was overwhelming and we ended up our visit with a small game of Netball against SportSG. We had a close game but at the end we lost.

Whitney Scott:

IMG_7647 (1)I really enjoyed going to the NFL activation in Beijing. The NFL is still working through how to market in China, and seeing a true activation was a great learning experience (and super fun to take part in). I thought they did a great job of using technology to promote and make their activities more fun and engaging, but also very easy on the “consumer”. I enjoyed hearing about the challenges that China is facing with the NFL, but more so how they are going about tackling those issues.

Christine Lutz:

My favorite company visit was to a hat factory in Shanghai. We received a tour of the entire facility and were walked through the process of making a hat, from idea generation to fabric selection to manufacturing. It was incredible to see the inner workings of a factory and I was amazed at how many famous brands were made under the same factory roof. We then got to explore their showroom and learn a Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 3.35.11 PMlittle bit more about their sales process.

Vanessa Pollitt:

My favorite company visit of the trip was the Sentosa Golf Course in Singapore. I really enjoyed the presentation as well as the tour of the grounds. I also felt it was a fun experience to share between all of the centers.

What city did you most enjoy and why?

James Stewart:

Each city was great for its own reasons. If you were dropped in the middle of downtown Shanghai, it seemed like any other large city in America, except much bigger. The lights and buildings at night were amazing along the river. You could find other people who spoke English and stores and restaurants that you recognized. Beijing was great because it was the first time I really felt like I was in China. The Great Wall was an experience I’ll never forget and a few of us got to check out the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Singapore was very interesting. It didn’t seem like there was a stereotypical Singaporean culture or person, just a mix of all different types of cultures, and on one tour they were explaining to us that the country was growing by using imported sand to increase the size of the island. Pretty wild if you ask me. Being somebody who had never been to Asia before it was very eye-opening. There’s so much to this world that would never cross your mind until you go out there and experience it for yourself.

Jacob Rosen:

I had the best time in Singapore. It’s such a mix of so many cultures and despite the almost unbearable humidity, I wish we had some more time to wander around. Singapore’s history and culture is just so fascinating, including the fact they’ve built up 20% more land by being the world’s largest importer of sand. Since we Engaging Asia Great Wall of Chinahave such a good relation with SportSingapore, we had inside information from our peers and past trips of where to go all around the city-state. I’d love to go back.

Christine Lutz:

My favorite stop of the trip was Beijing. I enjoyed all of the rich history and culture of this city and definitely felt it was the most educational. Visiting the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven were just a few of the amazing places I explored while in Beijing. The food was very authentically Chinese and there were street vendors set up every night selling all sorts of exotic creations such as tarantula, shark, and silk worm.

What advice do you have for future students going on this trip?

Will Eidam:

To make the experience more rewarding, I would advise all students to do research on China’s political and social culture. Having even the most basic understanding will allow you to go more in depth during conversations with speakers who have graciously taken time out of their busy day to speak with students from across the Pacific. Also, you’re only in each city for a couple of days, so having an understanding of where you want to go and what you want to see during your downtime can make a huge difference between having a so-so experience and having an unforgettable one.

Engaging Asia SingaporeJacob Rosen:

Explore the cities during your free time. The long days of networking can be exhausting but you might only go to Asia once in your life. Take time to just wander out and explore the city. Wake up early in the morning or defer your naps until your return to Eugene. Cherish the time you’ve got overseas and make the most of it.


Benji Bryant:

Go! No matter what. This is a once in a lifetime trip that you definitely do not want to miss out on.

Written by Christine Lutz

Christine was born and raised in North Carolina and is a current second year MBA Student in the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center.

4 Cultural Trends That Will Affect Business in Asia

Engaging Asia BeijingHaving studied international relations and lived abroad for a number of years, I’ve experienced first hand the interconnectivity of our current world. One of the reasons I chose the Oregon MBA is because this program also understands the importance globalization has on business. The Oregon MBA takes it one step further by offering all students a highly subsidized international business trip to Asia to experience international business first hand.

Through the Engaging Asia study tour I was given the opportunity to experience the culture, history, politics, economics, and business of three very distinct cities: Shanghai, Beijing, and Singapore. The two-week trip consisted of meetings and tours with leaders from a wide variety of organizations, from large international businesses, to local start-ups, to government officials. In the course of these meetings and cultural experiences I identified four common trends to watch as I enter my career:

1)   The rising middle class and consumerism: The United States middle class is no longer the driver of the world’s economic growth, with over 109 million people worth between $50,000 and $500,000 in China alone; the Asian-Pacific market is now the most influential consumer class. Since 2000, twice as many Chinese as Americans have joined the middle class (CNN Money)  and by 2030 two-thirds of the world’s middle class will be in the Asia-Pacific region (Jeffrey Towson and Jonathan
). What does this mean for international businesses looking for growth? You’d better establish a presence now and start building a Engaging Asia Shanghairelationship with this powerful market.

2)   Young consumers: Asian consumers are significantly younger than their Western counterparts. Chinese born after 1980 represent more than 50% of the Chinese population, and Indian’s median age is only 27. These young people have grown up in a connected world, are more receptive to Western ideas and businesses, and deeply aspire for a better life (Helen H. Wang). They pose a huge opportunity, but are also a difficult segment due to their ability to detect manipulations and false intentions. That’s why authentic brands are crucial.

3)   The importance of authenticity: Asian consumers are getting savvy to fake offerings and poor imitations and now that they have the financial ability, they want the real thing from brands that recognize traditional differences and cultures. What this means for new businessmen and women is that it is going to become vital to have someone on the Engaging Asia Beijingground who really understands what the Asian consumer is looking for and his or her pain points.
It is also a huge opportunity for people with strong people and relationship building skills if they are willing to live and work internationally.



4)    The increased awareness of health and happiness in place of money as a symbol of status: Chinese citizens have realized that a higher income doesn’t always have the expected correlation with well-being, thus recent trends have shifted. The increased importance on happiness and welfare as measurements of success has led Chinese citizens to be more physically active, more relationship and community focused, and care more about the state of the environment. Average Chinese citizens are sick of pollution and the illnesses it causes and are demanding more from the government. Chai Jing, for example, became a sensation with over one million YouTube views of her documentary Under the Dome Investigating China’s Smog. However, Chai Jing doesn’t claim to be an extreme environmentalist; she’s just a Nike Shanghainormal citizen bringing light to the questions that all Chinese have begun asking. She’s just a mom who wants a healthier life for her daughter, as do all Chinese citizens. Corporate social responsibility and sustainability will be vital to the success of businesses operating in Asia.


Written by Natalie Colvin

Natalie is a 2016 MBA from the Center for Sustainable Business Practices. The experience of living abroad in Costa Rica, instilled in Natalie a passion for improving the world. After completing her MBA, she hopes to bring this passion to a career in corporate environmental and advocacy campaigns. Natalie received a dual undergraduate degree in development anthropology and Latin American studies from the University of Arizona honors college where she was also on the equestrian team.

Showing Up Fit and Well

Kathryn Butera USF Graduation

When I graduated from the University of San Francisco in 2013 with a B.A. in International Studies, I had no idea what I would do with my degree. Everyone talks about the mid-life crisis, but no one ever talks about the the post-graduation crisis. I spent four years scheduling out every day with homework, extracurricular activities, and part-time jobs, all while exploring everything that San Francisco had to offer. However, when it came time to go off and pursue a full-time career, I was unclear about my direction.

I decided to take advantage of my freedom and move to Panama City, Panama. I figured I would work any job I could find while exploring what I was actually passionate about. After about six months of living in Panama, I found myself working at a small financial consulting company as an executive assistant.

Panama%20City%20PanamaWhile we handled some of the biggest clients in the country, I didn’t have the skills I needed take the next step in my career and take on the projects that interested me. I discovered that I didn’t want to simply be present for my 9-5 schedule, but rather that I needed to be more emotionally invested in the work I was doing. Although I loved living abroad, I decided that it was time to leave Panama after about a year and a half, and I chose to seek a graduate program that would help push past the barriers I had previously experienced.

Fast forward to my acceptance to the Oregon MBA Program and orientation week. I was anxious and excited about meeting my cohort, starting classes, and acquiring all the skills I had lacked in my previous positions. While orientation week was exhausting, it was also one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in a group setting. I was particularly impressed by the improv group “On Your Feet”, whose presentation focused on how to be successful both in the program—and in life. One of the points most strongly emphasized was the concept of showing up “fit and well” and how that simple shift can change the outlook, mood, and outcome of a situation.

Since learning that lesson, I have been able to identify moments where I strategically changed my attitude so that I Lillis Business Complexcould show up ready to share positivity with my cohort. Now, as we approach midterms and stress levels rise, I try to remind myself to be grounded in the “fit and well” concept so that I can continue to get the most out of the program, while helping my classmates be successful as well.

Written by Kathryn Butera

Kathryn is originally from the Bay Area and is currently a first year MBA student in the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship.

A Vietnamese Summer Internship

Xin Chao! (Hello)

This summer I had a very educational experience working as a sustainability intern for one of the largest bag manufactures in the world. Pungkook Corporation (PK) is a Korean company founded in 1966 and headquartered in Soul. Like most other Korean manufacturing companies PK moved its entire manufacturing south for cheaper labor. PK has seven manufacturing facilities in Vietnam and two in Indonesia. They have 70+ customers some of which include Nike, Adidas, Eastpak, VF group, Cabelas, Oakley, Marmot, North Face, and L.L. Bean.

For two months I lived on site at the PK Vietnam IMG_4229headquarters just outside of Ho Chi Minh City. If being in Vietnam wasn’t enough, I worked with both Korean and Vietnamese employees, which made for an interesting environment (if you want to hear more about that, lets grab a coffee). My project? I flew to Vietnam vaguely knowing that I would be doing some sort of analysis of energy and or carbon.

My project turned out to be much more than expected, but I accepted the challenge head on! Here are the projects I took on in the short two months:

  • Conducted an energy footprint analysis for one manufacturing facility. Created an Excel energy footprint template for PK to use in measuring their other manufacturing facilities.
  • Assisted the Social & Environmental Affairs (SEA) team with implementing water metering on site and constructing an action plan for future water usage. Conducted lighting assessment and calculated saving gained from investing in LED lights.
  • Reviewed Adidas 2014 audit of Environmental Key Performance Indicators (EKPI) and assisted with ensuring that 2015 compliance was met and future targets were established.
  • Contributed in the planning phase of a Human Resource Management (HRM) system and Operational Productivity System (OPS) merger. PK wanted to automate daily decisions such as assigning employees to manufacturing lines based on skills.
  • Coordinated with multiple departments to build a list of potential employee incentives to help increase productivity of the overall factory (productivity metrics are kind of a big deal).

IMG_4254The time management, presentation, and Excel skills the MBA program helped me develop during my first year came in very handy this summer. I appreciate the opportunity to gain more experience in Asia and to expand my network of professionals in sports products and I look forward to applying what I learned to another year of school, go Ducks!

Written by Jacob Lewis

Jacob is a second year UO MBA student in the Center for Sustainable Business Practices (Class of 2016). He is an Oregon native but enjoys traveling and experiencing other cultures. He is passionate about sports, renewable energy, new technology, and fun aesthetics (.. oh, cooking and beer too!).