Friday, November 6, 2015

Getting Introduced to the Real World of Finance!

Dear friends, 

2015 Global and Americas Regional Champions from Canisius College (Photo: CFA Institute Webpage)

 I am super excited for this new adventure that I am about to share with you.
As a finance major, I have joined PLU’s 2015-16 CFA Research Challenge team!
The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual global competition that provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis. Through this competition, my teammates and I will be working closely to research and analyze a publicly traded company called Esterline. Our assignment would be to produce a report about our assigned company with a buy, sell, or hold recommendation. Then, we will present and defend our analysis to a panel of industry professionals.
Thus far, our team has made it for the two meetings in Seattle, where we got introduced to the competition, our industry mentor, but also we got the chance to meet face-to-face with company management of Esterline to ask them questions about the company. Moreover, we've been meeting up weekly as a team to discuss the materials and start on our paper. Though, in the coming weeks, I am sure we will all feel the loads! J
By mid- January, our team will be competing against local school teams in the Washington region such as Seattle University, UW-Seattle, UPS, to just name a few. Then, the winner from the local competition would advance to the Regional and Global competition which will be held in Chicago during the week of April 11th. We hope and believe that we will represent PLU well in this competition! Please wish us luck J
We also hope that it will be one of the most rewarding experiences that we have had the chance to have in College due to the real-world experiences that we will be exposed to, as we assume the role of research analysts and are judged in our ability to value a stock, write an initiation of coverage report and present our recommendations.
By the way, our last year’s team won the local competition and advance to the Regionals, it was the first PLU team to advance to this level. Hopefully, we will follow their path or do better. 

Team From left: Kirk Swanson, Tobias Kornberg, Raji Kaur, Kristoffer Dahle, Evan Turner. (Photo: CFA Seattle.)

From left: Tobias Kornberg,  Kristoffer Dahle, Evan Turner. (Photo: PLU Webpage.)
 Here is a short wrap-up video about the CFA Institute Research Challenge, enjoy!

And, Good luck all on your mid-terms!
Your friend, 
Pape M. Samba

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Trying Something New: My Life as a Rower

Hi again, I hope everyone in Washington is staying warm! In my last blog post, I mentioned something about joining the rowing team. I wanted to reflect about my experience on the PLU rowing team through this blog post, and share my experiences during the five week pre-season.

Photo taken from the @golutes Instagram page
Some of you might be wondering why I decided to join the team so late in my college career. I had two reasons for this: I really missed being part of athletics and my schedule for my last semester allowed me to try something new. In middle school and high school, athletics was a very big part of my life. I participated in cross country for seven years, field hockey for four years, basketball for four years and track an field for a year. However, I decided not to join a team at PLU because I wanted to focus on my academics and music. During my senior cross country season in high school, one of my coaches suggested me to join rowing, since his daughter rowed at Seattle Pacific University and really enjoyed it. Even though I didn't join the PLU rowing team right away, I thought about this suggestion a lot throughout my first three years at PLU. 

I also joined the team because I had a less intense course load for my last semester. Throughout college, I took the maximum number of credits that I was allowed, had on-campus jobs and participated in music and research for psychology. Since I am only taking three classes during my last semester, I thought it was a good time to try something new. After talking to friends at PLU and other universities who participated in rowing, I decided that it was something I wanted to do. 

Rowing practice at America Lake. Photo taken by Ticia Hackney

Overall, my experience on the team was very positive. Though the full season does not start until February, I got to row in two regattas (boat races) and participated in practices. I enjoyed doing a physically rigorous sport, and it was rewarding to be able to challenge myself and see myself improve every time I rowed. I also got to meet a lot of wonderful people and make new friends! Even though I wish I'd decided to join rowing earlier, I'm really thankful for the chance I got to join the team even for a short time. I'm hoping this is something I can do again in the future after I graduate.

Go Lutes!

Team picture after our first regatta!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Look into the New MSMR Program

I have survived the first few months of being a Master's student at PLU and as part of the first MSMR cohort. So far It has been very intense and we have already done so much. I definitely feel like my statistics background in Psychology has helped me a great deal and will continue to be a big part of my success in the program. 

Already our cohort has had the chance to work with real life clients in different companies, had several presentations and even worked in the field! Because it is such a short program, only 11 months from September 2015 to June 2016, there is an immense amount of information to be processing at hyper-speed. This will hopefully prepare us for the fast-moving nature of the data-world ahead. 

Because of the small cohort size, only 18 students it has allowed us to get to know each other thoroughly and keeps the group tightly connected. We are working in different teams for all four classes and know each others strengths and weaknesses in order to function well as a group.
Here is our cohort posing with Bjug Beards for the #BjugDay of Giving!
My team took on a difficult task the first weeks and signed up for a client that needed us ASAP! My team members and I put on our running shoes and got to work! Our client was the Washington State Fair and the fair was already coming to an end when we started, which means we had to move quickly in order to collect the data that was needed.

In the end it was a lot of fun, we received official staff T-shirts and official "Marketing Staff" badges for the two days we were on site and also received free admission and extra tickets for our friends to join the fun. After we collected data we of course had to enjoy the Fair's staple foods (Scones and Turkey legs), see some cute animals and go on a few rides. We were even able to see part of Duran Duran's performance and I got my picture taken with storm troopers!

The homework load is as expected for a graduate level course and the reading is never ending, but entering a graduate program you should be prepared for that. Returning as a PLU alumn I already know a majority of my professors, the faculty, the buildings and even some of my classmates from my undergraduate degree, which makes Grad-life a little more simple and less scary.

If you have any questions about the MSMR program leave it in the comment section below!


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Last Semester at PLU... For now :)

Hi everyone!

I'm super excited yet somewhat sad that I'd be leaving PLU after this semester. However, this is not the end of my time at PLU, as I hope to be back in spring 2017! Fall 2016 if possible. #fingerscrossed :) So, what's going on, exactly?

So recently, I enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves under the enlistment program, MAVNI (Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest). MAVNI basically provides a pathway for certain legal non-citizens (non-green card as well) to obtain their citizenship through serving in the U.S. Army. The best thing about this program is that enlistees should expect to receive their citizenship during IET(Basic Combat Training + Advanced Individual Training), which would happen at least 6 months after enlistment.

As of right now, I have 3 more months to go before shipping to IET in early February. As a result, I have to quit my schooling for a while and complete my training, as well as obtain my citizenship before returning to PLU and Washington. My training would last a good 4 months so I would be out of Washington for that period.

If you're wondering, I joined under the critical language option for MAVNI. This meant that I am fluent in a language that the U.S. Army needs/wants and thus, am eligible to enlist. I took my language test in Indonesian. That was really fun. If you would like to learn more about this program, click here:

So, I really hope to be back by spring 2017 and I'm also moving my graduation date then!

Wish me luck/pray for everything to go smoothly for me as well!

Have a great rest of your day, thanks for reading this as always :) Hope you find this information useful/entertaining!

Some basic info and a recruiter's contact information.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Back Home!

Hello! Grüße aus Tacoma! I am not currently studying abroad! I was born in Seattle, Washington and lived there my whole life, until I came to Pacific Lutheran University. I had my first study abroad experience this year - I spent January in Berlin with PLU’s J-term program, February and March on my own traveling around Europe, and April and May in Nepal and Tibet with an organization called Cascade Leadership Challenge. Although it was the majority of my travels was away from an academic setting, I received some of my richest education (so far) during the months February through May, as I met a large amount of people with very different perspectives and temporarily threw myself into other, concurrent realities. I’ve returned home with a much richer understanding of the world and even the people I know and continue to meet at home. Already, I’m looking at international travels for after I graduate so as to further my education outside of school, always with the goal of experiencing parts of the world that are new to me.
A normal train commute in Rome, Italy
Right now, my German host mother is living in Berlin with her children, her boyfriend, and her midwife practice. My friends in Europe are working, going to school, and traveling on their own. In Nepal, I have friends who are building new businesses in the mountains, building a home, continuing mountaineering enterprises, and recovering from a terrible natural disaster which occurred this past May. I say this to point out that my understanding of my own reality is no longer just defined by those people whom I see everyday or even solely those who live nearby - there is a myriad of narratives being built all over the world which, amazingly, have a connection to me as I go to school in Tacoma.
Breakfast with our friends in Namche Bazar, Nepal, a few hours before the second large earthquake on May 11
A lot of people I know don't know where Nepal is. It's squished between China and Nepal, but in its entire history it has never been successfully invaded. The politics are complex and not in anyway friendly, but we found as we went into the mountains, where people are increasingly politically independent, there was an obvious community of hospitality and resourcefulness. We were only in the Khumbu for a few days before a 7.8 earthquake struck and we stayed several more weeks with Nima and Lhakpa Sherpa, doing our best to help from our position. We stay in contact and continue to learn from our friends in Khumbu. Not to mention it's indisputably in one of the most beautiful regions of the areas - the Himalaya.
Florence, Italy; a Napoli woman I became friends with who I sorely miss
Currently, Europe is going through a transformation as immigrants from the Middle East are immigrating to European countries. I was able to experience Europe on the brink of this change, right before its tipping point, and heard many different opinions from people in different countries on the issue. Experiencing other countries’ politics and social atmospheres first hand is helping me to understand my current course work on a deeper level, especially in my Modern World History course where we are currently learning the history of the Middle East. It’s one thing to learn about disparities around the world - it’s another world of experience to meet people on their own turf who are products of those disparities.
Photos with me and my German host family. I felt at home as soon as we met :)
I felt hospitality in every city I went to and feel it a necessary value to continue emphasizing at home. It's a big world out there and we aren't doing much if we aren't jumping into it.

Thanks for reading,