Friday, January 29, 2016

Guest Post: Eirik's MBA Trip to India

This week we have a special guest posting on the international student blog. Eirik graduated from PLU in Spring 2015 however continued on with the School of Business to complete a Masters Degree in Business Administration. He has held two jobs while attending PLU, working both in Dining & Catering Services and as an assistant in the Scandinavian Shop section of the Garfield Bookstore. His Masters program concludes in June and he is actively searching for positions that may allow him to do an OPT year upon his graduation. This January Eirik and the MBA students accompanied their professor Gaurav Gupta to India. Read more about his experience below!
Hey everyone, my name is Eirik and I am a graduate student from Norway. I am currently an MBA candidate at PLU and in this J-term I studied abroad with my MBA cohort. The MBA program requires students to study abroad under their Global Business Perspective course, and this year we could choose between India and Costa Rica and I chose India.
It was only a 10 days trip in India but we learned a lot and visited a lot of different places all around India from the southern tip and all the way to the north next to the Himalayas. The purpose of this trip was to experience the differences in business culture compared to USA but most important the difference between American and Indian culture in general.
The one thing that you need to know about me is that I love food so the first thing I looked to experience was the cuisine. I always have been a fan of Indian food and I always though food like Tikka Masala and Tandoori Chicken was all over India but I was wrong. India is a country with different cultures and every different state has its own food. For instance food in southern part of India use more rice while in the North they use more potatoes, and they do not eat beef since cows are considered holy in the Hindu religion. Food such as Tikka Masala and Tandoori are famous dishes from Punjab province. Also another fun fact is that most of the food I saw and most of the people I meet where vegetarian which is quite interesting and good for the society.
Well that is enough about my passion for food. We did learn other things as well, for instance according to our first business lecture India has over 45 languages and 300 dialects (some sources indicates that they even have more languages and dialects.) One thing that I notice is that the culture is quite calmer and relaxing in India compared to USA. For instance things take time which is not good for an impatient Norwegian such as me. I call it Indian time where things are supposed to take an hour takes 2 hours or more. But I envy them though; they are appreciating the time more than what we do while we are always in a hurry.
Eirik at the Taj Mahal!
Other thing that I notice is all the poverty that we saw. Many people live in shacks covered with dirt and trash and I remember that we said that how we feel sorry for them, but the weird thing that surprised us is how happy they looked. Even though they lived in terrible conditions, they were able to appreciate what they had and where happy. If we compare it to the western world we like to complain about everything we have and do not have.
This trip has been amazing, I have seen and learned a lot, much more than what I have been mention here and I would definitely go back to India and see the rest of the country and meet all the wonderful people again. If you have any questions about my experience in India or my experience with the MBA program at PLU please leave a comment below and I will try my best to answer you!


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Technological Impact experienced by an International Student

            During 2008-2009 I was an exchange student at Puyallup High School, Washington. I was sixteen years old. It was my first time away from home. I loved it. My parents back home were generous enough to provide me with their credit card.  Life was great. Until this one day would come up. Through email I would set up Skype meetings with my parents. I knew what they were going to say… As nearer the end of my stay approached, the longer the periods between those meetings have gotten. Literally, I spent too much money on unnecessary things. Hey, I was sixteen.

            The cell phone that I owned at this point in time had simple domestic texting and calling features. It was rather complicated, in comparison to today, to get in touch with my family and friends back home. Of course, there was, which neither my parents, nor my friends back home have ever heard of. The viable solution to my problem was a prepaid long-distance phone-card, email, and Skype. It was hard for my parents to get a hold of me. I was busy exploring the world. 
            Six years later. I get up in the morning. Look at my phone. There are 15 new Whatsapp messages. Barriers of over 5,000 miles or 9 hours time difference become insignificant. Communication around the globe is as easy as it has never been before. VOIP calls enable internet-connected phones theoretically to connect with any whom, anywhere, anytime, and at any place around the world almost instantaneously.
            It is nice to know what is going on around the world in real time, how your family and friends are doing, or simply stream your soccer team on your phone. However, in how far have we become reliant on our cell-phone? How much time do we actually spend using it? Is it wasteful? For myself I can say that at some times I feel overwhelmed with the interaction on my cell-phone on top of the challenges of real everyday life. I can find myself being distracted by insignificant things, like someone’s lunch they posted on Facebook or the like. I think back to the times when I was totally focused on my 16 years old mind, without any such distractions. As I said, life was great. This might be partially due to the credit card, but I also enjoyed the freedom I had. Communication brings responsibility. With how many people are you trying to stay in touch with? In how far does this take time away from your experience in a new country? Which do you prioritize? I think one has to find a healthy mean between these two in order to evade the dependence on technology and feel free themselves.


Monday, November 30, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving! Through the eyes of an international student.

Hello again everyone!

As you all know, Thanksgiving just flew by, Black Friday passed along and here we are today, on Cyber Monday. Having only been in the States for three years, every Thanksgiving holiday has been different and extraordinarily exciting. I've also learned different things every single year. Well, this year was no different. 

On Thursday, Thanksgiving day itself, my friends and I (total of 6) went to our friend's house for Thanksgiving dinner. Kelly, whose mom invited us over, is an American student who's currently studying at Green River College. I knew Kelly as we were roommates for a while back at Green River and he currently lives in the same house as my girlfriend. The 6 other friends that came were also roommates at that same house. 

When we got there, the house was filled with delicious scents and we walked in the door, just in time to see a huge turkey being prepped for dinner. I can still remember the sight and taste of that turkey, it was so tender and succulent. Before dinner, we helped out in the kitchen, played with the dog and just talked to people who lived there and also family friends. I learned a lot then as I came to realize what Thanksgiving dinners had to contain. For example, Turkey, stuffing, potatoes were a must during Thanksgiving. Talking to people there also gave me insights about happenings around the world, sports news and politics. It was really really fun.

 After Thanksgiving dinner, we played a couple of games at the house and just relaxed. We were getting ready to go all-out and pull an all-nighter at Southcenter Mall in Tukwila. We were going Black Friday shopping! 

So with a lot of excitement, we arrived at Southcenter at midnight and thus began our shopping spree.

(From L to R: Yuki, Misato, myself, Jay and Miku)
There were 5 of us in my car, and we met up with a few others later on throughout the night. It was crazy and entertaining as there were a lot of people shopping and the atmosphere was just loud and vibrant. We had lots of fun shopping and just people-watching in general. I bought a couple of athletic gear as I needed it for cold weather. We left Southcenter Mall at about 4:30 am and go back at 5:00am. It was exhausting but I'm glad we all had lots of fun!

I needed whole weekend to recuperate and get my sleeping times back on track for school. Right now, on a Monday night, I'm feeling mighty fine and also nostalgic towards what happened over Thanksgiving. It's definitely a holiday that I would remember forever.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this brief experience!
Joel Goh

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!