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!

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!