My Good Frenemy, Sallie Mae

Sarah Dunbar ’16, Accounting

As we near graduation it’s time to celebrate and congratulate ourselves on a job well done! It’s not an easy accomplishment to persevere through the challenges of college to complete your degree. All of the late night study sessions and Top Ramen breakfasts have finally paid off and it is time to take that next step in our lives. As we say farewell to the many experiences we’ve had at PSU, it’s time to say hello to our new best friend, Sallie Mae.

Sallie Mae* is one of the nation’s largest educational loan servicers, for private and federal loans. It works closely with the Department of Education to collect on the student loans it disburses through FAFSA. Sallie Mae is one of those friends who is always there for you in the beginning, always there with a helping hand to support you through the difficult times, but you know they are only being nice so they can cash in the favor later.

When I made the decision to go to college I happily accepted her help, but I never fully understood what I was getting myself into. So I decided, with less than a month to go, to figure it all out.

1. Understand Your Loan(s).

When I first started this process I had no idea how many loans I actually had or what their balances were. Thankfully, the National Student Loan Data System exists. Once you create a login, NSLDS provides a detailed list of all of your outstanding federal loans, including dates when payments are required and the name of your loan servicer. If you have private loans, it is recommended to reach out to your specific lender to understand the details of your loan.

The NSLDS and Department of Education provide a breakdown of the Federal Loans provided. Under the Direct Loan program, the U.S. Department of Education is your lender. There are three main types of Direct Loans:

Direct Subsidized Loans: made to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need to help cover the costs of higher education; Interest does not start accruing until after you have graduated.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans: made to eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, but in this case, the student does not have to demonstrate financial need to be eligible for the loan. The kicker? Interest starts accruing from the date of disbursement.

Direct PLUS Loans: made to graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay for education expenses not covered by other financial aid.

Additionally, the Federal Loan program offers Perkins loans. Perkins loans are a school-based loan program for undergraduates and graduate students with exceptional financial need. Under this program, the school is lender.


2. Determine Your Monthly Budget
Money Bags
Adding an additional expense to your monthly budget can be scary, regardless of your post-grad plans. This is why it’s important to know how much you can realistically pay on a continual basis for your student loans.

In my last blog post I talked about tips on how to build an emergency fund into your monthly budget, you can utilize the same philosophy here. Look at your projected income and deduct all of your current necessary expenses, and find little ways to reduce the non-essential expenses (do you really need the two DVDs at a time plan from Netflix?) Once you know how much you can comfortably spend on student loans, you can then pick the right payment plan.

Keep in mind that many federal student loan programs provide a 6-month grace period after graduation before your first payment is due. This provides time for new graduates to get settled and find a steady stream of income. Note: Most loans will start accruing interest for this 6-month period, so if you can start making payments immediately, it will cost you less in the long run.

3. Determine Your Payment Plan

Most graduates will take on a traditional payment plan for their loans. Traditional plans typically span over 10 years, include a required minimum payment of $50 (or more depending on your loan amount), and have the benefit of paying the least amount of interest over the life of the loan compared to other payment plans. Two other variations of traditional plans include extended plans, which amortize the loan over 25 years, and graduated payment plans, which slowly increase the monthly payment over time.

An alternative to traditional payments are Income-Based Repayments. With Income-Based Repayments your monthly payments are capped at a percentage of your income.

One unique opportunity provided to Federal Direct Loan recipients is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which provides an incentive for graduates to work in either the public or non-profit sector. If you are interested in working in one of these industries, check out the PSLF website for more information.

4. Set Up Auto-Pay

Adjusting to life after college can be scary. Maybe you’re moving to a new place, starting a new job, navigating a newly free social life. It’s easy to lose track of all of the moving parts and forget to make your payment. Setting up auto-pay, like you may already do for your other bills, is an easy way to make sure you’re on track. Falling behind on payments can have a serious impact on your credit score, so why risk it? On the plus side, some loan servicers provide benefits, such as interest rate reductions, for those who enroll in auto-pay. Check with your individual servicer about your options.

5. Make Friends with Your Loan Servicer

Yes, Sallie Mae is quite demanding when it comes to getting repaid, yet she also is flexible when it comes to how and when she gets the money. Because life isn’t always predictable, it’s important to build a relationship with your loan servicer from the time you believe you may not be able to make a payment on time or in full. There are two main avenues through which to postpone or reduce your student loan payments, deferment and forbearance.

Deferment: Period during which your principal payments are temporarily delayed.

Forbearance: Up to a 12-month period where your payments are postponed or reduced. This is an option if you don’t qualify for deferment but your loan servicer may grant the reprieve if you are having significant financial difficulties or illness.

For a full list of qualifying conditions, check out this web page. In any case it is important to stay in contact with your loan servicer about your plans and options. Both deferment and forbearance require documentation and a formal request to be put into place.

Whether you’re graduating in a few weeks or a year, it’s important to understand your relationship with Sallie Mae and any other financial entity you interact with. Financial aid is a big part of being a college student. Thankfully, we’re not the first students to have to deal with this issue. Work with your friends, family and academic advisors to find the right repayment schedule that works for you!

*Correction: The business was spun off in 2014 into a separate, independent company Navient Corporation. It owns federal and private student loans and services loans on behalf of Sallie Mae and other parties, such as the U.S. Department of Education. Sallie Mae transformed into a banking and financial services company offering private education loans, goal-based and traditional savings products, scholarship search and college financial planning tools.

~ Sarah Dunbar ’16, Fearless Senior

Photography by Portland Oregon Photographer Craig MItchelldyer 503.513.0550Sarah Dunbar is a senior business student majoring in Accounting. She is a member of Beta Alpha Psi, the Accounting and Finance Honor Society.





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Professional Networking for Dummies

Edwin Garcia, Advertising and Marketing Major

Since my journey through the Athletic & Outdoor (A&O) Certificate Program began, I have met over a dozen industry professionals. For an aspiring A&O professional, such as myself, the chance of clamoring “GIVE ME A JOB PLEASE” could not be more tempting. However, something tells me that would be wrong. I will detail how I have approached these industry professionals, and hopefully you find some of my experiences useful as you continue your SBA journey. On a side note (and hopefully needless to say), be respectful.

1. Be authentic.

As a general rule, you should never use people. People do not like to feel used. People are not assets or capital (barring all accounting logic – sorry accountants). Instead, thank them for their time, shake their hand firmly, smile genuinely, and just talk to them. I know that I want to work in the A&O industry one day, so I always introduce myself as a PSU advertising and marketing student pursuing an A&O certificate. Then I shift the conversation to them, and not just the companies they work for. What was their first job? How did they get into the A&O industry? What have they found most inspiring about their careers? What paved the way for their career? These questions are no rite, they can actually provide valuable information about how to shape your own career. Once again, refrain from asking them for a job, and instead ask if you can follow up your conversation via email or over a cup of coffee if the conversation went well.

2. Value their opinions.

Make sure that the people you network with feel valued. Valued not only for their position in a company, but also for their insight and knowledge. Feel free to ask them if you are on the right track. Ask if they would recommend you do something different. Take their advice with a grain of salt, but be grateful that you received a personalized recommendation from someone who has already made it (you should probably listen to them).

3. Grow your network.

It may be the case that the person you speak to works for a company that does not interest you. Perhaps they work with sneakers when you want to go into high fashion. One of the guest speakers in my retailing class said that for all intents and purposes, you do want a job in the company of any person you speak to (most of us are going to be begging for just about any job worth applying to anyway). You do not know who that person knows – the world is a small place after all and one contact could mean the difference in landing your dream job. Upon completion of your second meeting or conversation, ask politely if they can contact you with one or two people to continue your growth. You might want to do so casually by asking them “who should I contact next to discuss the industry?”

4. Apply yourself.

PSU knows how important it is to grow your network in your industry by applying yourself alongside others with similar goals. PENSOLE, the footwear design academy, will partner with adidas this summer for a four-week immersion program. Led by founder, D’wayne Edwards, a former design director at Nike whose designs have sold more than $1 billion worldwide. PENSOLE is dedicated to develop the talent of women and minority shoe designers and business professionals. The program is selective and I will be working arduously to be selected. Additionally, MKTG 436/437 courses will be offered in condensed one-week formats. This is a great opportunity to take the two A&O classes towards the certificate without having to wait until winter and spring term when they are offered again.

Apply for both the PENSOLE immersion and for MKTG 436/437 now!

~Edwin Garcia ’17, Fearless Senior


Edwin is a senior business student majoring in Advertising and Marketing.
He is also a member of A&O Connect, a student group that hosts industry professionals.


Insights from Portland Business Journal’s Women of Influence Awards

Sydney Kim ’16, Marketing Major

When I am asked to imagine a person of power and success, I imagine a man. I imagine a man when someone says the words doctor, professor, scientist and engineer. I believe that one of the reasons why no women come to mind when these professions are mentioned is because our media depicts men as doctors, women as nurses, men as executives and women as secretaries. On average, it seems like men get to play the cool, bad-ass roles while women are stuck acting as supporting characters. It’s not a secret that there is an inequality between the sexes.

WOI Awards SelfieToday, I got the amazing chance to attend the Portland Business Journal’s Women of Influence Awards and it was eye-opening. It was eye opening because I got to see women from all career paths get the recognition they deserve, whether they work in the private sector or to help build homes in the Pacific Northwest. Every single man and woman in that giant ballroom seemed so supportive of each other. The loud clapping and cheering for each and every woman that walked onto that stage was amazing.

However, the obstacles that these women had to traverse to get to where they are today are what make it even more amazing. They kept their chin up when people told them they couldn’t succeed due to their gender, because they are strong women. They leapt back into the professional field after having children and being a full-time mother for several years, because they are strong women. They took risks and faced their fears, because they are strong women. These women inspire me to imagine female doctors, professors, scientists and engineers. I am proud of Portland State University for being progressive and supporting great causes like this. My hope is that one day we won’t need award ceremonies for women only because we’ll all be on equal footing regardless of gender.

~Sydney Kim ’16, Fearless Senior

Sydney KimSydney is a marketing major graduating in spring 2016. She is an intern at Adpearance and a member of the events committee of PSU’s chapter of American Marketing Association (AMA).

What does your e-identity say about you? 7 reasons to be a better person online

Angela Stanton ’16, Advertising Major
Just for fun Google yourself. If you haven’t done it lately, you might be surprised by what you find. You might find old pictures of yourself, school records, twitter comments, or other random information and of course, it never fails that every mug shot, murderer, or porn star with your name will be the first name to pop up on the list.

Your online presence, aka your e-identity, is basically all of your online activities: the good, the bad and the ugly. A good way to look at it is everything you input goes through an online community and produces an output. Because of this, potential employers are now capable of researching job candidates before the interview and are using this information to decide if they even want to meet you for an interview.
This is the #1 reason you should control your online e-identity!

And when it comes to employers a non-existent online presence also says something about you. If you don’t have one you won’t appear to be as relevant and may be passed over by more savvy applicants for the same position.

Here are the top 7 reasons you should control your online presence:

1. Employers are using online platforms to make hiring decisions. The current job market is more demanding than ever. Statistics show that employers are doing more than just looking at your resume. A recent report released by Microsoft shows that 69% of recruiters have rejected applicants based on information they found online. The information ranged from posting inappropriate pictures and comments to lying about their qualifications.

Forbes, 2011

Things to avoid if you are job seeking (Forbes, 2011)

However, it is not all bad! In the same report, 68% of recruiters said that they have hired candidates because of what they saw about them on a social networking site.

Forbes, 2011

It’s not all bad (Forbes, 2011)

2. If you don’t others will. Big data is here and everyone is a part of it. If you don’t start branding yourself now, others will. Putting positive information about yourself and your brand makes you more relevant when you are job searching or building your online network.

3. You are more than a commodity. If you are not actively controlling your online presence than the sites you are using are treating you like a commodity by mining your information. By being a creator of your own online presence you are able to take control of how you are perceived online.

4. Shows skills that get jobs. A well rounded online presence can demonstrate skills to future employers. Online presence is all about show not tell. Having a positive online presence shows a certain amount of effort and showcases the skills you used to create the work. Making a cool infographic resume that showcases graphic design skills and marketing knowledge will surely get the job.

5. Builds personal credibility. The stronger your e-identity is the more credibility you will have in the eyes of any future employer. When you take control of your online presence you can also raise your visibility by connecting yourself to others who have strong affiliations, like PSU!

6. Creativity and passion can help set you apart from other job seekers. Again it is all about showing not telling. Creating an interesting relevant online presence through an e-portfolio, LinkedIn profile, or blog can showcase your creativity and your passion for something. This highlights skills that potential employers are looking for.

7. Builds your online network. Your LinkedIn profile is a great example of an online community that works as a networking tool and a landing page for employers to learn about you. LinkedIn also has a resume builder which will turn your profile into a resume for employers to download. The more online presence you have the more employers will be exposed to you and the more opportunities you will get. If you want to learn more about LinkedIn and how to use it effectively to network please join the Advising & Career Services for a LinkedIn and Networking Workshop on April 25 at 3:00 pm.

Here are some Best Practices/Do’s and Don’ts.

Do include a photo, a video, relevant storytelling, embed your resume, include your blog, be creative,
include your URL, and a link to your e-portfolio in your email signature. Don’t be unprofessional or turn your online platforms into tell all memoirs.

Having a positive e-identity is one of the first steps you can take in preparing for the job search. Controlling your online presence can help you get informational interviews and can help you land the job you have been dreaming about. The School of Business also offers Fearless Friday Workshops every week which are designed to help with all aspects of professional development. Please join us for these future events:

  1. April 22 – “Job Negotiation” – Melanie Billings-Yun

  2. April 29 – “Your unique job search: less time, better results” – DeAnne Preston

  3. May 6 – “Panel of recruiters/Do’s and Don’ts of the job search” – Jennifer Nice

  4. May 13 – “Cover letters and after interview follow up” – Nathanial Garrod

  5. May 20 – “Professionalism and polish” – Becky Sanchez

  6. May 27 – “You got the job, now what?” – Andrew Adeboi

~Angela Stanton ’16, Fearless Senior

Angela Stanton is a senior business student majoring in advertising.
She is also a member of the FIR Advertising student-run agency.

Be Open To Learn….Change

Edwin Garcia, Advertising and Marketing Major

Welcome to my journey through the School of Business Administration (SBA)! I am an advertising and marketing major. Through this blog, I will be chronicling my experiences pursuing the Athletic & Outdoor (A&O) Industry Certificate from start to finish.

My career aspirations are to work in a creative and challenging business environment where I can interact with professionals to promote new products. In order to achieve my goals, I am enhancing my general education with internships, student groups, and certifications. Along the way, I invite you to interact with me via social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram), join me at the various A&O-hosted events, and say hi around campus. Let’s get started!

Because of limited space, and in order to insure that my classmates are just as dedicated as I am, an application was required for MKTG 437 Channel Management in the A&O Industry. MKTG 437 is generally the last class in the certification process. The excerpt below is from my application to MKTG 437. I was asked to define my brand and story. To me, they are one and the same — each developing the other over time.

“My path to this point in my education has been unique, and that path has come to define my brand.

After two different majors at two different schools, I was quickly humbled by my mistakes. I had to focus on my strengths and persevere despite setbacks. Those strengths brought me to the SBA where I have gained the confidence to achieve success. Although the A&O industry is competitive, I am hardworking and I am determined to thrive in this environment. My motivations to pursue an education and career in this industry are authentic and rooted deeply in my passions. Before, I made decisions based on fear – fear of judgment, fear of career uncertainty, fear of failure. Now, I act based on love – love for achievement, love for myself, love for my family.

My brand has been torn down and rebuilt. My brand is focused and persevering. My brand is confident and striving. My brand is competitive and hardworking. My brand is authentic and passionate. My brand is loving what I do.”

Thankfully, the SBA had helped me define who I am and what I want to do. The amazing thing about business is that it empowers me to combine my strengths and passions into a career.

I want a career in the A&O industry because it is among the most competitive, exciting, and innovative. I follow adidas, Nike, and Under Armour very closely, as do millions of others. When I travel off the beaten path, I have preferences in my performance gear – Columbia, North Face, Patagonia, etc. – and I happen to live in the mecca of the industry. Luckily for us as college students, HR managers are seeking prepared, talented individuals to fill key business roles.

Before I started this journey, I had the privilege of conducting an informational interview with a Senior HR Manager at adidas. From the interview, I gathered that the journey is difficult; he compared job seeking to playing the lottery. However, he also advised me that gaining the right experience is key to catching their eye, mentioning the A&O Certificate at PSU specifically.

I opted to postpone my graduation to pursue the A&O Certificate. It was not long before the program showed its worth. I joined A&O Connect, a student group that hosts industry professionals to share their experiences. The first meeting I attended featured Russ Hopcus, the Senior VP of North America Sales at Columbia Sportswear. He had some words of encouragement and inspiration from his experience:

  1. 1. We Own Our Career Path.

    2. Our Paths Are Not Linear.

    3. Progress Through Performance.

    4. Be Open To Learn…Change.

Pursuing the A&O Certificate fits the criteria of all four, so I am on the right course.

If you are passionate about fitness, the outdoors, performance gear, and sports, then I encourage you to get the right experience.

~Edwin Garcia ’17, Fearless Senior


Edwin is a senior business student majoring in Advertising and Marketing.
He is also a member of A&O Connect, a student group that hosts industry professionals.


Interview with Associate Dean Erica Wagner

Sydney Kim ’16, Marketing Major

Erica Wagner, Sydney Kim

I recently had the rewarding experience of interviewing Erica Wagner, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs at the Portland State School of Business. Erica is also someone I look up to.  A quick googling of her name will tell you that she has a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and has not only taught at her alma mater, but also at Cornell University. Her profile is extensive and covers many awards that she has earned during her teaching career, but that only begins to scrape at the surface. While I was crafting my questions for Erica, I really wanted to bring forth who she is outside of her professional life. I have witnessed Erica as she holds her hand out to those who want to be heard—she sincerely listens. She makes me proud to be a Portland State student.

Q: When have you been the most satisfied in your life?

A: I think I am the most satisfied in my life now. By satisfied, I am defining that as feeling most contented and most at peace. I have a beautiful family, I have a job that is really meaningful to me and I am where I know that I make a difference. I’m healthy and I have only first world problems or ‘lucky people problems.’ And, I like who I am more today than I did 10 and 20 years ago.

Q: Can you tell me about a time when things didn’t go the way you wanted them to?

A: The most important time to share with you was the time I was denied tenure at Cornell despite receiving a positive faculty vote… I remember the day that I found out, I called my mother and I was crying hysterically. And, I said, ‘I’m so ashamed.’ And, I said that before I really understood what the words were that came out of my mouth… I started to question, ‘Am I good enough?’… I am so much happier at [Portland State]. I enjoy my colleagues and I think the students are amazing, and I know I make more of a difference here than I made [at Cornell] and so, it’s all been for the best, but it was a very humbling experience…

Q: What do you think is one important aspect about business that PSU students today forget about or overlook?

A: I think that on average what our business students tend to forget is that business is situated within society and to be an effective business person you need to know a lot about the world. So you need to read newspapers and not just the business section and not just the Wall Street Journal. And, you need to be a social scientist and contemplate how groups of people might behave and why… and I think that’s one of the reasons why I’m a big advocate of the humanities as an important part of the business education.

Q: Can you give some advice for the students here at PSU?

A: The thing that you’re most ashamed of or hiding the most is actually your secret sauce. It’s the thing that you can convert into something incredibly powerful and it is what differentiates you from the next person.


I hope that you guys have benefited from this interview just like I have. I tried to illuminate the authenticity and openness that Erica adds to this school. If it wasn’t for her, I think I’d feel more lost especially as I near graduation. She has taught me that you need the bad things in life because they keep you humble and force you to become more introspective. And, most importantly, I have learned that business is more than just politics and power – it’s also about authenticity and vulnerability.

~Sydney Kim ’16, Fearless Senior

Sydney KimSydney is a marketing major graduating in spring 2016. She is an intern at Adpearance and a member of the events committee of PSU’s chapter of American Marketing Association (AMA).

If Only Bank Accounts Could Wear Capes

Guest post by Sarah Dunbar ’16

I proudly characterize myself as a nerd, or sometimes when I make a really bad joke, as a huge dork. So don’t be surprised when I tell you I sometimes think of different finance or accounting concepts in terms of fictional archetypes. If the ever-growing student loan debt becomes your arch nemesis and the savings account that earns a small, but steady, rate of return is the reliable sidekick, then the emergency fund would be the superhero that swoops in and saves the day, just in the nick of time.

As college students, we’ve all been in situations where you have just enough cash to get you through until your next pay day or financial aid disbursement (if you haven’t – just wait, it’ll happen). But what happens when you come home to find your cat has eaten your valentine’s day flowers and has to go to the vet? Or one sleepy morning you accidentally knock your coffee all over your laptop? How are you going to pay for these unexpected expenses?

Captain E-Fund bannerHave no fear, Captain E-Fund is here! (Here’s one of those times I would classify myself as a huge dork for actually publishing this terrible joke.) Who is Captain E-Fund? Day-to-day is known as an emergency fund, a savings account that is separate from your daily usage account. Specifically, should be set aside for unexpected expenses, such as car repairs, medical bills, or other unexpected expenses. Emergency funds are often used for monthly bills if circumstances arise where one would be unable to work and thus be unable to pay their living expenses. Captain E-Fund is unique in that you must build them from the ground up before they can save you from financial stresses. I was not a believer in Captain E-Fund until I found myself in need of their assistance and they weren’t there.

A few years ago I was living in an older, small apartment in NE Portland. It was adorable and vintage, but the rent was getting insane. I decided to move out to Beaverton in order to save money. Moving means lots of out-of-pocket expenses (security deposit + pet deposit + rental truck + first month’s rent + pizza to feed the friends who graciously came to help) which I was ready for, and had budgeted very carefully so that I would just have enough to cover everything until the following week when I would get paid. Unfortunately, my new cat was not very happy with the chaos that is moving. During the day I had kept her in the bathroom so she wouldn’t run out the door. Her reaction – to claw at the door until she had shredded almost every nail down to the quick. That evening, not only was I looking at a $250 bill at the vet’s office, but also whatever it would cost to repair the wooden door at the apartment. So much for budgeting carefully, I should have been preparing months earlier by building my emergency fund.

So, how does one start to build their own financial caped crusader? Here are three steps you can take today:

Dollar Bill1. Evaluate your current expenses and come up with a short-term goal. Many sources recommend enough to cover three to six months of living expenses, but being of limited means that can be a difficult task. I recommend starting with an achievable goal of $200 – $500, if you get there, keep building!

2. BankSet up an automatic payment to a separate savings account. Think of this as just another expense you pay for on a monthly basis, like your phone or internet bill. Already have a tight budget? Start small with $5 a month and build up according to your means.

Money Bags3. Celebrate your milestones! Get to $50 saved? Find some free (or cheap) and creative ways to celebrate your achievement. Post it on social media and get your friends and family involved. Discuss ways to reach your next goal – a friendly competition is always a good motivator. I’ve already saved $30 on my 5 Dollar Challenge and am looking forward to have my first $50 saved soon!

Unlike the many popular superheroes we have today, your emergency fund probably isn’t going to be made into a sweet Halloween costume. But if you start making these small changes today, you could reach your goal by October 31st!

~ Sarah Dunbar ’16, Fearless Senior

Photography by Portland Oregon Photographer Craig MItchelldyer 503.513.0550Sarah Dunbar is a senior business student majoring in Accounting. She is a member of Beta Alpha Psi, the Accounting and Finance Honor Society and a Peer Advisor in the School of Business Undergraduate Office.

How to make a great first impression in 2016.

Angela Stanton ’16, Advertising Major

Here we are again, another New Year is here and it is time for another New Year’s Resolution. My resolution is to make 2016 count and what better way to do it than by making a great first impression. According to Urban Dictionary a “first impression” is how you present yourself when meeting a new person. Many people look back on first impressions and wish they’d made a better one.

Jesus Christ, Kate, you should’ve told me your parents would be there. I would have worn more suitable clothes to give them a good first impression…You really ****** up my evening (Hogsworth 2005).

First impressions are immediate and can be long lasting so making a great first impression is key! They can be accurate, or arbitrary, but they stick with you for better or for worse. They can make or break a job interview and can help you get a job.

Here are a few tips to making a great first impression:

1. Have a firm handshake. Having a firm handshake says a lot about an individual. It demonstrates how confident you are and that you are comfortable meeting new people and potential employers love that. I know it seems silly but practice your handshake with friends and family until you are comfortable doing it. And remember no one likes to shake hands with someone who is trying to hurt them or gives them the limp fish handshake.

2. Dress for success. Maybe you’ve noticed that the closer that you get to graduation, the more everybody is dressing up for class. It is time to present ourselves professionally and be prepared for a chance encounter with a potential employer. One way to improve your odds of making a great first impression is to dress like you have the job you want. If you look the part then potential employers will see this is a plus. Here are some looks we love that work for everyday business casual!

You can wear this outfit to anything! The dress fits perfectly and is appropriate for all office settings. You can dress it up with a coat, a belt and heels or wear it during the warmer months without the leggings and by adding a pair of heels or flats. The simple color is versatile with any color of accessories. A dress like this is an essential wardrobe item for all women!The tucked in shirt and sports jacket really make this an excellent outfit for any business occasion. It would fit in well with a small business setting, as well as a business casual environment. Matching shoes and jacket really tie it all together!A genuine smile and eye contact can make an everlasting first impression. Combining body language with a modest and simple outfit, can open the doors to everyday opportunities. You don’t have to dress in a pantsuit every day, but do be prepared because you never know who you might come across during your typical day!A great every day outfit, for whomever you might encounter! The long sleeves and natural color really creates a comforting, yet professional image. Good posture is also key to showing confidence and welcoming those around you for conversation.Here is an excellent business professional outfit. Stick to neutral colors and hem the length of the skirt right above or below the knee, which is the ideal length for a professional setting.

3. Be on time and be prepared. Being on time is important because it shows that you are dedicated and have a strong work ethic. This is so important and yet often overlooked. Being prepared by researching the topic of your meeting ahead of time can make a difference and give you an edge. Employers will notice and you will be better equipped to adapt to different situations as they arise.

4. Get organized. The beginning of the year is a great time to buy a planner or calendar at the PSU Bookstore. They have a great selection and most are on sale right now!

5. Make eye contact and be aware of your body language this is always important in business. Having good eye contact and upright body language is another way to make a great impression. Again, it shows you are confident!

There are several opportunities coming up for Career Week to help you practice making a great first impression.

Peer advisor workshop series: Presenting a Professional Image on January 26th from 4:30-5:30 pm

Mock Interviews with Professionals on January 27th from 9:00 am-4:00 pm

School of Business Career & Internship Fair on January 28th from 2:30 – 5:30 pm 

Hope to see y’all there and good luck with making great first impressions!

~ Angela Stanton ’16, Fearless Senior

Angela Stanton is a senior business student majoring in advertising.
She is also a member of the FIR Advertising student-run agency.

Job interview tips for newcomers

Sydney Kim ’16, Marketing Major

I’m in my last year of college right now and the pressure to find a job is on. Last term, I finally managed to land an internship at a digital marketing firm, but before I managed that, I interviewed at a lot of places. Some of these position were duds and others had great potential, but regardless of the prospective they had to offer, I learned something from each interview.portrait 2

Since I never had that classic part-time job at a retailer in my high school years, interviews were very foreign to me. Throughout this trial-and-error experience, I have found several tips that have worked well for me.

First, the easiest one of them all: Dress well. And by dress well, I mean dress nicely and comfortably. It doesn’t matter how well you dress if you’re uncomfortable. I’ve done this mistake twice before I realized the difference it makes. Discomfort always shows no matter what. Whether it’s a slight grimace on your face or constant fidgeting, your interviewer can tell. But the really unfortunate thing is that the person who’s interviewing you doesn’t know that you look peeved because of your shoe that’s constantly rubbing your pinky toe. When most people hear or see something that’s negative, they usually take it personally. This is a bad message to accidentally give to someone you want to work for.

Second, tell yourself that you deserve it. Because, first of all, you do and second, it shows when you don’t believe in yourself. You have to walk into that interview thinking that you, out of all the other applicants, deserve this position the most. Confidence will go a long way. And even if you don’t truly believe that you’re the best applicant, fake it until you make it. It will eventually become true.

Lastly, don’t get discouraged when you don’t get calls back. There is a lot of competition out there and one day after a lot of rejection, you’ll probably feel terrible. You might think that the world is out to get you or that you’re just not ready for adulthood. Those thoughts are not your friend. They will make you feel worse. They beat you when you’re already down and they will never be a positive source of motivation. Instead, you have to keep telling yourself that you will and you eventually will.

Some of these tips are easier said than done, but achievements that you can take pride in take work. I challenge you to become comfortable with the uncomfortable and accomplish something worthwhile.

The School of Business offers many ways to prepare yourself for the business world:

  1. Resume Reviews, Monday, January 25

  2. Presenting a Professional Image, Tuesday, January 26

  3. Mock Interviews With Professionals, Wednesday, January 27

  4. Career & Internship Fair, Thursday, January 28

Sydney is a marketing major graduating in spring 2016. She is an intern at Adpearance and a member of the events committee of PSU’s chapter of American Marketing Association (AMA).

Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

Guest post by Sarah Dunbar ’16

My favorite thing about campus is walking through the park blocks during autumn. Seeing the colorful leaves falling to the ground, feeling the crisp air flowing through the jacket I thought was going to be warm enough, and the ever lingering question of whether I have time to stop and grab coffee before class. That last question is often followed by another lingering thought – can I even afford coffee today?

With this being my last Fall term at Portland State I have begun thinking more about my future and where I will be one year from now. What kinds of things will I be doing, thinking about, worrying about one year from now as a working professional? The first thing that came to mind – my finances. Will I be making enough to start paying off my student loans? Will I be financially stable enough to fully support myself without any financial aid? These questions and fears have motivated me to be proactive and take the advice I wrote about in my last blog post.

With graduation around the corner I am making the commitment to prepare myself and my financial situation as much as possible for the post-college reality that awaits. I challenge you to do the same! Regardless of how far away you are from graduation it’s never too early to start preparing for the future.

Over the next seven months I will:

Prepare and stick to a monthly budget (that incorporates a savings plan)

Build my emergency fund (as a component of savings on my budget)

Develop my student loan payment plan

Put my first $250 savings into an investment vehicle

Sarah's $5 ChallengeTo add some fun to this personal finance journey, I am committing to the $5 challenge. Every time I find myself with a $5 bill I am going to save it. This collection of $5 bills will be the foundation for my investment fund. I’ll post updates in my future blog posts and on Instagram.

This is my challenge for myself, but I encourage everyone to start at least one financially beneficial habit that will challenge you!

Follow my journey on this Blog and tag us @pdxBschool on Instagram to share your journey.

If I have learned anything from my time with the School of Business, it’s that there is no shortage of resources available to us as students. In order to jumpstart this new challenge, I am committing to attending at least two of the events during Financial Literacy week. I hope to see many of you there!

~ Sarah Dunbar ’16, Fearless Senior

Photography by Portland Oregon Photographer Craig MItchelldyer 503.513.0550Sarah Dunbar is a senior business student majoring in Accounting. She is a member of Beta Alpha Psi, the Accounting and Finance Honor Society and a Peer Advisor in the School of Business Undergraduate Office.