A Letter to My High School Self

portrait 2Guest Post by Sydney Kim ’16

The following post is a letter of advice to my high school senior self from my current state as a senior in college. I was and still am a worrywart. I feared the dreaded freshman 15, failing all of my classes and that I would somehow get myself into situations where I’d make a complete fool of myself in front of my entire class. Thankfully, looking back, I can safely say that the good times have definitely outweighed the bad. This letter includes some advice that, in my opinion, has been crucial for that outcome to happen. My hope is that you, the reader, can also benefit from what I have gauged to be important takeaways from my life as a college student through reading this post. Enjoy.

Dear 17-year-old Sydney,

Congratulations! You’re almost done with high school, a milestone you ought to be proud of. This is 20-year-old “Almost-done-with-college Sydney” writing to you to give you some advice that will help you through the next phase of your life: 3 years of bittersweet college. Now, I could honestly go on and on about all the new things that you will experience (I know you know that I could), but I will instead condense all of my words of wisdom into five pieces of advice that will hopefully guide you along your way.

First, a simple yet important one: stop putting Hello Kitty decorations on everything you own. You may be thinking, “But Hello Kitty is so cute! I don’t want to stop putting Hello Kitty stickers on everything I own” or “What does a Japanese cartoon character even have to do with college?” so let me tell you this: first impressions are incredibly important. The Hello Kitty Silly Bandz that your crush gave you or your giant Hello Kitty phone case will make you seem a bit childish and unprofessional. No, I’m not telling you to stop wearing what you like. I’m telling you to be more mindful of how others may perceive you. First impressions can go a long way and not just in the professional world, but also as you try to make friends. Towards the end of college when Hello Kitty has already been long gone from your life, people almost double your age will actually tell you that you seem way older than you are, because of how you carry yourself. Isn’t that crazy?

Second, put yourself out there. You know how people used to think that your shy behavior was cute? How they thought it was just a phase in your childhood and that you would simply grow out of it once you grew up? Well, they were wrong. Very, very wrong. You’re going to be a shy, 18-year-old in college surrounded by people in their mid-to-late twenties, and it’s going to suck. You’ll eventually try really hard and force yourself to be outgoing. It’s going to take you two whole years to actually join a school club. And, let me just tell you that it’s going to feel awesome. For the first time in your life, you will feel like you actually know where you’re going and that you have some control over it. You’re going to wish that you started sooner.

Third, while you’re trying to be more outgoing, make friends with people that make you want to be better. They don’t have to be some business mogul to inspire you. You’re going to meet a lot of students that juggle a full-time job along with taking 16 credits of classes, and raising children on top of all that at Portland State. These are the kinds of people that will never cease to amaze you. At the end of sophomore year, you will end up joining a program at school dedicated to leadership and you will meet the kindest, most sympathetic faculty member along with a whole room full of people with heart wrenching backgrounds yet brave faces. These are the people that you should become close with. The people that try and struggle in the face of adversities. They will keep you grounded and honest.

Also, remember to strive to be okay with being wrong. I know you love being right. Even as a child, you forced Mom and Dad to pretend play as students while you acted as their bossy-pants teacher. You loved telling them that they were wrong (which wasn’t true) and showing them the “right” way to solve 14 x 32. Unknowingly, that attitude has remained embedded in you. I like to think of it as a character “quirk.” You’re a little hot-headed and a bit stubborn. However, you have to learn to be the student in certain situations. If you never allow yourself to be wrong, you’re inevitably going to close yourself off to knowledge and that’s not really the point of college, now is it?

Lastly, since you’re probably tired from all of the reading you’ve been doing, a simple one: develop a firm handshake. Handshakes are meant to be a display of confidence, not an imitation of a dead fish, which yours currently feels like. Keep practicing and working on it until you finally have one that says, “I’m Sydney Kim and you’re not going to regret meeting me.” I know that you have it in you. Just keep trying and don’t give up.

Sydney, I know you’re confused and lost right now. Just know that it’s okay. Many people at your age and position also feel the same way. I know that this letter won’t make all of those insecurities go away, but just know that being scared and lost is a stepping stone towards becoming a more confident and wholesome person, leader, student, family member, and all of the other roles out there that you could possibly think of. I love you. Please keep these tips in mind and hold your chin up.

Yours,

Sydney

~Sydney Kim ’16, Fearless Business Senior

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Financial Literacy Week

Financial-Literacy-Week_round“It’s just one salted caramel mocha,” you justify to yourself as you buy your fourth salted caramel mocha this week. “It’s just one season of the year,” you again argue the next week, having bought one before class every day. After class you grab lunch as you run to catch the MAX back to your home without thinking about how much all of those salted caramel mochas add up to.

Dollar by dollar, your money slips away or your credit card bills increase ever so much. Student Loans add stress, and managing it is too much to think about until you get your first call reminding you to make a credit card payment. So you ignore the number a few times until you cannot ignore it anymore and now what do you do?

The choices you make with your money today impact the way you can live your life in the future. From my own personal experience in college, and as an advisor at PSU’s School of Business I totally understand that money management is one of the biggest challenges college students face today and I want to support growth of strong financial literacy.

During the week of November 13th through 19th, there will be nine events on different money matters.

On Friday the 13th, join us while accounting professor Joleen Kremin leads a Fearless Friday session on how to plan your dreams and balance your lifestyle with the money your dream pays.

On Monday, November 16th at noon, join Financial Aid Assistant Director Heather Mattioli in SBA 690 for an analysis of student loans specifically for Business students, as well as tips on how to plan ahead for your post-graduation payments.

In the afternoon of November 16th, we have Martin Kennedy, a CPA with the Oregon Society of CPA’s sharing information on how to develop a budget and manage your finances. Martin will be presenting from 4-5pm in SBA 690.

On Tuesday, November 17th, faculty Andrew Adeboi will be presenting on how to manage your relationship with money at noon in SBA 690. Andrew is teaching at Portland State after working in the banking industry for a couple of decades, so this is sure to be a popular session.

On Wednesday, November 18th, or Debt Day as we’re calling it during Financial Literacy Week, you can learn about Managing Debt Accumulation with Courtney Ranstrom at noon in SBA 690

Later on November 18th, learn how to manage your credit card debt with Kari Paterson, CPA, at 4pm in SBA 590.

If free money is your kind of thing, come to SBA 170 at noon on Thursday, November 19th, where one of the School of Business Peer Advisors will be leading a session on how to be a successful applicant for SBA Scholarships.

Later on November 19th is our final session, presented by Josh Harwood at 4-5:30pm on Understanding Credit and Borrowing Money.

All of these events will earn you a stamp on your Passport to Employment Success, so even attending a few of them gets you the five stars you need to enter the raffle!

We look forward to seeing you at Financial Literacy Week!

IMG_2399IMG_2399Nathanial Garrod is the First Year Programs Advisor at PSU’s School of Business. For more information on each of these individual events, please check out the School of Business Events page, or email Nathanial at ngarrod@pdx.edu.

 

My Pledge to be in the Fearless Business

KIMG0544Week five at the PSU campus looks a little like a zombie apocalypse; sleep deprived students roaming around dazed, study groups blocking the hallways like a zombie jam, and midterm survivors stepping over the carnage on the way to the bus mall.

But knowing how to survive a zombie attack is not the kind of fearless I am talking about. So what does it mean to be fearless? Being fearless means being able to face the things that challenge you every day and moving forward even if you are scared. Being fearless is being brave and confident and carrying on even when you don’t know what is going to happen next. Being fearless is writing a blog for the first time (actually this is my second time and it’s still scary!).

It isn’t easy being fearless so I am glad I have the help and support of the School of Business and my academic advisor. This relationship has really helped me focus on what is important to me and how I can accomplish my future goals and be a fearless job seeker. Every major is different and each has its own challenges so if you start preparing now for your job search you should be in a better place by the time you are ready to graduate.

So here it is my final and last year and I have decided to chronicle my journey to graduation. Starting with this first blog post and ending when I take that long walk with all my fellow graduates wearing that black robe!

I made a pledge to myself that I would be fearless and take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves to me including:

Attend Fearless Friday events

Attend job fairs

Attend Academic and Career Services workshops

Finish my LinkedIn profile

The best advice I can offer on being fearless is you don’t have to be fearless alone! Take the pledge along with me!

Fearless means conducting an entire workshop solo! Yikes! But I am and you are invited. So please join me (so I am not all alone!) on November 12 from 4-5 pm in SBA room 160 for my first workshop – Baby Steps to Job Success.

Starting your senior year is scary because one part of the journey is over and another one is beginning, but you don’t have to do it alone. I am both excited and nervous about job looking but I have decided to be in the fearless business, so here I go!

~Angela Stanton ’16, Fearless Senior, Keep calm and study on!

Angela is a senior business student majoring in advertising. She’s a member of the FIR Advertising student group and a student blogger.

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Upcoming Fearless Friday:

Join the School of Business for our Fearless Friday career support workshop series and we can be fearless together. The next workshop (Presenting who you really are: How your past can be turned into an asset) should be outstanding and is being presented by Erica Wagner, the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs, on October 30, from 10am to 12p in the SBA room 130.

Passing the Torch

Mckenzie PhotoAs spring term draws to a close, most of us are feeling mixed emotions. Excitement for summer weather and (hopefully) some time to relax. Nostalgia for our experiences over the past year. And, especially for those of us graduating in June, apprehension for the coming months. Although I am graduating at the end of fall term and not in only a few short weeks, I am certainly nervous for the impending job hunt and the stress that accompanies it. Over the past four years, I have prepared for my career but a nagging thought is ever-present in my mind. What if it wasn’t enough? What if I don’t secure my dream job right away? And, as I’m graduating, my time writing for the Fearless Business blog is drawing to a close. Although it will be sad to say goodbye to the blog, I’m excited to see how it progresses! So if you’re interested in being part of this blog as a writer, please contact Wenye Tang, the director of marketing for undergraduate business programs, at wenye@pdx.edu. Read on to learn about my experience in the School of Business Administration and what I do to keep job hunt fears away.

Even though my first day taking a class at the School of Business Administration was only three years ago, it feels much longer than that. As for most others, my first business course was BA 101. I remember sitting down to my first day of BA 101 and thinking, “Ah. This class makes sense to me.” Many of the other types of courses that I had taken previously – science, math, writing – just didn’t resonate with me like my business classes did. Although business is a very broad title, I felt like I had discovered my career path.

As I moved through the business course sequence, I was able to experience a variety of classes and career options. BA 211 introduced me to the world of accounting. BA 339 gave me an insight into supply chain and logistics. BA 311 allowed me firsthand experience creating a marketing plan. But it was MKTG 340, the beginning course in the Advertising Management course sequence, that truly defined my career path. After taking MKTG 340, I became involved in FIR, PSU’s own student-run ad agency. FIR provided me singular experience working with a team and clients in an advertising setting – something that you don’t see at most universities. Through FIR, I was able to hone my advertising skills while creating memorable pieces for my portfolio. After working with FIR, I was hired on as a marketing intern for the Business Outreach Program (BOP). The BOP works with Portland’s small businesses to aid them in developing their businesses and to help create more jobs within the community. With the BOP, I have been able to further my marketing talents and work with some amazing small businesses in the community.

I feel that the SBA, as well as other PSU organizations such as FIR and the BOP, have provided me a diverse and unique business experience. Not only have I learned marketable skills, from how to draft a marketing plan to public speaking abilities, but I have been able to put them to direct use in both an academic and a professional setting. I feel prepared to begin my job hunt and to find a job within the advertising field. Although it sounds cheesy, I’ll look back on my years with the SBA fondly.

There are lots of obvious (and not so obvious) aspects of the SBA that I have discovered over the years that I know will help you prepare for your career. Teachers are an often under-utilized resource available to you. Check when your teachers’ office hours are. Not only can your teachers help you with your homework and tests, but they can be a great resource for prospective jobs. The SBA’s teachers are well-networked within the business professional community, and often know of job openings or have an in with potential employers. Fellow students are also a great way to learn of jobs in the community. Attempt to connect with your teachers and other students in your classes – you never know where it will lead!

This is my last blog post with the SBA’s Fearless Business blog. I have had an amazing time introducing you to outstanding students and grads, sharing events, and providing some insight into the SBA. I wish you the best with your studies and know that you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to.

Good luck graduates!

~Mckenzie Miller ’15, Fearless Business Student

Celebrating Graduation with Gabrielle!

GabrielleD_22A7138Gabrielle Duniphin is a graduating senior and marketing major at the PSU School of Business Administration. Gabrielle and I sat down to talk about her various internships and her experiences at the SBA. Read on to learn her advice on how to network your way into a great position.

Gabrielle started at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, studying apparel industry management. She later moved to Florida, where she attended the University of South Florida. It was then that Gabrielle decided to begin studying marketing. Although she switched to a different field of study, Gabrielle was just as passionate about both. “Every time I moved to a new city, I made of list of companies that I wanted to work for at some point. Here’s five places that I wanted to work at. I’d always stay tuned in to the companies, like if there are internships available.” And one of the companies on her list that she made when she moved to Florida was the Home Shopping Network.

Gabrielle highlighted the importance of networking in helping her secure an internship at the Home Shopping Network. “My last position was at the Home Shopping Network, and I got that job through networking. You always think, ‘Networking. It’s hit or miss.’ But every single job I’ve gotten, I’ve gotten through networking. I formally applied prior, but I’ve always happened to meet someone who had the ‘in’ that I needed to get my name pulled out of the pile. You have to put yourself out there. People want to help you, but they won’t know you need help until you ask.”

After moving to Hood River and deciding to attend Portland State University, Gabrielle landed an internship at Insitu, Inc. Insitu is a Boeing subsidiary that specializes in drone creation. Gabrielle has been a research analyst intern at Insitu for over a year. Gabrielle’s main role is to analyze new markets for Insitu to enter and then present her findings to the executive team. Gabrielle finds her role to be very interesting, but not where she thought she’d end up. Oddly enough, her sister works for Boeing in Alabama!

Gabrielle also mentioned that networking had a lot to do with her current internship at Insitu. She says you have to put yourself out there and ask for what you want. Gabrielle’s other piece of advice to getting an internship is to tailor your resume to the position. “You need to match your resume to the posting. Pick out key words in the posting to include in your resume.” Tailoring your cover letter to the position is also extremely important.

What does Gabrielle find to be the most underutilized resource available at the School of Business Administration? Teachers. Gabrielle says to go to see your teachers during their office hours. Teachers have so much to give, but not all students ask for help and advice! Who knows? Maybe your teachers can give you a great lead on an internship or job!

Gabrielle also advises that you go check out the Advising and Career Services. The advisors there can be a great resource for resume writing. “They really help you to hone your focus and to be clear and concise.” Again Gabrielle stresses the importance of networking in your career. “Go strike up a conversation with that person you don’t know who looks interesting. Chances are they want to know you too or you have something to offer them. Don’t be intimated by people are higher up. Chances are they want to help you, like someone may have helped them earlier on in their career.”

What does fearless mean to Gabrielle? “Fearless to me is standing up for your beliefs and your self-worth. You have to go for it. If it’s your dream and you want it, go for it. No one can stop you from achieving your goals. You’re always going to face a hill, but as long as you keep going, you’ll get over it. Don’t be afraid to fight for what you believe in and what you want.”

The School of Business Administration offers a plethora of networking opportunities to help you land your dream job. The student organizations offered through the SBA are a great way to connect with other students and professionals in the field. Go to your teachers’ office hours, as Gabrielle suggests. Check out professional chapters of various organizations. Or even just strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you in class! You never know where a connection could take you; it could even help you to land your dream job!

~Mckenzie Miller ’15, Fearless Business Student

Facing Graduation Jitters with Shaymaa Taha ’15

shaymaa tahaMarketing major and graduating senior Shaymaa Taha sat down with me to talk about her passion for business and her career goals and aspirations. Read on to learn more about Shaymaa’s experience at the SBA and her advice on how to make the most out of your time at PSU!

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I’m a senior in the PSU School of Business Administration with a marketing major and a certificate in Middle Eastern Studies.

I saw that you’re from Cairo?

Yes, I was born there. I moved here when I was very young. My mother’s American, so I have dual citizenship.

Tell me about your experience in the PSU School of Business Administration.

I started out as a freshman knowing that I wanted to study marketing. In high school, I was involved in Future Business Leaders of America and I found that marketing was the creative side of business. I’ve always been creative. I also like business because I naturally have a bubbly personality and I get to combine that with my love for professionalism. I really like the combined aspect when it comes to marketing. I also really appreciate that our SBA is AACSB accredited. It’s nice that I can talk about that in job interviews. You’re getting more value for your money.

I saw you’ve been involved in Student Ambassadors, as well as other student groups.

I was involved in student government for a combined two years. I held a variety of positions. In my Chief of Staff position, I did a lot of HR work. It was nice to see what I had learned in my HR class reflected in my role as Chief of Staff. I was provided the opportunity to create my own motivation systems, accountability systems, on-boarding systems, and hiring systems. It was great to see the correlation between my business classes and what I was actually doing. I’m really proud of that work.

What are your career goals?

I eventually want to end up in Dubai. I really like variety. I like working on different projects so that I’m not doing the same thing. I do want to do tech sales at one point and I would also love to go into an agency one day. I’ve recently been more interested in strategy, so that would be a great area to get involved in. I think sales will be a great entrance into the market.

Why tech sales?

It’s something that’s very cutting edge, it’s always developing. I’m always going to have to do research about it.

What motivates you?

I want to be the best at what I do. One day I want to be someone sought out for what I do. I really enjoy working with people and being with people. I want to make a personal impact as well. I want to inspire other people. You get to inspire people when you’re good at your job.

How do you think the SBA has helped prep you for your career?

The SBA has helped me to get a holistic view of business. I have a focus in marketing, but I also know about supply chain and logistics. I know that gives me an advantage, because I can talk to and connect with other business professionals.

What are some of the important tools and resources offered through the SBA that students should know about?

Any of the retail leadership programs. They offer experience on a specific skill – a specific skill you can talk about to a potential employer.

Best advice for new SBA students?

Advisors. They really know what’s going on around the city and in the school. They can help point you to resources and opportunities. Start projects or find projects to work on because that’s how you get to talk with people. For example, I got to meet with someone at Nike because I did an advertising project. I wrote her a letter asking to show her my project and she allowed me to show her my work. It’s more memorable to show a potential employer a project. It’ll give you more credibility. Take the initiative.

What does fearless mean to you?

Fearless to me means — despite being afraid — you just keep going. We all have people that we look up to and we think that they have it all together. But the secret to life is that nobody really has everything together. There’s always something that people are worried about. But the people who we admire and look up to just keep going despite being uncertain. Just keep going.


As we come closer to June 1st, many of us begin to feel apprehension. Although June signifies warmer weather and longer days, it also means graduation for many of us. And with graduation comes the job hunt, which can be extremely stressful. For those of us not graduating, June can seem like the end of an era. It can feel very bittersweet to complete one year of classes, projects, and tests, and then to prepare for another year of school. But no matter how stressed or overwhelmed we may feel, remember Shaymaa’s advice: just keep going. And if you ever need advice, help, or just a little push to keep you going, remember to connect with your advisor or a peer advisor. They’re here to help!

~Mckenzie Miller ’15, Fearless Business Student

How To Network Like A Rockstar

Guest post by Angela Stanton ‘16

Blog_02I recently had the pleasure of joining several Fearless Friday events. Due to schedule issues I know some students are unable to attend so I wanted to share some highlights from April’s Hot Topic the Value of Networking. The perfect time to start networking is anytime but the most effective time is before you start looking for an internship or a job. Successful networking could be just what you need to launch your new career. The key to networking is making connections and forging relationships. As you begin networking think of it as building partnerships that will support you while mapping out your career goals.

Here are some tips for getting started.

First establish a networking goal. Maybe you want to gain information about a chosen field or get strategies to enter a new career, whatever it is; having a goal in mind will help. If your goal is to get a job, then be prepared to ask for a referral, secondary contact or an informational interview.

Have your pitch ready and follow networking etiquette to get the most out of your networking opportunities. Common network etiquette includes contributing your own insights, passing on your own knowledge, and introducing connections. Don’t neglect the networking you have already done and don’t over promote yourself.

Be ready to share information about yourself, what do you stand for? Pick out three unique qualities about yourself to share; passionate, creative, and innovative for example. A 20 second pitch is a good way to start the conversation.

Be relevant. Networking keeps you current on trends in the field.

Be prepared by having a current resume and business cards. Include your LinkedIn or other network opportunities.

Be strategic with your networking. Show interest, get involved, volunteer!

Develop your personal brand. Being creative and standing out from the crowd can get you on the “short list.” That is because for most companies it is about organizational fit. Develop your digital presence. Online networking is another avenue. Creating profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are just a few of the networking opportunities available online. Just a reminder to those who like to use social media (that’s most of us) that potential employers may check you out so try and keep it “clean.” If your user name is sexy4U, you may want to change that.

Get involved with networking associations. There are both professional associations and student associations for business majors at PSU including the Human Resource Management Association (HRMA), American Marketing Association (AMA), and Supply and Logistics Management Association (SLMA) are excellent networking opportunities right here at PSU. Many associations have free or discounted student memberships. And if you join any organizations you can list them on your business card and resume, it looks good! Visit the School of Business Administration for more information about getting involved.In addition to professional and student associations your network could include friends and family, coworkers, faculty, classmates, alumni, and business contacts. Another good resource for network connections is campus events and job fairs.

Follow up. According to guest speaker and PSU alumni Kathy Braeme-Burr follow up is important and shows initiative.

Networking is not a process of making cold calls or using people to get a job. But networking can lead to professional and personal growth as well as new career options. Ask a favorite teacher or professor to join your network today, that’s what they are here for! Start your network today and start building beneficial relationships that could last a lifetime.

Angela Stanton is a double major in Advertising and Marketing and a peer advisor in the School of Business Administration.

 

Take the Fear out of Financial Planning

Guest post by Sarah Dunbar ’16

Most days it’s hard to read through the headlines without seeing some mention of college student debt or the lack of financial planning skills of recent grads. It’s scary when you hear numbers like $1.1 trillion, the level of national student loan debt, or $26,000, the average amount of debt students have accrued over their education. These numbers, and the lack of understanding around financial concepts are leaving students in poor shape to manage their finances after graduation.

I know this sounds bleak, but there is hope! PSU and other organizations provide plenty of resources and information to help tackle this issue. Here are some of the big concepts you need to know and tools you can use to be successful in managing your finances while still in school.

Creating a budget… and sticking to it
The money you spend on morning coffee and lunches with your study group can add up quickly if you’re not paying attention. The basics of budgeting focus on documenting how and when your money is coming in and where it’s going. The first challenge I was given when I started budgeting was to write down everything I spent money on for one week. It was surprising how much I was spending on social activities compared to standard expenses (bills, gas, etc.).

There are plenty of budgeting apps and online calculators, including one from 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy, which can help you set a budget and stick to it. Many programs will notify you when you’re getting close to hitting your pre-set limits on each of your expense categories. Partner up with friends and make setting your monthly or yearly budget a fun activity.

Starting an Emergency Fund
If your car broke down, or your pet had to go to the emergency room tomorrow, would you be able to pay for those unexpected expenses? Most of us would not be able to sustain a blow like that to our bank accounts. That is why having an emergency fund is so critical to long-term financial health. Most finance professionals recommend maintaining the equivalent of three to six months of living expenses in your fund. Another way to determine your ideal fund amount is to calculate everything that could go wrong and have enough money to handle all of them happening at the same time.

Now I know that sounds daunting, but it is possible. If you don’t already have a fund started, build it into your budget as a component of your savings. Start by allocating a certain percent of your income to the fund or by reducing your social/entertainment budget and putting that extra aside.

Value of Investing Early
Most of us think that investing requires thousands of dollars to be effective, but that’s not the case if you start early enough. The real value driver is time. With the magic that is compounding (generating earnings from previous earnings) the longer money is put to work the more wealth it can generate in the long run.

Source: TD Bank Infographics

There are several benefits to investing early, including the ability to take on more risk and learning through experience. Those who have plenty of earnings years ahead of them are able to build more aggressive portfolios that stand to produce greater gains. Similarly, investing early allows you to learn more from the successes and failures of the portfolio and helps to guide your long term investing strategy.

For more information and guidance check out College Investor and 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy.

Student Loans and Debt
Whether you’re a few years away from graduating or if this is your last term at PSU it’s never too early to start thinking about how you’re going to manage repayment of student loans. The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) has a list of helpful tips on managing loans after you graduate. The most important is understanding your loans. What is the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans? What is the difference between Stafford and PLUS loans? This handy chart can help you better understand your loans and what the repayment options are after graduation.

DominoEffect_FB_bannerUnderstanding your loans and managing repayment can have a huge impact on your future financial well-being. Many people are postponing major life events, such as buying a home or having children, because they are worried about being able to afford loan payments. But that doesn’t have to be the case. There are ways you can incorporate smart and beneficial financial decisions into your everyday life and have fun doing them!

Start the conversation around student debt by attending a free event featuring Adam Davidson from NPR’s Planet Money on Wednesday, May 6th. Adam will be discussing the domino effect of student loans and what we can do today to minimize the impact they have on our futures. Space is limited so register yourself and your friends today!

 

sarah dunbarSarah Dunbar is a Portland State accounting student and President-Elect for the PSU chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, International Accounting and Finance Honor Society.

Discover PSU’s Advising & Career Resources

Most would agree that our ultimate goal for going to university is to land our dream job, but what is that dream job? And what are the steps that we must take in order to get this job? Luckily for us, PSU offers a variety of career planning resources to help us to not only get to our goal, but to also uncover what that goal is. Read on to discover step-by-step instructions on how to best utilize the multitude of career services that PSU offers.

1. Do some self-exploration – discover where your passions and interests lie.

Understanding what you enjoy doing (and, conversely, what you don’t enjoy doing) is the most simple and understated career starting point. PSU Advising & Career Services (ACS) offers a variety of services to help you discover your possible career interests. ACS can help you with both major and career exploration, as well as the opportunity to take interest and personality tests. ACS also offers a career exploration class (UNST 195), a one-credit class to aid you in deciding upon a major or possible career path. If you know that you want to major in Business Administration but are undecided on a concentration, go to the PSU School of Business Administration web site to explore the various major concentrations that are offered.

2. Begin building relationships – meet with your advisor often, get to know your professors, network with professionals in fields that you may be interested in.

Meet with your advisor at least once a term. Not only will you be sure that you’re taking the correct sequence of classes, but it will provide you with the opportunity to get to know your advisor better – and vice versa. Your advisor knowing you better will likely lead to more personal letters of reference and them letting you know of any job opportunities that they may have heard of. Getting to know your professors is another great way to hear of job or internship opportunities. Put in the effort to cultivate these relationships and it will surely pay off in the long run.

3. Become involved in student organizations (and even professional chapters).

Joining one of the student groups on campus is an amazing way to network – and, luckily for us, we have a variety of student groups to choose from. Each business major concentration has at least one representative student group, but don’t think that just because you’re an accounting major that you can’t join the American Marketing Association. But don’t just limit yourself to student groups – there are plenty of professional organizations in the Portland area. Go onto sites like business-networking.meetup.com to discover professional networking opportunities in the area.

4. Apply for internships.

Internships may be the #1 way to discover if a career is right for you or not. Interning allows you the opportunity to explore a career first-hand. Participating in an internship also gives you ample opportunities to network with professionals in the field. Some internships are paid and many internships can be completed for college credit! Check out the PSU School of Business Administration page on internships to learn more about how to get credit for your internship or how to find an internship through Career Connect.

5. Do (many) informational interviews.

Doing informational interviews is one of the best methods for preparing for actual interviews with potential employers. You never know, maybe your informational interview could lead to a job! Informational interviews allow you to prepare your resume and other necessities, practice your interview skills, and ask a potential employer questions on how to get a job and what a possible career is like. Go to the PSU SBA page on interview preparation to learn more about how to get ready for an informational interview.

6. Use any and all available career resources.

Portland State University offers us an abundance of career resources that we, more often than not, underutilize. Academic & Career Services offers a variety of opportunities, from one-on-one help deciding upon a career or major to quarterly career fairs to workshops, classes, and events. Through the School of Business Administration, we can meet with an advisor to discuss career development or how to prep for an interview. Don’t forget that your SBA advisor is always there to look over your resume or to do a mock interview with you. The School of Business Administration also offers a mentor program to better help students prepare for the professional world. Check out the SBA career services page to learn about more available career resources.


The number of steps it takes to get to your ultimate career goal can seem daunting. Just hearing what it takes to land your dream job can be intimidating. But just remember that university is part of your career path and that every paper you write, test you cram for, and group project you complete is part of this path. Take everything one step at a time and utilize all of the various tools and resources that are at your disposal. Check out the steps outlined above and the various resources embedded. Good luck!

~Mckenzie Miller ’15, Fearless Business Student

Fearless Career Launcher Manuela ’14, Intern at Mentor Graphics

ManuelaLike many of the students at Portland State University, Manuela may not be considered one’s “typical” university student. Manuela moved from Germany to the United States speaking virtually no English and with a young child. But, after many years and lots of hard work, she is a PSU grad with an incredible one-year paid internship at Mentor Graphics. Read on to learn more about Manuela’s experiences!

Tell me a little about yourself!

Born and raised in Germany, I moved to the United States in 2000 with my husband and 6 month-old baby. With no English skills in a foreign country, I felt very isolated so I started taking non-credit ESL classes at PCC. These quickly turned into English as a non-native language credit courses, and soon I decided to begin taking prerequisites like math, reading, and writing. Over the course of the next several years, I had two more babies but was still able to finish the program at PCC, graduating with an Associate’s Degree in Art. One year later, I transferred to PSU and started my studies towards a BA in Marketing.

Tell me about your experience with the PSU School of Business Administration.

Initially I was not sure what direction I would take and so chose Finance as my major, but quickly felt that this was not what I really wanted. The SBA core classes helped me to determine what I really liked and which field I would later choose. I changed my major from Finance to Marketing after finishing my core classes. I would say that I was more of a non-traditional student, taking classes at an older age than most of my peers, but this never was a problem as I perceived PSU as a diverse and colorful place to learn. It took me longer than the traditional student to finish, but I graduated in spring 2014 after four years at PSU.

Tell me about your current internship at Mentor Graphics. How did you discover the internship?

This one year internship takes me into the corporate world of marketing in the electronic field. Actually, I did not discover the position but my capstone professor, TC  Dale, made the contact with Mentor Graphics. I am working for the Market Intelligence Team as a Research Analyst. My role is to perform a wide range of high-visibility research and analysis that support key Mentor Graphics executives, product divisions, and corporate initiatives.

How do you feel that your experience with the PSU School of Business Administration has helped prepare you for your internship at Mentor Graphics?

The way the program is structured helped me to be prepared for the corporate world. I feel that the two capstone classes [BA 495 and MKTG 464] were the most important courses of the entire program that prepared me for the “real” business world. The projects we finished and the experience in both courses helped me to gain a deeper understanding of the corporate world.

What do you hope to accomplish through your internship at Mentor Graphics?

This is my very first position since moving to the US. I am very excited about it, as I can apply all the skills I learned in college as well as acquire new knowledge in the field of electronic software automation.

How has your internship at Mentor Graphics helped you to define your career goals?

I feel this internship is a culmination of all my success and effort during my school years. But I also see this position as a great stepping stone into my future career in the marketing field. I know that I will always love what I do because back when I decided which direction to go, I chose the one that I could identify with the most – marketing.

What advice would you give to a PSU student looking for an internship?

Finishing school does not mean that we have finished learning. We will always learn; we will never stop learning. Keeping an open mind, always being curious about taking a new road, working hard, and always giving my very best has helped me to be where I am right now.

What does “fearless” mean to you?

To me, fearless means moving to a foreign country with an infant and not speaking the language.


 

Our experiences in life often are the very things that help define our career goals. Each course that we take at PSU, every insight we gain from group projects, and the long nights studying shape what we want to do. Internships play an especially important role in shaping our professional objectives, as it is first-hand experience at a job that we may realize that we want to do (or don’t want to do). More than the necessary job experience, internships give us the chance to meet an infinite amount of professionals who can help us to achieve whatever our dream job may be. So, like Manuela, ask your professors about internship opportunities. Log into Career Connect to see what internships have been posted. And never forget about all of the SBA career resources right under our noses. Go out and achieve your dreams!

~Mckenzie Miller ’15, Fearless Business Student