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Seattle Trek 2014 »

Students show the "T-Mobile" spirit during the 2014 Seattle Trek.

Last week, 26 Atkinson students headed up to Seattle for the fifth annual Seattle Trek organized by the AGSM career center. The trip is designed to open opportunities for students to connect with employers and alumni at the firms visited, and to showcase the quality of Atkinson’s graduates to potential employers for jobs and internships.  Students also get a chance to explore the Seattle area, and generally leave feeling encouraged to consider relocating there.

This year, most of the company visits were hosted by Willamette undergraduate and Atkinson alumni who shared stories of their own career paths and how they transitioned from Willamette to their current position.  They also provided great insight on how Willamette students can both receive impressive job offers at Fortune 500 companies and foster continuous professional development and advancement throughout their careers. Visited companies included:

  • T-Mobile
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Amazon
  • Bank of America
  • Microsoft
  • The Gates Foundation
  • Nordstrom
  • Theo Chocolate

Seeing Willamette alumni apply their degrees in high-powered, corporate positions gave participants a promising glimpse into their own future.  Even more heartening was hearing about the increasing number of available jobs at the companies visited. With Willamette’s growing number of connections in Seattle-based organizations, these jobs are becoming even more accessible to current Atkinson students.

The trip also included a Seattle alumni event, where students had the chance to network with other Atkinson alumni in the area, and opportunities to visit tourist attractions like the Space Needle and Pike Place Market. The event was a great way to kick off the new year, and students were happy to return to Salem with a list of promising internships and jobs to apply for – as well as their new magenta T-Mobile t-shirts.

IGSA International Dinner »

This Saturday night, the International Graduate Student Association (IGSA) held their annual International Dinner.  Having heard about last year’s event since the beginning of the school year, I was curious to see what it was all about.  On Saturday evening, after spending the day talking with prospective MBA students at the Willamette MBA Preview Day, I headed over to the Montag Den on campus to see what the IGSA had to offer.  I was not disappointed.

The moment I walked in, several facts about our student body were reinforced – facts that I knew in theory, but hadn’t really witnessed:

  1. 1. Our students have families.  I often hear about these other people in my colleagues’ lives, but don’t usually see them, and never all at once.  I felt like the student body had just doubled, growing to include all of the spouses, siblings, and children that I knew existed but rarely saw.
  2. Our students are very international.  This is actually very obvious on an everyday basis at school, as half the conversations that go on around me are in different languages. At the International Dinner it was apparent in a completely new way.  Many of the students were in their countries’ traditional apparel, and there were tables filled with food made from recipes all over the world.
  3. And on that note – our students can cook!  Having come from a dinner obligation, I could only find the stomach space to hit the dessert table, but even there I tried dishes from at least five or six different countries.

The evening continued with a fashion show, presentations about the different countries where our students are from, and many impressive performances including singing, drumming, and dancing (including the cutest rendition of Gangnam Style in existence).  The hard work that the IGSA put into preparing for the event was evident.  Outgoing IGSA President, Niven Singh, said, “we spent a solid two months planning this event from every detail of who is bringing food to who is performing and when. It was great reinforcement after the event to see that all our hard work paid off.”

The International Dinner left me with a new appreciation for my fellow students, and an extremely full belly. But there was more to it than that.

Niven explained, “My favorite aspect has always been the acceptance factor. This is one event where we can truly stand out and the point of the event is to celebrate those differences. It was awesome to see all the students come out and share their talents without fear.”

Aside from the International Dinner, the IGSA organizes panels and networking opportunities.  The student-led group is open to all students and is not focused on a specific skill set, and so it often partners with other organizations to host events.  For more information and pictures from the evening, check out Niven’s blog post about the event.

Power (Young) Professionals »

Willamette MBA students and alumni share in the celebration at the Portland Business Journal's "Forty Under 40" awards. (Photo: Russell Yost)

Each year the Portland Business Journal names its list of the forty most influential leaders under 40 years of age.  Earning the “Forty Under 40” recognition is no easy task – over 300 professionals are nominated from a variety of business, government and not-for-profit organizations.

The qualities of most “Forty Under 40” recipients include a strong orientation to community service, the desire to get involved in civic projects and an outstanding reputation at the organizations where these men and women work.  Profiles of winners showcase the amazing amount of talent that exists in the region.

Given this “do well and do good” mentality, it is no surprise that many Willamette University and Willamette MBA graduates have made the “Forty Under 40” list each year.   In 2013, three Willamette University alums stood out from the crowd and made the list.  Click on the links below to watch short videos about each winner:

Ryan Flynn, Pacific Power

Laila Umpleby, Make-A-Wish Foundation

Shobi Dahl, Dave’s Killer Bread

At the February 14 event, the Willamette MBA program hosted a table full of alumni (who also happened to be past “Forty Under 40” recipients).  It’s a great example of the power of the Willamette network making a difference in our community.

Beyond the Lions Share »

Students engage in a role playing exercise in negotiating.

You’re about to enter into a negotiation.

Have you calculated your ZOPA?

Have you considered your BATNA?

Have you determined your RV (not the one you camp in)?

These are just a few of the terms you will hear in the Negotiations class taught by Professor Sukhsimranjit Singh. With role-playing exercises and class discussions, students are given hands on experiences in negotiating.

When students were asked to define the term “negotiations” on the first day of class, the consensus was that it was a dialogue between two or more parties intended to reach an agreement. The class went on to identify skills in problem solving, persuasiveness and communication as attributes that make an effective negotiator.

While this description covers the general dynamics, it does not clearly describe the “real world” understanding of negotiations. Negotiations can often be seen as a competition between two or more parties in pursuit of winning the best deal. For instance, during the purchase of a car, the buyer will try to negotiate a lower price while the seller attempts to sell it for as much as possible.

Based on this perception, negotiators will want to arm themselves with the tactics, techniques and tricks to “out-negotiate” any opponent. For this reason, it’s not surprising that many people believe that these are the in-class learning objectives. However, rather then focusing on the competitive side of negotiations, Professor Singh offers a new perspective on the goals of negotiating.

Through class lectures, readings and conversations, students are encouraged to think outside the box. An effort to build relationships and better understand the interests of the other party can lead to more beneficial agreements. In the example of a car purchase, rather than concentrating on capturing the most favorable price, both buyer and seller might benefit  from a more collaborative effort in negotiating. After some information gathering, the purchaser might discover that the seller is emotionally attached to the car and simply wants to find a worthy owner. With this understanding, the buyer can assure the seller that he plans to restore the car. The seller can then offer his services in helping restore the car after purchase. By this method of negotiating, more value is added to each party, which opens the opportunity for a more favorable agreement.

As negotiating is a large part of success in business, it is important for Willamette MBA students to clearly understand the process. While the basic techniques of negotiating are taught in class, students are challenged to go beyond the focus of winning the “lions share.” Instead of being concerned about who will win the biggest piece of the “pie” in a negotiation, a good negotiator will find a way to enlarge the pie for everyone.

Learning to Love “The Informational” »

A surprising part of being a business student is the amount of time I now spend in coffee shops, waiting for strangers (or acquaintances) to walk in and tell me about themselves.  That’s right, the Atkinson Program is a strong proponent of “The Informational.”

ringold interviewI had heard about informationals prior to coming to Willamette, and yes, they always sounded like a good idea, but I still never did one.  That changed quickly once school started. I had barely learned what a case study was when I found myself asking people I had never met to tell me about their work experience.  Career Management Director Beth Ursin assigned each first-year five informationals in the first week!  Luckily these were with second-year students, who were easily accessible.  We got a chance to learn about their summer internships, and they gave us a small crash course on what was to come.

If you’ve never done an informational before, you may still be a little fuzzy on the concept.  Let me clear things up:

in·for·ma·tion·al noun an informal meeting with a business professional or anyone with experience in an area of interest, with the purpose of learning more about their industry/specific job/career path/life/hobbies, and making connections.  As an aspiring basket-weaver, George was thrilled to have learned so much about Mr. Johnson’s career as a master weaver during the informational, and sent a heartfelt thank-you note the very next day.

Throughout the fall, we were strongly urged to go on at least ten informationals.  I initially felt intimidated about calling or e-mailing to request an informational, and I wondered why business professionals would want to take time out of their day to talk to a student.  It turns out, most people are more than happy to talk about themselves with anyone who’s ready to listen.  Doing research ahead of time to learn about the person you’re meeting is helpful – or starting with people you already know you have something in common with.  First-year MBA candidate Scott Cohen said he wasn’t nervous at all to start: “Going into [my first informational] I was pretty excited, because the guy was from Uganda and I had spent two years there.  Then I realized, [informationals] work… it’s not that hard!”

At the moment, most first-year students are doing informationals in pursuit of a summer internship.  The process doesn’t stop with an internship offer however, as second-year Kristina Ursin recently advised the first-year operations class in a presentation on her Nike internship.  “On the first day of my internship, my boss gave me a list of seven people and said, ‘Go talk to these people.’  I felt nervous, but I started with a few Willamette alumni, and they were all really friendly.  They would say, ‘I know what you’d be good at – you need to go talk to these people…’”  Kristina ended up doing 50 informationals last summer, which led to another internship for this spring.

While it often takes a bit of effort and persistence to arrange many as many informationals as Kristina did in one summer, it’s amazing how many people want to talk to MBA students and will make the time for you.  First-year Jeremy Sage has managed 30 informationals already.  He explains, “Informationals often naturally occur when I meet someone who does something for a living that I am interested in.”  The reality is that while it feels like people are doing you a huge favor by taking the time to sit down to chat, it’s not a one-way street.  Of course it is very generous of them, but it also helps build their network, and they know that as a student at a highly-rated MBA program, you might be one of their top employees one day.  I encourage anyone who’s interested in moving up in their field or starting a new career path altogether, to start doing informationals.  If you do it right, you’ll be the one getting informational requests from MBA students soon!

Looking Ahead: Spring Registration »

Like many MBA students, I love planning ahead.  During my undergraduate experience, registration week was always my favorite part of each semester, and so when this spring’s registration date was announced earlier this month, I was understandably excited.  It isn’t enough to enjoy the case studies and midterms that I’m currently dedicating my life to; I need to know which case studies and midterms are going to be consuming my every thought next semester as well.

During undergrad, I based my course selection on two things.  First, I had to fulfill general and major requirements.  Second, I always made sure to avoid early morning and Friday classes.  In the Atkinson Program, I was automatically enrolled in the three required class (PACE 2, Operations, and Economics/Finance), and there aren’t any Friday classes offered at all.  This time around, I had to apply a new tactic to choosing classes: research.

In the career portion of PACE 1, students are required to conduct ten informationals with business professionals in order to learn more about the job market and different career options.  During these meetings, I always asked if my interviewee had any recommendations regarding types of courses to take during my time at Atkinson (assuming I was interested in the line of work we were discussing).  Questions like, “What kind of classes will I be expected to have taken if I apply for a job at this company?” and “Is there any coursework that will help me stand out from other candidates?” and “Should I become as specialized as possible in this field, or does your company value a broader skill set?”

Getting these answers from business professionals is a great way to get a feel for what kind of classes will help you get ahead in a certain field.  However, these professionals don’t know the professors or the syllabus of the various classes.  For advice on specific classes, I turned to second-year students and the faculty themselves.  They were able to let me in on how heavy the workload was in different classes, what kind of teaching style was used, and those who know me well could tell me which ones I am most likely to enjoy.

My research directed me toward Integrated Marketing Communications with Russ Yost and Competitive Intelligence with Sean Campbell.  I was satisfied with my well-thought out decision, but nervous about getting into the class – my logic being that if I concluded that these were the two best classes, wouldn’t everyone else?  Luckily this wasn’t the case, and by registering right on time I had no trouble getting into my top picks.  It turns out that not everyone is interested in the exact same thing, oddly enough.

Now that spring registration is behind me, all I have to do is complete all of my final exams and projects so I actually have the chance to take these classes that I signed up for.  Of course, by the time I make it to winter break, I’ll probably already be trying to plan for the fall!

AMA’s Fall Trek: A Look Inside Craft Brew Alliance »

When I received my schedule for the fall term, I was excited to see that classes were not held on Fridays.  Growing up, three day weekends were the best thing that could happen during the school year, and even now that it’s pretty standard, it still feels like a holiday every time.  Except in graduate school it’s really not a three day weekend…my Fridays are often filled with career fairs, workshops, informational interviews, and treks.

Don’t be confused – when I say “trek,” I’m not talking about Trek bikes, Star Trek, or some kind of Australian walkabout.  This is a whole new kind of trek that I have discovered at Atkinson: the student association trek.  These treks are opportunities to get an inside look at local companies and hear from executives and employees about what they do.

This past Friday I joined the Atkinson Marketing Association (AMA) on their first trek, which was a visit to the Craft Brew Alliance (CBA) in North Portland.  Driving over and pulling into their parking lot was a stark contrast to every other time I’ve been on that street.  I only travel to that part of town once a year, to run in the Bridge to Brews Run, when you have to park blocks away and muscle your way through crowds to get anywhere.  This Friday at 8:45 AM, there was nobody else in sight until the rest of the AMA crew showed up.

We were escorted into their warm building and seated in a conference room to hear from a panel of Craft Brew Alliance employees.  Visiting this alliance felt particularly relevant after spending the last two months of PACE hearing presentations on case studies of mergers and alliances.  The issues that CBA faced in their merger were very similar to those that I have studied – such as learning the art of bringing two work cultures together harmoniously and spreading resources strategically and fairly between companies.

When the panel was over we were handed over to Ike, a brewer at Widmer Brothers.  Before heading into the brewery, Ike told us about his past as a sail-maker, how he came to brew for Widmer Brothers and proudly announced that he wore shorts year round.  He also pointed out that he had dressed up for us that day by putting on a collared shirt.

Once indoors, Ike showed us around the machinery and gave a detailed explanation of the beer making process.  I missed a lot of the beer-making steps because I was busy resisting the urge to touch the big metal shiny things, which we had explicitly been told not to touch.  It was obvious why Ike was the brewer – he clearly knew what he was talking about, and several of my colleagues were vying for his job by the end of the tour.

Treks can include multiple company visits, but this one only involved CBA.  This turned out to be a stroke of good luck, because it meant that we got to head straight to the brew pub (the servers kindly let us in out of the cold ten minutes early), and have a taste of the product we’d just spent a couple hours hearing so much about.  As I started in on my 6-beer sampler, it was easy to forget that I was still participating in a school activity.  The Craft Brew Alliance Trek was not a bad way to start my three-day weekend!

Hop on a Plane »

Jungsu Kim (South Korea) and Tayseer Gherfal (Libya)

Hop on a plane.  Fly over 8000 miles.  Land in the US.

Hitch a ride to a city called Salem.  Enroll in a top ranked MBA program.

Now, call it life for the next 2 years.

This is the journey made by over 37% of the incoming class of 2012 at the Atkinson Graduate School of Management at Willamette University.  With over 20 countries other than the US represented, this year’s group of first-year students has the highest percentage of international students in program history.  As international business continues to grow rapidly, this multicultural and diverse mix of students has furthered opportunities in the program for networking, collaboration and global communications.

Adjusting to American culture, international students are discovering that Salem, Oregon, the location of Willamette’s MBA program, has a unique lifestyle and culture of its own.

Jenny Mai, a student from Vietnam, explains her initial surprise of Salem as a place where “there is no one on the streets after 8 o’clock at night…. It’s so quiet.”

Indeed, the small city vibe can throw off many out-of-towners; especially international students coming from heavily populated areas.  However, even with the less active scene in Salem, many international students describe their arrival in a positive light.

All the way from Afghanistan, Hamid Parwani says he was “surprised by how clean and green the environment was.”

The Northwest forests of Oregon present a foreign surrounding for other international students like  Bishrut Thapa, a first year student from Nepal. Describing his expectations of America, Thapa exclaims: “I thought it was all like New York City… with skyscrapers everywhere. I really didn’t expect there to be this much space.”

Manasi Gandhi (India)

Even with major cultural differences, most international students feel it has been easy to blend in with Americans on a social level.

As a new student from Bangladesh, Mohammid Anisur Rahman insists that there are “no cultural barriers – except the food.”

Other students have echoed this feeling of acceptance, including Manasi Gandhi, who says her biggest surprise was “that people are so friendly here” and getting along with people is simply “easy.”

Jungsu Kim from South Korea adds, “It’s so cool in America… when you meet an older person, you can say ‘what’s up’ to them… it’s less formal here.”

Even with the option to attend MBA programs in other countries, many international students prefer a degree from the United States. Shpatar Morina from Kosovo explains, “it’s generally thought that most of the top schools are in the U.S.” Given the reputation of high level accreditation and ranking amongst MBA programs, the Atkinson program is a popular choice for many international students.

The contrast between the easy living vibe of Salem and the hustle and bustle pace of a graduate level program provides international students with a unique experience.

Creating a true melting pot, the student body of the Willamette MBA program presents an environment where cultural learning and collaboration extends beyond U.S. borders.  Manasi of India encourages potential international students to apply to next year’s class with the assuring claim: “don’t be too anxious… people here are nice and accommodating.”  All you have to do is hop on a plane!

The First PACE Presentation… »

Students flock to the Atkinson Graduate School of Management with the understanding that they will come out the other side with the elite skill set of a true business leader.  We put our dreams of an early-20’s retirement out of our minds in exchange for the promise of the tools of managerial decision-making, a cross-functional understanding of management, and many other skills that will help us land the sexiest job possible once we graduate.  As the first month of school begins, many of us are still riding the high of starting a new, life-changing experience, letting the professor’s warm words describing all of the wonderful things we’re about to learn wash over us.  And then the first PACE presentation sneaks up on us, and we realize: this is going to be a lot of work.

My PACE team had this realization exactly two weeks ago, when we met to do our first presentation run-through.  In PACE (Practical Application for Careers & Enterprises), a class that epitomizes “learning by doing,” we spend the first semester presenting case studies about non-profit organizations.  During almost every class, one group gets to send two representatives up to the front of the class to own the spotlight for 45 minutes.  This breaks down to about 15 minutes of presenting the material from memory (no notes allowed!), 20 to 25 minutes of questions from the class and Professor Larry Ettner, and a few minutes at the end for critiques or standing ovations.

Professor Larry Ettner shares feedback during a PACE class.

As our team’s first presenters, Sveta Krishna and Museb Alkhomshi, tested the waters of presenting a case study in front of our small group, we saw that we had long hours of work ahead of us.  The intelligence and motivation were there, but the confidence and expertise were lacking.  One presenter’s speech was fast-paced and excited, while the other’s was slow and deliberate, and both of them had their eyes pointed down at their notes for at least half of the presentation.  Much to our dismay, we realized that enthusiasm and good intentions would do very little for us.

The week that followed consisted of presentation practice every single day for Sveta and Museb, and many of these practices were done in front of our own group and some second year TA’s.  In addition to explaining the case information and presentation structure from memory, our two resilient team members put up with criticism of their every move and a barrage of questions drawing from every class reading to date.

Last Monday morning we gathered to watch Sveta and Museb do one last practice before getting up in front of the crowd.  Their extensive practice had clearly paid off.  The notes were gone, the pace of their speech was much more evenly matched, and they could respond to every one of our questions.  In the afternoon class, as their presentation unfolded, the rest of our team watched with pride as we saw two blossoming business leaders emerge in front of us.

In a post-presentation debrief, both Sveta and Museb admitted that although they had public speaking experience from their undergrad coursework, they were nervous going into the presentation.  “Presenting in front of Larry was different,” Sveta told me, “I knew I would be criticized – regardless of how well I did in comparison to my peers, I knew he would encourage me to fix some part of my presentation style.”  She explained how this understanding made her work that much harder: “Knowing he would present us with challenging questions made it even more vital for us to really understand the material we were presenting on, and not leave holes in our content.”

Sveta advises anyone facing an imminent presentation to “Practice, practice, practice!”  She also notes the value of talking through the material with peers as much as possible, to be sure that all ground has been covered.  Museb, who is from Saudi Arabia, warns international students against getting too fancy, saying “Only use words you really know… this is not a time to try out new vocabulary.”  Having watched many others present, including my own team members, I now covet these tips, as they will be badly needed when my time to present comes.  Our group chose to save our most confident speakers for bigger presentations that will come later in the semester, but now I am sure that Sveta and Museb’s first-time presentation experience has left with them far more valuable ammunition than my pre-existing confidence of my oration skills.

The lesson learned from this PACE presentation experience is that Atkinson truly is preparing us with valuable business skills, but there is a lot more to it than simply attending class.  The competencies don’t happen to us, we have to put in long hours, openly accept extensive criticism, and focus on providing quality thorough results.  I am beginning to realize how much more work there is to come before I graduate (with honors and a lucrative job offer, of course), but the path has become much more clear and concrete.  I know I’m still a far cry from completing Atkinson’s program with my full set of business leadership skills, and so for now I am content to look forward to the day when I can proudly carry the knowing smile of the second-year MBA student, as I observe the new first-years who have yet to discover how much work they have ahead of them.

Atkinson Students Provide Top-Notch Case Analysis for Asian MBA Association Event »

A team of MBA students from the Atkinson Graduate School of Management – including Anthony Tham, Jillian Toda and Hussain Al Haddad – prepared an exceptional case analysis for the National Association of Asian MBAs (NAAMBA) conference.  The analysis was submitted as part of the annual conference and is included below:

Using Social Media to Encourage Entrepreneurship in the Asian American Community
Reprinted with Permission

In 2011, UC Los Angeles student Alexandra Wallace’s video rant “Asians in the Library” went viral over social media. Following this event, online petitions and video responses by Asian Americans were distributed throughout the Internet. Social media sites — including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr — allowed Asian Americans the opportunity to voice their opposition to Wallace’s narrow-minded declarations that the normative image of an “American” is being white. This example is one of many throughout history that have marginalized Asian Americans from mainstream society. In a 21st century context, however, the broadcasting power of social media has provided a catalyst through which a marginalized group — in this case, Asian Americans — can join the public forum.

This case study will explore how social media tools can be used to empower marginalized communities. Here, marginalized groups will represent those living outside of the mainstream culture that has been defined by society as white, male, heterosexual, and able bodied (1).  Marginalization conveys how processes of social practice, policy, and program development enforce such dominant discourses over minority identities. Asian Americans are one of many marginalized groups in the United States, and there are numerous sub-groups within the Asian American community. While it is important to recognize the extensive diversity of Asian Americans, for the purpose of this case study the examples presented will focus on Asian Americans described in a recent Pew Research Center study: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino,Vietnamese, and Indian. (2)  These Asian Americans have innovatively and successfully used social media for entrepreneurship and to gain mainstream attention, as seen in the Chinese American trio, Wong Fu Productions.

Since the group formed while attending UC San Diego in 2006, Wong Fu Productions has gone from remaking hit music videos on a college campus to producing feature-length films screened at popular film festivals such as the Cannes Film Festival. Last year, the group partnered with multi-platinum Taiwanese pop singer, Wang Leehom, to direct his music video. Wong Fu Productions’ rise from a college amateur production crew to full-scale independent filmmaking company has resulted from hard work and creative talent. Equally important, social media has opened a virtual screening room for millions of viewers across the globe, helping Wong Fu Productions increase visibility and fan base. Its YouTube page has over one million subscribers, and their videos have received over 150 million views.

In an interview with CNN, the members of Wong Fu Productions indicated their primary audience as “young Asian Americans who often can’t find accurate depictions of themselves in mainstream media.”(3) A lot of improvements need to be made, and it starts with groups like Wong Fu Productions who have empowered themselves, at the same time inspiring others to showcase their talents which otherwise may not be seen through traditional media.

This case study will further examine the rise of independent filmmakers, singer/songwriters, artists, etc. and show how social media has enabled them to break into a dominantly white industry. Mass media theories, such as agenda setting, will be discussed to illustrate the influence mainstream media has over social economics.

The success of Wong Fu Productions has turned their passion for filmmaking into a business venture. The group has formed partnerships with national brands such as Subaru, AT&T, and JCPenny. They’ve developed their own t-shirt line, Nice Guy Design, and a plush toy line, Awkward Animals, which are sold on their branded e-commerce website. The group travels across the country on speaking tours, and also founded a concert series aimed to empower and showcase up-and-coming Asian American artists to a diverse, international audience. These are some of the many examples of how social media has empowered Wong Fu Productions to become entrepreneurs.

It can be argued that a program that supports entrepreneurs and promotes entrepreneurship using social media can empower a marginalized group like Asian Americans. Our proposed program is “The Asian American Center for Entrepreneurship.” This program can be established by a new organization with the center as its sole purpose, or under an existing organization or coalition.  The center will provide a virtual community for Asian American entrepreneurs. A large emphasis will be placed on social media channels to facilitate the success of the center. In addition, office sites in cities with large Asian American populations like New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle will serve as bases for the national network.

This program can recruit successful Asian American social media bloggers and producers who can provide inspiration, training, and opportunities for publicity expansion. The program will seek out existing Asian American business entrepreneurs to establish connections with social media experts. Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity using the available resources in a given situation, emphasizing integration and creativity. Connections are vital and should be established with Asian American community organizations, corporations, and investors for financial support. These connections can be used to create several events under this program. Some examples include: an annual conference, a contest for entrepreneurial ideas, and an ongoing educational web series for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Why entrepreneurship for empowerment? There are three main components that this model brings to the Asian American community: finances, representation, and networking. Entrepreneurs create financial opportunities for themselves and others. This money will be put back into the community to expand the representation of Asian American businesses throughout the nation, and supporting the creation of others. Asian American entrepreneurs will be able to connect, exchange, and collaborate on entrepreneurial ideas through social media. This center does more than use these platforms, it actually turns social media into entrepreneurship making this model ideal for use by other marginalized groups with limited resources.


1 Nakamura, Lisa. Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on the Internet. New York and London: Routledge, 2002. Print.

2 Pew Research Center. “The Rise of Asian Americans.” Pew Social and Demographic Trends. Jun 2012. 29 Jun 2012. <http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/asianamericans-graphics/>.

3 Rowlands, Ted. Wong Fu Productions. CNN. 2 Jul 2012 <http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/showbiz/2009/08/15/rowlands.wong.fu.productions.cnn.>.