Page 1





A conversation with Steve Maxwell, President, KeyBank South Puget Sound District PAGE 6


Business News.......................................4

Student Profiles.................................. 14

Key Master .............................................6

International Education................... 16

The Real World .................................. 10

Alumni Profile.......................................18

Faculty Insight ....................................12

New Faculty and Staff...................... 19



Executive Advisory Board Gary Alexander ’78, Representative, State Legislator

Todd Ostrander ’86, Principal, OneAccordPartners

Timothy Anderson ’77, Managing Director, Halbert Hargrove

Lisa Ottoson ’87, Principal, Ottoson Professonal Consulting

Neal Arntson ’58, Chairman, Albina Fuel

William Rogers ’82, MBA, Retired

Bob Hinton, Managing Partner, Moss Adams LLP Matt Iseri ’99, President, TokuSaku Consulting, Inc. Darcy Johnson ’78, ’82, MBA, Principal, Fulcrum Capital, LLC John Korsmo ’84, President, John Korsmo Construction, Inc. Kim Lintott ’09, MBA, VP, Professional Services, Multicare Good Samaritan Hospital Steve Maxwell ’90, President, KeyBank South Puget Sound District Don Meyer ’71, Commissioner, Port of Tacoma Don Morken ’60, Retired Brenda Morris ’91, CFO, 5-11 Tactical

Jason Rubottom ’04, General Manager, eBay Douglas Saugen ’79, Senior Partner, Retired, Accenture Daniel Smith ’07, Employee Benefits Consultant, Brown & Brown Shane Tackett ’00, VP Labor Relations, Alaska Airlines Chris Tinsley ’06, Principal Technologist, Sixth Avenue Studios Andrew Turner ’73, Chairman, Northern Lights Capital Group Terry Van Nostrand, Executive VP, Cobalt Commercial RE Sherri Wade, VP Operations, State Farm Stacy Wilson ’03, VP of Finance, Wilson Construction Co.


welcome DEAN’S WELCOME Welcome to Business Scene, from PLU’s School of Business. These pages represent a current snapshot of the many new and exciting events, activities, and people associated with the School. We’re glad to be reaching out to our stakeholders to share the good news. Among the highlights in this issue: n

Our new Master of Science in Finance (MSF program), with 16 students in the first cohort;

A thought provoking article on risk transfer by Professor Diane MacDonald;


Two seniors describe their transformational internship experiences from last summer;


Successful alumni – at different career stages – describing their work, challenges and relation to PLU;



Our ongoing commitment to globalizing students via January Term studyaway programs for undergraduates, and the international experience required for MBA students.

The School of Business has enjoyed some very good fortune in the past few years. An active and engaged Executive Advisory Board created and has contributed heavily to the Dean’s Fund for Excellence, and that, in turn, has enabled us to send teams of students to various competitions and support summer faculty research projects. We received several commendations from the review team during the maintenance of accreditation process by AACSB International. Thanks to a grant from the Herbert B. Jones Foundation, we have hosted our own Business Plan Competition, awarding $10,000 in cash prizes to winners and runners-up in each of the past three years. Our College-toCareers (C2C) program helps undergraduates learn about their own strengths and interests, equips them with resume writing, interviewing, and networking skills, and introduces them to alumni and other business leaders in the region. Alumni who participate with the PLU Business Network meet with and counsel students about career and other professional opportunities. A revitalized Career Development office at PLU, coupled with a recovering economy, is helping students land internships and jobs upon graduation. And the Morken Center for Learning and Technology, dedicated in spring 2006 and home to business classrooms and faculty offices, has become a popular gathering place for students who enjoy the open space, small café, and frequent interactions with faculty. Probably the biggest change in recent years is the addition of several new and exciting faculty to the School, joining us primarily due to retirements. We’re blessed to have a team of highly respected senior faculty, plus the more recent additions who have brought new vitality and solid industry experience. Collectively, they are helping students integrate theory with practice, producing an impressive record of scholarship, and working with colleagues from other disciplines across the campus. They are our future, and it’s in very good hands! Please enjoy this issue of the Business Scene, and get a better sense of what’s going on at PLU’s School of Business, including our dynamic faculty, engaged administration and staff, successful alumni, and the wonderful PLU students we are all privileged to serve. Jim Brock | Dean, School of Business 3


inbrief School of Business launches OneYear Master of Science in Finance In the fall of 2012, PLU welcomed the inaugural cohort into its new Master of Science in Finance (MSF) program. The faculty and leadership at the School of Business seized the opportunity to launch a program driven both by unfilled market needs and a strong cross-disciplinary team of faculty with the ability to offer the highly technical curriculum. While many domestic MSF programs are two-year programs for those with 2-4 years of experience (designed as variants of an MBA), PLU follows the one-year cohort model open to new graduates that is more typical worldwide. The PLU MSF aligns its calendar and content with the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) curriculum, a professional designation recognized around the world. We expect 75 percent of the students to pursue the MSF degree and CFA designation jointly. Classroom delivery is intentionally pragmatic, with an emphasis on application. For example, in the Financial Econometrics course, nearly every class session has students downloading real data and running models to apply the methods learned in the course. The focus on application is intended to graduate professionals prepared to enter the workforce able to add immediate value. The PLU MSF is uniquely positioned as the only one-year, highly technical program offered to new graduates in Washington. The first cohort of 16 students is larger than expected, and there is every reason to believe that the program will grow to be ever more popular and competitive.


AACSB The School of Business successfully underwent a maintenance of accreditation review from AACSB International last spring. External accreditation is an important measure of quality for most university professional programs. Periodic reviews from peers provide snapshots of a program’s relevance, quality, resources, governance, and overall quality. The review included preparing a thorough self-assessment report and culminated in a two-day visit by three deans of similar-sized business schools. The Peer Review Team’s official report included several commendations, and cited specifically the quality of the faculty, small class sizes, academic support for students, the MBA international experience, and dynamic environment of the Morken Center for Learning and Technology. The School’s next review will be in 2017. AACSB was founded in 1916 and is the global leader in business school accreditation. More than 650 business schools in 44 countries are AACSB-accredited, out of more than 20,000 business schools worldwide.



Executive Leadership Series State Farm Executive Leadership Speaker Series

Brings Experience, Talent to Students

The School of Business initiated the speaker series to give students role models who are ethical, courageous, and effective corporate leaders.

During the Fall and Spring semesters, the MBA Program brings executives to campus to share “their story” with our MBA and BBA students. These stories involve the speaker’s ascent to leadership positions and some of the challenges faced in the process. The School of Business initiated the speaker series to give students role models who are ethical, courageous, and effective corporate leaders. In today’s highly complex business environment, it’s more important than ever for our students to have these opportunities to meet and engage with top business executives. Typically three or four executives share their stories with students each semester. Recent speakers have included Gregory Gilbert, CEO, Russell Investments, Americas Institutional; John Wolfe, CEO of the Port of Tacoma; Cliff Robertson, COO of the Franciscan Health System; Don Morken, President, Genesee Investments; Steve Maxwell, President of KeyBank in the South Sound; Gary Gessel, President and COO of Milgard Windows and Doors; and Brad Tilden, President and CEO of Alaska Airlines. The School is grateful for the continued support of State Farm Insurance in making the Speaker Series possible. n




A conversation with Steve Maxwell, President, KeyBank South Puget Sound District



rowing up in Portland, Oregon, Steve Maxwell ’90 always knew he would major in business. However he wasn’t so sure what he’d do with a business degree. Maxwell, who is now president of KeyBank South Puget Sound District, looks back on his time at PLU, and considers the value of internships and the other unique learning experiences that were made available to him through PLU’s School of Business. It was those experiences, he says, that helped him get to where he is today. >>




Q: What motivated you to attend PLU, and how did it prepare you for your career? Did you ever imagine being a bank president? Steve Maxwell: I wanted to find a school that was fairly close to my home in Portland and offered a first-rate education. And I wanted to play college basketball! PLU had been recruiting me to play for them and after meeting the coach and visiting the campus, I was sold. The decision to major in business was easy. My grandparents owned a small business and my father’s career was in financial management, so business always felt like a natural fit for me. A specific career path, however, didn’t become clear until later in my college career.

What I enjoy most is working with KeyBank’s 400plus employees in the South Puget Sound. I am inspired by their work ethic and their commitment to providing our clients with meaningful financial solutions.

Looking back, I see that PLU prepared me for my career in a number of ways. First, it provided me with a solid understanding of business concepts and how to use them to make decisions and solve problems. Beyond the classroom, PLU afforded me unique learning experiences such as the Student Investment Fund and travel to Chicago to see commodities traded at Mercantile Exchange. While at PLU, I came to understand the importance of relationships and giving back, and playing basketball for PLU taught me how to compete. Q: When you spoke to business students at PLU a couple of years ago, you underscored the importance of internships in shaping your career direction. Tell us about your internship experiences during your time at PLU. What impact did they have on your career direction and success? SM: While I didn’t have a specific field in mind during my first years on campus, I knew that first-hand experience in the business world would help me determine what field to pursue (or not!) At the campus Career Development Office, I sought out information about a number of internship opportunities. In the spring of my junior year, I applied for an internship with a regional bank. A round of interviews led to a position as a credit analyst in the corporate banking department in Seattle. That incredibly rich summer internship changed my life, relating my classroom studies to the real world. I was given challenging work and real responsibility; I had to deal with deadlines and collaborate as a team member. Relationships developed there proved invaluable after graduation. I finished that internship excited about banking as a field based on financial acumen that, when done right, was really about relationships. During my senior year, I also had a chance to participate in an internship with the Seattle Supersonics NBA basketball team. Talk about a dream internship for a business major and basketball player! From my post in the marketing department, I saw a completely different side of the business world and learned a great deal about professional communication, event operations and meeting the demands of parties with opposing interests. There were side benefits, including free admission to Sonics games that season. And as cool as that was, the internship confirmed that banking was the career for me. Q: You were a varsity basketball player at PLU for four years. Obviously that commitment required a lot of time and dedication. How did your experiences on the court help you develop team and leadership skills? SM: The lessons I learned as a basketball player at PLU were invaluable. Balancing my studies with four years of practices, team meetings, travel and games was not easy. But the tension between these two priorities taught me how to manage time, deal with stress, set priorities, and balance a heavy load. As a basketball player, I learned how to compete. I experienced the benefits and the sacrifices that come with being a good teammate, and I learned to handle


pressure. There are so many ways that my experiences as a basketball player translate to my work: such as how to operate in an environment where every possession (or every interaction) matters, where mistakes have consequences, and preparation and execution reap rewards. While on the basketball team at PLU, I was selected as team captain my senior year. This was a good opportunity to experience leadership, as it meant setting an example for the team with my words and my actions, being accountable, and at times delivering a hard but appropriate message to a teammate. I use these leadership skills every day. Q: What do you like most about running KeyBank’s operations in the South Sound? SM: Now in my fourth year as president of KeyBank in the South Puget Sound, I am blessed to have the opportunity to do so many things that I enjoy. I get to make decisions and be accountable for the results. I have a say in the support services that help us excel as bankers, such as marketing, real estate, human resources, credit and sales management. My leadership team inspires me daily with their collaborative spirit and professionalism. And I am proud to be part of an organization that considers community leadership a priority. It is my privilege to manage our volunteer work in the South Sound and the annual donation of $700,000 to area non-profits. What I enjoy most is working with KeyBank’s 400-plus employees in the South Puget Sound. I am inspired by their work ethic and their commitment to providing our clients with meaningful financial solutions. In turn, my commitment to them is robust and sincere. I strive to provide career-development opportunities, work that matters, a strong sense of community and rewards for their efforts. Q: What keeps a bank president awake at night in these turbulent times? SM: Nothing! My wife tells me that I fall asleep before my head even hits the pillow. That is not to say that I don’t have a lot on my mind. But I have learned to give my anxieties over to the Lord. These are challenging times for this business. The banking industry has seen major disruptions in our revenue streams arising from the impact of regulatory change along with persistently low interest rates. Today, most banks are well capitalized and have strong liquidity. That makes competition intense for available lending opportunities. Given that challenge, it will be important for our industry to remain disciplined in structuring and pricing credit. With the pace of innovation, the competitive environment, and with an economy as dynamic as ours, I think we will always find ourselves in challenging times.

Pursue internships or other opportunities where you can experience how classroom work applies to the real world. And do it sooner rather than later, as the more you can relate your coursework to the business world, the more meaningful it will be.

Q: What advice do you have for today’s business majors at PLU? SM: Pursue internships or other opportunities where you can experience how classroom work applies to the real world. And do it sooner rather than later, as the more you can relate your coursework to the business world, the more meaningful it will be. Even if the internship is unpaid, I believe this is a worthwhile investment. Build relationships and learn to communicate; interpersonal skills are probably more important than technical skills. Be curious, ask questions, seek answers; in doing so you will better understand yourself and others. Q: What advice do you have for PLU business alumni – by way of staying current with technology, or continuing education, or reaching out to help today’s students get a good start with their professional lives? SM: I’d encourage PLU business alumni to stay connected to the school. You can do this in a number of ways, including acting as a mentor or offering an internship. n



The Real World with a Safety Net BY STEVE HANSEN & CHRIS ALBERT

Assistant Professor of Management Kory Brown has a plaque on his office wall commemorating his participation nearly 20 years ago in a business simulation competition. Pointing to it, he said with a smile: “I learned more from that competition than I learned in my MBA program.” To be sure, Brown’s comment contains some amount of hyperbole. But the value he places on the International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition is clear: it was transformative. So much so, this spring will mark the third year Brown has brought PLU undergraduate business students back to the event – sponsored by Long Beach State University in California – in which he first participated as an MBA student. For the competition, student teams create a simulated company, develop a product concept and business model for that company, and then run that company – top to bottom – for a simulated 20 consecutive quarters. Brown said virtually every aspect of business is evaluated and measured in the competition. The ICBSC provides students the opportunity to learn and compete with approximately 30 other universities through simulating the running of a company, as well as networking with business leaders and students from around the world. “Students are stretched in ways no other academic setting can,” Brown said. He calls simulations like these “the real world with a safety net.” The culmination of this year’s competition will take place April 18-20. But much of the work will be done long prior to that. For about six months, PLU Business students will have been at work making decisions as a corporate executive team. Students selected to participate in the competition need to have basic business skills, but the real keys, accord-


ing to Brown, are self-motivation, discipline and the ability to collaborate with teammates. All told, each student will spend 300-500 hours preparing for and participating in the competition. This year, six students are participating in the event. They are Zach Grah, Arne-Morten Willumsen, Karrie Spencer, Jordan Dahms, Iren Atemad and Cameron Holcomb. “This is just an outstanding opportunity for our students to experience business from the top,” Brown said. “They are now going to walk out of PLU not only with their degree, but an understanding of all dimensions, not just the one they’re trained in.” Iren Atemad, one of this year’s participants, agrees. “One of the lessons learned in these early stages of the competition is that everything depends on everything else,” she said. “This has made me understand the complexity of the business environment and how a team of executives truly manages a business.” Finance faculty member Kevin Boeh led the development of the new Master of Science in Finance program. He points to the considerable time both he and Brown spent in the business world. They both stress pragmatism. It informs the way they teach, and it underscores the value they place in putting students in situations that focus on real-world business and finance issues. “As much as we can simulate reality, then our students will have an edge,” Boeh said. “So the question is: What can we do to simulate reality?”

Student competitions like these are funded in part by the Dean’s Fund for Excellence. To learn more about how you can help support innovative programs like these, visit There are two more student groups that will be participating in competitions this spring: The G.A.M.E (Global Asset Management Education) Forum, and the CFA Institute Research Challenge. This past spring, Boeh and five members of the Student Investment Club traveled to New York City for the G.A.M.E Forum, founded and organized by PLU alumus David Sauer ’81, a professor at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. Dr. Boeh will take another group this spring. The G.A.M.E Forum, which will take place this year on April 4-6, brings more than 100 university groups to Wall Street, where students interact with industry leaders from hundreds of Wall Street firms – such as Abby Joseph Cohen of Goldman Sachs and Roger Ibbotson of Zebra Capital Management –and learn best practices in investment management. Part of the event consists of the portfolio challenge, where each school’s team presents in front of professional fund managers. Last spring, the members of PLU’s Student Investment Club presented details of their $145,000 portfolio. The fund was established in 1982 by Mary Lund Davis, whose $25,000 donation has been focused on giving students the opportunity to gain experience in investment management through real-life investing. “We had to present why and how we picked our current stocks, and our underlying strategy. Also we presented our portfolio against benchmarks to showcase our historical performance,” said Arne-Morten Willumsen ’13, one of the 2012 G.A.M.E. participants. His group took third place in the undergraduate growth division, and he’ll be returning with a new team this year.

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is a global competition in which groups of students worldwide select a small-to-midcap public company like Fischer Communications or Zillow, research it, and present their findings in a 10-page Initiation of Coverage Report. This year at the regional competition in Seattle held on February 1 – among seven universities – the PLU’s team of five students had 10 minutes to present their report to a panel of industry leaders, and then answer a 10-minute Q-and-A session. The PLU team, advised by visiting professor Olgun Sahin, placed second. The winner of the regional competition will move onto New York City. All told, more than 200 universities worldwide participate in the event. For Boeh, the value of the CFA Institute Research Challenge is not simply that it presents opportunities for students to research real companies. The Challenge is also an opportunity for students to work with a financial analyst mentor who is currently practicing in the region. “It’s a great networking opportunity for students,” Boeh said, and he’s seen internships come out of it. “You cannot simulate this exposure in the classroom,” Boeh said. “This experience allows the students to see in action what they learn in the classroom.” n

Along with the presentation, the group was able to participate in discussions and workshops related to investing, account management, and different types of market trading.


® ©


ISO 31000 ISO 26000

Protecting the Enterprise by Increasing Customer Risk: Socially Responsible Behavior? BY DIANE MACDONALD, PROFESSOR OF BUSINESS

Businesses have learned the hard lessons of what happens when they fail to mitigate risks in their operations. Natural disasters are among the most obvious risks, but other risks are equally important and can easily be mismanaged. When JP Morgan Chase allowed its traders to take positions in sophisticated financial instruments to hedge the bank’s enterprise risks, it failed to take into account the risks inherent in that hedging strategy. The result was significant losses for the bank and maybe more importantly, a significant loss of reputation.

Mitigating Risk by Shifting it to Someone Else Sometimes managers attempt to hedge risk for the enterprise by shifting risk to its customers. In a business-to-business transaction, both parties are aware of the risk shifting techniques, such as waivers and indemnity clauses, and aggressively 12

negotiate them. When these risk shifting techniques are used with final consumers, however, the individual customer oftentimes neither understands the risks nor is in a position to negotiate or hedge those risks. For example, the online bulletin board Pinterest encourages you to share “interesting things you find on the web” by pinning them to your board. At the same time Pinterest’s terms of service require you to indemnify Pinterest and its officers, directors, employees and agents, against any claims (frivolous or not) in any way related to your use of Pinterest. Consumers may be aware of issues in copyright law relating to music and movies because of the industry’s high-profile antipiracy campaign. They may not be aware of the more subtle forms of copyright infringement, such as posting a picture they did not take themselves, infringing on the photographer’s copyright and perhaps the publicity rights of the person depicted in the photo. It may sound farfetched to think that the indemnity would ever be enforced against an ordinary user, but recall that the RIAA lawsuits against consumers for illegal music downloads included many defendants who were unwittingly caught in the copyright infringement net,



such as grandparents who aided and abetted copyright infringement by allowing their grandchildren to use their computer and internet connection.

The health of the US economy is dependent upon on the financial health of the consumer. Perhaps it is now time to incorporate the way a business aligns its interests with customer interests as an element of socially responsible business behavior. Risk Shifting: A Long Term Trend Over the years, other financial and legal risks have been slowly shifted from businesses to individuals. The savings and loan crisis of the 1980s resulted in changes to mortgage regulations that permitted financial institutions to shift interest rate risk from the institution to the individual borrower by permitting variable rate loans. As President Reagan noted at the time of signing the Garn-St. Germain Depository Act, this legislation “reduces their (financial institutions) exposure to changes in the housing market and in interest rate levels,” but he failed to note that the risk was now on individual borrowers. While financial institutions are the experts and have many sophisticated hedging strategies to mitigate the risk in fluctuating interest rates, individuals do not. Yet today, credit cards, home equity loans, mortgage loans and other forms of consumer credit carry rates that vary with a designated benchmark, such as the prime rate or the London Interbank Offered Rate or Treasury securities of varying maturities. Many consumers do not understand the index or benchmark much less have the ability to anticipate how it will change in the future and how to hedge in the event it rises. Furthermore, many of these financial products carry a minimum rate so that the individual does not have the entire benefit of a low interest rate environment. There are many more examples of the risk shifting from business enterprises to consumers such as the use of arbitration clauses to preempt the consumer’s right to sue, waivers of liability due to negligence, the prohibition of consumer class action lawsuits, waivers of implied warranties on product purchases, and waivers of statutory consumer protections.

How Risk Management Relates to Social Responsibility When businesses report their socially responsible behavior we hear about the philanthropic contribu-

tions, or community volunteer activities, or environmental initiatives. It’s not often that we hear of how a business relates to its retail customers as a metric of socially responsible behavior. Business risk mitigation techniques should be subject to an evaluation of whether or not those techniques mitigate the enterprise risk at the expense of increasing consumer risk. This concept is finding its way into some of the international standards for both social responsibility and risk management. The Global Reporting Initiative created a protocol for responsible financial services products and practices. It provides that products should not unduly put the customer at risk and policies should not create conflicts of interest between employees and customers, such as offering incentives to sell products that are unduly risky for customers. The International Organization for Standardization addresses risk management in its ISO 31000 and it includes principles that an enterprise should consider when allocating risks to its customers. For example, enterprises should use techniques that balance costs and benefits including those benefits derived from being socially responsible. ISO 26000 provides guidance on how social responsibility can be integrated throughout the enterprise. It devotes a section to consumer issues and advocates for fair contractual practices and processes that aim to protect consumers “by mitigating imbalances in negotiating power between the parties.” This includes the use of contracts that are clear and understandable, that do not include unfair terms, such as an unfair limitation of liability or the right to unilaterally change prices and conditions. It also advocates for dispute resolution practices that “do not require consumers to waive their rights to seek legal recourse,” quite the opposite of many arbitration clauses used today in consumer contracts. The health of the US economy is dependent upon the financial health of the consumer. Perhaps it is now time to incorporate the way a business aligns its interests with customer interests as an element of socially responsible business behavior. n

Professor MacDonald’s current research interest tracks the way business enterprises have mitigated business risk by shifting it to customers. Her most recent articles include: • Managing risk by shifting it to consumers: Responsible business behavior? Forthcoming in the Journal of Accounting and Finance; • When risk management collides with enterprise sustainability, in the Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics; and • A hybrid approach to teaching ethics to business school undergraduates, in the Journal of Learning in Higher Education.



Stepping out of the classroom and into the business world BY JULIANNE ROSE ’13

ZACHARY GRAH ’13 An important benefit for PLU business students is an internship, and about half of our students complete at least one before graduation. Internships expose students to the world of business practitioners, to the performance expectations they will face as they begin their professional careers, and to organizational culture. They frequently are transformational experiences, epiphanies of sorts that truly shape students’ lives going forward. For employers, an internship is a form of extended interview, as they look to hire the best and brightest graduates. We feature two senior business majors who enjoyed particularly satisfying internships during summer 2012.


A Business major with a concentration in marketing, Zachary Grah ’13 spent the summer working as a network-planning intern at Alaska Airlines’ corporate headquarters in SeaTac, Washington. For 13 weeks, Grah worked full-time analyzing the network of flight routes for profitability. And he collaborated with other departments to adjust ticket prices to ensure capacity and tracking competitors’ rates. “The skills you get out of an internship can’t be matched by any class,” said Grah. Grah was part of a six-person network planning team. As his culmination project for the internship, Grah was given the opportunity to propose a new flight route for Alaska Airlines to Andrew Harrison, V.P. of Planning and Revenue Management. Beginning in April, Alaska Airlines will begin flying the new route proposed by Grah between Seattle and Salt Lake City, Utah. Harrison helped to strengthen Grah’s understanding of the business world, and particularly, competition among airlines. “When I was talking to him, he opened my eyes to everything else he has to consider,” said Grah. “I learned you have to look at the big picture before you can look at the small details.”

BASHAIR ALAZADI ’12 Based in the Tacoma office of the accounting firm, Moss Adams LLP, Business major Bashair Alazadi ’12 used her accounting concentration as an audit intern to review employees Alazadi was introduced to this opportunity through PLU’s on-campus accounting club, Beta Alpha Psi. “They do a really great job of bringing firms to the meetings,” explained Alazadi. “We were able to tour Moss Adams and I loved the company culture I saw.” Beginning her internship, Alazadi faced the same fear many students face when entering the professional world. “Walking into an accounting firm I was really nervous because I had never been in a professional atmosphere,” said Alazadi. “But I met the nicest people and gained real-life experience.” But accounting is more than sitting behind a desk and crunching numbers, explained Alazadi. From advertising firms to manufacturing companies, Alazadi audited various industries around Tacoma.

“Walking into an accounting firm I was really nervous because I had never been in a professional atmosphere,” said Alazadi. “But I met the nicest people and gained real-life experience.” For Alazadi, this internship gave her reassurance that she chose the right career and would love doing the work. “I really love math, but I really like socializing too,” said Alazadi. “It was amazing to find a career that does both. I feel like I got the best of both worlds.” Alazadi began in January, the start of busy season, at Moss Adams LLP as one of the firm’s new staff accountants. n

“You go out to different clients every week,” explained Alazadi. “It’s really interesting seeing the inner workings of so many different types of companies.” 15






the value of an

international education Both undergraduate and graduate business programs are built on the opportunity to study away BY BARBARA CLEMENTS Denise Petryk ’12 knew that an MBA would help her in the running of her veterinary practice, but she wanted a bit more. She found that in the PLU MBA program, with its strong international flavor in its curriculum. “To travel internationally is always a good thing, but I felt that having the opportunity to go to Germany with a German speaker was much better than someone who wasn’t fluent with the language,” she said of her trip last year. “And global relations, especially now, are just so important to understanding the rest of the world.” The curriculum for the PLU MBA program includes a 10-day international experience, which began in 2007 with a trip to France. Some of the other countries included in the itineraries since then have been China, Vietnam, Ireland, Spain, Germany and Hungary. The 2013 trips are China and Peru, with 2014 trips planned for Dubai and Oslo. In all, 130 students have participated in the international experience, according to Theresa Ramos, Director of Graduate Programs in the School of Business. The undergraduate business program isn’t left out of the international journey either. Through J-Term programs, undergraduate students receive the opportunity to see how businesses compete and create in an effort to retain and expand market share. Assistant Professor of Management Brian Maeng led 13 undergraduate business majors on a comprehensive experience in South Korea. The group visited Samsung, Hyundai Motors, a K-Pop studio, and four other companies, toured the DMZ, attended lectures and artistic events, saw several temples and historical spots, and met with Korean business students. Assistant Professor of Marketing Sven Tuzovic, who took Petryk’s group to Germany, said he enjoys the experience, because of the camaraderie that develops between the students, which usually travel in groups of about 12 to 15. “It’s also gratifying for the MBA students to see how different businesses operate in other countries,” Tuzovic said. And Tuzovic, who is an expert in services marketing and brand management, feels students usually find it revealing to learn how products are marketed in other countries. “It’s great to experience marketing from a global perspective,” he said.

Professor of Management Chung-Shing Lee is planning his trip to China and Taiwan this year, and plans to take students to Beijing’s Zhongguancun Science Park and a semiconductor plant in Taiwan. “Students will better understand why China is a giant in the world economic market, as well as how the culture in Taiwan and China influence global business practices,” he said. Assistant Professor of Marketing Mark Mulder, just returned from a 10-day MBA international experience program in Peru. Mulder says that he looked for a variety of business stories in Peru that tie back to PLU’s mission statement of sustainability and community. He also wanted his students to understand how culture and business are linked in a country. “Peru has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world,” he said. On his trip, students spoke with an investment banker and toured a beverage company, as well as listened to a lecture on Peru’s own efforts at social responsibility. “I think it’s one thing to hear about Microsoft or Google going global,” he said. “But it’s quite a different thing to see this in action in another country.” That’s certainly true, according to Assistant Professor of Management Matt Monnot, who took a group of MBA students to Spain in 2012 to visit Mondragon Corporation, an industry which is the only business model of its kind in the world. It’s a worker’s cooperative that produces everything from refrigerators to products and systems for construction. Assistant Professor of Accounting Janet Mobus took a group of students last year to Australia with a focus on sustainability in a country that struggles with water resources. The group visited a sustainable wine vineyard and also resided in an eco-village. “The meshing of business, politics and public policy on sustainable practices, with the student’s desire to be part of the solution was one of the highlights of the trip,” Mobus said. “The students came back to campus with an increased dedication and a great understanding of their place in responding to difficult questions.” n 17


Alum shares her secrets:

What does it take to be successful? BY H A L E Y H U N T I N GTO N ’ 1 4

As a Senior Associate on the auditing team at KPMG LLP, Rachel Danforth ’09 conducts financial examinations for a wide range of clients and their various accounts. Though such talk of accounting and taxes can cause some people stress, Danforth loves what she does. “I don’t sit behind a desk all the time,” Danforth chuckled. She finds the most enjoyment in communicating with her clients, which range from large Fortune 500 companies to small family-owned businesses. The communication skills she gained in the classroom at PLU laid a solid foundation for her professional life. “Learning how to work with others on group projects during school was really helpful,” Danforth said. Danforth started working for KMPG, one of the world’s largest audit, tax and advisory firms, just a few months after graduation. The experiences and opportunities she had at PLU helped in her success. “The key part for me was having internship experience, even though it wasn’t all in accounting,” said Danforth, who held internship positions at both Russell Investments and Theo Chocolate while earning her undergraduate degree. “It gives you a way to apply what you learn so that it sticks better.” In addition to her internships, she found one of her most valuable experiences to be her involvement in PLU’s Beta Alpha Psi chapter, the national scholastic and professional accounting fraternity. “Beta Alpha Psi brought in a variety of accounting professionals. Getting to meet a variety of people in accounting and making those initial contacts really helped me relax and build a rapport. Networking is absolutely huge,” Danforth said. In fact, she made her first contact with KPMG through a networking event with Beta Alpha Psi. Though it can be nerve-wracking to approach someone more seasoned, Danforth insists that students should push themselves out of their comfort zone. “Don’t be afraid to go up to someone by yourself – that’s what those events are for,” Danforth said. She said sometimes all it takes is one conversation 18

to get your foot in the door. But she also encourages students to not overlook the importance of a strong resume, even after they have made a connection. “Have your resume looked at, a couple of spelling errors here and there can really hurt,” said Danfoth. “Grades are what will get your resume looked at. Your GPA is the first step in narrowing the field.” Once through to the interviewing stage, Danforth said, “it’s really preparing for any question they can ask you. They want to know that you’re committed to their company.” She said that doing research on the company, as well as practicing possible interview questions, helps differentiate an applicant from those who are less prepared. Danforth said one of the most common, yet most surprising, questions asked in an interview is “Why do you want to work for us?” This question can really catch interviewees off-guard, especially when student applicants are sending resumes to anyone and everyone to increase their chances of getting a job upon graduation. Being “on the hunt,” obsessing over your resume, and preparing for interviews can be both exciting and overwhelming. But Danforth stresses that students should remember what they truly enjoy. Having hobbies is one way to show a student is a well-rounded applicant. According to Danforth, one of the best ways students can show their passions is through volunteering, which stands out on a resume. “Having something that shows your commitment that is a little different from your area of study is great,” Danforth said. Most of all, students need not forget to maintain a healthy balance in their lives. n

Meet three new faculty and staff members DR. MATTHEW LUTH




Dr. Matthew T. Luth is an Assistant Professor of Management and is the lead instructor for several sections of the introductory course for business majors: Introduction to Business in the Global Environment. He has also taught courses in organizational behavior and business ethics at the University of Kansas, where he earned his doctorate and was recognized for his outstanding teaching. Dr Luth’s scholarship interests concern the study of positive behaviors, experiences, and attributes of organizations and their members. Specifically he conducts research in positive organizational scholarship, organizational ethics, and training and development. Prior to his career in academia, Dr. Luth worked seven years as an environmental engineer, where he studied, designed, and built wetlands for an international consulting firm. Dr. Luth lives in Puyallup, Washington, with his wife Jessica and their two sons. They are enjoying exploring all the Pacific Northwest has to offer. DR. MARK MULDER Dr. Mark Mulder is an Assistant Professor of Marketing, teaching courses in the undergraduate and MBA programs. Dr. Mulder is a “Lute,” having earned both BBA and MBA degrees from PLU. Mark then worked in PLU administration for several years before heading to Washington State University for his doctorate. He is excited to be teaching at PLU and mentoring students.

that utilizes marketing techniques to improve consumer and societal well being. He also conducts research in a related area, the marketing of charitable giving, and how marketers can encourage philanthropy. Dr. Mulder and his family enjoy PLU sports, community volunteer work, and anything outdoors in the beautiful Northwest sunshine. MICHAEL RENFROW Michael Renfrow serves as the Associate Director for the Master of Science in Finance. In the U.S. Army, he studied Farsi at the Defense Language Institute and worked as an Army Military Intelligence Analyst. He subsequently earned his BGS and MPA degrees from Indiana University and went to work in the admissions office at Indiana University South Bend. He rose to the position of Director of Admissions, where he oversaw the recruitment and processing of over 2,500 incoming students – both undergraduate and graduate – each year. Michael also taught three years in IU South Bend’s School of Education as an associate faculty member. Michael brings great experience and enthusiasm to the position, and believes the MSF program is a wellpositioned and unique addition to the regional academic landscape. n

Dr. Mulder is an active scholar, focusing primarily in the area of transformative consumer research (TCR), an emphasis 19

BUSINESS SCENE, Tacoma, Washington, 98447-0003 Address change: If you do not wish to receive Business Scene, or wish to change your mailing address, please notify PLU School of Business. You can reach us by phone at 253-535-7244 or by e-mail at PLU.BUSINESSSCENE.0213

THE DEAN’S FUND FOR EXCELLENCE THE DEAN’S FUND FOR EXCELLENCE plays a major role in affecting the lives of our students and preparing them for their careers. Many of the great activities reported in these pages were made possible solely by the fund. Launched by the Executive Advisory Board in 2010 and supported by PLU business alumni, the fund enables student teams to participate in regional and national competitions, covers expenses for special student events, and supports faculty research (an important component of the School’s academic reputation). Whether you are a PLU business alum, a businessperson, a resident of the Puget Sound region or all of these, you benefit from a stronger

School of Business at PLU. You and the regional economy also benefit from graduates who are better prepared to enter the professional world. The Dean’s Fund is a key element in the increased success of our students and the School’s growing reputation. A contribution to the Dean’s Fund is an investment in YOUR School! And, it’s easy to help, either by sending a check or by visiting It will only take a minute, and it will help to make the “PLU difference” in the lives and preparation of our students.

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Business Scene Magazine... PLU  

Pacific Lutheran University School of Business Business Scene Magazine


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