Albers School of Business and Economics

Undergraduate Programs Blog

Achieving Goals with Flexibility

Posted by Kiera Olsen on December 4, 2015 at 2:12 PM PST

"Notification of Selection Results" the subject line read for an email I received one morning. Here it was, the classes I was registered for during my semester in Växjö , Sweden. A lot was riding on that two page document: tuition dollars, my graduation date, my pride at managing to squeeze in two abroad programs barely over SU tuition, and so on. So I opened it…and I was devastated. All electives. Each and every one of them from the Swedish classes to the course on European Union Politics. My dream of studying business in Europe was crushed. 

Now I had to make a decision and fast. Forfeit the $3000 down payment on the program and stay in Seattle or make the most of what I had been given. 

It wasn’t as if I wasn’t interested in the courses I had been handed. I’ve always been passionate about language at least and the history course seemed very appealing. Plus this was Sweden we were talking about: a beautiful country with gorgeous scenery, rich history, and a culture that, as I would later learn, fit my personality to a T. So I took the jump, boarded a plane and made my way to a tiny city near the most southern point of Sweden. What I would do to make up for the lack of business classes would largely have to wait until I got there. 

The first step was to make some friends. Linnaeus University welcomes more than 1,600 international students each year from over 60 countries, which meant that there was a lot of international networking I could accomplish. I started with the dorm building I had been placed in. Most students there were from the US as well, but that didn’t mean that they didn’t have valuable stories to tell.

Mission more or less accomplished, it was time to move onto the Swedes. Being that they are a generally introverted bunch (especially by American standards), this was easier said than done. Thankfully most of them spoke fluent English, which eliminated one hurdle at least. Regardless, I looked around for ways to connect with Swedish students and citizens of Växjö to get to know them and their culture. The Friend Family program and the Buddy Program were my solutions. The former program paired me with a local family who would meet with me once a month minimally to show me around and answer any questions I had about their culture, city, and country. The latter paired me with a Senior Swedish student who would essentially play the same role, but within the confines of the school. Through both programs I was able to rapidly expand my network and connect with those working in and studying the business field.

The next task was to explore a little. Taking advantage of the cheaper traveling expenses between European countries, I visited three other nearby countries during my stay. It was important for me though not to attend strictly as a tourist, but to study up on the country beforehand and visit significant historical sights to make the journey just as educational as it was fun. I am an international business major after all and what better way to study the international portion on a larger scale? 

I didn’t stop moving once I was back in my dorm though. Instead I took to studying as much as I could about business in Sweden on my own. From there I would develop questions to ask my expanding Swedish network so I could come home with the satisfaction that even though I didn’t have business classes, I was doing what I could to obtain that knowledge.

Studying abroad is always a daunting task no matter how well your plans go. As I sit here a year later, I am so thankful for the experience. Not only did I manage to achieve my goals, but I learned how to look past my inclination for a perfect plan, and to become flexible even when everything seems to be going wrong.

Kiera Olsen
Senior, International Business major, Japanese minor

Leadership is about Trust

Posted by Joseph Lopez on October 26, 2015 at 8:10 PM PDT

I'm standing next to Ms. Carmen Rodriguez in the early morning hours, in her one story apartment in Madrid, Spain. She would be my host mom for the next four months as I studied at a nearby university. I had just arrived the night before, a day later than originally expected, and I was apprehensive of what laid ahead. I had never been to Spain, let alone ever set foot in Europe. All the months of preparation (mentally and physically) had prepared me for this moment. I was going to be going to my first day of school, and Carmen was going to walk me from her apartment, in the North Side of Madrid, to the school's campus in the south part of the city by way of the famous "Metro" (the subway). I had to completely trust her sense of direction and her knowledge of the city to get me to school, only after a few short hours of getting to know each other. Walking out the door, I completely trusted in her. I made it to school that day, and every day following for the rest of the semester. But to this day, I never forgot her act of kindness when I was at my most vulnerable.

When was the last time you truly trusted someone? 'm not talking about trusting that your parents would send you money for food, or trusting your teacher would be there at your classes regularly scheduled time. I'm talking about trusting someone when you were completely out of your comfort zone. It's a tough question. Many times, people (especially people like me) hate relying completely on someone, especially in a time of vulnerability. But when I reflected on this moment in my life, I realized that Carmen had taught me a great lesson.

A good leader is able to help others, but a great leader is able to make you trust them. I had complete trust in Carmen. She explained the process of getting on the Metro, she made jokes when I didn't put my ticket in the right way of the entrance, but most importantly, she made me see that with building trust comes moments of growth. On that walk, she pointed out several places to explore; one of which was a great little café. On warm sunny days, I would go and sit at the café and just take in my surroundings. It was one of the best times of my life.

Trust was the ultimate factor here. Great leaders (like Carmen) can make other people around them trust them. Having trust and getting past points of vulnerability allow you to learn a lot about yourself while teaching you great lessons in how to lead those around you. Take some small steps in order to get there. We are a little past the midpoint of Fall Quarter, but its never to late to go to that club meeting, create that professional relationship with a professor, or even to go out and try that new restaurant you've walked past several times. Who knows, maybe you will find yourself in the middle of Madrid sitting at a café and enjoying the view.

Joseph Lopez
Management major | Senior
New Student Mentor

The Midterms are Coming

Posted by Danielle LeBaron on October 19, 2015 at 9:10 AM PDT

For most of you, midterms are just around the corner. For others, they may already be here. The most important thing to remember at this point, though, is "DON'T PANIC." Whether you've been preparing since classes began or are just getting started (it's ok, I've been there too), you'll want to find a study method that will set you up for success.

Here are some tips to get you on the right track:

  1. Strategize: Before diving into all the material your exam will cover, make sure you have some sort of game plan. This will keep you from (a) feeling overwhelmed with the material and (b) diverting into things you don’t even need to study. A simple list or a creative and colorful road map will do!
  2. Organize: Once you know exactly what you need to review, set-up your study space. Turn on some instrumental music or tunes you are already familiar to keep you focused. Get out some highlighters to color-code details that you may need to recognize or use on the exam. I usually differentiate vocabulary, high-level concepts, and anything the professor stressed during their lecture. De-clutter your desk of miscellaneous papers and unnecessary electronics (this includes your cell phone!!) to keep any immediate distractions out of reach. 
  3. Practice: If your exam is equation-based, gather any problems you struggled with from your homework assignments. Redo them by describing (out loud) and writing down exactly how you should solve the problem. This helps you kinesthetically, visually, and auditorily remember the step-by-step approach for each problem type. However, if your exam is more of the subjective variety (i.e. short essays), create mini outlines of how your professors would expect you to frame your answer. You may not have specific material for those outlines, but by practicing you’ll have a starting point for the actual exam. 
  4. Consolidate: Grab a flash card and write down anything you tend to forget or MUST know for the exam (i.e. equations). While you’re waiting for class to start, the flash card is a convenient way to get some last minute review without having to shuffle through all your notes.
  5. Ask for Help: If you’re still foggy on some course material, make sure you ask for help! Connect with a classmate, form a study group, or stop by your professor’s office hours. Many math courses have some sort of study session that gives you a chance to work through example problems with your professor’s TAs. I've found those sessions as the best way to figure out any common mistakes I may have been making while solving problems. Also, some professors are gracious enough to provide a practice exam. Check their course on Canvas to see if they posted one!
  6. Treat Yourself: In-between your time reviewing, make sure you take a little break every now and then, for sanity’s sake. The best way to do this is make landmarks on your review game plan. Make these breaks the time for a sweet treat, a moment away from your desk, or a dance break to re-energize yourself. 

Although I didn't include them in this list, you MUST also remember to sleep and eat. If your body isn't in a descent state to absorb the information you're reviewing, all that hard work will be wasted!

I hope at least a few of these tips help alleviate some of those midterm stressors. You can make it past the "DON'T PANIC" stage and into the "I can do this" stage. I wish you the best of luck! 

Danielle LeBaron

International Business Major | Junior

New Student Mentor

Investing in your Interests

Posted by Chisup Kim on October 14, 2015 at 4:10 PM PDT

When talking to my friends, I often hear about their desires and wishes to travel abroad, but often their preset programs stop them from experiencing the distinctive cultures outside our borders. Although I highly recommend study abroad tours to everyone, not everyone that wants to go can go for whatever reason including: grades, classes available, or even the costs. I was in a similar position last year; I simply could not go on a study abroad tour because of my academic schedule planned out for me. Despite these circumstances, I managed to find a different way to use my passport.

Last winter break, instead of returning home to Las Vegas, I travelled to Guatemala for a service trip. There, my friend Sarah and I volunteered for a nonprofit called Long Way Home. Guatemala contains various problems involving poverty, lack of education, and environmentally unsafe methods of disposing trash. Long Way Home aspires to solve all of these problems through ecological projects. When I arrived, Long Way Home was essentially building a school made from trash in a small town called San Juan Comalapa. Comalapa has a huge waste problem by disposing their garbage into a deep pit. Long Way Home repurposes the trash into useful building materials. Old Tires full of cement were used stacked into sturdy walls. Empty beer and soda bottles were placed in lieu of windows creating beautiful lighting. Plastic was repurposed into reliable concrete. Like Seattle University, they even recycled compost to enrich the soil. The school was beautiful with the materials manifesting into marvelous structures.

Our work days usually started at 8 am and ended at 5 p.m., and the work varied everyday on the worksite. On the first day, we helped build a shed for their water containers. Another day, we went to gather tires from local mechanical shops to build more walls. The next, we were landscaping and reshaping the grounds for the return of the students. Every day surprised me with more and more hard work. But, helping Long Way Home progress closer to their mission made all the hard work valuable. When we were not on the worksite, we were exploring Guatemala. In San Juan Comalapa, we met internationally renowned artist Oscar Peren. Peren has paintings exhibited in many museums around the world, and you can even buy smaller paintings from him at his house. Beyond Comalapa, we took buses and taxis to get around. We traveled to Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala City, and various other areas. My favorite place was definitely the hike up the dormant Volcan de Agua. At the top, we could see the active Volcan de Fuego pluming.

Now, I know not everyone can afford to leave their homes during Christmas break, but the point is that you can find alternatives for your passions than the opportunities set out before you. I had an amazing time in Guatemala by going after opportunities. If travelling really is a passion of yours, then you can always find opportunities outside of school to capitalize on them. The best thing you can do for yourself is invest in your interests in and out of the classroom because the lessons gained will be beyond measurement. 


For more information about Long Way Home: 


For more information about study abroad:




International Business & Economics (Double Major) | International Economic Development (Minor) | New Student Mentor

Building Your Personal Brand

Posted by Sergio Ispas on September 30, 2015 at 9:09 AM PDT

As you begin the first year of your college experience as a student in the Albers School of Business and Economics, take a moment to think about your personal brand.

A personal brand is something that distinguishes you from other students and markets your unique talents and abilities. Branding has become more and more apparent in the business context since the implementation of social media and can boost, or damage, your personal image.

Why Should you Care?

Your personal brand begins today. You have already began your journey to molding your own brand by attending the Jesuit institution that is Seattle University. Every action you take, club you join and role you take on/off campus will affect your brand in one way or another. Sonia Gonzales, a career services manager at Florida International University says “the worst thing you can do is until you graduate before thinking about social media as a way to build a brand”. This becomes even more important as new trends in social media begin popping up and employers set out to conduct more thorough background checks.

How Do I Start?

You can start slowly. Here are just some of the things you can do today to build your brand:

Be proactive: Attend one of Alber’s LinkedIn webinars or visit the Albers Advising Center for tips on how to build a strong and attractive brand both off- and online. LinkedIn, similar to Facebook, is one of the most commonly used professional networking sites. By creating an account early in your college career, you can constantly update you job status, post new skills and achievements, and follow companies that you are interested in!

Get involved: After you feel like you have gotten the hang of the workload that comes with college classes, get a part-time job, do community service, or join a club you are interested in. Employers look for candidates who are involved beyond school and want to learn less about your job, rather the challenges and hurdles you faced in that position. If an employer is faced with two different candidates, Student A who got perfect grades but didn’t do much on the side, versus Student B that had decent grades but has continuously taken leadership roles, volunteered, and worked well on many teams, there is a higher likelihood that Student B will get an offer because they were involved and made an effort to expand their horizons.

Be authentic: Lets be honest. College is fun. There are endless opportunities for you to enjoy your college experience, and at the end of the day, it is important to remember your values and be authentic. To keep it short, post on social media only what you would want your future employers to see, because once it is online, it’s not that easy to remove.

Enjoy your first year in college, make new friends, discover new passions and be yourself. Your personal brand begins today, and you control how it will look when you finish your degree and begin looking for graduate education or a career.

Sergiu Ispas
Economics and Finance | Senior
New Student Mentor

5 Things I Learned from my Experience at Seattle University

Posted by Barbara Hauke on August 27, 2015 at 3:08 PM PDT

Summer is coming to a close and soon enough the university will be filled with new students. Within the past couple years I’ve spent on this campus, I’ve gathered a few tips based on my experiences here for you incoming freshmen, transfer, and prospective students.

Tip #1: Get involved.

Find something you can be passionate about. After being athletic all my life, I missed being in a team community upon entering college. Thankfully, I found rowing my freshman year. For anyone that’s met me, I know what you are thinking: “she is 5’4”, on the rowing team, and not a coxswain? There’s no way.” BUT, there is a way. Be passionate, get excited, and be open to options that at first don’t seem within reach. You’ll meet people, build friendships, and make connections with every club, team, internship, or job you pursue.

Tip #2: There is something for everyone. Find what interests you.

Seattle is a great place to first experience life on your own without the guidance and watch of your parents. Explore the concerts and music scenes around Capitol Hill and within campus like at SU’s big event Quadstock, make a Seattle Food Bucket List, and do touristy things in your new home. You only have a few years to freely explore the city. Go find the things you’re interested in, because in Seattle, and especially in Capitol Hill, there is something for everyone.

Tip #3: Get ready to work hard.

You’re beginning your adult life. The transition from high school to college is especially difficult for some, but luckily Seattle University is a great place to transition to. As a business student, you will be pushed academically. Professors push individuals to reach their potential and provide a great support system along the way. Believe it or not, your professors want you to succeed. Visit them during office hours; they are here to help you! Also, it’s never too early to begin networking with professors!

Tip #4: Work hard but don’t strain yourself in the process.

While it is important to push yourself, know your limits. I learned this one the hard way my freshman year. I remember spending countless nights cramming in the library, frying my brain at ridiculous hours in the early morning and still having to wake up (if I even slept at all) at 5am for practice the next morning. The more you plan and get a head start on assignments/ studying for tests, the better off you’ll be. Learn how to manage your time and how to prioritize. Help yourself out by being prepared, taking care of your precious body, and allowing time for your brain to rest. Trust me on this one.

Tip #5: Enjoy your time here.

I applied to 12 other colleges: a few in my home state of California, a couple throughout the nation, and many in the Pacific Northwest. After all my college tours and visits ended, I knew this region was the best fit for me. I believed this was where I could make the most of my college experience, and sure enough, I was right. Years after making my decision to commit to Seattle University, I am still happy with my choice and could not have asked for a better experience thus far. I am pushed academically and have learned to find interest in each course I take. I am still discovering new spots and eateries around the city where I can relax and take a break from school. I am provided with the business environment that is quintessential in building the foundation for my work experience. College really is a time like no other. Take your time to enjoy these next four years here. Regardless of where one goes to pursue a higher education, he or she should make the most of it, and Seattle is a great place to start. 

--Gerline Reyes, Junior, Finance major

All It Takes Is One

Posted by Gumpon Siriboon on May 26, 2015 at 8:05 AM PDT

As my undergraduate career quickly starts winding down, it is due time for some reflections! Actively thinking about it, my time here at Seattle University has been incredibly short.  I remember hugging my dad right before he drove away in our Toyota 4-runner on move-in day almost four years ago, the joy of finding out that I had been hired as an RA for the first-time, my heart-pounding when I got a phone call that I had received an internship offer with a major company, flying to San Francisco for an interview with the company that I will be beginning my career with like they all happened in the last week. While it's amazing to think about the great times, It's also not hard for me to vividly remember all the times I stressed myself out to an edge studying for a midterm, taking a girl on a date and her not thinking it was just that, or being turned down from the twenty other internships I applied for. 

How do I want to summarize this story? With a metaphor obviously!  Baseball is something that I love more than a lot of things in the world and a metaphor relating to the game seems wildly appropriate right now.     

Life, especially young adulthood is a lot like stepping into a batter's box. Thing (pitches) are coming at you at 100MPH, change-ups are thrown, and sometimes the dreaded curveball gets thrown.  You can go up to an at-bat with the mentality of swinging at everything.  Sure you'll fail sometimes, but you'll hit one eventually, right?

Sure you will! But you'll also being swinging and missing a lot too, and believe me, there's few things worse in the world than the long walk to the dugout after a strikeout. The problem with the "go for anything" approach is the fact that it can be incredibly demoralizing to fail over and over again.  There's plenty of growing that you can do by failing but it sucks to have it keep happening. 

The best hitters in the world are the best at adjusting mid-at-bat.  They see the fastball, but recognize that sometimes it's better to let a pitch go by them and wait for something that's better to hit.  In this metaphor this means that sometimes it's better to wait for something in your wheelhouse before swinging.  Be selective with what you pursue.  Get an understanding of what your hot and cold zones are and go for the things that land in a hot spot.  Sometimes that means you let a pretty good opportunity go by but a better one could be the next pitch. Remember!  You only hit one pitch in any given at-bat. 

The beautiful thing about the game of baseball is the fact that you get some many attempts to step-up to the plate.  One strikeout won't kill you.  Remember this for the swings and miss that happen at amazing pitches (opportunities).  Be selective with that one pitch; learn to sit on one to get one that you really like.  Remember that the season (life) is a long one and that even if you strikeout on something that seems so, so right, there's another at-bat (opportunity) come at you pretty soon.  All of this is summed up pretty nicely here:

"Baseball gives everyone a chance to excel, not just to be as good as someone else but to be better than someone else. This is the nature of man and the name of the game." - Ted Williams

Signing off for the last time :(


-NSM Zac

Spring Quarter and the Pull Between Sunshine and Schoolwork

Posted by Fitzpatrick Jordan on May 7, 2015 at 12:05 PM PDT

Spring Quarter 2015 is in full swing and the sun is beaming down on us all. This means two things: we could be outside enjoying the sunshine, or we could be focusing on schoolwork. There are obvious pros and cons to both, and both are definitely important. In this blog entry I will explore the importance of the sun and the quest to find a balance between schoolwork and the beams from above.

            It turns out that humans can’t actually get all of the Vitamin D their bodies need from food alone. Fortunately, the sun is a great source of Vitamin D! In fact, scientists report that the type of Vitamin D we get from the sun is not found in food or supplement on earth. It is a unique strand of the nutrient that is important to our health and is only obtained from the sun’s ultraviolet B rays. However, we do not need to be in the sun for too long. It only takes about half the time of getting sunburn for us to get as much Vitamin D from the sun as we need. So, get some sun, but not too much!

            Sometimes it’s hard to go to class or go to the library when the sun is shining bright, which makes sense because the sun hasn’t been around much for the rest of the year. But schoolwork is important too! A lot of freshmen are just starting to take business classes, sophomores are starting to take 3000 level business classes, juniors are taking major electives and other major required classes, and seniors are taking capstone courses and putting the finishing touches on their degrees. Spring Quarter is important for any and all business students, so we must stay focused on school. It is important for us to remember the value of Spring Quarter classes because many of them play significant roles in our education. So go to class and the library and don’t forget to do your homework.

            Don’t forget you can do schoolwork while being in the sun! The hill outside of the library is a popular spot to do homework while soaking in some rays in the afternoon as well as the tables outside of the Pigott Pavilion. Take advantage! We all experience the temptation of being in good weather, especially those from places with warmer climates, but it is important for us all to remain focused on the real reason we are at Seattle U: to better ourselves through exception higher education. 

Fitz Jordan

The Importance of a College Education

Posted by Barbara Hauke on April 13, 2015 at 4:04 PM PDT

Here you are, sitting in class on a beautiful Spring day wishing you were outside enjoying the beautiful weather. You begin to ask the question: Is my college education really worth it?

The San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank (SFFRB) released its 2014 annual report in which economists answered the question of the opportunity cost involved in a four year college education and its net value. The easiest way to determine the economic benefit from a college degree is to look at the difference of average incomes between those with and without college degrees. According to the SFFRB, since 1968, the earnings premium from going to college averaged to about $20,300 per year*. This premium in earnings has been persistent over the past 40 years and shows a clear trend of significantly higher wages for those who pursue higher education. 

College Education = Insurance

Many students entering the job market shortly after the recession in the late 2000’s found themselves in an economy with high unemployment rates and very few promising career opportunities. However, the unemployment rates for college graduates were half as high as those for students who only completed high school. Pay cuts for college graduates were significantly less and had a much faster salary recovery rate than for high school graduates.  

Long-Term Investment

Just like a treasury bill, the greatest benefit from your college education will be realized in the long-run, not immediately. Coming out of college, it is daunting to have debt from student loans, interest payments that are accruing, and a sense of uncertainty as to where you will be 10 years from now. But the data tells a compelling story. With a college degree you will have a strong foundation to build on, leading to higher average earnings, and will make you a more valuable asset in the job market. These effects will not be immediate, which can be discouraging, but remember that employers are looking for more workers with established skills and credentials to lead the industry. 

So… Why stay in class?

Even though it may be sunny outside (but really most days it’s not #Seattle) and you can think of a million other things to do than being in class, remember to think about the future and the net benefit of your dedication to a college education. As students at Seattle University, we have the opportunity to apply the lessons that we learned from class and our other extracurricular activities to create a foundation for our future.

If you want to see what the Net Present Value of your college education is, check out the SFFRB’s College Education Calculator here:

Sergiu Ispas
Junior | Business Economics and Finance
New Student Mentor

*Morrill, Weston H. "Does College Matter?" PsycCRITIQUES 14.6 (1969): n. pag. Web.

It's Never Too Early To Start Thinking About Internships!

Posted by Kerstin Abbey Fajardo on March 12, 2015 at 4:03 PM PDT
When I was freshman I thought, “I am definitely going to start looking at internships early and taking every opportunity that I can!”

Fast-forward to today, I unfortunately did not start as early as I would have liked. As of right now I have one internship, two jobs, and three officer positions on my resume since my college career started. It’s not necessarily bad, but looking back, I wish I was more proactive in pursuing more internship opportunities. Although interviews are usually nerve-wracking, I think if I applied to more internships, I would have gotten more interview experience and would be less nervous about them.

If I could give freshman Abbey advice, I would start off with these four tips:

1. Start looking early. Not many companies offer internships for freshmen, but it doesn’t hurt to apply or inquire. The worst they can say is no, and even if they do you would still gain experience in creating a resume and cover letter. Head over to the Albers Placement Center for help on where to start looking and resume/cover letter reviews!

2. Internships are meant to not only give you experience in a field you may potentially want to be in, but they also help develop current skills you already have. Think about skills you may have developed from previous jobs, officer positions, or community service positions and use those in your resume.

3. If you’re worried about whether or not you will like the company, ask for an informational interview. Networking is something that will help you throughout your college career and the best time to start practicing is now! Attend the Freshmen Networking Event hosted by the NSM’s in Spring Quarter for a safe environment to practice your networking skills.

4. Nervous for the interviewing process? Look up some questions online to practice. A lot of questions nowadays are situational and require you to describe a time you handled something in a certain way.

Some examples are:

  • Describe a time where you had to demonstrate leadership skills.
  • Describe a time when you worked with someone you didn’t like or get along with.

There are also more general questions such as:

  • Why do you think you’re right for the job?
  • Why do you want to work for _____?

And lastly:

  • Do you have any questions?

Always. Always ask questions. You are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you! Ask questions to learn more about the company from a current employee's perspective.

Also, look out for any mock interviews that the Albers Placement Center may be hosting! If the company you’re interested in is attending, then great! If not, don’t be picking about signing up for one because it’s still great practice.

The bottom line is that even though it seems like you have so much time, you’ll be signing up for graduation and prepping for the real world before you know it. Time flies when you’re having fun right?

Good luck with your search, and remember – even if you happen to let time slip by without an internship, you have plenty of resources at Albers to help you out (:

Abbey Fajardo