If last year you told me I was going to South America… I would not Bolivia!!

Before you judge me too harshly on my terrible pun game let me introduce myself!

I was born and raised in Southern California. I lived in downtown Los Angeles- Koreatown to be exact- for 5 years and then moved to suburban Fullerton where my family and I stayed for most of my life.

I am a second generation U.S.A. citizen, both my parents immigrated to California from South Korea. They lived in New Zealand and Australia for a bit before coming here and I always joke about how cooler my life would’ve been if they decided to settle down in either of those countries instead.

Growing up, my life was a blend of Korean and American culture. Sometimes they got along well but most often they did not. The beliefs and values of my parents often embarrassingly clashed with my friends and their parents. When I was younger I resented them for sticking with their native culture and speaking in their native language in public.

Fortunately I grew out of my embarrassment. In fact I attribute my blended life to my global competency and my global interest. I learned to accept foreign customs, appreciate everyone’s history, and have an open mind to different beliefs. With these traits I was able to travel to Canada, China, Japan and even my motherland South Korea- see featured picture- with much pleasure. I’m not content, though. I desperately want to travel as much as I possibly can and learn about as many cultures as possible (I would say languages too but as a person currently in the process of becoming trilingual- I can speak English and Korean fluently and I’m trying to learn Spanish- learning a language is hard work!). Traveling to at least one country per continent is at the top of my bucket list. In fact, I hope to one day to work as an ex-patriot.

Speaking of- let me introduce myself academically and professionally as well.

I am a student at the College of Business Administration double majoring in supply chain and marketing with a certificate in international business.

So why business? This leads the discussion of my high school involvement. I knew I had a slight interest in business so I decided to join FBLA- Future Business Leaders of America to expose myself more to the study of business. I loved what the club brought to my life: friends I still talk to to this day, and eye-opening knowledge and information about business. However, I hated how the club was executed. I wanted hands-on experience with business: what does an average day for a marketer look like? What’s the difference between finance and accounting? FBLA was mostly dull test taking, award ceremonies, and unhelpful conferences. I started to limit the time I gave to that club and thought my experience with business was over.

Then, in my junior year, my high school offered its first ever accounting class and I got to enroll in it!

But then I ended up disliking it. Extremely.

At the end of my junior year (after completely my horrid accounting classes) I was given the unique opportunity to intern at an actual business. I began interning at Emerson Rosemount Analytics in May 2015. I interned directly under the Senior VP of Human Resources. I am still to this day so thankful for this experience. So thankful that even though it was three years ago, I still have it on  my resume.

Because I worked in Human Resources, I was also able to dip my toe into the various other departments of Emerson Rosemount Analytics. I spent a day in marketing, information technology, customer service, and even in the research and development lab! Although I ended up not liking human resources and ended up not having too much knowledge of how much I liked or disliked the other departments, I got to experience what being an actual businesswoman was like for three whole months(I was even required to dress business casual!).


If I had a market swipe for every time someone asked me “You’re from California?! Why Pitt?” I would be able to swipe into market for the rest of my life(anyone need me to swipe them in?).

I was close to my high school counselor and told her about how I really wanted to study out of state. It was my first chance to choose where I live and I wanted to go far! I expressed to her my concern for not knowing the eastern colleges too well. That’s when she introduced me to a website that surveyed me on criteria I wanted in a school and then responded with a list of schools that fit my criteria.

Move in day was my first time at the University of Pittsburgh. A bold, naive, and even stupid move but a move I never regretted. I fell in love with the city and campus instantly.

A number of different factors led me to declare my supply chain and marketing majors: the Managing Complex Environments class, my big from Delta Sigma Pi, and the fact that I like psychology.

In regards to supply chain I am interested in project management and working with others to solve a problem. The Managing Complex Environments class initially piqued my interest but then after talking with my big who is also a supply chain major, I was hooked.

In regards to marketing I am interested in marketing research and mass psychology. I love how much effort goes into one ad or product based on its market segment. I always knew I liked psychology and again the MCE class also helped me confirm that I wanted to use this psychology interest in business.

Outside of class I am currently president of Society for International Business. Fun fact: my vice president of SIB @etalvola is also coming with me to Bolivia! Last semester I was Vice President of Community Service for Delta Sigma Pi, the organization that introduced me to this project.


Therefore, deciding to take part in this Service Learning project came as an easy decision for me since it blends all my interests. Although I have no experience with consulting and I find this course quite challenging, I am already learning so much and I am so excited to be traveling to Bolivia this spring break.

Our client is CEOLI, a Bolivian based non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational and physical care for children who are mentally or physically handicapped. As of right now, their main source of revenue is from selling cards hand made by the kids and adults of CEOLI. As of late they have met difficulties selling the cards and keeping their organization afloat. This is where we come in. Through this project we hope to generate a steady stream of revenue and develop a business plan for CEOLI.

This course has already given me so much to think about and learn. I learned about the meaning of “service learning” and the grave importance behind it, I learned about keeping the stakeholders desires in mind while consulting, I learned how useful a scope of work is, and I learned about Bolivian culture! Throughout the next few months I hope to hone my marketing skills, my teamwork skills, and my cultural etiquette. I hope to not only better myself, but to better the lives of others as well, given this unique opportunity.


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