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Meet Ben DeRemer, Full-Time MBA Candidate
Meet Ben DeRemer, Full-Time MBA Candidate

Hometown: Gresham, Oregon

Undergraduate Degree: Portland State Bachelor of Science in Psychology (Industrial/Organizational focused), with a Minor in Business Administration

Professional Experience:

  • Kennel Attendant/Veterinary Assistant/Receptionist/Bookkeeper at Peninsula Dog & Cat Clinic and Paws and Claws Pet Medical Center
  • Region Venturing Vice Chairman of Operations, Western Region Boy Scouts of America
  • Executive Director, The Optimist Club of Gresham Youth Fund 501(c)(3)
  • Program Manager/Coach, Top Flyte Gymnastics & Fitness Center

What is your favorite thing about being born and raised in the Portland area?

I’m not so much of a downtown city person as much as I am a suburb and outdoorsy kind of guy. I do love the waterfront and the parks in Portland, but I much prefer taking in the scenery of the outdoors and nature of the outlying areas.

Why did you choose to pursue an MBA?

I like business because it is an ever-changing environment. I’ve done a great deal of work in the non-profit sector, primarily working with the Boy Scouts of America, Optimist International, and the local school districts. I have worked at my father’s two veterinary practices off and on for the last 15 years, starting out working as a kennel attendant when I was just a kid, and then ranging from bookkeeping, invoices, payroll, scheduling, office management, and even filling in as a veterinary assistant at times.

Within the MBA program at Portland State, everyone is either a career changer or career enhancer; I’d like to consider myself as someone in between. Currently, much of my interest is in business/operations management, Human Resources work, and project management. When I work with the Boy Scouts, people think it’s mostly working with youth at the local level, but it’s much more than that. I get to work in the backend of things, ranging from logistics and operations of programs, to investments, sales, and long range planning of properties, to coordinating, re-designing, and spear-heading large committees; so I’m looking to be more adaptable in a large array of areas and expertise.

I’m interested in the sustainability and leadership focus that the Portland State MBA program offers, as well as learning about some of the other concentrations that PSU has to offer. I’m also concurrently pursuing a second master’s program at the same time in Industrial and Organizational Psychology along with my MBA, hoping that it gives me more of a competitive edge above other MBAs.

Why did you choose PSU for your MBA?

I chose PSU because of the proximity to where I live and because I am an alumnus, but there is more to it than just that alone. The MBA program at Portland State has led the way for many programs across the country in its focus on study abroad programs, which is one of the required components of the programs that drew me towards PSU for an MBA. I love to travel and learn about the cultures and customs of other countries, and through the MBA program at Portland State I am hoping to participate in at least two of the international experiences, maybe more.

What are your career goals?

I want to refine and develop my skills that can be used and applied towards most industries, such as project management. An ideal job for me would be to work in operations management to focus on improving efficiency and motivation in the workplace in any industry. I have a preference in healthcare as many individuals in my family are doctors or nurses, including my mother as a retired RN and my father as a veterinarian.

What are your aspirations for the MBA?

I would like to better understand and be more involved in finances and strategic planning. I’ve always liked numbers and accounting, and I think the more you understand the finances, the better off your business will be. Rather than relying on outside sources to interpret figures and trends for your company, if you are able to grasp the understanding behind the trends yourself, you will be more likely to accomplish the goals for your company and navigate a path towards its success.

What is something others might be surprised to know about you?

Outside of being an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts and a Quartermaster in Sea Scouts, I use to be internationally competitive in gymnastics. Travelling around the country and competing in the Junior Olympic Nationals eventually began to take a toll on my body and it started to fight back, unfortunately leading me to retire from competitions early due to injuries.

However, when that door closed another one opened which allowed me to dedicate and focus more time with volunteering in the non-profit sector with youth. I am also highly involved and engaged in my local community, working with several non-profits and scholarship programs, the Police Activities League, and the local school district.

I dedicate a great deal of time volunteering at Gresham High School with the Social Studies department with Michael Lindblad who is the 2015 Oregon State Teacher of the Year and will also be the 2016 Oregon Department of Education Teacher of the Year. Over the past year I have had the opportunity to travel with Mr. Lindblad to conferences all across the country, including Washington D.C., learning about new initiatives and programs, spreading the awareness of equity in the school system, and ensuring the school programs remain on track.