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Swan Dang, MSF ‘18
Swan Dang, MSF ‘18

Swan Dang arrived in the Portland area in 2013, a long way from her hometown of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She attended Pacific University in Forest Grove, and received her undergraduate degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting and Finance. She fell in love with Oregon and applied to one of the best Master of Science in Finance programs in the US: Portland State University’s School of Business. 

It’s a great fit -- both from a career and cultural perspective. 

“PSU has great diversity. I have many friends who come from different backgrounds and countries. It is a very inclusive environment,” says Swan. 
During her undergraduate education, she undertook two accounting internships, one with PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Vietnam, and one with a local CPA firm, Schwindt & Co, during the 2017 tax season. She is now working hard to receive the much-coveted Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. 

Why did you decide to pursue your MSF and change careers? 
I want to gain a more in-depth knowledge in finance and my undergraduate degree did not give me enough skills and exposure to network in the field. 

What was your previous experience in the Finance industry? 
I have a lot of theoretical knowledge in finance, as one of my goals is to achieve the CFA designation. I am currently a Level II CFA Candidate. I do not have much industry experience as I am fresh out of receiving my undergraduate degree. I also participated in the CFA Competition in 2017, representing Pacific University. 

What has helped you achieve success in the program so far? 
The faculty. My professors have a lot of industry experience and are always willing to put some time aside to talk with me. 

How do you like living, working, and studying in Portland?
I really like the Pacific Northwest, specifically Portland. Living, working, and studying downtown is very fast-paced, exciting, and convenient. The city’s infrastructure and public transportation makes it very easy to travel around. I have everything I need within a 15-block radius. 

What is your current position and how long have you worked there?
I am currently a graduate assistant (GA). I have been a GA since August 2017.

What do you do there? 
I assist the PSU School of Business faculty with their research and classroom administrative tasks.    

What role did the MSF play in helping you obtain this position, if applicable?
The analytic skills of the MSF definitely define how I approach an issue or a task in my work. I am more methodological and detail oriented, which is a very helpful in researching tasks. 

What are your future career goals?
I want to work in corporate finance where I will help a company obtain capital and budget to maximize its profits. 

How would you describe your CFA experience? 
It has been a lot of fun. Challenging but very exciting. It is a serious commitment but I learned a lot from the materials. CFA Society also provides me with multiple opportunities to expose myself to real-life experience and connect with professionals in the finance industry. 

How has The School of Business impacted your experience as an international student and a CFA candidate? 
The School of Business has positively impact my experiences. The school has a partnership with the CFA Society in Portland, which allows me more exposure. The School of Business also gave me a lot of advice when it came to apply for jobs as an international student.