May 11, 2015Vol. 45, Issue 5

Finding ‘Family’ in Chico

Min Yeo moved across the globe to fulfill a lifelong dream

Business information systems major Min Yeo graduates this week as summa cum laude. In July, she will go to work for the global consulting firm, Deloitte.

For most people, a solo move across the globe at age 20 sounds like an intimidating proposition. But Korean international student Kyungmin “Min” Yeo has done it with all the grace and ease in the world.

Yeo, who graduates this week with a degree in business information systems and a minor in accounting, always dreamed of living and studying in another country. Encouraged by her parents, who still live in her hometown of Seong-ju, South Korea, she came to Chico State in 2011 through the American Language and Culture Institute (ALCI).

“There were a lot of people from all over the place trying to learn English,” she says. “It was a good experience for me.”

To help herself transition, she interned at Chico’s 1078 Gallery and later volunteered with Community Action Volunteers in Education and the ’Cats in the Community Day of Service.

She has also served as the SAP club treasurer since 2012 (“I’m mainly ordering the pizzas for the meetings,” she jokes); tutors students in JavaScript through the Department of Business Information Systems (BIS); and is a member of the BIS Society.

Yeo is an academic rock star: she’s graduating with a 3.9 GPA as a summa cum laude. But she’ll be the first to tell you there was a learning curve. The collaborative environment she found in most of her business classes was new, and, in the beginning, she was too nervous to form clear sentences during discussions.

“In Korea, we used to just listen to the lectures from professors and take notes,” she explains. “Here, I’ve learned to interact what I have in my mind with other people’s ideas. I still remember after that first class I talked to my professor and said, ‘Please help me to survive!’ It was a new way to study and be in class.”

Yeo tutors business information systems student Mohammed Khan in JavaScript in the Business Student Success Center April 10.

Yeo tutors business information systems student Mohammed Khan in JavaScript in the Business Student Success Center April 10.

She took then-professor Nancy Jones’ advice to prepare talking points prior to class and found success with that strategy. This kind of out-of-classroom attention from faculty has been central to her journey. “All the faculty members, they really support us,” she says. “What I think is different about Chico State is they care about each of us instead of thinking of us as just one. Here, it’s a direct opportunity [to interact].”

Besides adopting the English language, she’s become fluent in the basics of SAP software, earning an entry-level certification from the global technology company in December. (In 1996, Chico State was the first to join SAP’s University Alliance Program and now operates one of six SAP University Competence Centers worldwide.) It is likely that tenacity which attracted the consulting giant Deloitte to recruit her for a technology analyst position in its Los Angeles offices. She begins her new position in July.

The job wasn’t always a certainty. In fact, she talked to many interested employers at Chico State career fairs who were hesitant to hire an international student because of new laws requiring employers to pay for work visas.

Luckily for Yeo, two of Deloitte’s three recruiters were Chico State alums. “They really wanted people from Chico State because we’re an SAP center.” She was offered the job in November. “I saved the voicemail from them,” she laughs. 

Since landing the position with Deloitte, Yeo has been to LA a few times to work out the logistics of moving there. She’s looking to stay near an airport as her job will require her to travel to clients four days per week.

While she’s sad to leave Chico, Yeo says the relationships she formed early on proved to be her lifeline for earning her degree and launching her career.

“The people from ALCI and the gallery and my classmates…now, they are my family in Chico. I don’t think I could be here without them.

“I’m glad that now I have people, lifelong friends that I have made throughout living in Chico. And I’m glad that I chose Chico. If I had chosen a big city, it might have been harder.”

—Sarah Langford, Public Affairs and Publications
Video link

What Would You Tell Your Freshman Self?

In this video, seniors share their touching—and funny—reflections on their college careers. Watch the video.


125th Commencement

Four days of commencement ceremonies begin Thursday, May 14. Search #Chico2015 on social media for a live chronicle of events. See schedule.

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