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by Jermel Quillopo, staff writer


HPU Career Services Center invited two alums—Matthew Lee and Mikael Lindvall—and a student entrepreneur, Rachel Vinson, to tell students at HPU’s downtown campus about how their experiences in and after college helped them become successful in their careers. About 20 students gathered in the FH third-floor conference room for the event.

Matthew Lee

A 2004 graduate of HPU’s BSBA-finance program, Lee explained to students how important it is to do internships. Lee told students that interning at organizations such as American Express and Merrill Lynch gave him practical insight into the financial business and reassured him that finance was what he wanted to do.

A financial consultant for Mass Mutual today, Lee admitted that his job consists of regular work hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but that he loves his job because he gets to help people make important financial decisions.

“ It feels great helping people and building relationships with people, not for just one time, but for one life,” Lee said.

Lee’s advice to students was to make a great first impression, know your résumé front and back, network, and find ways to self-market. He also cautioned that it’s important to balance work and life, and added that when he got back into playing soccer, he became more visible to the public, so playing soccer helped him build his network.

“ Business is built on the relationships you make,” said Lee. “You have to have passion about what you do because it won’t be an easy road,” he added.

Mikael Lindvall

Originally from Sweden, Mikael Lindvall came to Hawai‘i barely speaking English, with nothing but a suitcase and the address to his hotel. While many people come to Hawai‘i for vacation, he graduated this spring with a B.A. in Travel Industry Management.

Lindvall, who has completed internships in Sweden and at the Kahala Mandarin resort, admits that he was never a good student but that he knew the things he learned in school were useful.

“ Don’t read because you have to, read because you will use it in real life,” said Lindvall.

Currently a management trainee at JW Ihilani Resort and Spa, Lindvall credits HPU for opening career opportunities for him. But the school can’t do it alone, Lindvall told students. No matter what field they choose, students should push the boundaries of their comfort zone. Remember, he said, “The greater the challenge you get through, the greater the accomplishment.”

Rachael Vinson

Rachael Vinson, currently an international business student at HPU, is also currently running her own business as a mortgage loan consultant. Vinson interned at American Savings Bank where she noticed that there was a need for mortgage loan processors. She researched the type of service she could market, developed a budget, sought an attorney and CPA for advice, and checked the laws for opening a business in Hawai‘i, then finally started her business.

In the beginning of her adventure as an entrepreneur, Vinson recounted, her kitchen counter was the center of her office, but as word of her service spread through her “word of mouth” marketing strategy, her business grew.

Vinson said that starting her business has helped her gain self-confidence and has helped her build tough skin and overcome her fears.

“ If you have a business idea, try it,” Vinson said. “As long as you learn something from that, you’ve succeeded.”

She left the students with a quote from Robery Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad: “Those who avoid failure avoid success.”

“The advice was very useful,” said MBA student Olivia Lin.

Kenta Fujii agreed that the session was great and said he hoped to put what he learned into action.
“ It was very informative. I want to join some clubs and organization while trying the advice that the speakers gave,” Fujii said.




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