Southeast Missouri State University

International Graduate Student Succeeds at Southeast

College of Business / School of Polytechnic Studies

Kuan-Ju Chen was born in the small country of Taiwan but has seen much of the world. Chen spent the last two years in the United States and visited Finland and Russia as part of the MBA program.

Chen has been to more than a dozen countries, including Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, China, Italy, France, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Austria, Czech Republic and Vatican City and spent three weeks at Cambridge while in high school, but chose the United States for his study abroad experience so he could have more opportunities to meet international students and learn about their cultural differences. “Southeast has an internationally respected business program with AACSB accreditation and a quality learning environment,” Chen said.

His Southeast experience as president of the MBA Association contributed to his success in and out of the classroom. Chen enjoyed challenging the faculty and other students in academic trivia games. “It was interesting to see the faculty and students try to figure out the best strategy to compete against each other.” While president, he learned organizational and communication skills. “It was difficult to satisfy everyone because there always will be people who complain.” The most important thing he learned as a leader was to make decisions that were best for the majority.

At first, his most difficult challenge was language. As a result, he spent a lot of time studying. Fortunately, his teachers were patient and explained answers many times and always encouraged him.

One of his favorite things is to try restaurants in Cape Girardeau and learn their specialties. Chen said “I like to taste new kinds of foods and guess the recipes.” In addition, he travels with his family and friends and plays and watches sports such as baseball, basketball, volleyball, football and soccer. “I enjoy exercising and making friends at the student recreation center.” Chen said.

Chen’s undergraduate degree is in engineering, which means he had an extra year of study to get into the MBA program; however, he remembers something his mother said. “An easy way is not always the best way.”

His advice to future Southeast students is, “Don’t be afraid to take a chance when you have an opportunity because you can’t get what you want unless you try. It took a lot of courage for me to do something when I was afraid, but it was worth it.”

Chen loves numbers and mathematics and conducts research in the finance field. He plans to pursue a doctoral degree in finance after graduation, as well as travel to Africa and South America.