Student Union Building
875 Perimeter Drive MS 4264
Moscow, ID 83844-4264
1031 N. Academic Way,
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
Ze “Michael” Zhao had the world at his fingertips after he graduated from high school, but it was the University of Idaho and the Integrated Business Curriculum that made his choice easy.
“I really liked the broad range of all the business classes combined together, you really learn how a business is run in the IBC,” says Zhao. “It’s been a great program for me, but it’s also been pretty challenging.”
Zhao, an information systems and productions and operations management double major, was born in China and moved to Israel when he was six years old while his father pursued a doctorate. After five years, the family moved to France for a year before settling in Moscow.
While he was drawn to the College of Business and Economics, he also has enjoyed the core classes that have expanded his knowledge in the liberal arts.
“I loved taking so many different classes, and not just business classes,” says Zhao. “I really enjoy learning more than one subject all day long. The variety inspires me to want to learn more.”
In his degree program, Zhao has especially enjoyed working as a project leader with the Sustainability Center to improve the campus surplus operations for a business class. As a Graue Scholar, where students in CBE make up a majority of the Dean’s Student Advisory Board, he has found ample opportunity for volunteer activities, including the Moscow Food Bank, and to improve communication between the students and faculty. The board is currently drafting an ethics code for the college.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to offer student perspectives to the faculty,” says Zhao, who is also in the Honors Program.* “It makes the college a better learning environment.”
Scott Metlen, associate professor of operations management, says Zhao is an exceptional performer in a tough curriculum, and he not only works well with his classmates and industry sponsors, but he provides valuable input. He adds Zhao has a positive, can do attitude and the perseverance and skills to complete his tasks, which will serve him well in the future.
“Ze is fun to be around; he has a nice sense of humor, especially in statistics when we start talking about the Z score (indicates how many standard deviations an observation or datum is above or below the mean),” says Metlen, who mentors Zhao. “His insights are great; he will make a great systems analyst from any perspective: financial, process, human resource.”
Zhao acknowledges that a world view – his own, other international students and guest speakers who come into the college – are an important tool for university students to use as the global world of business grows tighter. He says that an international perspective can help give job seekers an extra boost when applying for jobs.
Utilizing his world view, Zhao is active in helping out with International Programs Office activities and helps international students make the transition to Moscow easier.
“I can’t exactly relate, but coming from another country, and culture, I can understand some of the process,” says Zhao. “I try to help out in any way I can.”
Zhao is thinking about his next step. While he is sending out his resume for jobs and internships, he is also applying to graduate schools. Though he is a Chinese citizen, Zhao is also hoping to gain his U.S. citizenship.
“I really want to take my studies even further,” says Zhao, who spent a majority of his winter break in the library studying for the GMAT. “Both my parents have advanced degrees, and I’d like to continue that family tradition.”
* The University Honors Program, which also supported Michael's education with a honors scholarship. He was an active member of the program while at the University of Idaho, achieving the prestigious University Honors Program Certificate.