Join The City that Works: 5 things that define Portland

Portland skyline

Some people call Portland The City that Works. Others know it as the place where young people go to retire. In truth, Portland is both and more. Home to a robust business community, an exceptional food and drink scene, idyllic outdoor recreation and a culture that celebrates sustainability, Portland is a dynamic city of opportunity and leisure. Is it any surprise, then, why our specialized graduate programs attract students from around the globe?

5 things that define Portland

1. Business and career opportunities

Forbes ranks Portland as one of the three best US cities for business and careers, and it’s little wonder why. The city has had job growth for 10 consecutive years, and is home to multiple Fortune 1000 companies, including Nike, Columbia Sportswear, adidas North America and Intel.

Portland boasts one of the strongest athletic and outdoor apparel industries in the world and PSU graduate students can earn an Athletic & Outdoor Industry Certificate to help them with a career in this sector. Students looking for additional hands-on experience can take part in The Center for Retail Leadership, which allows them to create a pop-up store to see their vision in action.

Additionally, Portland has an innovative high tech scene with major offices for companies like Google, Oracle, ebay and Airbnb. PSU has a new Business Blockchain Graduate Certificate for students interested in gaining knowledge and experience in this burgeoning area.

Portland also has a prominent healthcare sector, which features three major systems: Providence Health & Services, Legacy Health and Oregon Health and Sciences University. PSU offers a Healthcare MBA for executives who want to hone their leadership skills, and develop a deeper understanding of the business side of healthcare.

Whether it’s athletics, tech, healthcare or some other sector, The School of Business offers students a variety of ways to get connected with companies, including impactful internships and CO-Ops, speaker series, tours and class visits, career events and other networking opportunities.

2. Unbeatable food and beverage scene

Students enjoying CoCo Donuts at the Karl Miller Center

One of Portland’s unofficial nicknames is Beervana, an ode to the city’s 75+ craft breweries. Can’t be bothered to visit one brewery at a time? Attend one of the city’s regular beer festivals, such as Zwickelmania, which lets visitors try beers from 120 vendors across Oregon. If beer isn’t your thing, (or you just need to practice self-restraint) Portland has a food scene to appeal to every palate. In fact, US News and World Report ranked Portland as one of the best food cities in the country. Brunch is particularly popular, so be prepared to wait in line. Food carts featuring traditional and fusion cuisine from around the world can be found throughout the city. And you’re just as likely to find your new favorite dish at one of the top-rated restaurants or one of hole-in-the-wall treasures in your neighborhood. For its part, the Karl Miller Center has strived to mirror Portland’s eclectic food tastes by including a donut cafe, a Bánh mì shop, and — you guessed it — a brew pub.

3. All you could ask for to get outdoors

Cyclists in Portland

Oregonians take pride in their state’s natural beauty, and there are no shortages of idyllic settings in and around Portland. Portland serves as a midpoint between Oregon’s stunning coastline to the west and iconic Mount Hood to the east. Can’t make it out of the city for an adventure? No worries. Niche recently named Portland as the top US city for outdoor activities. Portland has over 150 miles of trails, and Forest Park is one of the largest urban forests in the country. Prefer a more manicured form of nature? Portland has that, too. The Portland Japanese Garden is considered one of the most authentic of its kind outside Japan, and The International Rose Test Garden has 7,000 pristine rose bushes to see and smell.

4. Deep values for ecological sustainability

Portland has long been a pioneer in sustainability. It was named one of the most sustainable cities in the US by Sustainable Development Solutions Network, an organization that uses over 15 metrics developed by the United Nations to evaluate a city’s sustainability performance. The city is also home to a number of sustainability-minded nonprofits, including Ecotrust, Free Geek and Friends of Trees.

PSU has made a concerted effort to reflect Portland’s dedication to sustainability, and has been recognized by multiple organizations, including The Sierra Club, for its sustainable operations and academic programs. The Karl Miller Center, in particular, has earned LEED Platinum status, which is the highest designation that the US Green Business Council can bestow upon a building. Meanwhile, The Princeton Review named The Portland MBA as one of the nation’s best Green MBA programs for its commitment to training leaders who see business as a force for the greater good.

5. It’s a weird place

The show “Portlandia” might have exaggerated Portland’s idiosyncrasies, but the fact remains that Portland is an endearingly odd place. Did you know that it has the world’s smallest park? An adult soapbox derby? Unbridled enthusiasm for its airport’s carpet? These are just some of the things that Portlanders take pride in. Indeed, Portland is a city that celebrates creativity, innovation and the unconventional.

Want to learn more about The School of Business and living in Portland? Contact Graduate Business Programs at for information on how you can work and play in the Pacific Northwest.

MBA Candidate Nathaniel Goldberg

Nathaniel Goldberg is a PSU MBA candidate. Prior to entering the program, he served as a high school humanities teacher for six years. Nathaniel holds a BA in history and English from Emory University, and a master’s degree in education from Vanderbilt. Upon his graduation from The Portland MBA, Nathaniel hopes to become a consultant.

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