Accessibility Tools (CTRL+U)
Hide the tools

After hiding the tool, if you would like to re-enable it, just press CTRL+U to open this window. Or, move your cursor near the tool to display it.

Brian Sung ’24 talks business, econ majors, Oxford adventure, and his unique PLU journey as a first-gen Chinese immigrant

Posted by:
Student looks into the camera wearing a dark blue shirt and leans on a stair rail.
March 21, 2024
By By Fulton Bryant-Anderson ’23
PLU Marketing & Communications Guest Writer

Meet Brian Sung, a business major from the class of ’24 at PLU. When he’s not taking international honors courses or diving deep into his double majors in business and economics, he’s all about data science and statistics through his double minors. Outside of lectures and textbooks, Brian’s the go-to guy as the president of DECA Club, a reliable resident assistant, and he even found time to intern at Russell Investments. We sat down with this busy senior to learn more about his PLU academic journey.

What sets PLU apart from other universities?

I think PLU is unique because the professors really care about you. I thought I was this weird Chinese immigrant coming here from Oregon, but I found a great, flourishing Asian community here that I can call my friends. It is a place that makes me feel like I can be me.

Who impacted you the most at PLU?

Dr. Sailu Lulu Li has been my biggest mentor. She is also from China. Dr. Lulu jump-started my finance career and walked me through how to navigate America as a first-generation Chinese immigrant, especially in the field of finance.

You started as a business major with a concentration in accounting but switched to a concentration in finance. What prompted that switch?

Accounting just wasn’t for me. I am not a human calculator. When I took my first finance class, the professor told me I should do finance. I took a couple more advanced finance classes and went, “I want to do finance.”

When did you add the double major in economics?

I was taking economics courses for my business degree, and Dr. Priscilla St. Clair—huge shoutout to her—pushed me to think about how humans make choices. I thought that intersected with business, and I enjoyed looking at the intersectionality between data and people.

How do your data science and statistics minors come into play?

I have to thank Dr. N. Justice for this. Data science and statistics are the tools that really help me uncover the most accurate truth about what numbers tell us.

How did being an International Honors (IHON) student serve your majors?

I used to think, “Wow, I’m a double major in finance and economics. What can I say about Popol Vuh or Gilgamesh or the Bible?” These concepts speak about the human condition. It helped me break through academic walls in finance and economics that I could not have without IHON.

What was your study away experience like at Oxford?

I think it was the best J-term ever. Admittedly, I spent an average of 10 hours a day in one of the Oxford libraries. My tutor pushed me to understand complex social injustices in our world.

Looking back, what does the trip mean to you now?

All the knowledge I learned and reapplied makes me feel like a more global citizen. I went in not knowing anyone on the trip. The friends I left with, I still talk with and hang out with on a regular basis.

Tell me about your recent internship at Russell Investments. 

My job involved making data accessible. I used my skills to code user-friendly applications that allow people to access sales data and understand financial concepts. I made a lot of friends and connections that I didn’t have walking into Russell.

How did PLU prepare you for the internship?

My classes and the mentorship from my professors pushed me and helped me ace my interview. In the past, I felt like an imposter, but I remembered my classes—especially economics—and how my professors taught me that if I can survive complex economic concepts, I can survive a complex project. I’m forever thankful for them giving me a bar to strive for.

Do you have any plans for after commencement?

There are several opportunities I am entertaining for post-commencement. However, first and foremost, I will take a short break and solo travel somewhere sunny with good food. A recharge is needed before I pursue my next goals in life.