Name: Bruce Veldhuisen
Degree info: MBA ‘94
Business Name: TEFL International
1. What brought you to PSU for your MBA?
Well, to be completely honest I was simply living in PDX and it was convenient. I only learned later how respected the program was. So just dumb luck!
2. What lead you to begin the organization TEFL International?
I was born and raised in Woodburn, Oregon and for my entire life I had never left the US. In fact, since my father was a dairy farmer, I had barely left the Willamette Valley! But when I was 19 years old I was lucky enough to live in Hong Kong for 2 years. That opportunity changed my life and my world view forever. With TEFL International I want to give everyone the opportunity to travel and live in a foreign country. To make friends, attend weddings, eat, play, explore and just experience something different. It will change their lives.
3. What business aspects were surprises (good and challenging) to you after founding TEFL International?
Well going from one location to over 30 in just over a decade and managing them all from a small town in Thailand has been an interesting opportunity. In any business you make mistakes and learn from them. I certainly have.
4. Any suggestions for others beginning the quest of beginning their own business?
First, never let anyone tell you that it can't be done. Next, learn from your mistakes (because you will make plenty of them) admit them and move on.
5. Do you have any future plans for TELF International that you can share with us? Do you plan on expand the organization?
I do not plan to expand to more than 40 locations—that should be about enough. But I do hope to greatly expand our Study Abroad and Volunteer programs. I have reently become very involved in an amazing program called Design for Change (www.designforchangecontest.com) that inspires kids to think of and run community development projects. I hope to find people to come to Thailand, Nepal and Vietnam and help us.
6. Favorite place to travel?
Thats a really tough one. I have been to over 40 countries and everywhere has a unique charm. Since I have lived overseas for over 20 years now I would have to say Oregon! Its still home but I do not get there as often as I would like. Obviously I also love Thailand—I have been here for 14 years now. Other than these a top 5 would be: