Finding the right fit

With a grasp on five languages, one might expect to find Justin Chi in the role of an international diplomat or translator rather than a human resources professional at adidas. But those familiar with Chi know diverse exploration led to his current career. In fact, Chi has dabbled in everything from engineering and project management to photography for the Taipei Zoo.

As a Talent Partnering manager at adidas, Chi combines his love of process and project management with providing service to people. “The job challenges me to find or create the right technical solutions to human-centered problems,” Chi says. “My MBA background helps me speak the financial and technical business language as well as the language of product management and development.”

Chi’s journey at adidas officially began as an intern in 2017 while he was finishing his MBA. From there, he transitioned into a fulltime position and moved up the ranks.

Man of many interests

As part of his MBA experience, Chi spent one week in Chile and one in Argentina studying business development across various industry sectors. “It was fascinating and I learned so much,” says Chi. “I gained a lifetime of memories and knowledge.” 

South America wasn’t Chi’s first overseas encounter, as his parents traveled with him and his sister during his youth. While in third grade, Chi lived in Japan for six months, and then Taiwan for another six months near his mother’s family.

Chi’s love for problem solving led him to originally study environmental engineering as an undergraduate at Oregon State University, but work experience taught him that his future wasn’t in engineering after all.

Then his interests in photography and videography helped him land an internship at the Taipei Zoo through the Taiwan Tech-Trek program. Chi supplied local and international media with photographs and videos he shot at the zoo. A highlight of his time there was going behind the scenes to photograph the birth of a giraffe. “I can be hesitant about making big changes, but I push myself to take calculated risks and I thought this would be fun and interesting,” he says. “My biggest takeaway was that it helped me understand how people work in different cultures and different settings.”

When Chi decided to get an MBA, he made the move to Portland. “PSU was the obvious answer for me,” says Chi. “There’s the critical element of learning and development but PSU also champions community strength, and it was rewarding to be part of that community.”

Reflecting on the 50th anniversary of PSU’s MBA program, Chi is impressed. “Considering the program is only 50 years old, it’s really well-established and recognized,” says Chi. “It’s so cool to be a part of that, and it’s only getting bigger and better. “

Pictured above: Justin Chi and his Adidas co-worker Alexa Hone.