Hometown: Foxborough, MA
Major(s): Business Administration, East Asian Languages and Literature
Why did you apply for the Johnson Opportunity Grant? I was offered a great opportunity to apply my studies from W&L to an internship in Shanghai, China. The cost of travel and living in China was so high that I knew I would need support if I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. An internship abroad would also allow me to share my experiences with other W&L students who are interested in traveling to work in China or other prominent international economies.
How does your work under the grant apply to your studies at W&L? Working and living independently in China allowed for complete immersion into Chinese culture and communication. It also allowed me to gain a unique insight into the Chinese economy. This experience was invaluable to a Business and Chinese double major.
What was the most unexpected aspect of your grant experience? The degree to which working in a Chinese business environment was different from my experiences in the States. There are many concepts in Chinese business that don't have a direct translation in English, like "guanxi" and "mianzi." The ability to experience these concepts first hand and understand their significance was a distinctive and unexpected aspect of my internship.
Post-Graduation Plans: Only time will tell.
Favorite Class: Political Philosophy with Professor Velasquez; One of the hardest classes I've taken at W&L, but also the most rewarding.
Favorite Campus Landmark: Without a doubt it is the Colonnade
Every weekday that I interned in Shanghai started with the commute. I'd wake up early, get ready and then start the trek to work. I lived in an area called Xujiahui, and I commuted to the downtown district of Jing'an (famous for the Jing'an Temple). The subway ride was the most interesting part of the commute because foreigners on the subway were few and far between. Crammed into a tight subway car, it was a great opportunity to practice my language skills, and there were always a few commuters willing to converse. Around 9:00 a.m. I would arrive at my office on West Nanjing Road in one of Shanghai's many skyscrapers.
The first hour of work I sat in with a couple new full-time hires as they trained to become Chartered Financial Analysts. The rest of the day, the majority of my tasks revolved around two projects. The first was a presentation to the European Chamber of Commerce on alternative investments in China. The other project was a presentation for a seminar that would inform Chinese nationals about investment opportunities abroad. Between the two projects I was able to gain a unique insight into the Chinese business culture from collaboration with Chinese colleagues and expatriate colleagues who had dedicated their careers to working in China.
After work, I would take the subway back to my apartment to meet up with the other interns staying in my complex. Most nights we ventured into the downtown areas to experience the many tourist attractions that are famous in Shanghai, like the Pearl Tower, Xintiandi and The Bund. Every section of Shanghai has something unique to offer, whether it's a historical monument, a stunning view of the city skyline, or a particular region's cuisine. Shanghai is a stunning city at night, with every building and skyscraper lit up along the skyline.
The experience in Shanghai was unforgettable and I am grateful for the Johnson Opportunity grant that allowed me to travel to China for an internship. Not only will it greatly compliment my studies back at W&L, but also it has put me in a great position to pursue a career in international finance after graduation.