Adjusting is not an easy thing to do. I came to the United States from Indonesia back in 2010, and I still remember how I avoided something basic like contacting Comcast cable to fix an Internet problem. I didn’t want to speak English.
But I fought through this, of course, finding the courage to seek friends from India, Taiwan, Japan, China, and other countries closer to my home. However, as I matured, I learned that to go beyond my comfort zone is the key to success. So I would like to share some tips with those of you who are considering Fuqua as their home for the next school year. Here are ways for international MMS students can make the most of their time on campus.
Practice your English
Practice may come in your daily conversation with friends, in a meeting with an English as a Second Language (ESL) specialist, or in networking events with MBA students or Fuqua alumni. Networking is a big word in business school. The more you practice your English, the better you’ll be at networking. As a multicultural school, Fuqua cultivates a welcoming environment for international students. Hence, people would actually love hearing about you and your culture. They will appreciate your effort to express yourself.
Try to be involved by working at Fuqua
As an international MMS student in the U.S. on an F-1 visa, typically you can work on campus but not off. You might be interested in applying for an MMS blogger or student ambassador position. These will be good opportunities for you to practice your writing and verbal communication skills. If you’re hired and don’t have a social security number, Fuqua will help facilitate the process of getting one.
Broaden your experiences through internships
Internships help by giving you an example of how a certain company in an industry works. You should apply to internships in locations you most likely would move to after graduation. For example, an internship in the U.S. will help you understand the work culture and expectations for employees. Future employers will see you as a potential candidate who has experience in the country. For international students who graduated from a U.S. university, consider an internship here before entering Fuqua in July. There are also winter internship opportunities (Winternships) facilitated by Fuqua for those who are interested.
Consider start-ups and overseas opportunities for your future employment
While a lot of students are looking for consulting jobs, there are also openings in start-up companies. International MMS students can also look for opportunities in Hong Kong, China, Thailand, and other places.
Appreciate the time you have
Try to enjoy your one year in North Carolina as best as you can. Personally, I’m also glad that I traveled to different states during my time here. Beyond that, I’m glad I had the time to learn about people from different backgrounds. For me, it’s important to learn how others are; may it be students from a rival school (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Harvard, and The Ohio State University—because I graduated from The University of Michigan), or people with different religious beliefs (Muslims, Christians, Catholics), or even friends with different educational backgrounds (different types of high schools, bachelor’s or master’s degrees). It is important to explore other perspectives while still knowing what you believe and what your values are.
I made the right decision going to The Fuqua School of Business and I hope you do to. I learned a lot about communications, professionalism, and maintaining business relationships. It is what I needed to complement my technical skills from civil engineering. That was also a right decision I made. Civil engineering is the completion of my passion for buildings, structures, laws of physics, and project management.
In the end, I’m proud to have come to the United States and lived for five years. It has been a wonderful journey for me. I hope one day, I’ll bring different cultures together at my work place to celebrate diversity and human awesomeness.