alexander potter '03
Major: Asian Studies, Biology
Career field: Independent consultant
Job title: MBA student
Employer: Carlson School of Mgmt (via the World Bank)
In two to three sentences, please describe what your current position entails.
Prior to coming back to grad school I lived and worked in Beijing, China. I worked primarily as a consultant for various World Bank-sponsored projects, where I interviewed Chinese officials, gathered information from various sources, compiled information on clean energy finance, and ultimately, edited and translated reports (for submission to the World Bank and/or the Chinese government).
What has been your career path to date?
After graduation, I used a Fulbright Grant to conduct research on clean energy policy in China. I met my future employers while doing the Fulbright research.
Which country(ies) has your work taken you to?
How did your interest in working internationally develop?
I developed an interest in living and working in China while studying abroad during my junior year at St. Olaf.
Which parts of your St. Olaf education best prepared you to work internationally?
The language study. I hit the ground running when I arrived in China after graduation. It took a lot of hard work, but my Chinese level was good enough to conduct basic research (in Chinese, in China) by the time I graduated.
What is the most difficult or challenging aspect about working internationally?
Differences in convention. For instance, something that might be considered improper (or even immoral) in the U.S. might be common practice elsewhere.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of working internationally?
Interacting with, and slowly gaining an understanding of, the Chinese people.
What does being a “global citizen” mean to you?
To me, being a global citizen means knowing how to behave within and respect other peoples' cultures.
What advice would you offer current students interested in working internationally?
STUDY THE LANGUAGE. And by this I mean SPEAK the language; don't just memorize words to boost your vocabulary. Listen to how native speakers speak, and then try to imitate them.