Alumni Spotlight: Louis Grayson

What originally inspired you to intern in Shanghai with Next Step Connections?

Louis: Well, it was an absolute fluke that I ended up with Next Step Connections (NSC). I originally applied through my school who worked with another school. They found NSC. I really didn't know what I wanted to do after I graduated and I had no plans for the summer. My family and friends were always pushing for me to study abroad or do something internationally, what with my mixed culture background. I knew China in general was the place to be for business; all the hype I have heard over the years was true. I wanted to see this in relation to my studies in international business as well as for myself. I had no idea what to expect before I left. All I knew was that Shanghai was one of the best economically growing cities. NSC was one of the best programs I have been with for service in this field. They were very helpful. Rather than treat me like a business, they would treat me and everyone else who were interning with them, like a family member or friend.

Next Step Connections Interns

Describe your day to day activities as an intern in Shanghai.

Louis: I interned at a company called ET2C international. They were a sourcing, marketing and trading company. My role was a marketing and sales intern. I had a product that the company gave me to sell. I would also have to come up with presentations and get as many clients and contacts to get people interested in what I did. This was my job; I had a lot of hands on experience and even got to go out of Shanghai to represent my company. I would work 9-6 every Monday - Thursday. On Friday, I would go to Mandarin class to practice my Chinese. I would take the metro anywhere I wanted to go. Since I worked during rush hour, it was definitely a big experience. Every day, as I went to work and came home, the metro would be absolutely packed. You would have to wait in line to get on the train and you were shoulder to shoulder with people. That was definitely an experience.

I would try to eat out with people I had met through the internship for dinner after work, to try the different types of amazing food in Shanghai. On my weekends, which would start on Thursday night usually, I would go out with friends to experience Shanghai's night life. The night life in Shanghai is, hands down, one of the best I've experienced yet. It was not only great fun, but you also got the opportunity to meet other interns and other people who you could relate to and eventually become friends with.

How has this experience impacted your future personally, professionally, and academically?

Louis: This experience will always be with me for life and it is something I am really glad I had a chance to do. I would recommend it to everyone. Personally, this experience has made me into a more open minded and out going person. It has taught me how to interact with people from different cultures and has taught me to how to mature personally and mentally. Professionally, I have learned different skills that I feel will be of great attribute to me in the near future. This experience was not only beneficial to me for my resume, but it has also opened me more to an idea of what I want to do after graduation. Academically, after interning at a corporate business, I can now relate what I did in my internship to what I do in class.