What position do you hold at My China Opportunity? What has been your career path so far?
Miranda: At My China Opportunity (MCO), I'm the Director of International Recruitment and Co-Founder. I've been working at MCO since the office in Beijing opened in 2011.
During my time at MCO, I've shaped how the organization runs, influenced our program's culture, and developed many of the relationships with the host companies that we work with today. All around, you can say that I've successfully transformed MCO from a young start-up to a full fledged boutique internship program.
What does the future hold for My China Opportunity - any exciting new programs to share?
Miranda: In China, we have noticed that there has been demand for interns in creative based sectors or positions. Instead of conforming to a generic internship placement program, we have decided to develop MCO in a non-traditional way. Going niche, we decided to open the Creative Based Internship Program. When we say creative based, we don't just mean design, but more in the aspect of people who can “think outside the box” and truly be utilized in the position that they are placed in.
We have found that when interns gain a better internship experience and the host companies actually utilize interns for the skills, academic background and interests, we get better feedback from both parties. Outside from our internship placements, we have decided to include guest speaking events from industry specialists, design related activities, and a memorable camping experience on the wild part of the Great Wall.
What about the future of the industry? How do you think study abroad and international education will change over the next 10 years?
Miranda: There is no doubt that international education will only become more important in the 21st century. As globalization continues and countries become more intertwined, the importance of culture exchange will be a necessity for students. Already I'm seeing many top performing universities globally, encouraging or requiring students to go abroad before they graduate. This is because a changing economic climate is making it difficult for western students to remain competitive in the job market.
Many Fortune 500 companies are looking to hire new graduates that have some sort of international study abroad or internship experience outside their home country. As the world becomes more equal, competition becomes more fierce. That being said, international education will be ever more important as we move forward this century.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
Miranda: The best story that I've ever heard was from our intern, Ryan Huerter, from Western Washington University. He joined our program in the Summer of 2012. This was Ryan's first time out of North America and his first time in an Asian country. Before he arrived in China, he had pre-conceived ideas that China had lots of people riding bicycles and wearing communist suits.
When he landed, I picked him up at the airport and he couldn't believe how many Bentleys, Mercedes and BMWs there were on the road.
He also couldn't believe how modern Beijing looked as we drove from the airport to his new apartment. After Ryan returned home, he was extremely happy with his decision to come to Beijing for an internship.
He had told us that he learned so much about himself and what he liked doing for work. Now, Ryan works at a Fortune 500 company and manages the Boeing account for his company. He travels frequently to Asia for work and still keeps in touch with My China Opportunity.