What position do you hold at NSC? What has been your career path so far?
Derek: Hi Everyone! I am the CEO or Chief Everything Officer for Next Step China. Truth is, I never in my wildest dreams thought I would move to China, speak Chinese and start a business in China. After graduation, I worked for nearly 4 years at a hedge fund as a stock and bond analyst, and then in 2007, I decided to quit my job and do something completely different with my life. Friends and family suggested I should travel or get an MBA, but I decided learning Chinese and moving there for a bit was a better use of my savings and time. After a few months I was convinced that China was THE place to be and starting a business was the next step, hence the name: Next Step China. :)
Did YOU study abroad? If so, where did you go and what inspired you to go?!
Derek: I never studied abroad in college but actually was very lucky to have traveled since I was a kid, since my mom is from Spain or more specifically, the Tenerife, Canary Islands. So, after studying and working in Miami for over 25 years I was dying to get out and do something different or "crazy" and picked one of the furthest destinations from home!
What does the future hold for NSC - any new programs to share?
Derek: Next Step China is always working on improving and/or creating new products and services. We will actually be releasing a new website and products within the next 6 months so STAY TUNED!
What about the future of the industry? How do you think study abroad and international education will change over the next 10 years?
Derek: I think more and more people will be choosing to study abroad rather than study in their home country. I am talking about Americans deciding a different country to do their entire 4 year degree. With the costs of education rising in the USA and the quality stagnant I think a lot of parents and students will look at different alternatives and studying in China would definitely be at the top of the list.
Which study abroad destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?
Derek: Honestly, since I have only done one "study abroad" program I really don't know which is the most under/over rated. I truly think every country has its unique beauty and experiences that will impact that student for a lifetime. The act of going abroad is a huge step in personal growth and development regardless of destination.