In 2013, College of William and Mary graduate, Melani, interned at an American market research firm based in Shanghai.

1. What are you doing now?
Currently, I am a Senior Advisory Analyst in KPMG’s Management Consulting branch, consulting for Financial Service providers.

2. Did your experience in China help you to find your new position and, if so, how did it help?
Absolutely. My hands-on experience and range of projects, not only caught the attention of the recruiters, but were the focus of discussion throughout the interview process. Most notably, KPMG approached me because they were interested in my diverse background and ability to adjust to new industries, sectors and cultures quickly.

3. Do you think your experience in China changed you in any way and, if so, how?
My time in China changed me in many ways. It was a pivotal point in my career where I was able to dive into a new industry and really learn about market research and consulting. Moreover, my supervisors took me under their wings and provided ample opportunity and responsibility to have direct experience, client interaction and, ultimately, finished projects that I could be proud of.

Personally, my time in China also clarified my priorities for me. While I knew that I wanted to work with Asian business and emerging markets in the future, I learned that I wanted to work for a large company rather than start-ups. I also learned that I really enjoyed working with multiple countries in the region, but it was difficult as well. Anything can happen and you must adjust your approach for each culture.

Furthermore, I found that I want to travel back and forth and within the region, but I didn’t want to live in Asia for the long-term. At the same time, I have more confidence in taking on new things that I have little or no experience in. I know that I was able to learn an entire new industry and change my career path, all in a country on the other side of the world.

4. Do you have plans to come back to China in the future?
I plan to return to China for business and extended travel, but I do not plan on moving to China for the long-term. I enjoyed my time and it was an invaluable experience. However, my ties and future goals are based in the area I currently reside.