By: YUQUING MAO – ALUMNA, 2013 – HIGHER EDUCATION SPECIALIST – CORT FURNITURE RENTAL
My name is Yuqing Mao, a native of Beijing who graduated from the MBA program at the University of Dayton in the winter of 2013.
Now I work full-time as a higher education specialist at CORT Furniture Rental. How did I get the job as an international student? I want to say it’s because I had a clear career goal and a really good mix of life experiences that made me a perfect fit for my current position.
However, life has never been easy. As an international student, the first hurdle always seems to be learning the language and culture of the host country. Believe me, if you don’t know how to express yourself properly in a “new world,” you will feel frustrated and soon resort to your own comfort zone.
In order to improve my English proficiency, I wrote down frequently used sentences in class and memorized them. I attended the Conversation Group that was held by the Intensive English Program to practice speaking English.
With my English improving, I had more confidence to jump into a group discussion even with new acquaintances.
After I got familiar with the culture and language, I started to build my network. While I was studying, I proactively joined in different kinds of student organizations such as the Graduate Student Association. I volunteered my time off-campus at the Hospice of Dayton, Downtown Dayton Partnership and have been involved in multiple on-campus social events.
These activities not only helped build relationships with people on-campus, but also those in the greater Dayton area. Most importantly, this made me more familiar with the American culture and later enabled me to get my first on-campus job as a world associate in the Center for International Programs.
For this job, my main responsibility was helping international students with their academic needs, project plans and other urgent matters. Gradually, I realized my passion was truly helping people and later learned that I love to meet new and interesting people around campus.
While I worked there, I focused on my communication skills and learning about different cultures and people’s characteristics.
Through those experiences, I developed an expertise in communicating with people from an unfamiliar culture and I honestly believe that opened the door for my current job opportunity. I started as a part-time employee for CORT, but since graduation I received a full-time position, which I happily accepted.
Currently, I help students find off-campus housing by using CORT’s resources and then help them furnish their apartments with rental furniture. I want to say that my previous experiences and resources set a solid foundation for what I am doing now.
My advice would be to pay very close attention to your interests and skills. Those two aspects together will help you find a perfect, suitable job. Always remember, no matter where you are in your career, the better you know yourself, the braver you will be when faced with challenges and difficulties.