James Wemyss '01
After finishing my dual major at UNH, I decided to return to Washington, DC, having completed an internship on Capitol Hill the previous summer. After a month on the job search, I began working for a senator from Alaska. My second day at work was September 11th — making the experience both challenging and memorable.
My initial work on Capitol Hill focused on covering issues related to taxes and the budget. To help my career and expand my network, I applied for a part-time master’s degree at Georgetown University where I completed a thesis in negotiation strategy and also received a certificate from the Walsh School in International Business Diplomacy. After graduating, I received a promotion to be a staffer in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. I enthusiastically took this position where I was in charge of organizing and managing Senate hearings on issues concerning China and North Korea. It was this experience that led me to study Chinese after work in Washington, DC, and eventually to move to China.
In the fall of 2006, I decided to enroll in a full-time International MBA program at Tsinghua University — a prestigious Chinese University in Beijing. The MBA, conducted in English, was very helpful in improving my financial analysis skills. The best part of the experience, however, was developing my Chinese skills with my tutors and Chinese friends. Today, I can read the Chinese newspaper, conduct meetings in Chinese, and go to Chinese movies without the subtitles. And I still go to Chinese class twice a week!
My goal in coming to China was to find a job where I could both invest in and help grow companies that focus on clean technology and environmental cleanup. My first big break was getting an internship at a large state-owned Chinese corporation. Competing with hundreds of applicants, I later found out one reason why I was selected. The Director had done his MBA at UNH! Using that experience along with lots of networking, I eventually found my current position at a medium-sized investment company in Shanghai.
My advice to IA students while at UNH is to take advantage of the local internship opportunities in New England, either in the summer or during the school year. These experiences will help many years from now while developing your international career. As an example, after my freshman year, I worked in a wastewater treatment plant in northern New England. Today, I am investing in technologies to make the wastewater process more efficient in paper factories throughout China!