International Student Perspectives with Mohammad Malik
What made you decide to go abroad?
For me, if you are interested in something, find the expertise! I was always interested in sustainability; Denmark was the global hub for its sustainable practices. After my first year, I signed up for the UVA summer program through Global Studies in Denmark. I learned a great deal, especially on how cultural influence and political will of a country will determine whether businesses practice sustainability or not.
I then went to South Africa in the summer of my 2nd year to do consulting, which was my initial interest. I also appreciated the opportunity not to get stuck in the US-centered view and a university bubble. It enabled me to learn what other countries have done much better than the U.S., encouraging me to be a part of the world instead of an individual country.
How have your international experiences benefited you?
My international experience helped me land an internship at a global Venture Capital firm based in Washington DC in my 3rd year. It also prepared me for the work I was doing at the internship - market research and analysis of Latin America. I would like to work abroad later on in my life; I’d like to stay in the states and build my base initially but have a desire to go work in South Asia, Latin America, or Western Europe down the road. My previous international experience has provided me with an overview of what to expect in terms of work opportunities, culture and lifestyle, and has helped to grow my global network.
How have you prepared for your job and internship search process?
I thought that I wanted to do consulting in my first two years, so I went to all the consulting info sessions, case interview prep and resume workshops. After my internships, I realized my passion for small start-ups and making them grow fast, rather than the conventional consulting path working with big firms in the industry. From this realization, in my third year, I started my CIO called Profit with Purpose to introduce impact investing to students and enable them to take a venture capital perspective through workshops and working with real start-ups. In the process, I learned to interview literally hundreds of people in the field through LinkedIn, HackCville and the UVA alumni network. I got much better at networking skills after practicing with these people.
Any last thoughts?
International students already have the global perspectives and experiences to their benefit. The most important thing is to network and grow your network when you search for jobs.