Name: Maxwell Gordon
Major: International Business and Economics Minor: Chinese
Graduation Date: December 2017
In December 2017, Meredith Church-Pipes sat down with Maxwell Gordon to talk about how his experiences led him to pursue an International Business degree and what lessons he learned through his time in the program. Watch his interview or read the transcript below to learn more about Maxwell.
MEREDITH CHURCH-PIPES: Alright, so good morning, Max. How are you doing today?
MAXWELL GORDON: Doing pretty good!
MEREDITH: Thanks for offering to be our student for the Student Spotlight.
MAX: Of course! Thanks for reaching out to me.
MEREDITH: Absolutely! So, we wanted to hear a little more about you, a little bit about your background, and why you decided to be an International Business major.
MAX: Okay! So, I’ve actually had the wonderful opportunity to travel around a bunch during my younger years; my mother loved traveling, so she kind of gave me the travel bug early on, and I had a semester abroad when I was in high school and that kind of tipped me off on to my path towards global experience. We had people from all over the world come and lecture my class and I got to work with international teams, and I just found that to be a very gratifying experience. So, upon returning back to my primary school in North Carolina and finishing up my senior year, I decided that I wanted to pursue International Business.
MEREDITH: So, as you’ve been an International Business major, what are some of the international opportunities that you were able to take advantage of?
MAX: So, while at Appalachian State I got to take advantage of two fantastic international opportunities. I was a part of the William R. Holland Fellows program for business in Asia for the 2016 year; I got to work in collaboration with a group of 11 other students from Appalachian State and then 12 students from Fudan University in Shanghai on an international research and presentation project, and as part of that we got to go over to China to Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong as well as Guangzhou for the first three weeks of the Summer that year. Following that program, I was fortunate enough to be able to cycle over while still in China into a faculty-led program by one of the professors in the language department at Appalachian State and it was a language and culture immersion program that traveled around for the remainder of the Summer. And I had about a month of an international stay at a university in Shenyang, China where I took some Chinese language courses.
MEREDITH: So, while taking part in the Holland Fellows program and traveling with Dr. Xie to China, what were some of the lessons that you learned, perspectives that might have changed, experiences that kind of stand out to you that you might be able to share with us?
MAX: So, the biggest lesson that I’ve learned by traveling internationally and working with people from all around the world is the importance of perspective, namely the importance of recognizing that we all have a very different perspective, and that you can’t really approach one situation, or expect a situation to be approachable from only one direction. You need to be able to vary your opinions and your thoughts on a matter depending on who you’re working with and what environment you’re working in, so being able to travel around as part of my university experience has really helped me to refine that ability.
MEREDITH: So, what would you say to students that are interested in pursuing an International Business major or studying abroad?
MAX: As far as the major is concerned, I think that is it one of the best majors offered at Appalachian State and especially within our College of Business in terms of the dynamic exposure it gives you to relevant topics and education. All of my classes that have been internationally oriented have given me a very unique perspective on how I look at the world and how I approach the educational process, and I don’t think that that is something that is as available in other majors. Additionally, the requirement that you minor in a secondary language and that you travel abroad for a minimum of 12 weeks as an educational experience is usually the incentive that some people need to fully commit to an international degree. The minor is also a very good opportunity, but I think getting that language and that cultural exposure is very important, especially in today’s business world. As far as traveling, I just say do whatever you have to to make it work. If financing is the issue, there are options available; I received multiple scholarships that helped me to travel abroad during my time at Appalachian State, and I would say to start looking into scholarships for your general education and for your study abroad plans as early as possible just for nothing else then to raise awareness about what is available to you.
MEREDITH: Great! Well thank you so much, Max!
MAX: Of course, it’s my pleasure! Thanks for having me.
MEREDITH: Congratulations on your upcoming graduation!
MAX: Thank you!