Concordia's Offutt School of Business offers students real-world business training and tools to help them reach their career goals. Ting Lai '17 seized her opportunities to gain professional experience and try new things while launching her career in finance.
Ting Lai ’17, Dongguan, China
Why did you choose Concordia?
I like the small class sizes here that really allow you get to build relationships with professors and classmates. The liberal arts program is another reason I chose Concordia; I get to try different classes from multiple majors. You never know what you can do and what you like before you try.
Why study finance at Concordia?
Concordia has great business programs. I was originally a business major with a finance concentration. When the finance major launched, I felt compelled to upgrade to the advanced major. My goal is to work at a multinational investment bank. Studying finance in Concordia’s Offutt School of Business gave me the tools necessary to be capable and professional and gave me a leg up to reach my goals.
What sets the Offutt School of Business apart?
The Offutt School of Business commits itself to give students hands-on training instead of just classroom learning. For example, in one of my marketing classes, I got to work with a real client and won the runner-up for that business plan. Our finance lab gives students a chance to gain hands-on training with real trading systems. In my entrepreneurial management class, our team got to simulate the process of starting up a company. We also applied a lot of case studies from real companies’ examples in our classes.
What is one of the most important things you have gained in your business classes?
My business classes helped me become a passionate and responsible individual able to solve problems with a positive attitude while remaining flexible in unexpected circumstances.
Have you had any mentors or special professors in your time here?
Professor Chris Mason is my advisor, and he has a lot of professional experience (he is also the president and chief investment officer of Fontis) that he uses to teach his students. I was not sure about what to do after graduation, and he inspired me to take the CFA test, which helped me focus the direction of my career.
What has been a highlight of your college career?
I was a student speaker at the Faith, Reason and World Affairs Symposium in 2015, where I had the opportunity to educate attendees on the relevance of Chinese culture.
What advice would you give a prospective international student?
My advice for incoming international students is to make friends with people here and engage in extracurricular activities. Make friends with your classmates, professors, and everyone else. It is not only a way to make you happier, but it also helps you build your network. Getting involved in the extracurricular activities on campus will also give you a chance to experience American culture. Try to live as fully as possible.
What surprised you about living in Minnesota?
A lot of snow! And the inclusive culture is lovely in Minnesota. Everyone is so nice and made me feel welcome.
What are your plans for after graduation?
I am taking the CFA Level 1 exam in June. Then I am planning to move to Los Angeles, which is a bigger multicultural city, to do my one-year OPT.
Laura Caroon '06 is a content strategist at Concordia College.