Real-world experience led to successful career for WSU grad
Dec 19, 2011 3:05 PM | Print
From a young age, Wichita State graduate Tim Wilson was interested in traveling and working abroad. After gaining valuable international work-based learning experience while at WSU, Wilson – who graduated in May 2010 – is already in a successful career as an analyst with CID Group in Shanghai, China.
At CID Group, a venture capital firm and one of the fastest growing Asia-headquartered private equity firms in the world, Wilson uses his research to help determine which companies would be a good investment choice for CID Group.
It's a job he prepared for through years of international study, both during classes at WSU and through on-the-job training as a student.
Wilson said he believes strongly in the importance of experience-based learning and would encourage any Wichita State student to take advantage of the ability to get work experience while in college.
"I think a student coming out of WSU who has focused on excellence is every bit as competitive as anyone coming out of any other university," he said. "Those who believe in excellence are going to take advantage of experience-based learning and get involved."
Focusing on excellence
Wilson is at least 10 years younger than his peers at CID Group.
One of the reasons for his early success, he said, was his time spent with WSU's W. Frank Barton School of Business, particularly as a member of the Barton International Group, a project that allowed him and several classmates to travel to Malaysia and do work for Spirit AeroSystems.
"It was a great opportunity to work abroad and to understand what international business is all about," he said. "It's a soft skill that, if you can pick up in college, you're going to be ahead of the game. It gave me credibility among my peers."
Wilson, who graduated from the international baccalaureate program at East High School, already had 60 college credits when he entered Wichita State.
As a high school senior, he won the prestigious $44,000 Clay Barton Scholarship in Business to attend WSU. That proved invaluable, he said.
"It allowed me to focus on pursuing what I believed to be excellence," Wilson said. "Some people have to take any job they can get while in college because they need the money. It brought me immediately into an excellent group of individuals that were well connected."
Once at WSU, he immediately began using the university programs designed to give students on-the-job training. Through WSU's Cooperative Education and Work-Based Learning program, he got a job as a global human resources intern at Spirit AeroSystems.
Wilson worked at Spirit for 10 months.
"It was good to get some large corporate experience: to understand what it's like to work for an international company, to help me build some credibility and help me understand the nuances of what goes into an HR team," he said.
Building connections, relationships
In January of his sophomore year, Wilson began a semester at Sun Yat-Sen University in China. He was there through a study-abroad international MBA program facilitated through the Barton School.
This gave him early experience traveling and living outside the United States, which would come in handy in the future.
After returning from China, Wilson took his recent experience and got a job at Cargill as a project manager for human resources doing Fair Labor Standards Act compliance audits.
Wilson said he got the job at Cargill based largely on the connections he had built when he worked at Spirit.
"It goes back to the importance of relationships," he said. "It's the relationships that you have that are going to open the doors for you. It's all about performing your best and building solid relationships and networking."
In summer 2009, Wilson took part in the Barton School's first Barton International Group (BIG) project. He and a group of 15-20 students went to Malaysia to work a project for Spirit AeroSystems. Their job was to observe processes, policies and performance behaviors at the Malaysia location to determine which of those should be localized or globalized.
"BIG let me lead a real project. That was the guinea pig year, but we made it happen," he said. "That validated my idea that if you center yourself around excellence, you can make things happen."
After a few months to focus solely on his studies, Wilson took an internship with the Department of State in Washington, D.C. He said he was told multiple times that his experience with the Barton School's BIG project is what made the state department take notice of him for the internship.
Shortly before graduating in spring 2010 with bachelor's degrees in international business and marketing – as well as a 4.0 GPA – Wilson was offered his current job at CID Group in China.
It was the kind of job he wanted when he started college, and he didn't think twice about moving to another country to start his career.
Wilson said his experiences as a whole while at Wichita State – internships and studying and working abroad – along with first-class professors and advisers were crucial to his success in the workforce.
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