I was born and raised in a small farming community near Wooster, Ohio and started my studies at Ohio State’s Agricultural Technical Institute. I then transferred to the Mansfield branch and eventually landed in Columbus. I graduated from Ohio State in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Public Relations.
I currently live and work in Shanghai, where I serve as vice president for Asia sourcing with Lowe’s Home Improvement. In many ways Shanghai reminds me of Ohio State—there is great diversity in the people and so many awesome opportunities to experience.
I graduated from Ohio State in 1984 with a Bachelor of Sciences in Business Administration and Marketing. My father also attended The Ohio State University. I came to China at the recommendation of Roger Blackwell, a professor of mine. From one comment by him came my decision to come to China.
Ohio State affected me and my career paths internationally. In today’s world, it is almost impossible to remain isolated. How could you lead without an international understanding?
My attraction to East Asia was first sparked in 1999, when my wife and I adopted a baby girl from Hunan, China. Then in 2004, I was chosen by Minru Li of Ohio State to participate in the first term of the Wuhan University Summer Intensive English program, which brings educators from across the U.S. to teach interactive, theme-based English lessons in China.
Meet Michael Smith, a 2000 graduate of the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State. As a member of the Honors Business Cohort, he enrolled in an import/export class where he communicated with students at a sister university in Johannesburg, South Africa, using video chat technology. Michael marks this experience as the first time he began to appreciate the ability to connect around the globe.
I participated in four study abroad experiences during my time at Ohio State: the London Honors program through Ohio State; the Institute for Balkan Studies International Summer School for Greek Language, History and Culture; the Summer Modern Greek Program at the University of Athens; and the London Theatre Program through Ohio State (for which I received the International Travel Grant funded by the Office of the Executive Dean of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences).
I studied abroad in London, England my freshman year, and participated in the Canadian Parliament Internship later in my college career. The Canadian experience was run through multiple universities, but Ohio State was unique in that we had a class to prepare us for the experience. Without that initial support, I would not have had such a positive experience, nor would I have been as effective in my internship. Ohio State made sure we were prepared and had a "leg up" on other interns participating in the program.
I remember looking through the course listings for my final quarter at Ohio State and when I saw the class about the Lost Generation and a trip to Paris, I couldn’t be more excited. I had already traveled to Paris with a group from my high school and I had been dying to go back. I loved my experience studying abroad and honestly, had I done something like that earlier in my college career, I would have done another one. I learned so much, met some great people and got to spend my spring break in my favorite city in the world.
I took advantage of two study abroad trips during my undergrad at Ohio State. One was Literary Locations: American Expatriate Writers in Paris (spring 2006). The other was the English Literature Program at University of Greenwich (summer 2007), for which I received a scholarship through the College of Arts and Sciences Study Abroad Fund. Studying abroad during my time at Ohio State was a huge part of how and why I decided to go to grad school in England.