Peace Corps Experience
- Cornell University
- Agriculture and Life Sciences
I applied to Peace Corps as a Cornell senior and simply stated that my job preference was for something that utilized my degree in agricultural economics. My job as a PCV was as a credit officer in the National Agricultural Bank of Malaysia. While in that job I also organized the bank's sports club and founded their internal library. That was 1973-1975. I went on to be locally hired as a trainer for the Peace Corps, training the incoming new groups on a project basis, responsible for preparing them for the work environment.
My experiences taught me the language and a lot about how business is done there, not to mention how to happily live in the local environment (not too difficult; if you've had Malaysian food you'll know what I mean). Upon completing service, my search for a job focused on American companies that had a regional HQ in Singapore. I accepted a job with Union Carbide as a local. During those two years I ran a sales operation covering 14 countries around Asia. Skills learned during the Peace Corps provided an ability to communicate with people in diverse markets.
One big market was agriculture in Indonesia. I joined Monsanto to start up their agricultural operations in Indonesia. I served 20 years managing portions of Monsanto's agricultural businesses; five years living in Indonesia and eight living in Japan. I have since run my own consulting business helping companies with their international business development. Projects have included assisting government economic development goals. As an adjunct University professor I have taught a course entitled "Asian Business," and I volunteer in several international non-profits.
My career experiences have been built on a common set of pillars, one of which was my service as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Indeed, the Peace Corps was foundational to my career. The above story can be seen as linear, as in steps along a path, and yes, the next thing does seem to be connected to the last thing. But, continuing with the construction metaphor, the Peace Corps experiences for me are better viewed as many of the bricks that I used to build my house, and this "house" is my life that I live in every day. Through my friends, my business, my interests, my travel, my cooking and new opportunities, I am living in and amongst the bricks collected along my career. The bricks that form the ground floor include many from Peace Corps Malaysia.