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Equipped for the Future

May 2, 2016

When the time to choose a college arrived for recent alumnus Andy Shu, he was absolutely certain on a few things: He wanted to go to a big school in Minnesota, and he was going to get a business degree. The Minnesota native decided on the University of Minnesota with a plan to study economics with a minor in business management. However, another strong interest of his was Asian culture, so he chose to add Asian Languages and Literatures (ALL) as a second major. "I focused on Asian literature and the Chinese language because it was something I truly wanted to learn more about,” Shu explains. “I’ve also found that my involvement in ALL will help me in whatever career I choose because of the critical reasoning that was involved in all of the classes I took in the department.”

Shu graduated in December 2014, and he currently works for the Robins Kaplan law firm in downtown Minneapolis. He interned with the company during the summer before his last semester of college, and he is now working full-time as a finance and economics consultant. The firm handles high stakes cases where damages range from a few million to a few billion dollars. “Attorneys need people like me who have some expertise in finance and economics to answer their questions, but I don't deal directly with those incredibly large amounts of money,” he says. 

Shu emphasized the importance of considering options for the future as early as possible and getting some work experience. “It might not seem like an ALL degree is applicable to business careers, but it is,” Shu says. “It is important to network on your own and figure out how the degree will work in your desired industry. If you work hard, get good grades, and network on your own, you will have no trouble getting hired.”

Shu credits a lot of his success in his post-college life to his involvement with ALL. He realized that, for many jobs, people do not directly use what they learned in their major. Instead, the courses students take prepare them how to learn what they will need to know throughout their careers—and ALL prepared Shu to learn new things easily.  “For my job, I must learn about new industries and companies,” Shu explains. “Having studied in ALL, I can pick up on things very quickly because I have spent so much time reading complex texts that require a high level of reasoning.”

Former department chair Joseph R. Allen admires Shu’s recent accomplishments. "Andy Shu represents how now more than ever, post graduation success relies on the undergraduate student's ability to demonstrate diversity of thought in their areas of study while gaining work experience,” Dr. Allen explained. “Language departments such as ALL promote this cross-campus approach when designing classes and creating opportunities."

This story was written by an undergraduate student account executive in CLAgency. Meet the team.