After graduating in 2014, Shilei Chen faced a problem that all international students will unavoidably encounter — employment and immigration status. However, less than one year after his graduation, he became the manager of SmartStudy in the U.S.
Chen has had the American dream since he was in high school. After his junior year of college, he decided to transfer to George Washington University to study Biology and Philosophy. He gradually realized that he’s not interested in studying the sciences. Chen joined Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity. This is where he cultivated his interest in business and made it his minor.
Considering the limit of H1B lottery, Chen decided to start his own company after graduation. He wanted to focus on helping Chinese students who were studying in the U.S. to find jobs in China. He registered the company in February, but his parents told him that the industry is known for requiring a large network of contacts and more work experience. Meanwhile, he heard that a Chinese company called SmartStudy was expanding its business to the U.S. He took his parents’ advice and went back to China to intern at SmartStudy. During his two-month-internship, after having learned about company operations and management, he expressed his strong interest in managing the expansion of their business to the U.S. In September, he came back to New York as SmartStudy’s US operations manager.
Chen is currently in charge of market analysis, and preparing the opening of Smartstudy’s study center in New York City. As SmartStudy’s only employee in the U.S., he said there are many challenges, but more opportunities for him. Out of necessity, he has learned most of company operations in the fastest way. Moreover, he has a sense of fulfillment by helping more international students like him.
Chen wanted to tell all the international students that working and mingling with local people is the most important step in blending into a new environment. Developing English language skills is also a must. Without outstanding language skills, one cannot express the advantages of their business or why they should be hired, no matter how intelligent they are.
SmartStudy is an education company. It has online English courses including College English Test, TOEFL and GRE. They want to open a study center in NYC, to help international students with their English, and also provide SAT, TOEFL, GRE courses. www.smartstudy.com