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Major: International Business
President of HOPE International
Choosing a Major
Peter is not entirely certain what major he declared as a first year student at Messiah. Not remembering if he ever officially declared a major in his initial field of interest, history, he speaks vaguely of those early months of study: "I had many interests and was unsure exactly which area to focus on." It was not until he received guidance from Ronald Webb in the Department of Management & Business that Peter realized his passions for traveling and foreign languages pointed to a perfect fit in the field of international business.
The Messiah Experience
Intercollegiate athletics took center stage on the broad sweep of Peter's campus experience. As a player on both the lacrosse team and the soccer team, he learned lessons on the field that served a greater purpose in his own life. "Relating with a team, developing discipline, and participating in something bigger than myself had a profound impact on me," he says. In addition to college sports, Peter was involved in World Christian Fellowship, Emerging Leaders, and even participated in a few theatre productions. Overall, he reminisces, "It was a great time to branch out and be involved in so many things and to understand better the gifts that God has given me, and how I can use them in His service."
Career Center Experience
Peter utilized the services offered by the Career Center as he built a resume marketing his qualifications and work experience. The services provided by Career Center staff also challenged him to sharpen his job-hunting skills as he prepared to approach potential employers.
Peter perceives a constant connection between the skills and knowledge developed in his major and his current vocation. Although the technical skills of international business have been integral to his vocation, he values even more the lessons he has learned about integrating faith and career. He learned from the faculty of the Department of Management & Business what he terms "bigger picture skills." They instilled in him the conviction that "what we do and how we do it really matters." This concept broadened his understanding of business careers, which can often be seen as a narrow field, to include missions work. "You can be in missions without being an official church planter," he asserts. Along with giving him a new understanding of the flexibility of service, Peter's life at Messiah greatly influenced his career throught the relationships he forged. "Time at Messiah clearly led me to my current vocation," he asserts, "I never heard of microfinance or business as missions. It was a result of my time at Messiah College that I am where I am today and a result of the relationships I had on campus."
What to Do Next
Peter's first step after graduation was somewhat aggravating: "It was frustrating because I wanted to get into this field, but almost all overseas positions required several years of overseas experience. I took what wasn't exactly the job I was looking for right after graduation," he admits. As a business manager at Lexington Christian Academy, he continued to network and learn valuable skills that were critically important to his overseas work.
After two years at Lexington Christian Academy, Peter steadily moved toward a career in international economic development. Through World Relief, an organization that mobilizes churches and communities to address world issues, he stepped boldly overseas as a micro-finance advisor in Cambodia and took a subsequent position as a managing director in Rwanda. Each of these positions proved to be somewhat of a stepping-stone to Peter's master's degree at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and current involvement with HOPE International.
A Typical Day
As the president of HOPE International, a non-profit organization that addresses world poverty through the development of microenterprises, Peter's "broad responsibilities" encompass all the facets of running an international corporation. This includes expanding the personnel and ensuring the productivity of his staff, which is a full time job in itself: "My role is that of a coach, and I certainly draw from a lot of the lessons learned from faculty, staff, and coaches at Messiah," he explains. A significant part of his job revolves around finding the right people. "It takes the right motivation, developing a unified vision about where you're going, attracting the right people, and making sure they are successful at what they do. It's about finding where resources can best be utilized." Mike is currently working to improve the quality and extent of HOPE's outreach in its nine countries of operation.
Profile by Brianna Davidson, August 2005