What if you moved 8,000 miles from Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, to Taipei, Taiwan, one month after Commencement? That’s what Nathan Conklin ’15, MBA ’21 did in 2015. He’s been there since, now a permanent resident and working as an associate with the Christian Missionary & Alliance (CM&A) in their Envision department.
For his undergraduate degree from Messiah, he majored in international business and traveled the world with the International Business Institute. Moving to Taipei seemed natural.
In his role with CM&A, he helps onboard U.S. mission teams and interns, some who have never traveled overseas. He spends a lot of time helping them acclimate to Asian culture.
“I tell them, it’s not wrong, it’s not weird, it’s just different,” he said. “That’s something we say over and over again with our interns.”
He’s passionate about business as ministry, but his role changed when Taiwan closed its borders to nonresidents in March 2020. Now, he concentrates more on development and discipleship with Taiwanese interns while also doing some business mission consulting.
Wanting to continue teaching business as ministry but in an academic setting, he pursued a Messiah MBA with a concentration in social entrepreneurship, which he completed online from Taipei in May. The majority of his classmates lived in the U.S.
“They’d say, ‘Let’s do a Zoom call,’ and I say, well, that’s 3 a.m. my time,” he laughed. “Let’s pick another time.”
Even with the time difference, the pacing and structure of the online program suited his full-time ministry work. He was able to access Messiah’s writing help and library resources.
“All of those things were very accessible as an off-campus student from another country. Those things made it much easier than it could have been,” he said.
He says he loves the big-city experience of Taipei and plans to stay. The mass transit system makes getting around without a car easy. Also, living there gives him access to the rest of Asia.
“Speaking a different language challenges your sense of pride and your humility,” he said.
He hopes to teach online in a university setting, possibly through CM&A’s Crown College in Minnesota from Taiwan.
“Servant leadership is not given to us for our own ego,” he explained. “These are tools that God has entrusted in me to use for others’ benefits, not for my own.”
— Anna Seip