It’s fitting that Charles Ma was roughly 7,500 kilometres from home, studying at Lucerne University in Switzerland, when he received the call that he was being recognized with the International Business Student Award at the 2014 Alberta Export Awards.
Each year, the award is presented to one post-secondary student in the province who is actively involved in an international studies program, has shown leadership and who has studied or worked in other countries.
While the first few years of his career as a real estate agent had a very local focus, Charles says he got a hint that his career path would take an international bent in 2007 when he caught the travel bug during a vacation to China. In 2010, he registered as a mature student at MacEwan University with the goal of becoming a real estate lawyer, choosing the Bachelor of Commerce in International Business as his pre-law degree.
As Charles advanced through the program – participating in a field study in Brazil, an international trade simulation and now an exchange program in Switzerland – his career goal eventually shifted from real estate to international law.
In addition to being a real honour, Charles says that winning this award solidifies his plans. “Receiving this award feels like a sign that I’m going in the right direction and really makes me look forward to the future.”
Update: Charles wins another award
In June, Export Development Canada (EDC) announced the winners of its International Business Scholarships. Two MacEwan University students – Charles Ma and Jens Deppe – were among the 30 students selected from across Canada to receive the $4,000 cash awards.
The EDC scholarships were created to help the next generation of business leaders prepare for success in international trade.
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