KOKOMO, Ind. — A leap of faith paid off for Weipan Le.
Nearly two years ago, he enrolled in Indiana University Kokomo’s Master of Public Management (M.P.M.) program, believing it would propel his career forward.
In November, six months before his anticipated graduation date, Le garnered a job offer from Amazon, based on completing his degree.
“It takes a lot of pressure off me, to know I have this opportunity,” he said. “It’s neat they can offer me a job six months before I graduate.”
Before his interview for the job, he took advantage of practice interviews through the campus Career & Accessibility Center, where he works as a career development mentor.
“It was an eye-opener,” he said, adding that working with Tracy Springer, the center’s director, helped him prepare for interview success.
“We have a lot of free resources to help students start their careers,” Le said. “Having these opportunities definitely helped me.”
As a career development mentor, he provides support, guidance, and mentoring to students, and designs and hosts events and workshops in the “Backpack to Briefcase,” series, bringing in employers to talk to students about resumes, interviewing, salary expectation, and leadership.
In addition to the job preparation, Le said working on campus during the day gave him a new perspective on graduate school.
“Before, I just came to campus for my evening classes,” he said. “It’s a different experience when you are on campus during the way. It adds to the social aspect, and helps you build connections with other students.”
He’s also appreciated the relationships he’s had with his classmates and professors in the M.P.M. program.
“The personal level of care and attention you receive is awesome,” he said. “With really small classes, you get to know your peers, and the professors definitely get to know their students.”
Le previously earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies in Utah, where he grew up. His family immigrated to the United States from China when he was 2, and he speaks Mandarin. He and his wife, Michelle, lived and worked in China for a short time, where she taught English to elementary children, while he helped older students with SAT preparation.
As parents of a two-year-old daughter, they plan to visit China again, but do not intend to live there. His family there is far inland, away from the coastal cities like Beijing and Shanghai.
“It’s hard to replace the luxury of being in America,” he said.
Le was working at a juvenile center in Logansport when he decided to enroll, thinking it would give him a chance to gain a leadership role and make a difference. He and his wife live in Peru, and he liked the idea of earning an IU degree close to their home.
“It’s a program with a name behind it that employers recognize,” he said. “The brand matters. IU is renowned for its public management programs.”
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.