Tell us about your internship at a sustainable fashion company in China after graduation. What ‘aha’ moments did you experience? What’s next?
The internship was a special gift. I came to Shanghai a couple of months after graduation to learn Chinese. I wasn’t super excited to leave Indonesia, but it was easier to find reasonable reasons to go than to stay in my hometown. I didn’t like the idea of spending months learning a language and nothing else, so I prayed for an opportunity to be useful. Long story short, a friend I met during Crowell Business School’s 2015 China Trip introduced me to the CEO and Co-Founder of Shokay, who happened to be in need of a graphic designer. The opening was perfect since I spent the previous three years of graphic designing for a couple of Biola departments.
I experienced a lot of ‘aha’ moments, but the most significant one is when I realized that having faith in God’s trustworthiness—particularly in opening the best doors at the best times—is not irresponsible faith. This faith comes with the sense that the things right in front of me are exactly what I need in the present time and that they deserve my best.
In regards to what’s next, I’ll be returning to Indonesia as soon as I finish my language program this summer.
Talk a bit about your giftedness. How and when did you discover what you are good at?
I have an increasingly clear idea of what brings me wonder and a strange kind of fulfillment, but I find it difficult to describe my “giftedness.” I try to step into roles and responsibilities in areas where opportunity and a personal sense of wonder continuously collide, and relevant “gifts” have often appeared out of nowhere. There were times when it felt like receiving entirely new sets of tools. Other times, it felt like rediscovering old objects that I didn’t think would ever turn into valuable tools.
How has your education at the Crowell School of Business and Biola equipped you for your work? Talk about Business as Ministry and how this manifests itself in your work.
My time at Crowell School of Business, especially as a student in the marketing program, taught me the importance of finding eternal security and self-worth. This has really helped me see that much of the time, Business as Ministry involves doing little things that no one might ever notice. Without something eternal to anchor you, perseverance can easily feel pointless.
How has your experience participating in the Biola Startup Competition enhanced your innovation thinking/practice? Other lessons learned?
More than anything, the competition was a rude awakening that taught me the strong connection between resilience and innovation. I used to think that innovative thinking is what geniuses do when they create out-of-this-world solutions from thin air. After all, a lot of innovative companies that are especially successful are called “unicorn companies.” However, the startup competition and my time in China made me realize that innovative thinking is as simple as being persistent in finding and developing small solutions.
Graduation is just around the corner for Biola seniors. What advice would you give them – as a recent Alum?
Life after graduation looks different for everyone, so don’t be hard on yourself when your journey doesn't look like everyone else’s. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from people you consider wise and don’t forget that God’s Word is quite literally accessible to you. You’re going to have to let go of a lot of things when you graduate, but that can actually be something worth celebrating.
Clarissa Rusli is an Indonesian student who graduated Magna Cum Laude from Biola University in May 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing and a minor in Art. She is currently in China to study business Mandarin in Shanghai University of Finance and Economy. During her first semester there, she interned at Shokay, a sustainable fashion company that has gained recognition from Vogue, Forbes, and WWF China.