William Reiher -  USP Alumni Network

Name: William Reiher

Country: Republic of the Marshall Islands

Programme: Master of Business Administration (2008)

Why did you choose your field of study?
The Marshall Islands is plagued with poor management and mismanagement especially in the public sector. It just seemed that in order to be highly marketable, one must acquire excellent management skills since this was a rare commodity back home.

Briefly reflect on your student life at USP?
I was in a Masters program so it was very different from life as an undergraduate. I was surrounded by mature students who came with a diverse range of background, culture and skills that proved to be invaluable to my learning experience.

Greatest achievement[s] as a student
Getting straight As and A+s on my final transcript.

Career Highlights since Graduation
Hired as assistant director of physical plant at College of the Marshall Islands in 2010, promoted to director of physical plant in 2011, promoted to Vice President of Administration for CMI on Jan 1, 2015.

Who/what do you credit your success to? What inspires you?
I credit my success to my mother. From a young age she would tell me that I would become president of the Marshall Islands – she taught me that mediocrity was not for me, and most importantly, she helped me believe that nothing was impossible. I became inspired by those who served others and put others before themselves. This was the main reason I left my old job as an architect – I was not making much of an impact on people’s lives in the Marshall Islands. At the College, I felt that my work contributed to the success of the students and that is my motivation – to see the College produce more and more successful students who can return to serve their country and their people.

How do you think USP helped you in your career?
USP opens up so many doors. Not only career doors but doors that you didn’t know existed. USP is a melting pot of different pacific island cultures (which USP celebrates). Being at USP helped me find my identity as a Pacific Islander – something very unique and an identity to be proud of. Once you identify yourself as such, that you are not a stranger but a regional and even a global citizen – you begin to feel that desire to give back and serve your community and your people.

Describe any challenges you face to reach where you are today and how you overcame those challenges?
It has been said that no prophet is welcome in his hometown – a prophet is not without honor, but in his own country. Unfortunately this holds true today and a young graduate returning to his country full of ideas and hope is usually ignored by his countrymen and brushed aside as someone who thinks they are too smart. That was the biggest challenge. But if you are not discouraged, others will see your good works and opportunities will open for you in the future – this was how I came to leave my job at the Government where I was not be recognized by my superiors. I was offered the opportunity to work at the College of the Marshall Islands which was headed by a foreigner (again if the college was headed by a fellow countryman – my chances at being hired for this work would have been slim).

Where do you see yourself in 10 years (career and/or personal goals)?
In 10 years, I see myself as President of the College, and I would have acquired a phD to help me best deliver my promise to the students and the RMI. If you can influence the young minds at the College, you can influence the future of the country.

What advice would you give to current and future students of USP?
My advice is – work hard and never give up. If you graduate and return home to find that opportunities aren’t opening up as you expected, just continue to do your best – when you do your best work, not only will you feel internal satisfaction but you will be opening up opportunities for your future and people will notice your efforts. Don’t be tempted to be lazy for even a moment because you never know how many futuristic doors you are closing by doing that.

Please share top three tips that you think are most important for our current students or recent graduates that will help them when starting out on their career paths.
1)    Work hard and don’t give up
2)    Lay out your goals – short term and long term goals. If you don’t have clear goals you will not succeed.
3)    Do not stick to your comfort zone. USP is wonderfully diverse – take this opportunity to learn from your classmates about their cultures, and those of others at USP, the similarities and differences. Participate in inter-cultural group exchanges and build those relationships and networks. Theoretical knowledge does not impact you in the same way as experiential knowledge.

What has your involvement been with the University since you graduated?
I teach foundation Technology courses at the local USP program here when the need arises. I also do consultancy work for USP in the areas of Energy Management and Construction also when the need arises.
Any other information you would like to share.
While some of my colleagues at the College of the Marshall Islands view USP as a threat or competitor to CMI, I see USP as a rival as a potential partner. Marshallese students are very lucky that they have two institutions to cater for their educational needs in the RMI. CMI and USP have started a 3+1 program whereby our Marshallese students can attain a USP degree in Education by completing the first years at CMI and the final year at USP. More opportunities and programs like these is what we will be working on in the future with USP.

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