Jérôme Le Carrou, a native of France, landed in Shanghai in January 2006 to intern at Shanghai Talk Magazine for four months as a preparatory experience before starting Missouri-Columbia graduate school of journalism.
During his internship, Jerome gained work experience, developed competencies and built a professional network which led him to accept an entrepreneurial employment opportunity at the Foreign Culture Club in Shanghai.
His story inspired him to create Next Step Connections (NEXSTEP) in 2008, at the age of 25. Jerome’s vision was to help students take their next step in career and life by connecting them with internship opportunities to develop competencies, accelerate employability and unlock their potential in developing economies like China. This spirit was captured in Monika Lutz’s ‘Now What’ book sharing how her NEXSTEP gap year experience got her into Harvard.
In 2011, NEXSTEP expanded its portfolio of internship destinations and partner institutions across Asia. This leads to a HQ shift from Shanghai to Hong Kong and the creation of a new venture in Thailand to operate in South-East Asia.
NEXSTEP pioneered virtual internships in 2017 to solve equity challenges and used the pandemic to refine and expand online learning modalities as well as its market reach (Africa, Middle-East) to cater to the needs of diverse learners.