International students face a wide variety of special challenges. Adapting to the linguistic, cultural and climatic differences of a foreign country while pursuing a university education can be difficult. It is even more challenging for international students pursuing a particularly demanding course of study like GWSB’s Global MBA program, the degree of difficulty is even greater – especially for students whose goal is to enhance an existing career or launch another in a new country.
In recognition of their special circumstances, the F. David Fowler Career Center offers a full array of career management services and resources specifically tailored for international graduate students. Earlier this month, the Career Center held a two-day orientation seminar for new international students in the Global MBA program as part of the GMBA International Student Institute. This year’s incoming class is made up of 34 students from 14 countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Egypt, India, Japan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Turkey, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Gil Yancey, Career Center executive director, welcomed the new students and urged them to take full advantage of the Center, adding that a strong student commitment is absolutely necessary for success. “Everyone is 100-percent responsible for their own career success,” Yancey said. “The Career Center will partner with you, but you are the managing partner.”
The orientation program consisted of modules on “Career options and strategies for international students,” “What is ‘networking’? How is it done in the U.S.” and “U.S. business etiquette, communication and cultural differences” as well as instruction and practice in writing U.S. – style resumes. The program also included an overview of the complex immigration regulations governing internships and employment for foreign nationals.
Center staff members James Barricelli, associate director of employer relations, Toni Della-Ratta, associate director of graduate career management, and Sandipa Thapa Basnyat, international student career consultant for all GWSB students, developed the program in collaboration with Susan Musich, managing director of Passport Career, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in providing expert support and guidance for global career transitions. Musich stressed the importance of building and maintaining a solid network of business and personal contacts, pointing out that 90 percent of international students cite networking as the most critical factor in a successful career search.
The orientation information was reinforced by a testimonial from a Career Center user. Turki Alghusoon, a second-year Global MBA candidate from Saudi Arabia, shared an account of how his successful partnership with the Center helped lead to an internship at the World Bank’s internal audit department. Alghusoon said the mock interviews conducted and critiqued by career counselors gave him great confidence when sitting down for the real thing. He also advised his fellow students to build a “personal brand” and engage in self-marketing. “Network, but don’t be too rigid by always giving a ‘pitch.’ Find a way to stand out, be yourself, socialize and make friends,” he said. “If it worked for me, it’s going to work for you guys.”
For more information, please visit the F. David Fowler Career Center Web site.