Graduate Business Schools & Employability of International Students

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304072004577323861675549408.html  There seems to be good news and bad news:  we know there is a rise in enrollment of international students – especially from from India and China – at all levels of of U.S. higher education.  But what to do about the soft job market?  What is the career office to do to develop employment options to match the rise in demand?

At Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management, one-quarter of the Nashville, Tenn., school’s 2011 M.B.A. class was international, with a number of students from China, India and South Korea.  “If we have too high a [percentage] of international students and then we can’t place them, shame on us,” says Tami Fassinger, chief recruiting officer at the school. 

I appreciate the candor in this statement.  It’s not merely a global search for new sources of revenue, is it?  There does need to be an overall institutional strategy to assist international students – at both undergrad and grad levels -find employment.  At Vanderbilt, one approach is to admit students who are a good “fit” for the job market [I assume this means in terms of prior work experience and skill sets].  Of course, at the undergrad level, admissions offices cannot be that selective…which begs the question of how a student is to evaluate whether or not their choice of an academic institution will measurably advance their career prospects.  At MBA or business schools, in the STEM fields, this assessment process is certainly much easier.

India native Rajeev Samuel, 30, wanted to stay in the U.S. after his graduation from the Simon school [at U. of Rochester], preferably near his wife, who is based in Chicago. At one U.S. company, Mr. Samuel made it to a final-round interview only to have the company ask if he would relocate to India or China for the job. “I’m paying for a U.S. school in U.S. dollars, and I don’t think I can pay it back using an Indian salary,” he says.

Career offices at business schools cited here are making extraordinary efforts to build new partnerships with international companies to  advance employment prospects of their international students.  My own experience is that placing the burden for success in the job market solely on the career office’s outreach is shortsighted.  The entire institution needs to develop an integrated strategy for such outreach and partnership development as part of its internationalization plan.

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3 replies »

  1. I can understand Mr. Samuel’s dilemma.A possible solution would be to give him a job in Chicago since the company is impressed with his credentials.The strategy is reciprocity.This decision is contingent on giving a U.S.student an international internship on his or her own skills.The company could go a step further and give the U.S.Student employment. Many U.S.graduate students due to a depressed economy are looking overseas. Each case is different and should be judged on its
    merits.It is a win-win situation for everyone.

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