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October 22, 2015

B-Schools Prepare International Students for the Corporate World

Hiring International Students in the US
Living, working or studying abroad may not always be enough of a platform to learn the cultural etiquettes of local foreign cultures. When talking to international students at business and networking seminars in Upstate New York in 2015, I learned that many international students fall through the cracks when it comes to learning the soft-skills of cross-cultural business interactions in the realm of small talk, interview skills, dressing and how to sound confident in an American way during interviews. While colleges focus on academics, many are slowly realizing that learning American corporate culture and soft-skills are also key to the career success for many international students. Just like companies invest in cross-cultural training for expats before being placed abroad, international students should begin learning these tips and approaches from day one on campus to give students and scholars a leg up about networking and hiring at any stage of student life - internships, summer placements, on campus jobs, and, of course, full-time work after completeing their degree. 

When I was speaking to some international students, I was reminded that learning culture does not come by osmosis. While some aspects of culture like local slang or use of language can be picked up if an international student hangs out with local, American friends, other mannerisms may not be so easy to learn or apparent to understand the reason behind. In fact, now a days, as international student populations soar, it is quite possible that many international students must force interaction with local, American students! Why is this? Depending on the program, some programs (such as those in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or the STEM fields), have high percentages of non-American born students as well as foreign-born professors who moved to the U.S. after being socialized abroad. This presents very unique situations for some international students in that interacting with their peers and professors feels like second nature rather than a cross-cultural learning experience. For students in these departments and fields, learning about American culture is not easy, although they are living in the U.S.

Back in 2008 when Authentic Journeys identified this need, programs and seminars were suggested to colleges, universities and community outreach programs. At that time, many college staff were under the impression international students would either learn the culture by osmosis, learn what they needed to learn as it was taught to the local, American students (ie. no tailor made programs for international students), or they would not even need such training as they would 'end up going home anyhow.' As times have changed, people's impressions have changed, and now the programs suggested by Authentic Journeys almost a decade ago are slowly gaining popularity among colleges and universities across the nation. Authentic Journeys is not only proud to have initiated discussion on such programs almost a decade ago, but also be a part of this growth through delivering programs to international students from various discliplines and majors in prominent Upstate New York colleges and universities in 2014 and 2015.

The article below, Some B-Schools Teach Networking, American Style, from the Wall Street Journal is a prime example of this trend.

Jennifer Kumar, author of this article, helps foreigners to the U.S. prepare for success while working in the United States of America. Participants rave about the interactive sessions on business etiquette, work values, communication dos and dont's and other relevant topics which help them to fit in and find success in their careers in the U.S. Contact us to schedule your sessions today. 

Programs Authentic Journeys conducted at colleges in the U.S. in 2015

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Do I have culture shock?
Online Predeparture Orientation for International Students Coming to the U.S.

Authentic Journeys: Bridging Culture on Virtual Teams

We help build effective, culturally competent global teams with focus on the cultures of the USA and India. Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director, an American citizen, has almost 10 years experience living, studying and working (owning a business) in India. Authentic Journeys Consultancy is registered as a Private Limited in India (Kerala) and an LLC in the USA (Salt Lake City, Utah). We provide onsite and live-online instructor-led courses, facilitation and corporate coaching.