Foreign students in the United States often experience culture shock, especially in the workplace. To serve the needs of this growing population, the Zarb School’s Graduate Business Career Services Center recently convened the first Graduate International Student Career Day.
The goals of the event were:
- to provide international students strategies and tips to be successful in the US job market with an emphasis on cultural awareness
- to educate students on resources available
- to create a forum for students to share their success stories with one another
Keynote speaker Di Hu, co-founder of InterEdge, a coaching service for international students, discussed three key cultural dimensions and differences that students should keep in mind to ease their adjustment to the US workforce.
- The vast difference between cultures of collectivism and individualism. Americans tend to be individualists who prioritize their own goals, while many Asian cultures tend to be collectivist, with far less emphasis on personal goals.
- The difference between large and small power distances. The US is a ‘small power distance’, or egalitarian culture while many Asian countries are ‘large power distance’, or hierarchical cultures.
- The difference in communication styles. In Asian cultures, assertive behavior is sometimes interpreted as offensive and disrespectful, whereas it is considered a valued leadership quality in the US.
The event offered workshops and discussions throughout the day including a panel of alumni and second year students who provided practical advice and success stories from their own individual experiences. A mock interview was also held as students observed best practices in responding to what can be challenging interview questions.
Besides a dedicated career center, Zarb graduate students have numerous other professional development resources available to them, including Beyond B-School webinars and access to MBA Exchange, which provides students connections to 80,000+ national and global jobs, 500+ development programs and 1400+ employer profiles.
“Our goal is to streamline our students’ transition into the workforce so that they can achieve the career they always envisioned,” said Barbara Church-Kattan, director of graduate business career services. “We offer events throughout the semester including graduate executive speaker series’, resume and networking workshops and alumni mock interviews to ensure that our students are best prepared to succeed in their careers and become the leaders of tomorrow.”