Career Advisor: 5 Questions for International Students

By Youngrak Kim ‘15

Youngrak Kim '15

Youngrak Kim '15

Many of my first-year international friends have asked me about their chances of securing jobs in the U.S. compared to those in their home countries. Unfortunately, I don’t have just a single answer to this question. Instead, here are answers to five questions that can help you get through the recruiting process successfully.

1. What do you want to do and where?

International students should figure out their interests more quickly than domestic students because your target location will change according to your target industries. If you are interested in those industries that generally require work authorization, you may want to focus more on opportunities in your home country. You can check out past job postings on GTS or talk to second-years who interned in your target industries last summer. Historically, investment banking and consulting are more generous in sponsoring international students than industries like private equity, investment management, and consumer goods.

2. Which one matters more to you, industry or location?

You need to prioritize between industry and location if there is a conflict between them. You could consider a specific industry both in the U.S. and your home country, or you could consider multiple job opportunities in either the U.S. or your country. One of my friends recruited for private equity firms around the world, not only in the U.S., and another friend is recruiting for a variety of finance job opportunities in the U.S. Industry matters more to the former, whereas location is more important to the latter.

3. Is the recruiting process different in your country compared to the U.S.?

Check out the recruiting processes of companies in your home country, and then exploit the differences in recruiting timing and processes between them. Outside the U.S., companies generally do not require as intensive networking as U.S. companies do, and they may have earlier or later application deadlines and interview schedules. You can recruit for your top two industries in multiple locations by first focusing on the initial one and then moving on to the second after the first one ends. My friend used this strategy last year, recruiting for investment banking in the U.S. and consulting abroad.

4. Do you still maintain your networks at home?

Some opportunities do not come through GTS or student groups but through your personal networks. Keep in touch with Booth alumni and other professionals in your target industry, even if you are more focused on the U.S. I have a friend who recently got an offer from a private equity firm that came through a recommendation from a friend of his from undergrad.

5. Why are you stressed out?

Look on the bright side. International students tend to focus on their disadvantages when competing in the U.S. job market, and they usually overlook their absolute advantages in their home markets. Don’t be nervous. You always have a second chance in your country, even if you don’t get a job in the U.S.