Going International? Here’s Some Recruiting Advice…

Every year MBA Career Management pounds the pavement and makes hundreds of phone calls and visits to companies collecting essential information for you about recruiting plans, candidate qualifications, industry trends, and expectations for the upcoming year.  We also put a significant focus on connecting with firms across the globe to source job opportunities and gain insight into the employment market outside the U.S.

In the last three years alone, we have done strategic concentrated outreach to companies in Brazil, Western Europe, and, this year, China and Hong Kong.  We share the information we have gleaned from these conversations with you via emails, company notes in CareerPath, and region-specific workshops.

Additionally, our office engages Wharton’s global alumni population and provides students with opportunity to coordinate informational meetings with alums via our “Global Chats” program. This year we surveyed the members of the Greater China Club to understand their career interests. We learned that private equity, investment management, and engaging with start-ups are high on their interest list.

In response to this, we are planning a visit to China and Hong Kong to meet these companies, with the goals of increasing awareness of the Wharton brand and establishing new relationships. If you are interested in recruiting in China, please join this Thursday, November 12 at 12:00-1:20pm in SHDH 211, for our “The Job Search in China” workshop.  We will provide recruiting advice and specific industry nuances to help you prepare better.

Several important pieces of advice arise every year when we talk to international firms.  While many of these recommendations are pertinent to every job search, they are especially prudent for the global job seeker:

Fluency is Key:  No matter the country, the first thing employers often look for is someone who is fluent in the local language – both spoken and written.  You need to be able to speak the language in which the company’s business is done, and most international companies are multi-lingual.  It is often a bonus if you have experience with the local dialects as well.

Know the Market and the Culture:  This is especially important for industries like CPG and retail – you need to know your customer, their expectations, what challenges they face, what is intriguing to them, etc.  This involves doing your research and often having on the ground experience.

Network, Network, Network:  International firms often run on a less than traditional recruiting timeframe and hire on an as-needed basis.  Word of mouth is often a key component in terms of sourcing positions and learning about what jobs are coming around the bend.  Developing a relationship with a recruiter, HR representative, or alumnus who will advocate your candidacy and notify you about job openings is crucial.

Understand Immigration Policies:  Immigration policies country to country are confusing at best and change with the political climate.  If you are targeting a certain country, start your research on work authorization, policies, and visas early and keep tabs on any changes.  GoingGlobal, a resource that can be found on the MBACM website, can help you with your research. Specific to China, visa sponsorship is easier to obtain for international candidates that have offers from local companies.

Be Able to Explain Your Value Proposition:  The value of an MBA fluctuates company to company and region to region.  As part of our outreach to international firms, we often have to explain what skills, experience, and impact an MBA can have at their firm and recommend projects and positions that would be beneficial.

So you too need to be a proponent of what you can do for the company and what you bring to the table.  Be clear about how you can help, what problems you can solve, and answer the key question of why they should hire you.  In the case of Chinese employers, they look for both strong technical and soft skills for management jobs.

MBACM Advisors are always happy to help you develop your global job search strategy and share advice and insights on targeting international firms.  As always, feel free to schedule an appointment or stop by an advisor’s office hours.

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