You are preparing to embark on a grand adventure and you want to make the most of it. So plan this excellent opportunity with your career in mind.
Consider your long-term goals: What do you want to gain from the experience? What makes your destination a strategic choice for you? How it will help you stand out from the pack during recruitment?
Study abroad can enhance your resume and strengthen your effectiveness as a new employee—if you approach it with these goals in mind.
Your Study Abroad Story
Consider the study abroad story you want to tell recruiters. For instance:
"I chose to enhance my degree by experiencing first-hand the way companies and their employees operate in an international environment. I traveled to a strategic location for international business, interacted with people from another culture and took a course at a top school that contributed to my degree plan while offering a non-U.S. perspective. I am now confident in my ability to succeed in a variety of unfamiliar situations.”
This statement successfully addresses
- Strategic thinking
- Problem-solving ability
- Tolerance for ambiguity
How will your study abroad relate to your major, your degree, your career interests? How will studying abroad enhance your academic experience at McCombs? Goals can also be related to personal development. Are you hoping to gain confidence by leaving the U.S. for the first time, or being on your own in an unfamiliar place? In what way does studying abroad take you out of your comfort zone?
How is preparing for study abroad causing you to grow? Have you had to come up with a creative argument to get your parents to agree? Have you had to persevere for funding? Are you planning any business-relevant activities that go beyond the program?
Is your destination strategic from a business perspective? Is it a hub of international commerce? Is it home to companies or industries relevant to your major? Does being there give you perspective or professional contacts you couldn’t have gotten at home? Are you interested in working there in the future?
Before You Leave
Interview international program alumni to find out what they found useful about studying abroad during their job search and career.
Organize a business discussion group for your program before you go.
Review and discuss books about business overseas and compile questions to ask during company visits
Contact McCombs alumni living in your destination country and meet with them to discuss their experiences.
Keep a journal, beginning with your expectations of your destination country. This will help you identify the changes you’ve undergone, what you’ve learned, and remind you later of stories detailing challenges met and problems solved.
Five weeks passes quickly. Once abroad, you’ll be caught up in the excitement of the experience and the challenge of academic work. Establishing strong goals beforehand will keep you on track. For more help planning your experience with career in mind, come by the International Programs office.