October 4, 2013

Career Advice for International Students

Our careers are a big part of our lives. A successful career does not only mean good compensation, in my opinion, it is a source of your happiness and a good utilization of your creativity and talent. Everyone has his or her career choice, career path and way of success. I summarized three pieces of advice from my daily conversations with international students. I hope you will find them helpful.

Don’t Limit Yourself!
To stay or not to stay? The answer is not that easy, obviously.

As international students, we always talk about whether to stay in the US after graduation. Staying in the US to get some international work experience would definitely help with our future career. However, there are also very good opportunities outside the US that we do not want to miss.

Through my study at Weatherhead, I gradually realize that as an international student, we should see ourselves as more global. We study abroad and travel a lot, which should give us more confidence to embrace the diversity of the world and be more adaptive to working in different countries and with different people.

Now my answer to the question above is: Don’t limit yourself! Don’t narrow your mind by thinking about staying or not staying in the US. Welcome all opportunities, because it is through these that we develop ourselves, no matter where we are.

Go With Your Heart
It is always a trade-off to choose what we really want to do and a getting a job. As international students, it is even more challenging if we want to look for a job in the US, because sometimes we have limited choices.

I also hesitated a lot before I made up my mind. I am very grateful that Weatherhead offered us a class in Individual Development as part of our MSM Finance Curriculum. We discussed a lot about what we really want to do and what our strengths are. It is really helpful to have these kinds of reflections. I believe that only after you have full self-awareness that you can find the right goal in life and be happy.

So go with your heart when you choose a career for yourself: what resonates to you, what makes you excited. It might take a little longer for you to discover this, but trust me, it is really worthwhile.
Alumni Reception at the Union Club '12

Network As If It Were A Lifetime Job
Many international students will be surprised to find that after arriving to the US, people tell us: ”If you want to get a job, you should network.” I didn't understand that because I never did it before to find a job in China.

It took me a little while to understand the “networking” logic so popular in the US. In the end, I feel really grateful that Weatherhead has taught me this lifetime skill.

As international students it is not only in the US that you need to network. If you want to have a successful career, the most important thing is to be able to establish and develop a network through building relationships. The objective of networking is not only to find a job but also to meet new people that we can relate to and learn from. Networking also helps us learn more about the real world, which is supplemental to class learning, thus just as important.

Enjoy networking.

Yi (Frances) Shi, MSM Finance '14, International Contributor

Yi (Frances) Shi is an MSM Finance student from China sharing her experiences at Weatherhead as an international student.


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