Generation Global

When working for a big multinational company, you will be faced with tasks that require intercultural sensitivity and skills to work in such environments. No surprise there, as we are talking about those “multinationals”. But even smaller businesses that haven’t spread their branches to other continents or even other countries, require you to meet this demand. “International compatibility” (how I would like to call it in this post) is something that I haven’t missed in one job-offer that I have seen in a while.

This requirement is always directly connected to international experience in your education or prior work experience. When I think about my friends and fellow students from Uni, I’d say that vastly more than 50% of them meet this demand. But when you trust statistics, only 15,2% of German students in 2009 had this kind of experience (http://www.news.de/wirtschaft/855106950/bachelorstudenten-haben-weniger-auslandserfahrung/1/).

Obviously, there is a big gap between the supply and the demand of international experience of recent Uni graduates, when you compare these stats with employer-expectations. So, I’m wondering: Is it truly compulsory? Does it have a negative impact on your application if you don’t have it? Or the other way around does it have a positive impact if you have it? Or does it make a difference if you have extraordinary international experiencing instead of “just” some kind?

I’m pretty sure that recruiting departments are not searching for certain professional skills when asking for international experience, but the personal development you went through during that time. But is this something that you have necessarily made, when living abroad? And is it something that you definitely can’t have if you haven’t lived in a foreign country? Also, were does internationality start: Does a semester in Belgium provide a Dutch person with the same cross-cultural skills like a 2 months internship of a Mexican guy in Norway?

I would like to hear your opinion about this topic, because I’m not sure how to handle it in the application process in a general way. I made these international, cross-cultural experiences myself and they had a large impact on my personality.

So: international experience – YES! But is it really the only thing that is important?

Sebastian

  1. Alexey Mitko
    September 1, 2012 at 1:59 am

    How important is international experience on entry level? A company had to choose between two graduates who are equally skilled, they would certainly choose one with international experience, but to what extent can international experience fill a skill gap? Let’s say you had to choose between an internationally experienced student who has B+ and a student who has A average.

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