Preparing for Business School as an International Student

In this blog series, our mbaMission Career Coaches offer invaluable advice and industry-related news to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews. To schedule a free half-hour consultation with one of our mbaMission Career Coaches, click here.

As many of you prepare to start business school in the fall, we know you are probably excited about your upcoming adventure—but also potentially nervous, especially if you are an international student coming to the United States for the first time.   

Here are some specific steps you as an international student can take now to enhance your understanding of the United States and the MBA recruiting process:

  • Connect with recent alumni from your home country or the second-year leaders of your school’s regional (i.e., geographically focused) clubs. Introduce yourself and seek their advice on preparing for your first year of business school.
  • Ask your career management office and student affairs team about the support and resources available. Do they offer specific programming for international students who want to work in the United States (or those who want to return to their home country)? Do they provide any opportunities to meet incoming students abroad before school begins?
  • Research the requirements you must satisfy to work in the United States. Seek information on which industries and companies are most open to hiring non-U.S. work-authorized students.
  • Check out the resources (articles and short videos) available from career coach Judy Shen-Filerman on how to understand U.S. culture and maximize your success in the networking and interviewing process.  
  • Think about your pitch. Why do you want to study (and work) in the United States in your target industry? Brainstorm stories from your past that articulate the reason (i.e., your motivation). These stories should demonstrate your adaptability, your ability to learn, and your ability to work cross-culturally as well as help the listener get to know you.
  • Expose yourself to topics that Americans like to discuss (e.g., sports, celebrities/TV shows, weather) as well as American slang/metaphors.    

And remember, although the recruiting process might look different in the United States than in your home country, you have a lot to offer an employer—including some really interesting and memorable stories about your global experiences. The process will take time, energy, and the willingness to seek help, but you will soon learn the nuances of the American way of job seeking.  

Have you been admitted to business school? If so, do you want to get a head start on defining your career goals? Do you need help preparing for job interviews or learning how to effectively network with your target employers? Or maybe you want to be a top performer in your current role but are unsure how to maximize your potential. Let an mbaMission Career Coach help via a free 30-minute consultation

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