The Value of International Education to U.S. Business

Study abroad experience is widely recognized among senior management as having the potential to cultivate valued skills and desirable personal qualities in new recruits. In a recent survey, ninety percent of senior management who reported studying abroad during their own careers also reported a hiring or promotion strategy that actively sought out and rewarded study abroad experience. This suggests that individuals with personal experience studying abroad are more likely to place a higher value on the study abroad experience of a potential employee. However, appreciation of study abroad experience in recruitment is not limited to management with personal study abroad experience: 60 percent of all respondents reported that the hiring and promotion strategy of their companies acknowledge the importance of a study abroad experience.

Many respondents raised a crucial point that the importance of a study abroad experience is not merely the act of studying in a foreign country. Rather, the significance of international education often resides in the opportunity to partake in an intensive language program coupled with the prospect of developing skills that result from complete immersion in a foreign culture. Respondents also provided concrete suggestions for how companies can better recruit students with international experience, including for example, working more closely with study abroad offices to enhance recruitment possibilities, providing corporate-sponsored internships or scholarships, and increasing international opportunities and assignments for new and existing staff.