How immersion experiences can help you stand out from other candidates

  • June 14, 2024
  • By WashU Olin Business School
  • 4 minute read

The world of business has never been more global. In previous generations, it was sufficient to know your side of the street—to find a niche in your local, regional, or, at most, national market and dominate it.

Today, even as the taste for "buying local" has gained traction since the pandemic, we still live and work in a globalized world. Consumers communicate with loved ones, strangers, and brands on the other side of the planet without a second thought.

What does this mean for students aspiring to become leaders in these global times? At Olin, we believe incorporating an international perspective enhances the effectiveness of our MBA program, complementing the invaluable expertise of our in-classroom teachers.

How do global immersion experiences prepare students for success?

A global MBA program enables students to develop world-class business and leadership skills while imparting life lessons that can help set graduates apart from other potential candidates in the job market.

The first benefit of a global immersion experience is the opportunity to learn about teamwork in an international context. Graduates will need to navigate numerous human elements as they build their careers, from communicating with various personalities during a project to collaborating remotely with people from different cultures. A global MBA program also provides students with practical, on-the-ground experiences in locations vastly different from those they are familiar with.

One of the most crucial outcomes of a global MBA program is teaching students how to adapt to fast-moving, ever-evolving environments and thrive within them. Students might collaborate with a finance manager one day and an engineer the next, taking an interview call from New York one minute and conversing with a local Barcelona business the next. This versatility and adaptability represent the true value of a global immersion experience; indeed, the journey itself is the reward.

Olin's global MBA program

Olin's resources are deliberately crafted with an international and job-market focus. The faculty and staff aim to prepare students for the global stage, equipping them to present their skills and experiences in compelling and clear ways. Our global immersion program stands as a prime example of how Olin exposes students to new, international contexts. Our program is further supported and enhanced by a range of on-campus and off-campus features, ensuring a well-rounded, comprehensive educational experience.

The Center for Career Engagement distinguishes itself with its international outlook and dedication to preparing students for global-minded hiring processes. This commitment extends to comprehensive support services tailored for international students, with the Writing Center and Speaking Center offering free, personalized coaching to enhance their communication skills. The Center for Career Engagement provides a secure and supportive environment for all students aiming to improve their writing and speaking abilities, ensuring they receive the ongoing support they need.

Additionally, our MBA interview coaching is designed to assist students in formulating compelling interview responses and effectively articulating their program experiences. This preparation ensures they can clearly and passionately communicate their experiences during interviews. The Center for Career Engagement adopts a holistic approach to career planning, encouraging students to deeply consider their professional aspirations. By partnering with a career coach, students receive personalized guidance to explore global career opportunities across various organizations, industries, and functions, enabling them to craft a mindful career narrative.

Global immersion experiences, emphasized in Olin's MBA program, prepare students to stand out in the global job market by offering real-world, international learning opportunities. These experiences enhance students' abilities to adapt, collaborate across cultures, and develop versatile business and leadership skills. Olin recognizes the significant impact and importance of global immersion, understanding that learning in diverse environments can cultivate skills in ways that classroom learning cannot.

How can graduates communicate these experiences in the job market?

Global immersion experiences are extremely valuable for students learning how to lead. When considered thoughtfully, they can showcase students' talents and prove their ability to adapt to new environments. But how can students and new graduates communicate and highlight these experiences during an interview or hiring process? Here are two of the most important tips we've learned through our MBA interview coaching program:

Be as specific as possible. When working in international settings, interviewers are likely to interact with a wide array of diverse individuals throughout the hiring process. To distinguish yourself from the competition and convince potential employers of your capability to operate in a global context, it's crucial to be as specific as possible when describing your experiences.

Emphasize concrete data and details over vague anecdotes. Mention the size of the company you collaborated with, identify the clients you served, and detail the outcomes you observed. Quantify your achievements and contributions where possible, such as the percentage increase in sales or efficiency improvements you helped realize, to provide a clear, measurable impact of your work.

End with a takeaway. Conclude each experience you describe in an interview with a takeaway—a key piece of learning you acquired. This approach demonstrates to employers that you can face challenges, learn from them, and apply your newfound knowledge in new contexts.

Reflect on what you are most proud of learning from a particular workplace. What insights or skills have you developed that you feel are most valuable? Identify the one thing you will carry with you into your next position and most importantly, what you learned from others. This could be a specific skill, a mindset, or an approach to problem-solving. Articulating this takeaway clearly shows potential employers your ability to reflect critically on your experiences and highlights your continuous growth and adaptability, qualities that are highly valued in global business environments.

The benefit of a global MBA program is that students can practice international experiences in the real world, while also learning how to communicate what those experiences mean to them and their careers.  

About the Author

Washington University in Saint Louis

WashU Olin Business School

Firmly established at the Gateway to the West, Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis stands as the gateway to something far grander in scale. The education we deliver prepares our students to thoughtfully make difficult decisions—the kind that can change the world.

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