US & Canadian Employers Value [selected…] UK Degrees

http://usablog.britishcouncil.org/?p=1068:  from blogger for the British Council:

The survey revealed that an overwhelming majority of hiring managers (73%!) view UK degrees as “the same or better than those earned in the US.”  The same or better!  That is a whole-hearted endorsement of a UK degree if ever I heard one.  But prospective employers valued more than just the degree. The research also identified core-learning elements that employers liked, and associated with the UK higher education system. These included the tutorial style of learning, earlier specialization in specific subject areas, and increased independent study.

… But there are also lessons that UK universities can take from these results and apply to raise that number even higher.  Ipsos acknowledged that the high favorability of UK degrees might be attributable to a “halo effect” cast by top UK universities like Oxford and Cambridge, and did not reflect a deep understanding of the UK education system.  That would be the equivalent of all international employers assuming that any US degree is the same as one from Harvard or Yale—it simply does not account for the tremendous diversity of higher education system as a whole.

Well, there are certainly large disparities in all societies when it comes to perceptions of “value” of degrees from particular academic institutions.  Nothing new about that.  I was surprised to learn that this issue has apparently not been widely researched in the UK.

Canadian Community Colleges Successfully Lead to Employability

This article in the Washington post presents a stark contrast between our two nations with regard to the role of community colleges in preparing students for entry into the workforce:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/canadian-2-year-colleges-show-path-to-jobs/2012/01/25/gIQAkhtZaQ_story.html

Hugely popular for emphasizing practical skills that lead directly to careers, community colleges — most of which simply call themselves colleges, as opposed to universities — get much of the credit for making Canada second in the world in the percentage of young people ages 25 to 34 who hold some sort of postsecondary degree, according to a 2011 report from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. More than half of all Canadians have such degrees, and half of those went to community college.”

Two years at Canadian colleges does not appear to have the stigma that attending community colleges has in the U.S.  In fact, this article highlights the success “colleges” in Canada have had in placing students in jobs they’ve been trained for –an outcome which is not found universally with the U.S. two-year system.  I’m no expert on our community colleges (although I did work at Rockland CC for three years in the 80’s), but, in light of the current debate on whether or not the value of our traditional four-year degree has been tarnished in the current recession, this article does present new evidence that we need to strengthen our own “alternative” to four years of college for students who seek an affordable  fast-track degree which prepares them -in a more direct way- to enter the workforce.  I’m not now going to enter the debate about the value-added of the U. of Phoenix et al….!

Book Review in International Educator

You can find my reviews in the International Educator magazine several times a year:  http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nafsa/ie_20120102/index.php#/22 .  This one is on integrating study abroad into the curriculum.  The book challenges the traditional orthodoxy that study abroad, in and of itself, completes a campus strategy for internationalization.

Greek Economic Crisis Impacts Student Mobility

We have a sweet spot in our heart for Greece- our daughter studied abroad with College Year in Athens her Junior year at Penn.  The gut-wrenching economic crisis has created tremendous unrest and hardship. And it has dramatically altered the future for Greek students: see http://www.economist.com/node/21542815 for insights into the new problem of brain drain.  “Since 2008, ever more young people have gone [abroad] often to foreign universities.”  University graduates face dim employment prospects with youth unemployment now at 47%.  In the coming decade, Greece’s population will age as its workforce shrinks – and its best and brightest build careers overseas.

 

China to Evaluate College Majors by Employability Rates

In this post to the Wall Street Journal – http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2011/11/23/china-to-cancel-college-majors-that-dont-pay – we learn that China’s solution to the nagging issue of growing unemployment of college grads is simple: assess which majors do best in realizing employment for grads.  Keep those and cancel the rest!  China’s numbers of university-educated jumped to 8,930 per 100,000 in 2010, up nearly 150% from 2000, according to their 2010 census.  This surge, “has contributed to an overflow of workers whose skill sets don’t match with the needs of the export-led, manufacturing-based economy.”  Is this kind of curricula triage coming soon to a campus near you?  Has it already arrived?

“Cultural distance” Presents Problem in Finding Talent for MNCs in China

This interesting post from Wharton – http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=2903 – highlights the gap between the expansion of multinationals in China and the capacity of China’s education system (and ours) to prepare young professionals to meet the challenges of working in the country.  The good news is the growth in the number of Chinese students abroad – about 200,000 in 2010 – along with a 30% increase over 2009 in the number studying in the U.S.  The article cites the development of innovative new inter-university linkages as illustrated by the China Europe International Business School hiring its new dean from the Harvard School of Business.  The complexity of learning Mandarin and fully adapting to the cross-cultural nuances and norms of doing business in China are a barrier to success for U.S. managers.  Chinese staff have difficulty in successfully using the English skills they may have learned while abroad after returning home.

These are certainly not new issues, however, they take on new importance with the explosion of bi-lateral ties between China and the U.S.

I think this issue will continue to be a challenge and an opportunity for U.S. universities, Chinese academic institutions and the business community for a long time to come.

How global workforce development leverages opportunities for U.S.grads & Indian start-ups

Great to welcome in 2012 with an article in the Washington Post which speaks very directly to the inter-connections of  global workforce development with U.S. higher education!  See this piece at http://www.washingtonpost.com/rw/WashingtonPost/Content/Epaper/2012-01-01/Gx4.pdf.  Here we see the new draw of high-tech start-ups in India for U.S. grads willing to risk re-location coupled with the way in which U.S.-educated Indian professionals can utilize their ties to their alumni institution ( in this case the University of Pennsylvania) to secure the talent they need to grow their business.  I see this as a growing phenomenon in the case of both India and China in coming decades.  How telling to see Indian companies recruiting U.S. talent!  The old fear of brain-drain is gone.  The borderless economy opens doors in all directions.

Outcomes of Studying Abroad: What You See is What You Get

From the Chronicle of Higher Ed, researcher Mark Salisbury (12-16-11) is reported to find that there may be “other” [albeit none are discussed…) means to more cost effectively build student cross-cultural skills and intercultural competence than to study abroad. Really?  Most international educators I know understand that not all modes of overseas study are designed to equally impact “domains” of student intercultural competencies.

As I’ve written, campuses must design their international programs with desired learning outcomes in mind; you cannot simply provide an opportunity for a student to study in a classroom overseas and expect that this experience, by itself, will produce measurable changes in cultural awareness, linguistic competency, or a reduction in xenophobic views.

It’s a little like the man lost on a road somewhere in Maine who stops at a fork in the road to get directions. He asks someone he meets who simply says, “depends on where you want to go…”  Right. If campus administrators are not clear about outcomes they want to achieve in their study abroad programs, students will not get there on their own.

Navigating the Job Search After Study Abroad…

http://www.studyabroad.com/articles/navigating-the-job-search-after-study-abroad.aspx:

...In the current tough economic climate, there’s intense competition for jobs in every field.  The question is how well prepared are you to compete and what can you do to stand out among your peers when the time comes to conduct a job search in your senior year?  Of course, internships and service-learningin the U.S. or abroad offer unique opportunities to build important skills and competencies, but studying abroad has many unique benefits which you can leverage.  If you carefully assess and analyze the outcomes of your time abroad, you’ll want to do more than just add the experience itself to your resume….

The Purposeful Connection of an Internship to Student Career Development

These are my notes from my webinar presentation conducted by the Sub-Committee on Work, Internships and Volunteering Abroad of NAFSA, Nov. 15, 2011 “Integrating the Internship Experience Into Long-Term Career Development”

A NEW RATIONALE FOR EDUCATION ABROAD —

  • Given the impact of globalization in the workplace, and in light of the new skills in demand by businesses, nonprofits and government, it’s to a student’s advantage to consider the career implications of what may be a once-in-a –lifetime educational experience.  Today’s global marketplace demands increased adaptability, cross-cultural sensitivity, political awareness and intellectual flexibility.
  • Globalization’s impact on workers and the workplace has leaped across national borders and transcends cultures.
  • Businesses are taking a more active interest than ever before in the outcomes of education abroad experiences as they struggle to build a sophisticated and informed workforce
  • Employers, especially those doing business internationally, are interested in whether or not a job applicant demonstrates that as a result of their  internship – or other international experience- they have developed the requisite skills and sensitivity that makes them stand out as the strongest candidate for a particular job.
  • The challenge facing students is to successfully translate what they learned abroad into accomplishment statements on their resumes, and to effectively articulate and clearly describe these skills during their job interviews. 

STUDENTS NEED TO MAKE A PURPOSEFUL DECISION TO UNDERTAKE AN INTL INTERNSHIP—LINK IT TO STUDENT CAREER GOALS OR PREFERENCES

It’s important that students not only discuss their interest in an international internship with an advisor in the Study Abroad office, but, also review their decision in terms of their overall career plans – so speaking with an advisor in the Career Services office will be useful.  Even if a student has not yet settled on a clear career path and feel it’s too early, there is much to be gained in having a conversation with a career advisor about plans to study abroad.  Think it through at each stage:

  •  When you are deciding: build opportunities to see connections between study abroad &  your career goals
  • When you are abroad: build opportunities to describe & analyze impacts of new intercultural competencies that you are developing
  • When you return to campus: build opportunities to re-frame and articulate what you have learned

WILL EMPLOYERS VALUE AN INTERNATIONAL INTERNSHIP? Yes, but not the experience itself; they value what is learned, how the student gained new skills such as language competency, increased cross-cultural knowledge and sensitivities, and critical thinking and analytic skills.

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