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Thursday, 04 July 2019 14:06

The Benefits Of Using International Graduates

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Using the latest reports on International students’ career objectives in working for UK companies, Dr Martin Patrick, the Business Development Director at GoUni, a company that offers student/graduates interns to all  UK employers cost free, unpacks the core benefits of using international graduates’ aspirations to gain work experience that can also grow global business.

He will examine why interns offer so much to British industry by explaining how Internationals think out of the box in growing new business in their home countries by using graduates’ cultural diversity, profitably.

We need to start by asking what the value of international students’ is as interns on the UK job market.

Firstly, they bring an international and sometimes global perspective to British industry and employers that frequently evade British students who are chiefly focused on Britain. I don’t have to mention Brexit.

Secondly, International students’ are of course always bilingual and their cultural awareness of how business is run in their home countries can be of great benefit to Entrepreneurs with their eye on overseas expansion.

Thirdly, Internationals come to UK universities to learn and develop their understanding of industries on a worldwide bases rather than limiting themselves to a nationalist perception of the world they’ve grown up in, whether it’s China, India, Africa, or the 18 counties across the Middle East.

Even at this point in the 21st Century, there are people in the United Kingdom that see the world outside of our ‘borders’ as foreign. But in the United Nations of worldwide prosperity and humanist progression, we can become myopic if Britain becomes an isolationist nation that rejects educational and economic cooperation.

International students and graduates come to the UK and pay more for their tuition than UK and EU students, and as the Guardian reported in 2017, “International students were more likely to complain than UK or EU students, accounting for 23% of complaints despite making up just 13% of the student body.”

The Guardian’s research chiefly focuses on the quality of teaching and learning and what lies at the foundation of the complaints. However before I move on to focus on employability and careers, it is vital to mention that teaching and learning is not the primary level of International students’ dissatisfaction. There are also students’ complains about adjusting to life away from home and their universities lack of social support. There is a detailed report on this, undertaken by The UK’s International Undergraduate Students Competitive Advantage.

I have taught students from all over the world and in my supervision and responsibility of being a personal tutor over a 20 year period of academic research and management in education, I am aware that international students outside of UK and EU are frequently motivated by their family, their faith and their competitive determination to overturn Western ideas and perceptions of who they really are.

Internationals usually don’t go to university to discover what they want to do. They frequently go to prepare themselves for the career they want to start. As a result in my work in teaching and research training, and now in Employability and Business Development I am constantly involved to speaking to employers and students who want success to open up pathways to economic prosperity.

What does this mean? Is it the same thing for different stakeholders: or totally different goals for graduates and employers? I am continually reminded that Employment and business expansion are ‘same differences’. I see parallels. There is a stumbling block and it is significant. Many employers’ frequently lack vision. They perceive the world according to what they know, rather than striving to understanding the world they do not know. Help in overcoming this ‘learning difficulty’ is present in the UK. And the remedy is in our borders. International students’ have to understand they world they enter; and frequently have to adhere to the world and the belief systems that lies at the foundation of their society. To simplify it, you could call it a clash between tradition and transition.

On the website, Study in the UK it is made clear that UK degrees are valued worldwide. One of the highest numbers of international students studying is from China.4 Due to the fact I work with a lot of Chinese international students at universities nationwide, I know this is correct.

The major frustration that Chinese students and other internationals from Southeast Asia have is their desire to attain internships in firms across the UK, and companies’ resistance to offering internships to them. Considering British industries is striving to compete with the new power nations, like China, we stand to gain a great deal in taking on graduate and postgraduate interns who can inform MD, CEO and Entrepreneurs of trends, cultural distinctions and laws that affect trade and commerce in their home country.

In my research of International students, I read about their dissatisfactions but as it typical of media reports, there was very little concerning what happiness and pleasure lies at the heart of international students’ career aspirations. 

I speak to Southeast Asians students every day and they constantly tell me they plan to run their own business, or they want to be successful, which is why they left home to gain professional training that will expand international business skills. All of you here can benefit from their aspirations.

What do you stand to gain by taking on International interns?


*Postgraduates’ and undergraduates’ who have learned to adapt to the British working environment due to their studies and discovering how to live outside of their comfort zone where they know how their country works their parents.

*Graduates who subject training match UK students’ but whose ambition often exceeds their competitors.

*Interns that have international contacts through social media and family connections who can introduce you to investors, partners and clients worldwide.

 Consider these internship statistics from the National Association of Colleges and Employers' (NACE) 2017 Internship and Co-op Survey: they cite fifteen reasons companies should hire interns.

  1. Find future employees.
  2. Increase visibility on college campuses. This is easier for Corporates but far more difficult for SMBs and SMEs, who are not invited in to Universities.
  3. Test-drive the talent.
  4. Increase productivity. Internship programs allow you to take advantage of short-term support.
  5. Improve your employee-retention rate.
  6. Enhance perspective. Interns bring more to the table than just an extra set of hands. Especially in an organization of only 12 or 15 employees, new people bring novel perspectives, fresh ideas, and specialized strengths and skill sets. Include interns in brainstorming sessions to maximize this benefit.
  7. Take advantage of low-cost labour.
  8. Find interns free-of-charge.
  9. Give back to the community. As a small business, you likely rely on community support. Creating an internship program is an excellent way to give back. Hiring interns not only helps students in your community get started; it enhances the local workforce as a whole.
  10. Support students. Internships provide students numerous perks: They gain experience, develop skills, make connections, strengthen their resumes, learn about a field, and assess their interests and abilities. 
  11. Apply the latest in techniques and technology. University graduates’ learn cutting-edge strategies, techniques, and technology in their field. Implementing an internship program gives you direct access to recent developments. As much as your interns will learn from you, you can also learn from them.
  12. Enhance your social media outreach. Similarly, college students typically have social media savvy. They’re adept at using social media and are informed about current events, popular culture, and the best social media trends.
  13. Foster leadership skills in current employees. As current employees mentor and supervise interns, they’ll gain valuable leadership skills. This can be great training for an employee who will eventually occupy a management position. Supervising interns is often less stressful than supervising already established employees.
  14. Improve the overall work environment. With interns on board, employees have a lighter workload, more time for creative or advanced projects, and the opportunity to build confidence and leadership by guiding others. Additionally, interns often bring enthusiasm, motivation, and positive energy. This work ethic and positivity can easily rub off on others, improving the overall culture of your company.
  15. Benefit your small business. When looking for full-time work, the top talent often go for big-name businesses. But when seeking internships, learning is the leading draw. Many candidates feel they'll get more hands-on training, real experience, and mentoring opportunities with smaller organisations.

SELECTING INTERNS: Research by Target Jobs: what are you looking for? What are you offering them? What do you want from them? Let us focus on core questions because this research sometimes misses talented grads.
Firstly, here are the standard questions:

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
  2. Why have you applied for this internship?
  3. Why have you applied for an internship at our company?

    Note the subtle difference to question #2. This one places the focus on the employer. Chances are you have applied for internships at other organisations too – the interviewers suspect this and want to gauge how serious you are about their opportunity and how likely you are to take it up if they offer it to you (so they won’t have to go through the interview process again with someone else).

  4. Why do you want to work in this industry
  5. What are your strengths? 

Think about the skills or personality traits you have that will enable you to fit in with a pre-existing team. Good interns are interested in what people around them are doing and keen to learn. They ask plenty of questions but know when to let their colleagues get on. On top of this they are conscientious – they can be trusted to crack on with their work as soon as they’ve had it explained to them – and they are self-motivated enough to know what they want to get out of the internship or placement.

This study focuses mainly on motivation and suitability questions (This are designed to find out why grads want the internship and what makes postgrads suited to the position and the employing organisation). The interview may also include competency questions and strengths-based questions.

Target Jobs are one of the most reliable organisations in the field of employability advice and preparation and job searches. Now the ‘tell me about yourself’ is the elusive and one of the most difficult casual questions asked at interview. Internationals outside of Europe tend to think outside of the box when it comes to questions of this kind, because the response to this is frequently grounded in existential empirical social politics. Namely, the political system that governs their life; what shapes their choices and their perception of life due to what they observe, and what they experience and what their family has motivated them to become.

Target jobs, 95% of recruitment agencies, and Careers advisors in Universities give students’ careers advice based on what companies tell them employers are looking for. Subsequently, when graduates’ go online they are given the same advice concerning how to answer questions at interviews in the UK. This tends to foster an idealised candidate that is a solid graduate who has to become standardised.

This has restrictive consequence because: job seekers feel they must subjugate their individuality in order to fit the mould and the character companies say they employees should meet. Now I am not stating that it is absolute; I saying its commonplace. Adopting this mind-set sometimes means employers’ project an ideology and image that implies, ‘only candidates’ that think like we do will be employed by us. This notion usually creates a myth about what is a great employee and what you must be in order to be given an internship at specific companies. The aforementioned often makes non-Europeans’ think they have to change who they are to be valued by British companies. 

As a result, when employers say they ‘welcome candidates who think out of the box’, they are missing a vital source of human resources and non-western innovation: whether it’s from Southeast Asia, the countries in the Middle-East, Africa, and Latin America- because people in these regions go through the formative years of their lives learning the cultural specificity of their homeland: with its history, religion, politics, sociology, family-values, and ideas of progress, communal and personal integrity. These characteristics of human experience obviously shape peoples’ thinking. Therefore when graduates see the standard interview questions they have to learn how to think like us, and not themselves because most employers value what they know and not what they don’t know.

When you are interviewing Internationals consider what skills and experience they have that you might not be able to find in a Brit or European. When you consider the questions, ‘Think out of the Box’ allow your prospective intern to tell you how subjects and issues of the type you want to solve would be dealt with, or managed in their country.
Asked them- since they’ve done their Degree in the UK and other areas of their Further and Higher Education by in Thailand, China, Japan, India, Africa or Brazil; what approaches are used in managing or developing matters related to the subject under discussion. My mother always told me, “there’s more than one way to cook a pot of rice,’ so encourage them to be themselves where you can because that is where you might find the real value of their work ethic, their mentality, and their problem solving skills.

Internationals are desperate for employers in the UK to see their skills that combine their Western studies with their inherent education and values. Internationals come to the UK to learn more. Unlike Europeans, their second language of English may not be a fluent, but their ambition ranks as some of the highest in the World. According to Global Expansion Simplified; The biggest employment sectors are: Clean Technology, Health Care, E-commerce, Food and Beverage, Education.7 More accurately, Prospects, the student careers and advice service identify the following as the major jobs and industry Chinese students go for.

  • chemicals.
  • consumer products.
  • food processing.
  • machine building.
  • mining.
  • technology.
  • textiles.
  • transport.


The company I work for, that introduces student/graduates to employers nationwide see more UK Degree Grads and Postgrads looking for work in the areas of Finance, Business Administration, Social Media, Fashion, Film and Video Production, Engineering, Graphics, I.T, and Digital Media. Across the different Degree pathways are a unified factor. Firstly, Internationals have contacts globally that can help them shine in their work experience because they use their social media contact to aid and support themselves. Secondly, International are willing to share their resources with internship employers in order to leverage their talent with a company that might consider them a risk.

Graduates that have made friends in the UK and kept their friends in their home countries can be of great benefit to you if you are considering expanding your business overseas. Internationals can advise you of the laws, customs and regulations, as well as the inter-personal way of doing business.

The other key factor to bear in mind when recruiting for interns is that many of them come from families that run their own business and have money, influence and power. Your expansion into markets abroad may well be with the intern that your hire. We all know people, and when someone spends approx. £18K pa- Fees and £18K pa- Rent, food & books, + £1,116 = 39,116. Over three years that’s £117,348. Thus let me repeat this, their family has money!

In conclusion, companies like yours who are looking for interns need to interview candidates’ beyond what we know in Western and British culture. You have to find out what postgrads and graduate student can do for you by asking them about their goals based on their empirical epistemology- namely their observation and experience of life so that you can gain a sense of their culture, imagination, hopes, their aspirations and the studies they’ve just completed that that binds together their tradition and their transition.  Because I believe this is a way forward based on my experience of building Employer Partnerships with companies looking to hire internship and my company’s experience of providing professional career IAG to internationals.

Read 91 times Last modified on Thursday, 25 July 2019 11:43