Business school hiring consultant to help international students find work

Media Credit: Dean Whitelaw | Photographer

Salah Hassan, a professor of marketing and brand management, organized a workshop last fall for international students to work on their personal branding.

Updated: Feb. 15, 2019 at 12:05 p.m.

The business school is hiring a new staff member to help more than 1,000 international students get a job after graduation.

Officials at the School of Business’ Fowler Career Center posted a job opening last week seeking an employment consultant for international students who will focus on building relationships with employers domestically and around the world that may hire international students after they graduate. Officials said the position will add to the business school’s ongoing effort to help international students get hired in an increasingly difficult job market, especially in the United States.

The new consultant will create a recruitment strategy to encourage businesses to hire international students by working with executives and recruiting managers in corporations and networking with faculty and staff, according to the job description.

“The core responsibility of this role is to aggressively build relationships with regional, national and global employers and alumni for ultimate recruitment of GWSB international students and graduates,” the job description reads.

University spokesman Jason Shevrin said the position is part of an ongoing push to support international students through their careers with new programs and staff dedicated to helping the group.

The business school announced plans in 2016 to expand its support for international students by providing interview workshops focused on English language development and hosting roundtable discussions and a student networking series. The business school enrolled more than 1,000 international students this year, a slight dip from the two years prior but still nearly 60 percent higher than the roughly 640 students it enrolled in 2009, according to institutional data.

Shevrin declined to say how the consultant will develop a recruitment strategy and how many new relationships with employers the consultant will create, deferring to the job description. He also declined to say when the position is expected to be filled.

He said international students told officials they appreciated the opportunity to meet with industry experts and work on their networking skills over the past two years.

“They also have expressed appreciation for GW’s networking events and customized programs designed to help them develop networking skills used in the U.S.,” he said in an email.

Salah Hassan, a professor of marketing and brand management, organized a workshop last fall for international students to work on their personal branding. He said the career center helped him host the event with the Arab-American Business and Professional Association to introduce students to the culture of searching for a job and selling themselves.

“The trade association that we did this program with was really interested in targeting international students because of the fact they are new to the experience of professional branding within a different culture context, and helping them get exposed to that type of thinking will be useful,” he said.

Hassan said business students generally do not realize that they need to start marketing themselves as early in their careers as possible to land a job.

“There is a myth always about marketing yourself and people think that you have to have the product first, that they have to have the diploma first and I tell my students that I think it’s too late,” he said.

Bonnie Pierce, a visiting professor of international business, said GW provides support outside of the business school to international students regarding the immigration process. There are four workshops centered on obtaining a visa scheduled for the spring semester, according to the International Services Office website.

She said acquiring a work visa is often one of the most difficult parts of the job search for international students. Work visas often require sponsorship from an employer, and some companies are unwilling to sponsor international students, she said.

Some employers are hesitant to sponsor foreign employees because they fear a short-term commitment, have enough American applicants or do not know much about the visa process. Betting on a foreign worker who requires a visa is also risky because H-1B visas, the most common type of work permit, are issued through a random government lottery system.

The process of sponsoring an international student can also cost up to $10,000, according to International Student Careers, an online tool to help overseas students find work.

Anh Do, the International Student Association’s director of career support, said the business school has hosted some career workshops for international students this year, including a networking event the student organization co-sponsored last fall.

Do said she helped organize a workshop last semester where a speaker presented on networking skills and students were then given the opportunity to practice with peers and business school career counselors. She called the event “pretty successful,” estimating that it drew more than 30 students.

The Fowler Career Center and the ISA has plans for more events this semester, including a mock interview competition and panels for alumni to talk to students about going through the visa sponsorship process, she said.

“As a student who is planning events to serve other students, I know there are a lot of difficulties,” Do said. “I think if you want the University to be more engaged, the students themselves should be engaged as well.”

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Hassan worked with the marketing association Dynargie to plan an event. He worked with the Arab-American Business and Professional Association. We regret this error.

Editor’s note:
This post was also updated to clarify one of Hassan’s quotes.

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