Having a significant level of international experience is viewed by industry as a requirement for consideration. Even in the recent past, international experience would have been a differentiating factor, but today this is a must-have. If a candidate cannot work well globally, his or her chances at gaining employment at a multinational corporation are slim. I look for candidates who have traveled extensively and preferably worked in a foreign country in an internship or co-op. Beyond that, I also want to see candidates who think globally. This frame of mind is one open to new experiences, open to travel, open to diverse cultures and diverse thinking, and most importantly, one with a strong natural curiosity. - John Fowler, ISS Technology Development, Lexmark International
Recently conveyed by a hiring manager at a major tech-oriented company, this statement attests to the fact that employers are increasingly seeking college graduates with global perspectives and strong intercultural communication skills. To help better prepare our students for this economic reality, Georgia Tech offers the International Plan as an optional degree designation.
Why should I earn the International Plan designation? What value does it add to my education and career development?
• The IP provides a unique opportunity to develop a global understanding of your major while learning about the complex cultural, economic and social contexts in which you will work post-graduation.
• The IP offers you the framework to incorporate diverse subjects into your degree requirements, providing you with a well-rounded education.
• The IP asks you to explore the global implications and applications of your specific field.
• The IP “forces” you to go abroad for a longer period of time than the average study abroad experience, enabling you to have a deeper and more culturally immersive experience.
• Through the extensive time spent overseas, IP students may acquire the ability to understand and adapt to cultural differences, as well as the ability to work in diverse teams.
• The IP encourages you to develop proficiency in a foreign language.
• Through IP experiences, students may gain highly-valued skills such as resilience, adaptability, resourcefulness, creativity, and the ability to view problems from multiple perspectives.
• The IP enables students to set themselves apart and establish themselves as young professionals who are ready to take on the challenge of the global workplace.
I feel much more equipped to interact with people from any international background. While working in research and development for the oil industry, I found that there was a demand for my willingness and capability to work on cross-cultural teams. Oil companies have field positions in over 100 countries, so my ability to adapt and respond well to new cultures is critical – Hannah Oermann, ’13, B.S. Mechanical Engineering – International Plan
Living abroad forces you to think outside the ‘American box’. My internship abroad gave me excellent skills and overall looked very good on my resume when interviewing. Every interviewer commented on my International Plan experiences and said that I have a very diverse resume. - Christopher Norris, ’13, B.S. Computer Engineering – International Plan
Regardless of whether your career takes you to Chicago or Shanghai, it is a fact that the workplace is becoming more diverse and that businesses will continue to expand across the globe. The ability to succeed and lead in these environments will serve you well throughout your career.
While you know that your International Plan experiences have had a profound impact on you personally, academically, and professionally, it is imperative that you know how to communicate these outcomes to potential employers. For tips on how to articulate the value of your IP experiences, please download this worksheet.