7 Replies from Mentors
PeterJunior Year StudentFairfield UniversityYes, I think that it really counts. It says a lot about a person. Many people can say that they like to think outside of the box or are interested in a country, but if you are willing to go there and live there for five months out of the year it shows that you are serious and are really willing to try different things. Therefore, your potential employer will be more willing to take a chance on you compared to another student with similar qualifications that hasn’t been abroad.
Paul A. CamutiFormer President and CEOSiemens Corporate Research, Siemens USA[We live in an] increasingly complex global economy…to succeed in business, we need to work smarter and faster in addition to acquiring new skill sets and a better understanding of geographic differences… American graduates in science and engineering, in particular, must become accustomed to collaborative work across cultures, traditions, and languages in order to stay relevant in the coming years…
A list of what the engineer of the 21st Century will need to succeed would look something like this:
Good communication skills, including multiple languages
The ability to work in teams
Cross-cultural sensitivity and knowledge; social awareness
Capacity to handle complex systems
Business acumen and sense of Entrepreneurship
Tim CorcoranFormer President, Sales & Service North AmericaZF Industries, Inc.The most valuable assets at ZF are those employees that can communicate in more than one language…
Every new engineering, manufacturing, sales, and service position we fill at ZF, we actively seek bilingual applicants… Bilingual employees not only allow us to communicate in the native language, but also allow us to understand the culture and value systems that influence commercial relations… We even offer financial rewards to employees in positions where fluency in another language is critical…Fluency in a 2nd language should be considered a requirement for an engineering student.
Michael EskewFormer Chairman and Chief Executive OfficerUPSMr. Eskew, has named six traits he is looking for in future employees: trade literate, sensitive to foreign cultures, conversant in different languages, technology savvy, capable of managing complexity, and ethical.
Georgia Institute of Technology's 2006 CIBER Conference on Language and International Business, Matters of Perspective: Culture, Communication, and Commerce.
Hans HoellerFormer Vice President of Corporate Recruiting and SourcingSiemens AG, Corporate Human Resources…Our business becomes more and more [of] a global business! Therefore, working at Siemens means being exposed daily to cultures and languages different from our own…[Employees]… will work in world-wide teams, [be] confronted with…other ways of thinking, [and] other ways of working everyday…Therefore, …students who are [involved with]… an International Engineering Program…are the employees companies like ours need to be successful today and in the future…
Stanley RothVice President of International Government RelationsBoeing CompanyThe Boeing Company recognizes that it needs international education to be able to operate. And the ability to communicate easily in the language of the country, to go to the media, to conduct your meetings with senior corporate colleagues or government officials, is invaluable.
…overseas experience [is important]. You're not going to be able to hire enough people like me to parachute them into the company and to run all the businesses. Essentially you need…a group of people who are comfortable working internationally, who like working internationally, who have the skills so that they can be sent to Italy on this assignment, and then sent to China on the next assignment, come back and run a factory in Seattle and maybe move to world headquarters in Chicago afterwards… I think GE…recognize[es] that if you haven't punched the international ticket, you're not rising to the top of [the] company. International is a fundamental position of getting to be a successful executive in a company…If you are going to be a global company, international education and experience has to be high on the list.
AshleyJunior Year StudentLoyola Marymount UniversityYes, employers definitely take this into consideration. I have already been on numerous interviews since I returned back to the states and they have been greatly interested in my experience abroad. Many of them have asked about my internship experience, so if at all possible, do an internship while abroad. Having a successful study abroad experience illustrates to workers that you are a well-rounded person that can adapt well to new environments and new types of people.