Blending into your B-school’s Culture – A Guide for International Students

According to a new study published last week by the National Communication Association, international students studying at American colleges aren’t blending into the school’s culture as well as they could be.  From over 450 students polled, 40% of international students wanted more meaningful relationships with U.S. students, but had not yet made close American friends.  This is bad news for everyone involved, but especially for the international students who are missing out on the necessary experience of networking with people from different cultures, as well as missing the “full experience” of their chosen program.

So, why are foreign students having trouble fitting in?  Researchers think it could be because of language barriers, culture clash, or time constraints.  But we don’t buy it.  As an international student studying in an American b-school, you are smart, determined, and open-minded, so you’re GOING to make it work.

Your education doesn’t just take place in the classroom or in your study groups, so let’s cover what you can do to maximize the MBA experience:

1. Join student groups.  Clubs, committees, whatever interests you.  The key here is to network with students with similar interests.

2. Attend networking events.  Everyone’s there to meet new people and make those professional and personal connections, so take advantage of the opportunity.

3. Do more than study with your study group.  Plan a social evening, go out and have fun!

You don’t have to wait until you’re in bschool to put this into practice.  Look for networking events in YOUR city, and take advantage of them!  There are PLENTY of different people out there looking to connect, so get into the habit now.  If nothing else, it could even give you an experience worthy of an app essay.

The Tuesday Q&A: Maximizing International Experience in an MBA Application