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By Marty Tillman

Even though we finally have good economic news for the Class of 2015, this remains a confusing topic to write about. There is clear evidence of the financial gains for students with BA degrees versus those without the credential, and yet there is also incontrovertible research showing that employers (largely surveyed in the private sector) believe that students are graduating without the skill sets that they need to be hired (especially true in the technical fields).

A January 2015 survey conducted on behalf of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, titled “Falling Short: Selected Findings from Online Surveys of Employers and College Students,“, includes data from a reported 400 executives at both private-sector and nonprofit organizations (rarely covered in such reports), and 613 students from both 2- and 4-year institutions.

Here are a few findings that I find especially significant:

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By Melissa Vivian and Alex Paisner

In today’s world of international education we spend much of our time with a very important demographic, millennials. From program promotion to onboarding, preparation, and on ground support, there are “old school” and “new school” technology solutions that will resonate, or not, with the students that we work with. Let’s take a look at some of the best platforms for reaching students in the manner in which they’re accustomed.

First, let’s define the term “millennial”

For many people, generalizations and stereotypes are the first things that come to mind when thinking about millennials. Depending on your study, those born between the years of 1979 and 2003 are categorized as the millennial generation, putting anyone between the ages of 16 and 33 in that category. Simply put, millennials account for 95 percent of our students and an increasing percentage of our offices. By 2025, millennials will account for roughly 75 percent of the U.S. workforce! They are the present in the university system and they are the future of the workforce, and as such, finding effective means of communication is incredibly important. Let’s run through some of the most effective mediums through which you can communicate with millennials as it relates to international programming.

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Sora FriedmanBy Sora Friedman

In my current roles as a teacher of international education and a member of the NAFSA Region XI chair stream, I am often asked about the value of an advanced degree for international education (IE) professionals. When does one need a master’s degree? Will it facilitate professional advancement? What value can a doctorate provide and how does the deep dive into a more focused area help in one’s work? This blog will explore these questions, taking into account that there is no one formula that works for everyone.

Do I need a master’s degree to work in the field of international education?

Many IE professionals agree that today a master’s degree is the minimal credential needed in the field. Whether in higher education administration, area studies, international management, international education, or another related field, a master’s level study provides you with needed skills that likely were not part of your undergraduate education. Learning about comparative educational systems; how to design and deliver a mobility program; training and advising skills; the structure and function of educational systems (e.g., administrative roles in higher education, accreditation requirements, the needs of faculty); the content and implications of accords, agreements, and legislation such as the Bologna Process, Generation Study Abroad, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; as well as how to conduct thorough and ethical research are all curricular learnings that advanced study can provide.

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Samantha MartinBy Samantha Martin

We train students to learn from failure abroad, while we ourselves are feeling afraid to fail at work. We coach students on how to spot a “teachable moment,” like misspeaking in another language, committing a social blunder, or missing the bus. We tell them how to cope with failure using humor, curiosity, and humility.

Yet where are we, as international educators, given permission to try and fail?

We can’t learn from failure when it’s never okay to fail. An example that comes to mind is being asked to produce new results without permission to try a new approach or tool. Similarly, the underlying message of “this is the way it’s always been done” buries new ideas before they even have a chance to emerge.

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Jodi SimekBy Jodi Simek

In October 2014, I participated in the prestigious Baden-Württemberg (BW) seminar in Germany, which has proven to be one of the most beneficial professional development experiences in my career.

For those unfamiliar with the Baden-Württemberg seminar, it is a weeklong training program sponsored by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research, and Arts in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. In cooperation with the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) and NAFSA, the ministry invites 15 international educators and registrars from throughout the United States to learn about the education system in Baden-Württemberg.

While at the BW seminar, our group visited a number of German universities where we discussed a wide variety of approaches to higher education with German advisers, directors, and coordinators. We were also able to meet both German and American students, visit facilities, and learn about the institutions. Each day we were escorted to our site visit by members of the international office at Heidelberg University to gain an understanding of how their international office is organized. For example, one of my responsibilities at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, is working with the Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program (BSMP), so it was really neat to talk to the staff at Heidelberg that also work with BSMP.

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ashley glennAshley Glenn
It was my first time to the NAFSA annual conference, also my first year in the field, and I traveled to San Diego alone.

Attending NAFSA can be overwhelming in the way family reunions show how far your family name extends and how few people you know. Not knowing anyone, it is tempting to stand at the edge of the room, walking in only for hors d’oeuvres (which I did at one of the receptions).

My first time at NAFSA, I was determined to get involved. For this to happen, I needed a plan, a master list. Many boxes would need to be checked. A few weeks after the conference program arrived, I decided to start the process. This would require an Americano and a few hours of reading through session descriptions, poster topics, volunteer options, and more. Similar to planning a trip, I needed to think strategically to make the most of my time.

This moment of strategy arrived when I saw that the Career Center would be offering a case-study challenge. This was the fulcrum by which to focus my week. I now had a conference conversation starter—”have you heard of the case study challenge?”

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Mitch GordonBy Mitch Gordon

Let’s set the stage: You have received an e-mail/phone call inviting you to interview with the international education organization of your dreams. While an accomplishment, the most important part is yet to come. You’re feeling understandably nervous; you want to prepare for the interview and put your best foot forward. While not a comprehensive list by any means, I hope the advice below will inspire you to be your best self and ace your interview. Good luck!

Ask Good Questions During Your Interview
Asking good questions is one of the best ways to make a lasting impression. The right questions demonstrate that you understand the business and reflect an ability to think critically. What, you may be asking, qualifies as a good question? That’s a good question in and of itself! I’d place interview questions into two broad categories. First, questions you can prepare for. Second, questions that arise from the interview itself. In the first category, ask questions that show you understand the position you’re applying for and that provide insight into long-term business goals.

For example: “What do you hope the person in this position will achieve over the next two years?” The best thing you can do is research the organization in a genuine, interested way. As you research, ask yourself what it would take to do amazingly well at the job you’re applying for. Excellent questions will naturally emerge from that type of introspection.

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By Ellen H. Badger and Shawna Szabo

Did you miss our earlier blog post, “How to Use Networking and Informational Interviews to Start a Career, Further a Career, or Change a Career?” You’ll find it here .

As we mentioned in that post, informational interviews can lead to a “foot in the door” when it comes to starting or advancing a career in international education. Now we reveal five tips for a successful informational interview.

  • Do your research regarding the person with whom you’ll meet. A quick Google search can give you some great conversation starters about their past publications or presentations in the field.
  • Dress to impress. This may not be a formal job interview but you want to be sure to make a good impression.
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Mitch GordonBy Mitch Gordon

Interested in finding a job in international education? You’re not alone. Finding a job in international education can be incredibly competitive. That fact may be surprising when you consider this: The tangible benefits aren’t very impressive. You should expect a modest salary and benefits, limited opportunities for advancement, and sometimes long working hours and travel. Why, you may ask, are these positions in such high demand? Because you’ll be doing meaningful, rewarding work that has a real impact on real people. With the above in mind, how can you make your goal a reality and find a job in international education?

In applying for a job, there’s no perfect formula. However, there are some best practices to follow that will help your application stand out from the crowd, increase your chances of getting an interview, and ultimately boost your chance of receiving a coveted job offer.

Start Your Search Before You Need the Job
The worst time to look for a job is when you really, really need one. Start now. How? It’s a lot easier than you might think. People in the world of international education are an extremely friendly, passionate group. Get to know them better. Form relationships with people at organizations and companies you respect.

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By Bob Ericksen

The trickiest part of figuring out if you are “management material” is being honest enough with yourself to determine your readiness. I asked someone the “are you ready?” question last year at the conference and the response was “I deserve it! I’ve had this job for 11 years!” Sorry, wrong answer.

For sure, time and experience are key factors in developing good managers. More than that, however, good managers share skill-sets, attitudes, and world-views that provide them with the leadership skills necessary for success. Key among those is what I’d call “‘Big picture’ thinking.” Today’s blog post will focus on this area, along with tips for building this skill right here at the conference.

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