The Road from Education to Employability

International students often choose to study in the United States in hopes that an education abroad will boost their career prospects. How are U.S. institutions meeting those expectations?
Photo: Amanda Large/Stocksy
Karen Doss Bowman

For Shela Usadi, the dream of living and working in the United States was a key factor driving her decisions about college.

Usadi left her home in Indonesia in December 2012 to enroll at Seattle Central College in Seattle, Washington. As she prepared to complete her associate’s degree in May 2014 and began considering where to continue her higher education, she meticulously researched potential employers and studied employment data from the four-year universities that offered her admission. Usadi chose the University of Minnesota (UMN)’s Carlson School of Management, partly because of the school’s postgraduation employment track record. 

“The employment rate after graduation [from Carlson] was always really high—usually around 97 percent,” says Usadi, who graduated in December 2016 with a degree in finance and risk management and a minor in management information systems.

“[When making my decision], I primarily looked at the employment statistics for the past 5 years for all the universities I was admitted to,” she says. “It also was essential for the university to have a great career center equipped with resources that specifically cater to international students.”

Many international students like Usadi place potential career outcomes at the top of their priority list when making decisions about higher education. Most students who study in the United States arrive with hopes of landing a job with a company based in the country—at least for a few years. A 2017 study by World Education Services (WES) found that 73 percent of international students were motivated to select a

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