How Expectations Affect Job Hunt Prep

Uncategorized Aug 08, 2023
J. Stuart Bradley MBA, CFA
How Expectations Affect Job Hunt Prep

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Learn To Navigate Expectations as an International Student

As an international student embarking on a job hunt in a foreign country, the process can be both exciting and challenging. However, one crucial aspect that often catches students off guard is managing their expectations. In this blog post, we will explore the topic of expectations and how they can influence your job search journey. We will delve into real-life experiences, including personal anecdotes and stories of other international students, to shed light on the importance of understanding and adapting to the job market's demands.

Expectations vs. Reality: The Job Hunt Dilemma

Imagine you've just completed your studies at a prestigious university and are eagerly looking forward to securing a job offer in your field of expertise. Many international students often assume that their education alone will be enough to ensure success in the job market. However, this is not always the case. Let's look at a personal experience shared by an international student during his MBA program at Wharton.

In this anecdote, the student had the opportunity to intern at a renowned investment banking division in Hong Kong. Despite having completed a year of finance-focused graduate studies, he realized that his academic preparation did not fully equip him with the skills required for the job. This experience taught him a valuable lesson: education is essential, but it may not cover all the practical skills needed to thrive in the professional world.

The Reality Check: Gaps in Academic Preparation

The journey of another student, Harry, sheds light on the importance of understanding the specific requirements of job opportunities. Harry pursued a degree in business analytics and managed to secure an interview at a credit rating agency through effective networking. However, during the interview, he discovered that his academic background did not fully align with the job's specific demands.

This situation highlights the need for international students to be proactive in understanding the job descriptions and the context surrounding the required skills. Sometimes, job requirements may include specific knowledge or industry-related practices that academic programs might not fully cover. In such cases, it's crucial to bridge the knowledge gap through additional research and learning.

Bridging the Gap: Research Replaces Experience

The good news is that you can compensate for lack of experience with thorough research. In the context of job interviews, understanding the company's needs and the requirements mentioned in the job description can be achieved through in-depth research. This approach allows international students to gain knowledge and competence in areas that might not have been extensively covered during their academic journey.

For example, if you are applying for a position in business analytics, delve into topics such as requirements management and scope creep. Although you might not have practical experience in these areas, arming yourself with relevant knowledge and a strong understanding of their application can make a significant difference in the interview process.

Embracing Differences and Adjusting Expectations

As an international student, it's essential to realize that the needs of the job market can vary significantly from what your academic program provides. Embrace these differences and recognize that your success lies in understanding and adapting to the unique demands of the industry you wish to enter.

Remember, the interviewers are looking for candidates who align with their specific requirements. Acknowledging and adjusting your expectations accordingly will empower you to focus on what the company wants and demonstrate your competency in the areas that matter most.


In the competitive job market, international students must navigate the challenges of managing expectations and bridging knowledge gaps. Understanding that academic preparation is valuable but might not cover every aspect required in the job market can significantly impact your job search success. By conducting thorough research and embracing the uniqueness of each job opportunity, you can position yourself as a well-prepared and competent candidate.

So, as you embark on your job hunt, remember to remain open to new learning opportunities and continuously seek ways to enhance your skills. Adaptability and a willingness to embrace the differences between academic preparation and practical application can be the keys to unlocking your future success as an international student in the global job market.


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