By Raul Najera Bahena
An article published by the King’s College of London “Why Overseas Experience is Important” states the reasons why overseas experience can make a difference in your future career- this type of assignments helps you gain a competitive advantage among your peers such as gaining a new perspective, learning a new language, bringing out your adventurous side, taking on a global mind-set and creating a new network from across the globe, among others.
The author suggests that “Experience overseas provides priceless opportunities, allowing you to build direct and indirect skills that employees look for in job seekers.” Spending time in other countries either working, studying abroad, volunteering will prove to recruiters across the globe the willingness to learn, the ability to adapt to new cultures, and your education. Global companies will put you at the top of their list because your overseas experience will show the quality that their companies have the need to continue expanding.
In May 2016 I graduated from the University of Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in International Business with a concentration in Economics and a minor in Spanish. In September 2019 I joined the part-time MBA/ MS program (Investments/ Finance) at Northeastern University.
After graduating from the University of Aransas I was offered an internship with Santander Bank Mexico at its headquarters in Mexico City as a Global Investment Banking Summer intern. It was a six-month internship followed up by a job offer as an analyst. However, I turned it down because of the limitations that there were placed for me to continue growing within the company and the industry in Mexico. I was born and raised in Mexico, but I have not been back for about 9 years- for me, it was culturally shocked being back to my own home country since I have been living in the US for a long period of time since high school. I was expecting to apply what I learned in college into my internship or at least get hands on the projects my team was working on- but instead, they had me working only on minimal tasks such as PowerPoints and a few translations (from Spanish to English and so forth), etc.
Having some limitations at work did not stop me from enjoying working overseas. This experience was so rewarding for me- I had the chance to see my own home country from a different perspective- Every weekend I would travel to different parts of the city, or even out of state to learn more about their culture, try different cuisines, and experience the real Mexico instead of the one the media talks about every day on the news. I built a strong network with coworkers and friends in Mexico City and even though Spanish is my native language, my professional Spanish was not that great (since my adult education was in English), hence; spending time in Mexico helped me polish my Spanish.
During my internship I realized that I wanted to continue traveling I realized that I have a great passion in the field of finance. Also, I realized that I want to work in some other parts of the globe in the next years to come- I love learning new cultures, languages and I can adapt quickly to new environments. Once my internship was over, I decided to come back to the US for a few more years to gain experience, continue networking, attend graduate school- and eventually take another or several overseas assignments. I decided to pursue a personal strategy for “boutique employability that built-in in my passions and capabilities.”
First, I elucidated my core, including the overseas experience as one of its dimensions. I have a great passion for personal finances and the impact it has on my client’s lives- and I do have a big passion for personal investments and the impact of capital markets (the reason I took the internship in Mexico City) have on our daily lives. I enjoy helping my clients to fully understand their life priorities, identify and recommend solutions to help them achieve their financial goals.
Then, I have had a few talks with my current employer about the future of my career- I have shared the experiences that I have had working overseas and the impact it had on my life. I currently work for the consumer/ small business unit of the bank and my plans are to pursue a career with our capital market business unit. My goal was to connect with the desired employer and place my core in the context of the challenges and circumstances of the company.
Next, I capitalized on my multi-dimensional profile for generating value for the company. I showed that I am able to grow within my team by increasing our portfolio of small business owners and continue offering more solutions to their business- this has positioned my team in the top 5 in the market. My overseas experience was a part of the competencies I brought to the table.
It all empowered me in the feel that I have taken charge of my career and what I want to happen in the years to come. I have set a short- and long-term plan. Working overseas has helped me realized the power that brings to my career and how it sets me aside from other candidates. The skills that I learned in my internship are now being applied in my current job and will help me tailor my career for the next journey in my professional life.
About the Author
Raul Najera Bahena is a part-time graduate student at Northeastern University, where he is trying to double-major with an MBA in investments, and an MS in Finance. Also, he currently works as a Personal & Small Business banker for a major bank in Boston- his job is to help small business owners meet the unique priorities of their small business clients, including managing cash flow, improving their business, managing employees, banking with convenience, and achieving their personal financial goals. After his graduate school he plans to work in the field of capital markets or wealth management and pursue the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.
LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/raulnajera/
Why overseas experience is important. (2018, May 4). King’s College London. https://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/why-overseas-experience-is-important-2