The Perceived Value Among Employers of College Study Abroad for Engineers

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Engineering graduates of the twenty-first century must be worldly and understand how to work with professionals from many cultures on projects that cross international boundaries. Increasingly, employers are finding that prospective employees who have studied abroad make better, more rounded candidates than those who have no life experience outside of their home region. The objective of this study was to determine whether engineering students who participate in a major-specific, study abroad experience are more desirable as candidates for employment than those who only study at their home institution. This descriptive study surveyed the membership of the combined Industrial Advisory Boards ... continued below

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Heiden, Christopher H. August 2012.

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  • Heiden, Christopher H.

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Engineering graduates of the twenty-first century must be worldly and understand how to work with professionals from many cultures on projects that cross international boundaries. Increasingly, employers are finding that prospective employees who have studied abroad make better, more rounded candidates than those who have no life experience outside of their home region. The objective of this study was to determine whether engineering students who participate in a major-specific, study abroad experience are more desirable as candidates for employment than those who only study at their home institution. This descriptive study surveyed the membership of the combined Industrial Advisory Boards of the University of North Texas College of Engineering (n=90) which is a focused group of skilled managers and directors that represent various businesses, industries and organizations. The survey yielded a 58% response rate. The evaluation was validated by a survey that searched for a perceptual trend among representatives from business and industry who are in a hiring capacity for engineering graduates, evaluating a major-specific study abroad experience as part of a graduate’s employability and career growth. Statistical Analysis was made on Companies whose scope of business is domestic and international comparing the perceived value of study abroad as a characteristic for hiring new engineers, as well as comparing the perceived value of foreign study or work experience on the career development of engineers. These tests indicated that at the 0.05 level there was no statistical significance in the findings. Additional analysis was made on groups of employees that either had foreign experience (work or study) and those that did not. These tests indicated that there was no statistical significance in the findings. Analysis of the data indicates that although having a major specific study abroad experience may not be important at the entry level, it becomes more important as an engineer progresses into mid-career. It could also indicate change in the business climate and a growing need for global awareness. Additional observations show that other co-curricular activities, such as internships and grades weigh more in the hiring of a new engineering graduate.

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  • August 2012

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  • March 4, 2013, 2:02 p.m.

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  • Nov. 16, 2016, 11:54 a.m.

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Heiden, Christopher H. The Perceived Value Among Employers of College Study Abroad for Engineers, dissertation, August 2012; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149606/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .