For MBA graduates in the U.S., competing for jobs is one thing – but when you’re from another country, the competition often gets tougher. Annually, 85,000 H-1B work visas are put up for grabs by the American government and spread among companies throughout the country so they can hire foreign workers. This year, 233,000 applications were made for those spots, which include 20,000 dedicated to holders of U.S. advanced degrees, and are awarded by lottery.
Carlos Mendonça, a 2014 graduate of the Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business and native of Brazil, was one of the lucky ones to lock in a company’s sponsorship for his work authorization. Still, securing his position as a program manager with Microsoft hasn’t, in any way, been an easy feat. From hoping to be on the winning side of the lottery for an H-1B to language barriers during interviewing, international students have myriad hoops to jump through to obtain authorization to work in America.
After spending six years working in Brazil’s technology industry in both software development and product management, Mendonca came to the U.S. in 2012 with plans to advance his career. His decision to come to America and pursue an MBA was also driven by his long-time interest in consulting.
As graduation drew near, Mendonca underwent the hectic recruiting process to secure full-time work post-Tuck. He was open to both staying in the U.S. to work in tech or packing up and moving back home to work in consulting.
CRISS-CROSSING THE COUNTRY TO MEET OFF-CAMPUS RECRUITERS
“While some companies do come to campus to recruit, international offices of the consulting firms ask you to travel to hubs such as Chicago, San Francisco, New York, or Boston,” he says. “That was my case. Tuck did, however, allow me to travel and reschedule exams or other missed work to accommodate the recruiting calendar.”
Mendonca says only a few companies would do on-campus recruiting, including Microsoft and Amazon as well as big consulting firms in Brazil to which he was applying. “But for other companies that don’t do it–Google, Apple, and Salesforce to name a few–it becomes a matter of flying to company headquarters for a day’s worth of interviews,” he says. “Although first round interviews happened on campus, second rounds almost always required traveling to headquarters or one of the hubs.”
And there are plenty of other realities of recruiting as an international student which are salient and sometimes harsh.