Career Concerns of Chinese Business Students in the United States: A Qualitative Study

By Liu, Xin | Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, September 2013 | Go to article overview

Career Concerns of Chinese Business Students in the United States: A Qualitative Study


Liu, Xin, Academy of Educational Leadership Journal


INTRODUCTION

According to the Ministry of Education of P. R. China, a total number of 284,700 Chinese students studied abroad in 2010, and there was a continuous growth in this number compared with the statistics in previous years (Mu, 2011). An increasing number of Chinese students are choosing to study abroad. China is becoming the largest source of international students for the higher education in the U.S. (Fei, 2011).

Prior research (e.g., Mu, 2011) has reported that Chinese overseas students generally face a great number of challenges such as difficulties assimilating when remaining in the U.S., trouble readjusting to life in their home country when returning home, or dissatisfaction with their salary. No research, however, has specifically investigated the career concerns of Chinese overseas students in business programs, even though it is a growing population in the higher education of the U.S. (Choudaha & Chang, 2012).

The aim of this study is to enhance insights into the job concerns of Chinese business students in American higher education using a qualitative approach. This study takes an exploratory perspective and investigates the career concerns and needs of Chinese business students who plan to return home or stay in the U.S. after completing their education. To find the answers to the research questions, open-ended interviews were conducted with 10 Chinese students in the business school of a large public university.

Such research is important as it can help Chinese employers and multinational companies to develop appropriate recruitment policies and training programs for Chinese overseas students. Because China has long suffered from losing its overseas talents (e.g., Nawab & Shafi, 2011), it is necessary to explore factors that might impact the career concerns of Chinese overseas students. A greater understanding of such factors might better enable Chinese employers and multinational companies to provide these overseas students with better working opportunities.

A study of career concerns of Chinese business students in the U.S. is also needed because career development programs have seemingly failed to meet the requirements of Chinese overseas students (e.g., Dietz, Orr, & Xing, 2008). More research may help improve the quality of career development training provided to Chinese overseas talents.

Finally, this study can assist educators and career counselors in designing adequate career services to Chinese business students with their job search (e.g., Crockett & Hays, 2011). With the rapid growth of Chinese students in business programs of American higher education, educators and career counselors of American universities and colleges are facing increasing challenges in responding effectively to Chinese business students. Such research may generate significant insights with respect to the career services of international students. It is important for universities to know whether it is necessary to provide separate career services for students with different cultural backgrounds.

The next section reviews prior literature. The third section explains how interview data were collected and analyzed. The results are then reported and discussed in the fourth section. The final section provides a summary and discusses potential implications.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Chinese overseas students pursue their own degree with extraordinary costs as most of Chinese students studying abroad are privately funded (e.g., Chen, 2011). As such, Chinese overseas students become increasingly cautious in their job search. The career concerns of Chinese business students studying abroad may be influenced and shaped by many different factors. In order to make sense of Chinese business students' career concerns, it is necessary to identify the factors that have an impact on their job search.

A few studies (e.g., Musumba, Jin, & Mjelde, 2011; Reynolds & Constantine, 2007; Shen & Herr, 2004) have specifically examined the factors that have an impact on the job search of international students, and have suggested that the certainty of career, major choice, and environmental factors (e.

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