The PIE: What makes Pace University international students different from students at other universities?
Marvin Krislov: Pace international students are go-getters, they’re ambitious, hardworking, determined to succeed, and they really want to come to Pace because of our combination of education and hands-on training and experiences. And, of course, New York City is the greatest place in the world to leverage those.
What I really admire about our international students is they’re fearless because going to New York City when you’ve never lived here, it is a big move and it’s a courageous move. And, of course, it’s great for us because we benefit from the talent and the energy that our students from more than 120 countries bring.
The PIE: Why is it so important that Pace has such a diverse mix of students?
MK: [International students bring] their experiences to bear to class. Our US students need to learn about the world, and one way to do that is meeting people from other backgrounds. International students have different perspectives and insights.
“This year I’m told that we have students from countries that we’ve never had before”
If you grew up in the US, you may have assumptions about the way the government works, about the way the economy works, even about cultural things. This last year, we have not had study abroad, of course. And so I think that it really benefits our entire community when we have students from 120 countries. And this year I’m told that we have students from countries that we’ve never had before. And I think Kaplan is a large part of that outreach across the globe.
I’m a big believer in our 10-year partnership with Kaplan – the Kaplan folks really understand us, understand what Pace offers, and they also understand the students. And so they really work to find the right fit for the students and to make sure that they’re a good fit for us and we’re a good fit for them.
We make sure that international students are fully part of our community, both in the classroom and in the broader community, whether it’s in activities, in internships and jobs. And we want to make sure that international students are fully part of this community.
The PIE: Can you give some examples of what Pace has done over the last 10 years to help international students shape their futures?
MK: We really take providing career opportunities to international students seriously. My data says that 92% of our international students from the class of 2020 were employed after graduation. We have one of the largest internship programs in the New York metro area. That positions [students] well to get a position after they graduate as well. That track record is very helpful.
And we really focus on identifying opportunities for international students and we are always talking to employers about the value of hiring international students.
Some international students may or may not want to stay here, but for the ones that do, we really look hard to help place them. In this new era, this administration, I think international students are going to find opportunities that they might not have found previously.
“We try to work with our great alumni network to try to help place international students”
We also have a great alumni network and we try to work with that network to try to help place international students.
The PIE: Are they both in the US and overseas?
MK: We have a powerful alumni network in the US [and of our] roughly 150,000 alumni, the vast majority are in the US. Many are in the tri-state region, although we also have significant numbers in places like California, Florida, Texas and major metropolitan areas.
We also have significant alumni across the globe, in Hong Kong, China and India, for instance. And we’re building that. The use of technology [allows us] to connect even more easily with international alumni and students.
The PIE: How do you connect with employers in China and in India?
MK: Employers are international… they love to have students who could work in the New York office and then are interested in going back to India. And I know that’s true for China as well. The economy is truly global and so are most of the biggest corporations.
I think JPMorgan Chase is our biggest single employer, but we also have very strong relationships with other big accounting companies. We have a lot of people at the tech companies, finance companies. A lot of students are aspiring to go to [big multinationals]. But then there are many people who go into smaller, less well-known companies and have wonderful opportunities.
The PIE: What is the most important thing a university can do to ensure that international students are ready for the current workforce?
MK: One of the things that we’re continuing to do strategically is really try to think about what the opportunities are – we are creating some new programs for instance, our master’s degree in cybersecurity, a streamlined MBA, new undergrad programs in business, accounting and data analytics. We are always looking at which programs are desired.
“International students absolutely can benefit from our upskilling approach, whether it’s changing careers or sharpening their skills”
We just started a program for people at a big accounting firm to upgrade their skills in tax. International students absolutely can benefit from our upskilling approach, whether it’s changing careers or sharpening their skills. Of course, it also can hook them into an employer network that they might not have otherwise had access to.
I think global literacy and understanding of different cultures is going to continue to be more and more a part of what businesses will want and what workers will need to have.
Our Career Services Office has a program called INSPIRE, which is required for all international students, and stands for International Student Professional Readiness Education. There are in-person and online workshops to help with resumes, a career fair, panels and networking, and a special app.
I don’t know of any other school that has this kind of a special program targeting international students, really to take them from soup to nuts, as they like to say, of the process.
The PIE: You mentioned students might find more opportunities under the new administration. How do you feel about brand USA as a study destination now? You seem quite optimistic.
MK: I am optimistic. I think the new administration has been very welcoming in terms of the global economy, trying to reach out to other countries. I think the message is very clear, that we welcome international students and exchanges, and that’s very much a part of the outlook.
I think that the challenge short term has been dealing with the pandemic and how to deal with exchanges in a safe and healthy way. But I think that as this administration has opened up [so far] very successfully.
Fall 2021 is [going to be] an exciting time to be in New York, in this country.
The PIE: That welcoming message is resonating with international students, I think, but in terms of employability and post study work opportunities for international students, is that something that should be widened in the US?
“The truth is the US has a labour shortage in many areas”
MK: There are a lot of employers looking for workers, including highly skilled workers. Just anecdotally I heard about a major law firm that is paying a finder’s fee, if you can bring an attorney to them, because there’s a shortage of talent. That’s an anecdote, of course, but one hears over and over of employers that are asking for people to come work for them and our career office has been very clear that there are lots of opportunities, including for international students. You know, the truth is the US has a labour shortage in many areas, so the employers are ready and willing to hire international students.
The PIE: Is OPT too limiting in terms of which areas international students have an opportunity to work in?
MK: Look, I think the higher education community has been really clear about the importance of OPT. And I think we’d like to see it broadened. And that’s a discussion that’s going on.