Department

Leadership

Date of Paper/Work

2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work

Dissertation

Advisors

Thomas Fish, Ed.D., Richard Sathe, Ed.D., Fr. Jean-Pierre Bongila, Ed.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to understand the study abroad experience, as it relates to employment, from multiple perspectives in order to gain insight into how the study abroad experience prepares accounting students to work in a global economy. Studying abroad has been recognized at the national level as an important component to internationalize the curricula for institutions of higher education. The study explored the interactions that accounting students have with employers and university personnel about their study abroad experience. Dramaturgy, symbolic interactionism, transformative learning, and transformative leadership provided the framework for the study.

A qualitative case study methodology with a phenomenological approach, incorporating interviews about differences in perceptions of the study abroad experience, resulted in findings about how the study abroad experience influenced the careers of accounting students at a Midwestern University. Thirty-four interviews across accounting students, accounting graduates, accounting faculty advisors, and other university personnel provided the foundation for the analysis and the variety of perspectives validated the findings.

Having study abroad experience does not automatically lead to obtaining an accounting position, but it can help students gain some of the skills they need in their careers. However, accounting employers do not currently consider the study abroad experience as a sign of a good employee. Nevertheless, students can draw from their study abroad experience when demonstrating their skills to employers in an interview, and employers are impressed when students can describe what they learned from their experience. Accounting students could gain additional benefits from studying abroad if they think about the impact on their careers before they go abroad.

Keywords

study abroad, soft skill development, hiring decisions, employer perceptions of study abroad

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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