In the United States, international students can account for anywhere between 20% and 80% of enrollment within Master’s degree programs, so it is an important part of Relish’s mission to support those students with the specific resources and job opportunities that are relevant to them. In that spirit, we recently organized and hosted the 2023 International Student Recruiting Event, a two-day virtual career fair specifically designed around the needs of job candidates seeking visa sponsorship.
The challenge for international students is a simple statistical one: the United States offers a limited number of long-term work visas each year, and applications for those limited visas require an employer willing to pay associated sponsorship fees. To further complicate matters, the most commonly sought work visa – the H1B – is awarded via a lottery system, which means even the most qualified and well-prepared applicants need luck on their side to be successful.
Over 4,000 candidates registered for the event over the course of two weeks, and this audience offered a representative sample of the international student populations at graduate business schools:
- 57% male and 43% female
- 80% originating from Asian countries (41% from India, 20% from China, all other less than 5%)
- 91% of candidates studied at a program with STEM-OPT certification
- The average work experience was 3.7 years
- 53% of candidates were studying for their MBA degree; 19% in Finance; 8% in Business Analytics, 7% in Marketing, and all other degrees accounting for less than 5% of attendees each
- 77% of candidates were from the class of 2024; 20% from the class of 2023; and the remaining 3% of candidates had a graduation date before 2023 or after 2024.
To facilitate the event, the Relish team spent hundreds of hours researching open positions and historical visa sponsorship data to identify relevant jobs and employers. Through this work, the team was able to identify hundreds of qualified internships and full-time job openings, which were posted to the event job board. Over the course of the event, candidates viewed these jobs over 16,000 times and submitted over 5,000 applications.
The event also featured immigration lawyer Allison Kranz, who hosted a presentation on visa sponsorship strategy for over 250 students and provided 1-on-1 support to dozens of international candidates through their live chat booth during Day 2’s virtual exhibitor hall.
The exhibitor hall also hosted a number of recruiters from participating employers, who spent six hours on Day 2 engaging in 1-on-1 chats with candidates seeking positions at their firms. Over 24 hours-worth of chats took place during Day 2, with over half of these chats leading to additional follow-up and interactions between candidates and recruiters.
These engagement statistics were a strong indication of successful connections between candidates and employers, and in our post-event survey 70% of candidates rated the event as “Satisfactory” or better. Despite the significant challenges involved in finding relevant opportunities for the international students population as well as the short timeline for preparation (less than a month), our first ever virtual event dedicated to international student recruiting was a big success. The Relish team is looking forward to building on the success of this event by hosting future events for international students and continuing to expand the Relish platform to help job candidates of all types find the best opportunities available to them.