Assuming that UK business is shortly going to be aiming to increase its business relationships with countries beyond the EU these international students have many strengths to offer UK businesses. They are here in the UK for an educational course, but very many of them also want to work and understand how UK businesses operate.
A good way of learning is by experiencing, not just learning from UK businesses but contributing by helping businesses access the students’ home countries.
Clearly, they will be fluent in their home language, so at the lowest level, they can provide translation services. They and their extended families are based in the country they have come from, so they have an inherent understanding of local ways of doing business.
They and their family will have many business connections and those they do not have can be accessed using social media.
But they can do far more.
If a market assessment is wanted of a country as a potential new market, then the regulations of that country need to be understood, potential new competitors need to be assessed and experts in that particular country found to team up with. These are all areas where we could draw on international students.
Many UK universities have entrepreneurship groups who are very keen to work for and with UK businesses. Each business will have to appraise the various strategies and choose the right strategy for their company every time they approach a new country. It is not a case of one size fits all. Again, international students can be a great help with this.
David Trodden is a member of the LSCA Business Board and a tutor in accounting at the London School of Economics & Political Science
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