The buzz on the street for recent MBA grads is ‘go east, young man.’ And many of the newly anointed are attempting to join China and India’s blossoming markets, which have come through the fire of last year largely unscathed. Gone are the days where the inevitable march after graduation led to Wall Street or Silicon Valley. The action for young, educated grads is in Beijing or Shanghai.
In a recent Business Week article on this exodus to the east, a 32-year-old former Oracle employee described China as “like the wild, wild west…there’s so much happening over there.” And it seems that Chinese recruitment officers are sensing this as well, and are now routinely arriving at the top business school campuses around the U.S., vying to poach young talent. This would have never happened five years ago. The same is true for South Korea, and India. It seems the financial epicentre after the recession has, indeed, moved.
For many graduates, the lure is in the chance to get in on the ground floor of industries that have long lagged behind the U.S. and Europe, but are now catching up. The Chinese are also working hard to develop strong home-grown brands and relying less on western models. But, it’s also a sign that global experience will really be the calling card for the future of young businessmen/women– the game isn’t just in America anymore, and the opportunity to work in a truly multi-ethnic environment is very alluring.
Companies like IBM and Citibank realize the importance of hiring ‘global citizens’ and are eagerly expanding their bases – young recruits, too, are believing in words like ‘international exposure’ and ‘global skill sets’, not just using them to plump up CV’s. They’re necessary, now, to really make an impact in business in the coming years. To quote the Rotman School, Florida, ‘the best and brightest are leaving.’ What will happen to the next decade’s businesses in the US and Western Europe is anyone’s guess, but my bet is that the next Google or Apple inc. will not be coming from California.