Added Value of an ICT Internship in the Anglophone World: Perceived Graduate Employability of Generation Y


M. Gaisch - Added Value of an ICT Internship in the Anglophone World: Perceived Graduate Employability of Generation Y - Cross-Cultural Business Conference 2015, Steyr, Österreich, 2015, pp. 335-343


Internships provide practice-oriented experience to students (Fayolle and Gailly, 2008) and are intended to enhance graduate employability as they comprise three aspects: ‘hard facts’ (knowing what to do), ‘soft facts’ (knowing how to react in a specific situation) and ‘know-whom’ (knowing which network can be helpful in this process). The author of this paper contributes to both the graduate employability literature and intercultural higher education research by analysing acquired competencies related to the search, production and realisation of creative ideas developed by students born after 1980 who, by definition, are representatives of the so-called “Generation Y”. Within this age group, eight ICT Bachelor students are compared with regard to competencies acquired during their work placements in the Anglophone world, on the one hand, and at the domestic Austrian industry, on the other hand. Based on the premise that the ability to create meaningful narratives and synthesize the seemingly divergent into a cohesive whole is a key component forthe upcoming Conceptual Age, it is argued that internationally mobile students are better prepared for adaptive expertise (Bransford, Derry, Berliner, & Hammerness, 2005) which promotes flexibility, innovation and contextual thinking.While internationally mobile students were found to possess traits of “expert thinkers” (Pink, 2005) whocan creatively meet unprecedented challenges, they had difficulty in assuming the role of “complex communicators” (Pink, 2004) who can effectively analyse, clarify, persuade, and convey multiple and conflicting interpretations of information. Interestingly, internationally mobile Bachelor students tended to perceive both dimensions as an important factor for employability whereas those students who did their work placement at a local company displayed substantial lack of ethnorelative awareness and disregarded aspects of intercultural sensitivity and introspective reflective practices while at the same time stressing the importance of the ‘know-whom’ aspect.