‘Two-thirds of European CEOs have international experience’

International experience enriches your career and yourself. The network of relationships you build is worth its weight in gold. But these are not the only benefits; you also have a better chance of securing a top position.

International experiences seem indispensable for top positions. Twothirds of the CEOs of Europe’s 100 largest companies have had international experience during their careers. And the number of board directors who have worked abroad during their careers is still on the rise, increasing by 10 percent in the last decade. In the Netherlands, as many as nine out of ten CEOs have overseas experience.

Increasing globalization

The growing importance of international experience for a top position is understandable in the context of globalization. Organizations are increasingly dealing with foreign customers, shareholders and supplier networks spread around the world. When you have international experience, your resume is immediately more appealing. But that is not the only career advantage. Studying and working abroad enables you to accelerate your self-development and to build a valuable network. Moreover, overseas universities may offer courses and qualifications on certain subjects or at certain levels that you cannot find at home. And studying abroad often kicks off an international career by providing a wealth of professional experience and –yet again- an international network. By placing yourself in a new environment, you literally broaden your horizons.

Flexible and open

Providing you are still free from obligations, such as a mortgage or family responsibilities, your student days are often the ideal time to get on the right track for an international career. But they are not easy to build – you have to overcome practical problems and cultural barriers. Leading abroad requires you to be flexible and open to unfamiliar ways of working. But if you only have yourself to rely on, you can really get the best out of yourself. By broadening your perspective, you increase your value for your current and future employers. This whitepaper provides advice on how, with sufficient preparation, patience and perseverance, you can confidently face an international career.