Scotland welcomes 1,000th networker

April 23, 2004

The 1,000th member of a Scottish networking scheme for international postgraduates hopes to open doors for Scottish businesses in Latin America as well as boosting his own career prospects.

Eduardo Vega from Mexico, a Chevening scholar studying for an MBA at Edinburgh University, is the latest member of Scottish Networks International, a British Council-managed scheme that promotes networking and work-placement opportunities for overseas students.

Some 400 postgraduates compete each year for 80 SNI places, with about 30 staying on to do work placements after graduating. This number is likely to increase under the Fresh Talent initiative launched by Jack McConnell, Scotland's first minister. This will allow overseas students graduating from Scottish universities to stay for an extra two years to seek work.

Mr McConnell, speaking last week at Columbia University in New York to celebrate Tartan Day, said: "We are the only European country that is trying to attract and retain fresh talent. We are increasing the money we provide to attract and support overseas students."

Mr Vega, an accountancy graduate of the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, said Fresh Talent reinforced the SNI initiative.

"It is a great opportunity for international students, who will help develop the Scottish economy, foster new start-ups and help a more open trade mentality," he said.

Mr Vega said he had chosen to study in Edinburgh because of the prestige of its MBA and its emphasis on business strategy.

"It has a very international intake of more than 40 different nationalities, which makes it very interesting. Most have at least five years' work experience and you also learn from your peers."

A Scottish work placement would enhance his CV whilealso giving Scottish industry information about foreign markets, he said.

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