Why students should fear a Trump presidency (and why they shouldn't)

With news of Donald Trump’s shock election victory still reverberating around the world we examine what a Trump presidency means for students and graduates
Commercial awareness
Politics and economics

With the dust still to settle on Donald Trump’s shock victory in the US presidential election, Americans (including the many millions who didn’t vote Republican) will be asking themselves what the result means for their future.

They‘re not alone – such is America’s role within the global economic and political ecosystem this momentous development is likely to impact countries and populations far and wide. 

The UK, with its historically strong trans-Atlantic ties, will be no exception, and for students and graduates just embarking on their professional careers, the next few years look set to be extremely interesting in more ways than one. 

Here are some of the key ways that Trump’s presidency could impact you:

Economic Prospects

As every man and his dog are aware, Trump is a vehement opponent of free trade. The US is the world’s largest importer, shipping in around $2.4 trillion worth of goods each year from overseas. Disrupting this flow threatens to violently upset the world’s trade ecosystem and to put a severe dent in global economic growth. 

While the president-elect has reserved most of his vitriol for America’s trade partners south of the border and across the Pacific, Washington’s trade agreements with the EU will also come under scrutiny. 

This mightn't necessarily be a bad thing for the UK as it begins its protracted exit from the Union. 

With his British roots, the New York native is a self-confessed anglophile and 

a favourable trade deal between Britain and its largest export market would be a major coup for the UK’s economic prospects. It would certainly assuage some of the fears of foreign investors spooked by Brexit and help to stabilise the pound. 

As Sino-US relations sour, there may also be an opportunity for the UK to strengthen its own trade ties with China – a robust economic relationship with the world’s two biggest economies would lessen the blow as Britain edges out into a post-Brexit future.

Trump fear factor: 3/5


Trump cleverly made jobs the cornerstone of his election campaign, promising to put millions of blue collar Americans back to work in the manufacturing and heavy industry sectors.

While this isn’t necessarily good news for job seekers in Mexico, China or other manufacturing-dependent nations, as a predominantly services-led economy, the UK doesn’t automatically fall into this category. 

In fact there may be some positives: Trump has also promised to lower corporation tax and scrap taxes on profits earned by US companies overseas. US multinationals – including the Big Four and the bulge bracket banks – are among some of the UK's leading graduate employers.

It’s possible that, under Trump, these companies will be incentivised to invest and grow their operations overseas.

Trump fear factor: 2/5


For UK citizens, the prospect of restricted access to Europe is bad enough without America also being declared a no-go zone.  

Trump's stance on immigration is abundantly clear. While his vitriol has so far been reserved for illegal Latin American immigrants in lower-paid roles, a wider clampdown on overseas workers is quite conceivable.  

Adding further red tape to an already lengthy and convoluted work permit application process could put pay to many graduates' aspirations of working in the Big Apple or Silicon Valley. 

Trump may also put obstacles in the path of international students, though Americans study abroad in their droves and most US universities would presumably fight to protect their reciprocal agreements with colleges overseas.

Trump fear factor: 3/5

Global Security

Trump’s foreign policy (or lack of it) is an obvious concern for people of all ages and nationalities. 

In 1917 America entered the First World War, and in the 100 years since it has effectively served as the world's policeman, keeping a lid on potential threats to global peace. 

As an integral part of NATO, Trump’s threats to withdraw its membership are especially frightening – the country contributes twice as much as the remaining 27 member states combined.

With tensions running high in the Middle East as well as Russia, having an isolationist in the Oval Office could prove disastrous for poorly defended Western states, not least the UK once cut adrift from its close neighbours. 

On the other hand, Trump's gung-ho talk of "sorting out" ISIS and supporting Russian aggression in Syria is hardly grounds for reassurance. 

Buckle up people – it’s going to be a bumpy ride. 

Trump fear factor: 5/5

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