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Over two million Indian students currently study in various colleges across the world, and their global footprint spans almost a hundred countries. Most of these students will go on, as their predecessors did, to fame and fortune in cutting edge careers, and impactful research. They will make the world a better place.

What is the magic ingredient? Why do so many of India’s brightest minds prefer to study abroad? There are many reasons, and we invite you to join us in our latest deep dive!

Your career prospects and earning potential skyrocket if you study abroad

The fundamental reason we go to college is to strengthen our career prospects, and to make sure that we can follow a career path that is both fulfilling and lucrative.

Seen through this lens, studying abroad is the most logical alternative to choose.

496 of the global Fortune 500 companies are headquartered outside India. All these companies have a majority of their recruiting happening on campuses outside India. To have your best chance at working for the world’s richest companies, it’s a logical bet to study abroad, at either the graduate or undergraduate level.

Second, studying abroad gives you an easier path to working abroad (for example, if you have studied in India, it may take 5-10 years in most jobs before you get a clear relocation option abroad, and even then, this is true only of an MNC). If you work abroad, the exchange rate will ensure that your salary is, in nominal terms, 5-15 times as large as your pay package would be in India. Even in real terms, after accounting for purchasing power parity and higher cost of living abroad, you can expect to make much more per year if you work abroad – and Indian students prefer studying abroad because that is the easiest route to working abroad.

Third, even if you want to study abroad and come back to India to work, a degree abroad is a good investment. In many cases, a 2 year graduate degree abroad or a 4 year undergraduate degree enables you to skip the job queue, and start at a level that you might have got to after 4-8 years of working in a job without an education abroad. Thus, your career growth goes from a linear rate of development to an exponential rate; a global degree is like adding rockets to your career!

Careers abroad work largely on the basis of the strength of your network – this is especially true of the USA. Once you study in the best universities abroad, you will be able to use the network of the Career Cell, the industry partners, your seniors who have graduated recently, and your large alumni pool to give yourself multiple options for your job or research posting. This is a very valuable safety net to have, especially given that the condition of the economy when you graduate is uncertain, and is not something you can control directly. A strong global network is an invisible force that will help you throughout your career.

Finally, research prospects. An important career path followed by those Indians who go abroad is research, and research options open up hugely, if you have a degree from a top global school. First, no door is closed to you – across the world, the best institutes for research will be happy to take you in. Next, studying abroad will also give you the opportunity to work in the research wing of the world’s largest firms – for example, Microsoft, Adobe, Apple and Google all have thriving research wings – where you will continue the same line of work as you would in a university, but for significantly higher pay, and with a higher chance of implementation in the near term. This leads to increased satisfaction.

There is lower competition per seat in the best universities abroad

The number of high quality universities abroad is very high – for example, the USA alone has 50 colleges ranked very high globally for any given discipline, and this number explodes upwards when you consider other countries. Therefore, the number of high quality seats available is proportionately high. Even though the best students from all over the world compete for those seats, the applicant to seat ratio is still not very large.

When you compare and contrast this to India, the difference is stark. In India, the number of high quality options for undergraduate or graduate education is lower than in most target countries abroad. The total number of seats available in these top Indian colleges is also lower than in the top 5-10 destinations for collegiate education abroad. On the other hand, the number of people applying for college education in India is in the tens of millions per year, much higher than in any 5 countries abroad combined. Hence, the ratio of applicants to college seats in India is very high, and the ratio of applicants to high quality college seats is astronomically large.

Due to the simple math described above, the competition for each seat in India’s top colleges is intense. This often causes burnout and stress at the high school level. When you compare this scenario with the competition for a seat in the top colleges in the USA, or Europe, or in Singapore, the competition is lower, and the quality of education is also often higher – because of funding, flexibility, career growth options, and an international student body.

Getting in to the best colleges abroad is, paradoxically, easier than it is to get into the best colleges in India.

Most of the best professors in the world teach in universities abroad

There are many reasons why the world’s best teaching and research talents flock to the world’s top ranked universities:

  1. Climate conducive to research: The best colleges abroad have a virtuous cycle going for them – their existing pool of professors and research students are the best in the world, so that in itself attracts more of their level of skill to join them. In addition, research funding caps seem as if they don’t exist, and industry collaborations are easy to come by because of reputation and past success. This means that the world’s best professors concentrate in the locations where their research can proceed in the best possible way.The higher number of Research Assistants abroad (compared to the number in India) is one more reason why the fundamental work done by a professor abroad can proceed at a pace much quicker than that in India; low level work can be easily delegated, and time is efficiently used.
  2. Course quality improved by large Teaching Assistant population: In India, the best professors often have to deal with paper correction, weekly paper setting, red tape, and laboratory logistics themselves, and are bogged down in the small details. This gives them less time to focus on their primary goals – whether those relate to doing their best research work or designing new modules to teach the next generation of talented undergraduates and graduates.The situation is very different abroad – Teaching Assistants maintain regular office hours, and free up the time of their professors so that every course is of the highest possible quality.
  3. The pay scale is higher for professors abroad: Many factors make the financial decision to teach abroad an easy one. The higher scale of funding for the top schools abroad is the first; this has a trickle down effect on professor salaries. The relatively higher quality of life abroad is an important consideration. Finally, industry collaboration projects are larger in number, and easier to set up, compared to similar projects in India – these allow professors to supplement their already respectable income with large additional bonuses, whenever their research work can have practical application to an industry problem.

In the long term, your career roles and promotions will be helped by your degree abroad

Indian students flock to the best universities abroad because the system has been tried and tested over the past 5-7 decades, and it has always worked well in the long term.

At many points in your career, you will be up for consideration for a promotion or a fast track appointment. There will always be competition for these promotions, and there will always be people who have a profile (education and work performance) of equal strength. In such situations, having a degree from a big name school from a prominent geography can be the deciding factor, and clinch you a promotion, with better responsibilities and higher pay.

Courses abroad offer way more flexibility than courses in Indian universities

Flexibility is a feature of course selection and degree customization that allows a student, for example, to choose his / her undergrad major two years into a degree. Flexibility can allow a student to mix and match courses to an unprecedented extent, so that interdisciplinary learning is both encouraged and nourished. Flexibility can allow a student to finish a degree early, or to take up minor degrees to facilitate career shifts. Flexibility can allow for customized Master’s degrees that fully reflect the needs of a changing job market.

Flexibility is something that is almost completely lacking in India’s colleges, except to a small extent in the top few. Contrastingly, every top college abroad, and even most of the mid level ones, offer flexibility that extends to all the features listed above.

A major reason why Indian students prefer studying abroad is that the flexibility afforded by the curriculum there is like having your own remote control for your degree and career.

Exposure to a truly international student body

We have talked a lot about better career opportunities and professional growth abroad. However, personal growth is also an important part of the puzzle, and one major advantage that Indian students going abroad have is the exposure to students from dozens of different countries. Not only does this broaden the mind and experience level of those who are lucky enough to be exposed to it, but it is also a very important long term asset. Exposure to international students helps one work with them in the long term, and intercontinental collaboration is the key to getting your career to the next level.

Of course, having a powerful network across the world will also help you get ahead in your chosen career; whether you work for someone else, for yourself, or are engaged in research or a non-profit, you will always be able to leverage the power of your connections to do things that others who have been stuck in one country for their education will not be able to do.

Improve your chances of emigration in the long term significantly

In case you have a degree from a reputed college abroad, and you want to build a life and career in that country (or in a similar country) in the medium to long term, you have a huge advantage. Of course, the obvious fact that you are a highly qualified professional who was trained in their higher education system is a huge plus. In addition, cultural integration (which is sometimes a concern when bringing in foreign workers) will not be a problem in your case.

Hence, the easiest way to get a really strong work visa in the short term, and citizenship in the long term, is to study in a country, and do as well as possible academically, and to build a strong network there. It’s that simple!

Create thousands of unforgettable memories

Studying abroad has been the right career move for millions of Indian students over the years. In addition, it is the perfect mix of exposure, fun, opportunity, and learning. Take this opportunity, and you will make memories that you will never forget. To learn more about how you can get there, and to understand more about which course is right for you, explore today!

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