IIPM Admission

Monday, January 10, 2011

When foreign shores beckon

Prof Rajita Chaudhuri follow some off-beat trends like organizing make up sessions

In post-liberalisation India, the dreams of the youth have probably become too big to be contained within the geographical or cultural boundaries of the nation. So in their quest for recognition in the global arena, Indian students are going places

There is something about an academic degree from a foreign university. From the perspective of Indian students, that is. The higher education infrastructure in India is quite good, and by any measure it is far better than it is in other South Asian countries. Going by the standard and quality of education, India is clearly the leader in the higher education realm in the region. However, all that does not seem to steal the lustre away from a foreign university (read a Western university) stamp, no matter how little known the university may be. The UK, the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand are generally the hubs of such universities where every year thousands of students from across the globe land to realise their dreams. Of course, institutes like Cambridge, Oxford and Harvard are not being discussed here. Our focus is on universities that border on anonymity.

Every year thousands of Indian students sign up to study abroad. If the mushrooming consultancy-for-studying-abroad firms across the country and their blooming business is anything to go by, the craze among the students to head to foreign climes is on the rise. That takes us back to the opening line of this piece: Do students go for foreign universities and institutes just because it sounds glamorous? The answer to this question can't be a simple yes or no. A number of things go through a student's mind before he signs up to study abroad. Remember that the cost involved is pretty high.

People who aspire to study abroad can be broadly categorised into three sections. First, there is the elitist section consisting of people who have a lot of money, and despite having made their money in India, do not consider the country good enough to trust it with their pampered children's education. So they send them abroad to acquire a 'good education'. And it helps them in more ways than one.

Second, there are students who excel in academics but somehow fail to make it to the top academic institutes in India such as the IITs and IIMs. They mostly seek, and get, admissions in good foreign universities. The third category comprises students with low percentages in board/university examinations. They usually do not get the courses of their liking in India and settle for a little known foreign university instead because there is not much difference in the cost involved. A one-year post-graduate programme in a university in Australia, UK, US or Canada costs about Rs 10-15 lakh, including the boarding and lodging expenses, which is almost equivalent to a two-year programme in India in a good private college. There are other factors to reckon with. 'In India most post-graduate degrees are two-year programmes while in Australia or New Zealand you get the same degree in just one year,' says Neha Khurana, admission manager, Fateh Education, a consultancy firm based in Delhi. 'Besides, in India education is more theory-based while in a foreign university the curricula are more activity-based and you get more exposure,' she adds. And then there is another advantage ' you can hardly fail in the exams there. 'I have never heard in my five-year career that anybody flunked in a foreign university,' says Khurana.

The working visa one gets in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada after procuring a degree from a university there is a big lure for many. It paves the way to settling abroad. 'One of the strong positive points of studying abroad is that you get a chance to work simultaneously. This kind of work-and-study culture that gives you a practical grip over the subject you are studying has not quite developed in India as yet,' says Chandigarh-based Navdeep Kaur, who is currently working in New Zealand after completing her MBA (Human Resources) from Mt. Albert University.

Navdeep plans to permanently settle in New Zealand if she gets a good job there. But not all want to settle abroad, especially those who have well-settled family businesses here. Some actually do not want to leave their native places. V. Madhan Gorky is an example. After completing his M.S., followed by a Ph.D from Queensland University, he got a decent job with good remuneration in Australia. But he had his own dreams. So he returned to India and is working as a professor in Anna University.

Sometimes, certain study options are not available in India. Syed Asim Ali, a working journalist based in Delhi, wanted to go for research on conflict resolution in Kashmir. But he did not get a guide for the subject at any of the universities in India and had to go over to the UK to pursue his M.Phil on the subject. 'I tried in a few universities in India that were offering higher studies on this topic. Pondicherry University flatly said no after they came to know of the topic. At JNU, a professor was interested but she also backed out after her department discouraged her,' says Ali. Recognition of a foreign degree is another issue. T. Saravana Kumar from Tamil Nadu went to Russia a few years back to study medicine after he failed to make it to a medical college in India 'because of the reservation policy'. He did MD from St. Petersberg University and is currently a physician in a government primary health centre in Maraimalai Nagar.

Although the Medical Council of India recognised his medical degree, he had to undergo a test before that. Besides, his post-graduate degree is treated here as equivalent to an M.B.B.S. 'I want to do post-graduation in medicine and would have to do an MD here all over again. I am preparing for it,' says Saravana Kumar.

However, few care about the recognition part. Ranjith Krishnan, a young Keralite who did his M.Sc. (called M.Tech here) from Paisley University, Scotland, says he does not know if a degree from Paisley University is recognised in India or not. 'Students going back to India after completing their studiies somehow get placements there,' he says. P. Thampi, the father of a student, Vineeth Thampi, studying MSc at the Dubai campus of Hariot Watt University (Scotland), holds similar views. In post-globalisation India, parents and students by and large are for quality education. The question of recognition arises only when you go for government jobs. But these days people are not that crazy for government jobs,' he says. Fat salaries and opportunities in the private sector are driving forces behind the craze for foreign degrees. Private firms these days are not too bothered about the recognition part of foreign certificates. If you can deliver, there is no dearth of employment opportunities. The grass is greener...

Navdeep Kaur, MBA (Human Resources), Mt Albert University, New Zealand

'I had completed one-year diploma in business management (Human Resources) in the year 2007 from Symbosis Institute, Pune. After that I got job in a consultancy firm in the HR department at Chandigarh. Although the salary was good for a beginner like me, but somehow I was not satisfied with the job. Then I decided to go for a masters degree in the same field. As I searched for good management schools in India and looked at their fee structure, I found out that the fee was very high. Then I thought why I should spend so much money here? Instead, I decided to go abroad for higher studies. I chose Mt Albert University, New Zealand. According to the immigration policy of New Zealand, after completion of the degree, you get a two-year working visa. I think students run after foreign degrees because of these reasons:

Firstly, they get the chance to work while studying there. As in India this kind of work and study culture is not very developed.

Secondly, they get the chance to establish themselves there.

Thirdly, there is no reservation, corruption, and favouritism in the admission process in these universities, and later in the job market.'

For More IIPM Info, Visit below mentioned IIPM articles.
IIPM BBA MBA Institute: Student Notice Board
Run after passion and not money, says Arindam Chaudhuri
Award Conferred To Irom Chanu Sharmila By IIPM

IIPM Lucknow – News article in Economic Times and Times of India
IIPM Prof Rajita Chaudhuri's Snaps
IIPM Prof Arindam Chaudhuri on Our Parliament and Parliamentarians' Work

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