Aiming to study at a top B-school abroadIJ Swati Gupta takes you through the process of application and other things to keep in mind
About a decade back, few Indian professionals looked to foreign shores to explore the option of further education. Today, however, the best options for higher education, especially at the Master’s level, lies abroad. The number of people going abroad to study has doubled over the last five years, as more Indians explore the option of education on foreign shores.
Rising Indian incomes and greater awareness of the educational options available abroad has fueled this trend. In addition, perhaps, the biggest factor that has fueled the desire to get Master’s education from top-notch foreign institutions is the need to compete in a flat world. As companies have become more globalised and work relationships more open, a Stanford or Wharton MBA takes one farther than an IIM MBA. While many want to get Master’s education abroad, the path to one is far from clear.
The first question that comes to mind for a potential applicant is therefore on the value of seeking an MBA education abroad. What do foreign schools offer (besides strong brand names) that makes them worth considering over Indian optionsIJ For one, these schools offer an education that is very holistic. leadership development, people management, live projects, and international study trips are a regular feature of such programmes, and they help students to learn not just academic concepts but also collaboration, leadership, and team management. These are all vital qualities for a successful business professional today.
Just as the learning environment in top global business schools is very holistic, so is the selection methodology. Foreign schools analyse applicants based on GMAT scores, work experience, achievements, and extra-curricular achievements. Professional achievement and potential for growth is given as much weightage as academic achievements.
Another key point to consider is the cost of studying abroad. While it is true that most top MBA programmes abroad cost substantially more than Indian programmes ($150,000 and above), the costs need to be considered in context. The average salaries at most of these schools are also around $100,000, and one can hope to be able to pay back the loan in a timeframe of around three to four years after graduating. Of course, one needs to ensure that one works abroad rather than planning an immediate return to India after graduating as it’ll be difficult to pay back the loans on Indian salaries. A move to India is more prudent on a five year timeframe after graduating.
Finally, one should also be cognizant of the career prospects on offer at top global B-schools and how they differ from opportunities available in India. Even though almost all global organisations with Indian operations recruit top talent from Indian B-schools, premier global positions at these organisations are often up for grabs in top global B-schools only. For example, GE recruits for its leadership programs all around the world, but the proportion of such candidates recruited from US. B-schools is much higher than that of candidates recruited from Indian schools. Similarly, McKinsey offers jobs to five to ten students at each top Indian B-school (including the IIMs and ISB), but the number of students getting McKinsey offers each year is around a 100 at INSEAD, France. Top organisations recruit for global needs in global schools, while they recruit only for regional needs in Indian schools. Therefore career opportunities, in general, available at top global schools are much more attractive (both financially and designation-wise) than those available at most Indian schools.
In summary, a foreign MBA offers many benefits in terms of learning and career opportunities, and is an option worth considering for top Indian professionals. At the same time, there is a substantial cost involved in studying abroad, which can be met by working abroad for five years after graduating from a top MBA programme. Indian professionals who take this path will find themselves amply rewarded both financial and career opportunities in the short term itself.
GyanOne is a firm of top B-school alumni and offers end-to-end services in education delivery, application design, and interview preparation. A constant focus on client needs and service quality has made it the top choice for higher education advisory and counselling among test takers and applicants alike.
The writer is the director of GyanOne Educational services