Why can’t I get multiple job offers in international business schools abroad when I can get them easily in IIMs? If I come back to India after my MBA, will the degree be recognized?
These are the top MBA placement related questions that Sudershan ‘Suds’ Tirumala (Regional Director, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth) addresses in this article.
MBA placements & opportunities abroad for international students
Top MBA career and job related questions
We’ve tackled a number of questions in this series of blogs aimed at developing a more informed applicant base in India, when it comes to business school applications.
Sometimes, I may have reinforced what is common belief, and some other times, I may have debunked the usual suspect theories that tend to float around when it comes to business school admission process.
In case this is the first time you’ve run into my blogs, then look up the rest here.
This blog post will explore some of the common questions posed by applicants as they pertain to career placements and general advice on that topic.
Since enhanced career opportunities are one of the primary drivers of a candidate’s desire to pursue an MBA, start your business school research from that angle. Some of the questions you should be answering for yourself are:
- Which schools have a highly approachable career development office?
- Which schools’ CDOs have some interesting policies when it comes to on-campus recruiting that I can take advantage of, as an international student?
- In which schools am I competing with relatively fewer Indian students, so I have a better shot at that dream career? (Think 15% of 1000 Vs. 12% of 500 Vs. 10% of 250 and so on.)
- Even among these numbers, which school has the most supportive CDO?
- What kind of answers have I got from current students at these schools about their recruiting experience?
- Because of competition, have they had to compromise on the quality of the company they were targeting?
- Have they been able to find their way around and get into that career they were so looking forward to at the outset?
These are all questions you’ll need to think about and get answers to, if you’re serious about figuring out the school where you should be matriculating from.
Let’s evaluate some of the questions that come up in my discussions with applicants more often than not.
1. How many Indian students return to India after completing the MBA abroad and how many stay back?
The answer is, “It depends on the person.” Some candidates really want to get the overseas work experience which they believe will stand them in good stead if and when they decide to get back to their home country. Some others believe that the cachet of the overseas MBA is best put to use if they return to their home country right after the MBA and demonstrate their commitment to making a difference in their own country.
All said and done, the percentage of students coming back to India right after getting an international MBA is fairly small, although the number of such individuals coming back to India after a few years of working abroad is trending upward year after year.
2. Why can’t I get multiple job offers in business schools overseas when I can get them easily in IIMs and other Indian MBA colleges?
Honestly, I don’t know how to answer this question since at Tuck, Indian students (and more generally, international students) often end up with multiple internship/job offers and they get to pick and choose what they want to pursue after due consideration and discussions with their potential employers, alumni, faculty, CDO, etc.
And in cases where they are very specific about the industry and the kind of work they want to do, they will target their recruitment in such a way that they ultimately get to the destination. So I don’t see the situation as much different.
Having said that, companies sometimes may not want to hire international students because they don’t want to get entangled in the whole issue of visa uncertainty. In spite of this constraint, I’ve seen Indian students get multiple offers, so you just need to be smart about how you want to approach the whole recruiting process.
3. The million dollar question I’m always asked is about the H-1B visa and how that’s going to impact the candidates’ ability to work in the US in the future.
Now, that’s a question that even US Senators cannot answer with any degree of certainty. In the election year, rhetoric is always high and in other years, things get back to a sense of tempered expectations – the realization that high-skilled workers are indeed needed in the US and that’s something the country cannot simply ignore. So lottery or no lottery, visa cap or not, Indian students who have studied in the US have, for the most part, been able to make things happen for themselves.
Again, no one can say with any sense of certainty about how things are going to evolve. Suffice it to say that it’s a systemic issue and has nothing to do with which business school you go to. It all ultimately boils down to how well you impress your boss and the company you work for so that they’re going to bend over backwards to retain you, in spite of visa related setbacks.
I’m a believer of examples since that’s where the rubber hits the road, so to speak. Let’s talk about this Tuck student who went to work for McKinsey in their Chicago office after graduation. He did really well there, the company applied for his H-1B visa – not once but twice – and didn’t get through both times.
The company didn’t want to lose him, so they came up with the idea of placing him in their Sydney, Australia office for a few years, and then bring him back to the US office. And that’s precisely what they’ve done. This is not a bad outcome by any means!
Not only from a company perspective, but even the Tuck CDO follows up with students (who are now alums) to makes sure there are no visa-related problems that are cropping up. And if they do find out that there are some issues, they will do whatever they can, to help/advise the candidate in question. That’s where it helps to have a CDO that is invested in the success of not only the current students but also the alumni.
4. If I come back to India, will the brand be recognized?
This is a question that I’d like to turn on its head. Maybe, this is a question that merits its own blog post. In any case, what is a brand? An MBA will give you a toolkit, a set of frameworks, a network you’re a part of for the rest of your life.
More than anything else, it will give you the confidence that you can take over the world if you believe in yourself. How you leverage all of these and how you make things happen for yourself is up to you. The school will be there in the background. It’s you who’s got to make things happen.
In that sense, who’s the brand? It’s not the school. It’s YOU! The school is simply an enabler. You’re the one who’s on the front lines. And through your brand, you will help the school’s brand to improve in the part of the world you’re in. When you rise and shine, so will your school.
You are the brand builder. You are the brand!