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Going abroad for Masters in foreign universities versus studying in India

‘I am planning to study abroad’. This is the phrase you’d commonly hear these days when talking to graduates who have just completed or are in the last year of their three-year graduation in India.

Studying abroad for a Master’s degree is one of the plans they have for their careers going forward. And what they more or less mean by studying abroad is going to either UK, USA, Canada or Australia.

Ever wondered why Indians prefer to study abroad? What are the benefits and advantages of studying in foreign universities over Indian colleges? Which is better?

There are several factors that come to the fore when trying to discern what actually makes some people opt for a Master’s degree abroad. These are not in order of priority.

Why Indian students go abroad to study for higher education

A major chunk of population that goes abroad to pursue their masters comprise engineering graduates or those who wish to do their MBA. Most of them already have some amount of work experience in India.

With international experience on the CV, you can pitch yourself better in the job market, and may get a lead over the other candidates applying for the same job. Let’s face it. It is an eye catcher on your résumé and can fetch you higher pay package as well.

With an international degree, your company can always consider you for an international assignment as and when it comes up. Such assignments can be of a short duration and that’s a good enough time to spend away from motherland only to come back to one’s roots.

That also improves your chances of working abroad. It is a good option for those who wish to earn good money in a foreign currency abroad for a few years and then come back home.

The quality and choice of courses offered abroad in all the disciplines is yet another important reason. Some are of the opinion that in social sciences and humanities there aren’t too many choices in terms of courses offered in India.

Many universities and institutes located outside India are top ranked places which are considered highly coveted places to get into.

At the same time, students have found better infrastructure and better quality of research opportunities there. Sometimes they also allow you to work while you study, if you can manage both of course.

Foreign universities have a huge ethnic, cultural and international representation in terms of student diversity. Interacting with people from varied socio-cultural backgrounds arms you with a totally different perspective of looking at things, enriching you as a person, as a future leader in your profession. Not to forget, you know peers and alumni working in practically all parts of the world and in any field.

Master’s degree is pursued by those who wish to specialize in a subject. While the perception around it is changing for better, a lot many in India think that it is a choice made by those who fail to get a job post their three-year college degree.

Admissions to foreign universities are based on merit, which is decided on the basis on graduation results, GRE/GMAT/TOEFL scores, followed by rounds of personal assessment.

Read online forums on the same question and you’d read about some candidates blaming the reservation system which mars their chances of admission to premium institutes. Hence the shift to a foreign institute of learning.

What are the benefits of studying in India for Masters degrees?

Several! Starting with staying closer home. Even if you enroll for a course in another part of the country, you have the satisfaction of staying a flight or a train journey away from your family.

You feel less homesick. Family and friends are always close by to support, encourage and stand by you at any given time. At the same time, if you wish to settle down in India, focusing on Indian market, you better enroll for one in the country itself. That will have you in good stead when you go up the career ladder.

Course expenses as well as living expenses are much less as compared to what you would be shelling out living in a foreign land. However, this would depend on what kind of institute you enroll at in India.

A top ranking university in India will obviously be expensive than the rest in INR terms, but compared to a medium ranked US or UK master’s program it may not be that expensive.

There are some top notch institutes which are a dream to study into in India like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), Indian Institutes of Management (IIM), Indian School of Business (ISB) and many more. Courses offered and curricula both are top notch. Working and studying while pursuing a post graduate degree is not really the norm here.

Studying abroad vs Studying in India: Which is better?

Having done his Masters from the UK, Vivek Sharma should have been happy going by the number of reasons listed above. But, he isn’t. As he shares in his LinkedIn post, the Government of India does not recognize his UK Master’s degree in the country.

So what do you do? It really depends on what you want your future to look like. Foreign education is what gives you the kick and fits into your future plan of things? Then so be it.

Just be ready to pay back the huge bank loan. But if staying back in India is concerned then ensure you find the best course for yourself which doesn’t mean that you would end up sacrificing your dream course.

Check your financial health before plunging deep into bank loans. Find out beforehand the credibility of the course you opt for and whether it will ensure you can compete with others for a job with that degree.

Read these related posts:
How to Study Abroad for Free
50 Study abroad tips to super-charge your overseas education
Top study abroad countries for Indian students
Importance of Work Experience for international MS Applications
Undergraduate Bachelors in India or Abroad

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8 thoughts on “Going abroad for Masters in foreign universities versus studying in India”

  1. i have now completed my third year in b pharmacy and now i m in final year. i’m thinking about doing ms in us..but little afraid . plz guide me whats are the job opportunities over there in us after completing ms..and how are the studeis over there in us, are they same like india, whats the difference

  2. Hey
    I have been working in a project management consultancy as a Project Engineer MEP for last 3 years on the project of construction of a 5* hotel.
    I just want to switch in to different industry so i am confused in whether i should pursue MS in automotive or an MBA from any abroad university
    which will pose me in to management role of any organization.
    Give your decisions considering me a mechanical engineer.

  3. HELLO

    My name is Shikhar Saraswat & I am a final year engineering student from MECHANICAL stream. I want to go the research field & pursue my career in developing new technology & innovations, so i would like to ask u that shall I go for higher studies now or rather join an MNC in order to get experience which one would be better and why?.

  4. Hi Sameer,

    I’m a professional with Investment Banking experience of 1.5 years. I’m going to write my GMAT next year but have some questions about ISB.
    Is there an option to secure a deferred admission even if I cross the 2 years work experience mark?
    Also, is it better to join at the earliest or to build on my profile given that I’m targeting strategy consulting profiles post ISB

  5. Hy,
    I am Shubham I am interested in pursuing MBA from abroad
    will appear for my entrance tests this year, what i want to ask is which exam should i apply for GRE or GMAT which is considered best for getting a good university abroad

  6. @Siddhant: Here’s the life of an Indian student in an MS in US course:

    Jobs are tough for international studnets, since you will need a sponsoring company for our work permit H1B visa.

    @Akash: An MBA is designed to prepare students for management jobs. So, that would be a better option over an MS.

    @Shikhar: Get some experience and then think about an international degree. Working for a few years will give you greater clarity of where you want to take your career.

    @Nitish: I don’t think it’s possible as a general rule. However, you may be able to request for an exception if you have a genuine reason to defer it (and ISB finds your profile irresistible)

    @Shubham: Most MBA colleges abroad accept both GRE and GMAT scores. If you have no specific preference, I’d suggest taking up GMAT just because it’s been the conventional choice of business schools for much longer.

  7. Hi,

    I am a BE graduate, currently working in an IT-firm. I am planning on a management course, but still not decided about the place where I will be doing it. I wanted to know more like which is better MiM or MBA? How are these both treated abroad? For MBA it is GMAT but how about for MiM? Is it GMAT or GRE?

  8. I did MS from Warwick Business School, UK, but I didn’t work there & back. I work in India for 2 years & now I want to work abroad. Can I get any such opportunity on the basis of my MS degree & my work experience ?
    Also I am planning to do MBA either from US or in India.


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