Can international students still get jobs in England? Will life after an MBA be exciting and satisfying?
These are a few of the queries that we get from MBA applicants looking at the top British business schools.
Ritika Rao (name changed) writes about how she got a job in England (UK) after her MBA from the University of Oxford. She also shares why a top MBA isn’t always going to make you happy.
Yuuhoo, I landed up in a very fancy job in England post my Oxford MBA, after all the hard work I put in. I work in one of the most popular investment group in the world with a combination of designing and managing a product under IoT technology. (It may sound ironic!)
I studied with students from 56 different countries. During the first few weeks of my MBA, I realised most of them had come to achieve a specific goal from their MBA. It could be either to start their own entrepreneurship ventures, or to make a career shift to a different industry, make a country shift or to achieve an acceleration in their career.
At times, an intense one year MBA can be intellectually stimulating, or overwhelming, or stressful or, can make you question your life purpose.
On the non-academic side, a few of the students end up joining gossip gangs. Yes, these highly skilled people in their late twenties or early thirties gossip. They can feel insecure of their peers and try to malign other people’s image.
I observed, people take their own time to evolve to their more mature selves.
Coming from an electronics engineering background, I was very clear on the subjects that I wanted to take in my MBA. Apart from the general and mandatory courses (it makes sense for these to be mandatory) such as Business Finance, Strategy, Marketing, Accounting and so on, I consciously selected my electives.
I chose Real Estate Finance, Trading in Financial Markets, Asset Management, Corporate Finance, Entrepreneurial Finance and Lean Six Sigma. I had no intention of making my career in Finance though. I always felt knowing about these areas are necessary for their utility in one’s practical daily life.
I scored well in these ‘very tough’ subjects and pretty well in my overall MBA academics. I didn’t get a distinction. This was anyway not my goal during the intense one year. I didn’t want to burn myself out!
The sad thing is that MBA placements for international students, even from a top university, are highly effected by the macroeconomic changes that happen at the country level. I graduated during the year when the UK voted to leave the EU and when Mr. Trump was selected as the POTUS.
This means the corporate world went crazy or maybe didn’t know how to plan their structures. This led to many companies freezing the hiring of international graduates due to more uncertainty / strictness in work visa regulations.
On the brighter side, there is always a unique space that you can create for yourself in the universe. I knew I was one of the street-smartest people in my batch and that I felt I deserved better roles than what was offered by many companies that I interviewed with. As a hard worker and by prioritising my time and actions, I managed to get many interviews.
I was also invited by Facebook for a very good role but out of the top two shortlisted candidates, the company chose the other one. I survived this heartbreak and got my first awesome job offer 3 months down the line.
No! the biggest takeaway wasn’t that I got a fancy job and a work permit to work in England! No I am not excited about waiting for 5 years and applying for a UK citizenship!
My biggest takeaway from my MBA was that it made me all the more worldly wise.
I started to understand humans a lot more. Yes, the humans who were part of my university, from my MBA and actually the humans that I have ever interacted with!
The difference in personality types, the reasons for certain people to behave in a certain way, in what circumstances people change (permanently or temporarily), and for what reasons the conscious and unconscious biases exist in these humans.
I feel a lot more calm, a lot more experienced. I feel content about experiencing life from so many different perspectives! I feel a lot more mature. I am more equipped now to enjoy and experience life. My job is great and I feel more confident now.
Another observation about many Indians living outside India.
I found that there are 4 broad categories of Indians living outside India.
First – The ones who feel their life is set now because they are in a developed country with decently paying jobs and possibly high social security. They feel they are the lucky ones who could easily move out of the country.
They don’t come across as being too proud of their roots. They try hard to be (wannabe) friends with the local people. These people on an average moved out of India more than a decade back and aren’t familiar with the qualitative modern life enjoyed by the middle-class Indians.
The second category is the ones that are very passionate about their jobs and living in a foreign country effects them a lot lesser. This category also includes a few Indians, who married a partner from another country. They have genuine friends- local and international, seem to be more content with their lives and are very forward looking.
The third category is the Indians who are in high paying/decent paying jobs and who miss being in their motherland. Every year they plan to return to India in another 2 years down the line. They have started to feel too comfortable with their status quo. Not many want to leave their dollars or pounds. A few finally take the plunge and go back to India!
The fourth category is the second-generation Indians, whose parents migrated to the West decades ago. I have mixed observations regarding this category.
I find myself at the cross junction of the Category 2 and Category 3 type.
If you haven’t saved enough for your MBA or your MBA finances are not massively supported by your family, the repayment time of an MBA education loan can take from 2 to 6 years. So let’s say you complete the payment of your loan in 2 years, leveraging your MBA experience, your actual wealth would start building from that time onward.
One should also be prepared for keeping a sizeable chunk of money for items such as buying a car for commuting purposes, paying for car insurance, driving license fees, high rents. Like any major city in India, the rent living in big cities in the West could take out an average of one third of your salary. So net monthly savings are not that much.
I would like to conclude this article by this popular saying: ‘Your life is somebody else’s dream.’
My present life was my dream 5 years ago…and now that I have this dream, I don’t think it is actually that exciting!
But hey. Just stay tuned! You see, life changes. I will continue sharing my post MBA life. I was also told by a mentor once that the return on investment on an MBA is achieved 3-5 years down the line. Btw, our dear Sameer does not seem to be doing that bad.