Once you have undergone repeated rounds of introspection, research and data-gathering, and have finally decided to opt for an MBA programme from a university abroad, then comes the part where you decide where exactly is it that you want to be headed. When making this decision, one needs to keep into mind several factors, viz,
- Ranking of b-schools
- Ease of getting a visa
- Immigrants friendliness and presence of Indian community
- Post-MBA work permissions, environment and pay
The last point is of particular importance, as most of us plan to do an MBA from abroad only to be able to work in those countries. At the same time, one cannot ignore the practical necessity of the country being friendly to outsiders. A strong, active immigrant community can help you settle down and feel comfortable in the initial days
Here we take a look at the most popular destinations chosen by Indian students for an MBA program abroad:
- USA: Infrastructure, resources, networking opportunity, worldwide recognition- you name it and the American bschools have it. The country which pioneered the MBA programme remains the favourite destination for the diaspora and has the world’s top-ranked universities for business programmes. It is a great addition to your resume to have done higher studies in the US and opens doors of boundless opportunities for you. The internship opportunities are also immense, and you get exposed to the latest in tech and innovation. It is great for entrepreneurial opportunities as well. Given the large NRI population, and the high probability of running into fellow countrymen while on campus, US tops the charts as the first choice when an Indian student makes a choice to go abroad. On the flipside, tuition fees and cost of living being high in most US universities, the expenses may burn a hole in your pocket. While you may land a scholarship, there are chances you might be burdened with a student loan to payoff later.
- UK: Being a leading economic and business centre of the globe, UK provides an excellent opportunity for life post-MBA. It also boasts of the ‘Oxbridge’ brand and the LSE, some of the biggest names in the academic world. UK universities are known for their rigorous academic programs. Not to mention the strong NRI presence which is a bonus, and the country being the home of the Queen’s language, settling in the UK is less of a hassle. However, one must take care of the fact that it has a tough post-study work permit, and international collaborations have gone down post-Brexit.
- Australia: Although the country doesn’t have many features in the top MBA institutes list, yet the immigrant-friendly, English-speaking, high quality of life environment attracts foreign students by the dozens. Moreover, Australian universities offer research-specific programmes. Affordability-wise, it is comparable to those in Europe/North America. A large NRI population is an added advantage. The country also offers very comfortable post-study work options, which allows one to work in local companies and gain much-needed experience, network, and resume point.
- Canada: The country with one of the largest immigrant populations, also boasts of a very flexible post-study work permit, even offering permanent residency based on certain parameters. What more could one ask for from a nation which has a strong NRI presence and a high quality of life? When it comes to the institutes themselves, Canada has some high ranking global b-schools, which are much more affordable compared to its southern cousin in the Americas. The booming economy presents a reassuring picture for landing a job right after graduation.
- Germany: While strict adherence to the mother tongue was a dampener for foreign applicants to German universities, it is now offering programmes in English and is fast emerging as a popular destination for Indian MBA aspirants. The fact that Germany has the biggest economy in Europe ensures jobs are in abundance. One big factor in favour of German universities is the hugely affordable tuition fees and myriad scholarship options (although the high cost of living balances it out). Some universities backed by the government even offer totally free education! German universities are strongly research-focussed and is home to the latest innovation.
- France: The country has its government supporting higher education, resulting in remarkably low fees for higher degree programmes. French universities also have extensive exchange programmes going on with major Indian b-schools. The student community is vibrant, and not knowing the local language doesn’t prove to be much of a barrier in the classroom.
- Singapore: This Asian super-economy is more than just a pretty holiday destination. Being very close to home, this is highly favoured by Indian students, with the added advantage of the cost being a fraction of what it takes to do an MBA from Europe or USA. Their MBA programs are very flexible and even allow students to pursue part-time work to fund their studies. A growing economy means more jobs, and universities are rapidly striding ahead in global rankings. The country is very safe and foreigner-friendly. There is an international environment on campuses, and networking opportunities are truly world-class, with many corporations now basing out of the country.
While this list is far from exhaustive, this would give you a fair idea of what to look out for while making this major decision. One has to map one’s own preferences, finances and requirements while choosing an MBA destination abroad.