In today’s uncertain environment, the instinct of most of the graduate students is to find a job that assures a steady pay. The immediate thought is – “Why study further, after 3-4 years of gruelling hard work?” In the rat race to get a job, such students tend to ignore a critical aspect –long-term career growth. Especially, in a country such as India, where over 9 million students who graduate with a Bachelor’s degree every year, there would come a point when a professional finds him/herself stagnating without a Masters degree. Consequently, it is good to plan for higher studies at an early stage. An option that one should consider is pursuing a Masters abroad which offers benefits such as state of the art technological facilities, opportunities for research, exposure to a diverse body of students and scholarship opportunities.

Even though a degree from abroad offers plethora of benefits to aspirants, a lot of students think twice about pursuing their education abroad – expenses being the biggest deterrent.

Financing a Masters / PhD program

While getting financial support for attending a Masters can be a major challenge, research and persistence pay and so does planning in advance. By targeting the right school and presenting your profile at its best, you can hope to secure scholarships or assistantships that could drastically reduce your financial burden. Some of the commonly known sources for financial aid:

  1. a) Graduate Assistantships – could be part-time teaching, laboratory assistance, research assistantship positions. Certain academic departments offer graduate instructorships, which involves direct responsibility for teaching one or more courses. Stipends for graduate assistantships vary, depending on the level of the graduate student, the service to be rendered, and the time commitment. Academic excellence, maturity, and teaching or research experience are the main qualifications considered for such assistantships. In addition to the stipend, graduate assistants/instructors could also receive a partial tuition scholarship or receive a full non-resident fee scholarship.
  1. b) Fellowship are given to students as an acknowledgment of their academic excellence. It could be in the form of merit based full or partial tuition waiver. PhD students could get full tuition waiver with graduate assistantship.

Apart from the evident sources, other lesser known options also help you cut costs. The United States has a lot of good State schools where tuition fees could be relatively less expensive –  ranging from $5000 – $15,000 per year. German schools have excellent programs on automobile engineering, Finland and Sweden have good telecom programs. The fees in these countries could be as low as – zero. In most German institutions education is free and you would only need to arrange for your living expenses. Thus with the right combination of schools and strong applications, you could get value education at lower costs.

Financing your Management program

Interestingly, while many believe that an MBA program abroad is expensive, a comparative study of the costs of the best 1 or even 2 year Indian MBA programs show that these programs don’t come cheap, as the fees range from INR 15 –22 lakhs. In fact, this is no less when compared to the fees of highly reputed international management programs in Singapore, China and Europe.

Financial assistance in the form of merit based scholarships is a possibility in international B-schools. There are several US universities that offer scholarships, which reduce the tuition fee to a considerable extent. In conclusion, to get the best benefit out of the time and money you are investing in your MBA , explore varied options and understand the intangibles before making your choice.

The other burning question that is uppermost in most student’s minds is “what after I graduate”. With a debt to repay, if employment opportunities seem slim, then the point of investing to enhance the skills is moot. The good news is – currently, the Asian markets are doing well, the US is also getting back on track and countries in Eastern Europe and South America are opening up.

International student placements is steadily picking up. Between the student period and the full time employment status, many countries offer work options. Students studying in the US for instance, have the Optional Practical Training period of 12 months that allows them to work after graduation. Canada has good policies when it comes to international students. For example, if you graduate from a four-year degree program, you could be eligible for a three-year work permit. If you graduate from an eight-month certificate program, you would be eligible for a work permit that is valid for up to eight months. Global education also opens up opportunities in diverse locations.

In conclusion, education abroad not only broadens your horizons but also lays the foundations for good career opportunities. As Henry Ford says” “If money is your hope for independence,you will never have it. the only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience and ability”

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