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Q&A : This is Why I Decided to Study Masters Degree in USA

As per your advice, I bought the book “Beyond the MBA Hype” by Sameer Kamat and its absolutely worth every all the 17,500 paisa

Interesting book but heavily focused on MBA. But as you pointed out, concepts are well applicable for MS/Phd.

why study in usa
Photo/Flickr – Enokson

At the end of the book, Appendix D, has a query list that students may come across in various stages of their dream. I am still in confusion whether to do MS or not.

So, I have given below my honest answers (self-evaluation) to all the questions given in that query list. I need my virtual mentor (HSB) to evaluate this and give some feedback on whether I am in the right track or not.

I think many students/Working professionals may be immensely benefited.

For the sake of privacy, I fudged out a few details. Please provide your valuable feedback.

  • Name : DASARP NURA (Just now imagined)
  • Education : BE (Mechanical Engineering)
  • College : Tier-n college in Bangalore. Under VTU… Lets call it IIT Channasandra.
  • UG % : 72% (Surprisingly 3rd highest in my college. Wow.. That`s a whopping 99.9%ile)
  • Years of experience : 3.2 years
  • Present Industry : Aerospace
  • Present Company : Fortune 200 company, Aerospace OEM
  • Present CTC : 4,54,000/-.. (34K in Hand.. Wow!)
  • Present role : Manufacturing Engineer aka Data entry type of work.
  • GATE/CAT : No..Too competitive to even try
  • GRE/GMAT/TOEFL : Just started preparing
  • Target : Masters in US in Aerospace.

Q1. Where am I right now in my profession? In my personal life?

Currently I am in very well off position. I earn almost 34k a month and I am living my life very comfortably for I don’t have any major expenses. I live with my parents. Right after I graduated, finding a job and repaying my educational loan was my top priority. I have successfully finished paying my education loan.

Work is not very fascinating for me. I am not doing any great designs or working on some out-of-the-box projects. I am in monotonous work and I can feel for myself that I am a victim of outsourcing. But its one easy kind of job and probably the easiest way to get some nice cash. Going to work provides me lot of free time to suck on some company resources and hardly there is pressure or tight deadlines to be met.

I am not gaining special skilled knowledge. I am gaining specific knowledge(Company propriety Knowledge). The kind of work that I am doing , probably, no other company that I know of is doing. So, its essentially very difficult to get a job in the related field. But I am in Aerospace field which is fascinating for me.

Personal Life:

I am out a very bad relation and currently single. I plan to get married after I settle in life. No Plans for the next 4 years or till I complete PG, whichever earlier.

Q2. If I continue to go with the flow, where will I end up in the next five to ten years?

After 5 years :
ie, 2016.
Designation : Senior Manufacturing Engineer.
Organisation : Fortune 200 company, Aerospace OEM (may be fortune 400,, recession you see)
Salary : 8,00,000/-
Maritial Status : Engaged.

After 10 years:
ie, 2021
Designation : Team Leader/Project Leader
Organisation : Fortune 200 company, Aerospace OEM (may be fortune 800.. No one knows)
Salary : 14,00,000/-
Maritial Status : Married

Q3. What do I like about my current job? What do I hate?

Things I like about my job:

  1. Aerospace domain. Fascinating. Adrenaline pumping. Passionating. Feel proud to associate with an industry that make huge mega flying structures.
  2. Easy money. In a given month, out of the 22 optimal working days, I may have to hardly work with full effort for just 5 days. No deadlines, No pressure(yet).
  3. Access to Internet, free time (need to chart out a plan for effective utilisation)
  4. I got a onsite chance for 6 months to the US and made some serious bucks. Got a first hand experience of how is life in US.(Not student life). Waiting for the next time when such a chance would come. May be next year.

Things I hate about my job:

  1. Poor work profile. Almost away from real engineering world/work
  2. Team politics. Both onsite and offsite. US managers see India as a outsourcing hub. We are cheap skilled labours for them and nothing more for them.
  3. Long travelling hours

Q4. Is any of this really a problem or is it just my mind exaggerating things out of proportion?

At least for the work profile part and the career growth part, it is definitely a problem. Rest of the problems can be somewhat adjusted. Work and career is the most important thing. I am not happy with that, then there is something wrong.

Q5. Is my current job something I see myself doing for the next 10 years? 20 years?

Definitely not. I can continue in this for another 2 years. Forget 10 or 20 years. (My HR will be sad after reading this :-))

Q6. What are the hobbies that I really enjoy? Is it practically and financially feasible to take up anything related to these as a part time or full time profession?

In this busy and my lazy world, I dont have any time for hobbies. Even if I have a couple of hobbies, its appreciating the passion of others and admiring them, Its neither practically or financially feasible to take up as full time profession. Part time, may be yes and a no, but currently My priorities are fixed and focused.

Q7. What do I really want? More money, a career change, intellectual stimulation, a promotion, a change of cities/countries, new skills, new qualification?

Yes. I need lot of money. Who doesn`t want money. My parents are average middle class government employees and my goal is the raise the standard of living for my family. So, I need lot of money.

Career Change:
Yes. I don’t want to be a manufacturing engineer for the entire life. May be in design or Stress or something. I need a good program that can teach me new skills and bring out the talent in me.

Intellectual Simulation:
Yes. Who doesn`t need it. Yes. I may sound greedy but still I want to be know as a person who is intellectually active. It all depends on what kind of program i get into.

Promotion :
Yes. I want to move up the organizational hierarchy as efficiently as possible. It may also imply as quickly as possible. Can`t retire as a design engineer or a manufacturing engineer. May be i need to get to the management side after 10 years.

Change of location:
Yes. I am basically fed up with the rules, regulations, corruption, population, traffic, attitude of people, x, y,z in India. I am very clear that I want to move and settle abroad. Where is not yet decided. Depends of working situations or visa requirements. But not in India for sure. Remember I told about quality of life.

New Skills:
Yes. I feel just a UG degree from a tier-n college from India is just not worth. There is nothing credible and this degree looks weak on paper too. Forget whether it taught me new skills or not. So, I need a program that is going to impart lot of high value skills in me to make me competitive in job market as well as in my organisation.

New Qualification :
I feel inferior with a bachelors degree. I cant proudly say that I am engineer. Lack of confidence. Weak UG program (Or System. Remember the HSB post on quality of engineers in India). So, having a masters degree from a foreign university will definitely add lot of weight-age and give me lot of confidence and let me pursue my career peacefully. Also, I will the first person in my whole family(all branches that i know of) to do a masters degree in a foreign university.

Q8. Have I seriously explored all the other alternatives that can help me reach where I want to be?

What options am I left with in a land that filled with such fierce competition to get into IIT/IIM. I am not extremely brilliant to “crack the GATE” or “ace the CAT”(note the quotes). All doors seems to be locked. Foreign university degree is the only option that I am left out with.

Remember the joke, “If Indians dont get seat in IIT/IIM, they land up in Wharton, Stanford”

Whether its MBA or MS, still deciding.. Not sure where exactly I fit better. Probably I am looking at Engineering Management.

Q9. Why have I discarded each of these options?

1. Rat Race : Too much competition. Assuming that I want to pursue M.Tech in IIT, I need to crack into the top 99%tile. How is this possible when there is so much of cut throat competition. Or Rat Race I must say. For each IIT seat there are at least 500 candidates trying to compete. Beyond my reach.

2. Work Pressure : I am working 9-6 for 5 days a week. That leaves me with a exhausted week and saturdays and sundays just pass by relaxing. There is hardly any time to study for GATE. My UG education was probably so bad that I cant even get through top 1%ile in GATE Exam. Also, its been about 3 years last time i solved a differential equation or at least recognize the type of Differential Equation. GATE exam requires dedicated full time studies which I cant do.

Q10. If each of the options individually can`t help my cause, can I consider a combination that will work for me?

Yes, combination of options may work, but for that I need to quit my full time job. But the problem is that I have got used to the money that I make, that I don’t want to quit now. Another consideration is that better to do a masters degree from a foreign university than struggling and slogging to “Crack the GATE” and then do Mtech from IIT. I personally feel its worth the money to get a foreign education than the revered IIT. (Apologies IITs)
<h3>Q11. What’s my current financial position?</h3>
Pretty OK. I am doing well. I am single and don
t have any girl friend (That’s a bunch of savings, isnt it?). Well My parents may have upto 10Lakhs saved up for my education. (Proabably they thought Ill never complete my graduation and kept that as a back up). I have a personal saving of 2Lakhs. I get around 35k every month and dont have major commitments. I finished up my under graduation education loan of 4Lakhs from my last 2 years salary (Proud Feeling!). In all, I may have ready cash of say, 15Lakhs in Hand (Tentative figure)
<h3>Q12. Am I depending only on a single source of income? Do I have supplementary source of income? (Such as investments in stocks?)</h3>
No supplementary source of income. (No strong political connections or cricketing hero
s in my family or movie stars). I have around 15Lakhs in hand and remaining I am dependent on Banks or scholarships.

Q13. What are the implications if my primary source of income stops for a couple of years?

Nothinng much. I can survive in India for another 5 years (assuming no inflation) and I can survive in US for 2 years. Just bread and butter, no cheese!

Q14. Do I have any other important financial investments (house, marriage, children`s education, alimony) coming up in the next few years?

Mom and Dad have already built a house and I assume its for me(For Todays prices of land in India, I cant dream of buying my own burial ground space).. No marriage till I get a masters degree, Nothing major financial investments other than my education.

Q15. Am I simply facing burnout? Will a nice long vacation help me rejunvate and hit the road again?

Nope. Before and after my vacation, I still feel the same. Rejuvenation has nothing to do with poor quality UG education and lack of competitiveness in professional world.

Q16. Why do I want to pursue MS? How will it help me get what I want?

  1. It will give me what my UG education failed to give me. (Student from tier-n institution..Much beyond tier-3/4)
  2. It will transform me into a technically sound person with higher skill sets
  3. Open up a world of opportunities with diversified culture and interaction with students. Rewarding experience.
  4. Possibilities of a green card or a work visa. Eventually settling in the foreign land
  5. Satisfaction. No more inferior complexity with just a UG degree.
  6. Better salary and monetary benefits.
  7. Clear path for moving up the organisational hierarchy. Possibility of MBA afterwards.
  8. I can choose which company I want or which skill I want to work. Not vice-versa
  9. Better recognition and salary in India (In case I dont get a job abroad)


I will update this post or publish Part with my answers.

I’m really impressed with your approach. I wish every student can do something like this. Reading a book is one thing, but putting to use the concepts learned from the book is really awesome and great start, I can already see a bright future for you.

You have completed on one heck of an impressive self-evaluation.

When you start with an end goal in mind, you can work toward that  fixed target.

If your goal is ad-hoc then its like chasing a moving target.

Beyond the MBA Hype – Book Review by Sameer Kamat.

As I said in my book review, its Must read for any student planning to study abroad (not just MBA, MS or USA or UK).

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  1. hey arun easy to catch you…….. regarding your post most of the aspects and thinking matched mine except, am unemployed and finished my B.E in mechanical engineering in June 2011 and am going for ms next year. i hope that many people have been helped by this post of yours thanks a lot.

  2. hey..! hi..:-)
    frst and foremost i think i GOT ur name u tried hiding ….Its ARUN PRASAD….isn’t HAHA;-) sorry fr that.!

    Getting back to ur ENLIGHTENING SELF ASSESSMENT ..Brother IT’s GOOD..!
    awesome.! superb and gives us a food for thought.!
    Dude dreaming big is good.BUT to know the reason WHY and Is It good for u ;is a question most of us forget to answer to ourselves which is an IMPERATIVE thought.!

    Weighing All your options is what most of us forget..!
    Bro I am also pursuing my B-tech in ECE from a B++ university and planning for MS….and believe it I know WHY this MS is required..!

    And bro. When u did BTECH in a good field SO GOIN FOR MS would be good cuz then u wnt waste ur 4 years in vain…DO MS get a good job ….Earn FAT and.Then go for EXECUTIVE MBA …Its best trust me ….I WAS THRIVING WITH THIS QUESTION FOR YEAR LONG..! dnt do more LATE brother.!


  3. Great Post man………..Can’t believe every point of evaluation of yours matched mine except for the settling down abroad one…..I would definitely like to settle in India only even if I pursue my MS and work abroad for a few years….
    I was in Dredging Industry and the Work profile was same as yours despite being a Mech engg. ….getting frustrated I left my job last year and started preparing for GATE but soon realized that this is not my cup of tea………because of limited opportunities in Dredging I am struggling to find another job and so I am mulling over the idea of doing MS from USA…….
    Thanx man…..your post was a pure reflection of my evaluation and summary……..this will definitely help me….

  4. Very good self evaluation method for experienced people, Really i was in such a dilemma. I kind of had a similar profile and work but in a different field.

  5. What do the people think of improving conditions in India.
    Talking is one thing and doing it on ground is another, if you want to change or improve conditions in India, forget about it for next 10-20 years.
    If you really want to change the system, go and join premier government organizations like ISRO, DRDO, BEL, BHEL, CDOT etc… Join these organizations and then, you will know the ground reality. If you have an innovative mind and are joining as a newcomer in these organizations, forget about implementing your ideas, the system will simply not allow you to do it, everybody will appreciate your ideas on the skin level only, but nobody will get it implemented. There’s such dirty politics in these organizations that you will get so frustated that you will be fed up with the system within 1-2 years. Do you think an innovative mind will be able to survive in such a rotting culture and make difference and to add to that, be personally satisfied?
    It’s impossible for a person who wants to build and innovate things in such organizations. So, what will he do then? He will start hating the system and definitely will try to pursue higher studies abroad or work in an MNC or abroad in top-tier companies where innovation is not even allowed but also encouraged in contrast with the cliche cultured government organizations in India. I myself have worked for 2+ years in DRDO and finally, after getting fed up with the system, came to USA for MS. You can do an analysis of how many BTech graduates from institutes like IITs, NITs, BITS, DCE, NSIT work in top government organizations in India and how many stay there for more than 2-3 years. Probably you will find negligible number of them working in these organizations.
    I will emphasize on the ‘fact’ that MS from a good university in USA is in no ways comparable to MTech from even good institutes like IITs in India. The exposure and type of education that you get here is an experience you will never get in India or any other country. The professors are very helpful, the system is flexible and students can choose their subjects in which they want to specialize. To add to it, the international student experience you get is an experience of a kind where you interact with students from all the corners of world which obviously cannot be experienced in India. Moreover, the system is very transparent here, if you innovate or bring something new, you are encouraged to go ahead instead of being suppressed as it happens in India.
    Finally, the work experience you get in USA after completion of MS is worth the hard work both technically and monetarily. So, if innovation and discovery is the buzz or craze for a person, he should definitely go to USA and pursue Masters in a good university, it’s a lifetime investment which always pays off throughout your life…!

    1. Very rightly said. There is lot of politics inside country`s premier R &D Organisations as well as institutions like IIT. How many billions of dollars have we been spending on the ill-fated kaveri engine that was supposed to fire up LCA aircraft (ask any DRDO employee).. More than 19 years into research and still no output..Literally struggling and finally they set up JV with GE

      Problem is our country is filled with corruption, politics, reservation. Do you know how many “Un-deserving candidates” who have SC/ST quota are studying in IIT`s ? Remember the 33% reservation rule ? This reservation rule also applies to selection into PSU`s like DRDO, ISRO, HAL etc etc.

      I have nothing against IIT. but IIT`s are just not doing any justice. Go to bihar or rajastan and see how students go to coaching centers. they spend 2-3 years after plus2 to prepare for IIT (or may be mug up) and then get seat in IIT and call themselves engineer. Check Narayana murthy`s comments on IIT quality.

      Check the profiles of Indian Professors in US universities. 80% of them might be from IIT. Why did they study in IIT and come to US and eventually settle. India is a developing country and will remain one for next 20/30 years. There is no hope. One single person cannot change the system.

      I am not against INDIA, I`m against System. I`m against politics. I`m against reservation. I`m against corruption. I`m a proud Indian and Its my dream to see India blossom into a superpower. When Politics,Reservation,Corruption is prevalent everywhere, Who would want to stay in this country and end up being a direct or indirect victim ?

      2G Scam, land scam, reservation, high petrol prices, inflation, high land prices, poor quality of education, corrupt politicians, this list can be never ending. Common man can`t do anything against such a big country.

    2. totally agreed man…i am getting the same frustrated feeling being here in India…obviously one cannot hate India…but that’s altogether a different thing…looking at the education and development scenario…god knows how much will it take a creative mind to get the ideas accomplished. ya maybe it is not justified for me to comment as i am still pursuing my bachelor’s and that too not from a premier institute but then i am a student too and in India, as told by OBC,fresh talent has 0 value in industries..even if you are a student from highest ranked UNIs then just think how will we be treated…like we have done a crime not graduating from an A+ UNI…USA looks at talent and knowledge…equal opportunities up for grabs….its surely tempting

  6. Pursuing MS abroad is a dream for many students especially in India. One will have to agree that the higher education system of India,the quality of it,when compared with the rest of the world is not upto the mark. I just came across your remarks about the IITs in your post.
    “Another consideration is that better to do a masters degree from a foreign university than struggling and slogging to “Crack the GATE” and then do Mtech from IIT. I personally feel its worth the money to get a foreign education than the revered IIT”
    I don’t know what you meant by that. But i can assure you, at any given day, if a student gets an opportunity to study in an IIT he will opt it without any hesitation. Personally if i get admission to an IIT and also to a so called “XYZ” foreign university which is out of top 15 i would go for an IIT and pursue my masters here. You should not underestimate the quality of the students you find in IITs.
    For me it gives me more satisfaction competing with some of the brightest minds in my country and secure admission to the premier institute of my own country,rather than going to a foreign university ,just to boast that i did my masters abroad. GRE/GMAT in no way can be comapred to a GATE/ CAT. And its a well known fact that the admission tests to our IITs is one of the toughest in the world.
    And as far as money is concerned, it is important. But money isn’t everything in your life. Settling abroad will definitely improve the quality of your life, but don’t downplay your own country. Most of the students going abroad will definitely come back and settle in India rather than settling abroad.
    Its time that our young generation change their perspective about their own country and start to make it a better place to live with the knowledge and experience they gain rather than dreaming about buying a palatial residence and a bunch of fancy sports cars.
    Hope you take my comment in the right sense,and wishing you all the best for your masters abroad. Good luck mate.

  7. Great post. The only real self evaluation that I need in, is perhaps the choice of specialization for my masters .What should I study after UG in Mech E especially when I didn’t find ME to be interesting enough? My plus points are my scores – GRE-1510, TOEFL- 113, CGPA- 8.34.
    Minus point is lack of clarity of goals. MBA is out because of high cost and non availability of financial aid. Engg. Mgmt. also needs to be self funded. That only leaves me with the option of pursuing engg, further in which scholarships and waivers are easy to come by. But what exactly should I study?Which program I might find interesting enough?

  8. DASARAP has done self evaluation. But I feel there is a point he missed out on his self evaluation.
    Mechanical engineering (ME) choosing Aerospace (AE) is not surprising and after this boredom experience with little scope to contribute, you should have introspected on why ‘aerospace’ again. For ME you have world of opportunities and when you take AE for specialisation in MS…you are again narrowing down your knowledge / growth path. AE is a generic term and in MS you should be a specialise a subject. If you choose your masters in ‘fluid dynamics’ with ME background you will find world of opportunities knocking your door rather than working as senior data entry operator after completing your masters in AE……go deep into this thought…you will definitely get an answer to your ambition

  9. this post has given me sme clarity , evn i m stuck whthr 2 do MS or not….thanq u very much for the post and esply for the 16th Q,tht has the fantastic 9 points in it,thanq thanks a lot…

  10. Fed up with rules and regulations in India!?
    What do you think, there wont be any rules and regulations abroad?
    U have done a lot of self evaluation and eager to get out of this country? This country has it’s limitations, but as do we. The quality of life is not good here, we should do something to improve it right?
    Go places, explore, achieve, gain knowledge but always be proud of your mother and motherland.
    I have a dream, to study in one of the best universities in this world, I’m planning to do my MS. I know I’ll do it and will come back.
    Heard of Rikin Gandhi and Digital Green?
    An MIT grad in Aeronautical, rejected an offer to work with NASA, changing the face of farming in India.
    There’s nothing sinful or wrong in settling abroad and it doesn’t mean those who settle abroad ain’t patriots. I just cannot understand someone getting fed up with his own country.

  11. There is definitely one question missing here which every aspirant should answer: Are you just out of a serious committed relationship?

    6 of the 10 people out of such relationships are the ones who finally Book there GRE exams and start thinking seriously about pursuing MS, a dream that they have cherished for a long time. True Story. Lets have a poll on that.

    Anyhow, thanks HSB for this post. According to me this is the best post I have come across so far because every aspirant needs to answer this questions before there quest.

    And I completely agree with you that our friend here has a bright future because of his such honest evaluation.

    And Mr. DASARP NURA are you my long lost twin? Trust me, 8 out of 10

    1. /*Continue*/

      I can so relate to your self evaluation answers when I was deciding to pursue my MS. Thank you so much for this post, you sure made lot of people think. And all the best.

  12. Arun Prasad huh.. that was too simple.. self doubt doesn’t help anybody, if you are passionate about MS, just do it, don’t think about it too much, except finance and the opportunity to gain knowledge and respect.

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