Study Abroad – Total Opportunity Cost vs Benefits

Raghuram Sukumar Edu News 34 Comments

My name is Mayur, I wanted to some guidance about pursuing MS in Computer Science from top university located in USA or any other county which offers best education.

Opportunity Cost vs Benefits

Now why I want to pursue the MS in CS or IT?

I am very passionate about learning things that can help me to explore my self better as well as to serve the community in better way.

Also I am very keen about technologies and research happens across the world.

My Academic Profile and Background

Computer Engineer from Mumbai University passed in June 2011 with 71%.

After that I joined a start-up right after that where I work as Senior Software Architect, as of now I am earning good money (Rs.600,000/year) + 10% Equity and will get increment (probably Rs.700,000-750,000/year) in June 2012.

I earn this money because I have experience of working as Freelance Developer with several companies during my college days (which started at the age of 15) and have good knowledge of latest technologies.

Now I am very confused about doing MS in Comp Sci. since I always end-up with comparing Total Cost of Opportunity vs Benefits that I will get.

I am coming from Lower Middle Class family who has just started getting good things due to money I earn; and I don’t want them to look back again in out poor past.

I have also borrowed Education Load worth of $4500 from Indian Bank in-order to complete my Graduation.

My biggest concern is Money that I will burn for MS although I can arrange max loan of $35,000 for abroad studies + upto $18,000 from friends and family.

Here I have a question would I get any scholarship or financial aid due to my tech background?

I am planning to go in Aug 2013, till that time I would have overall valuable experience of 2 years.

Now the thing which always end me up in calculation –

I will be investing $60,0000 (Tuition fee + Living Expense)

$25,000 – Which I will earn if I stay in India instead of pursing MS

Is spending this much amount will be justifiable with respect to sacrifice my family (they want to see me happy) and I will do (My happiness lies in post grad from top university)?

It would be very helpful If you or any HSB member can answer my query since there are many people who might had faced same problem.

Higher Ed Expenses

Mayur, what you have described is typical for any middle class Indian Family.

Good to see your freelance experience is providing you with good financial benefit.

I wish every student perform Total Opportunity Cost vs Benefits analysis before deciding to study in USA or other countries.

If you can get above good score in GRE and TOEFL, with you can apply for right set of universities.

If you get admission with Financial Aid, then all this  Total Opportunity Cost vs Benefits can be thrown out of the window.

You can also consider Studying in Germany. Education is free or you will pay like 400 Euros per semester.

Sacrifice and Hard work

Without sacrifice you can’t reach new heights or do great things.

Your quality of life and your family status will go from lower middle class to upper  middle class and above depending on your decision to study abroad.

Parents want their kids to have life better than their life.

If you are looking for bigger jump in your family status, then Studying Abroad will get you there.  Exposure and experience from studying abroad will make you more valuable.

Total Value of the studying abroad experience is fare greater than opportunity cost you have to pay.

Good luck to you and take your time to make the right decision.


  1. Even i am in similar dilemma.
    I am working with a networking giant and its my dream company.
    the pay and work culture over here is great.

    If i choose to pursue MS, I’ll have leave everything behind and start from scratch and again struggle or else i can work hard and improve my profile and try for onsite opportunities from here.

    My only reason for pursuing MS was to get a good job/experience in some product based companies and it is very hard in india to get selected by big companies.

    Now since i have got my dream job/company , i am having double minds abut MS.

      1. There is no guarantee that the same company will employ me after MS.

        There is a off-ramp option available within company where i can leave company for two years, complete masters and join back; but fr that i have to complete three years in company.

        1. Hi Rorshach,

          You are not thinking in a direction where your prospects will be far more better than other people appearing for positions in the same company in US. What I will suggest you is, make a very good relationship with people in the same company in US. Try to be in touch with them. Ask them what were their profile when they were recruited in the company. Keep in mind, you have to be friendly enough with them that they understand your intentions of coming to US and not go against you. Spend sometime in your current organization to gain some experience and then choose some University very near to headquaters of the company. For example, if you are working for Cisco, you can apply for Stanford University(I know this is ambitious), University of Santa Clara and San Jose state university, University of California etc.

          This will brighten your chances for other organization in silicon valley too and imagine how much your chances would brighten to at least get through the parent company who hired you in India because you are already trained into product they manufacture and specifically for product based company this thing won’t change much with time if you will keep yourself updated with company’s product knowledge.

          Try to also write to HR of US organization to ask them about your chances to be selected after doing MS from any of these universities. If you do MS from Stanford or UC you don’t have to worry at all :). I don’t know if they will reply you positively or simply forward that mail to your team lead or Manager because I tried doing that and they forwarded my mail to HR in India to give me advice on similar grounds.

          Also look out for some universities who have specialized courses in Networking like Syracuse etc. Lastly, with a MS degree and some experience in networking giants and some certifications, you would certainly be in a better position to grad a good job, rest is upto you.

          Best of luck!!!


          1. Hi Rorshach,

            We share almost same problem and desire just that I am currently in a company which is not my dream. I too want to be in a product based company.

            Hi Ashish,

            Can you please suggest where can I get the contact of HR of companies in US or how should I search.


          2. Sarwesh, sorry to say that but this is like spoon feeding buddy…go to the website of the company, look for the jobs in US, when you list any job most of the time they put down a contact person’s email id and most of the times, name is of HR.

            Also you can ask any of your good managers. If you have good relations with HR, try asking them. That’s why I said, maintain relationship with people so as to they become your good friend in a way not to harm yourself by them and get your work done.

          3. Ashish….Thanks buddy…there is no harm in asking…. 😉

    1. There are few companies which would encourage their employees to pursue their higher education in universities abroad. The company would pay for your education. You can avail 2 years of leave or prefer to work part-time. There are many options that you can choose.However, there will be a bond or a condition whereby you will have to work in the same company after MS for at least 2 years . I have this kind of opportunity in the firm where i work. Why don’t you check it with yours if you can avail something of this kind?

        1. Nvidia Graphics is one of them, there are many other companies which have some or the other programs. You won’t be able to know like that because such facilities are for people working in those organizations so until you are not working there or you don’t know people in that company, you won’t be able to know. Such questions are best to be asked when you clear a interview in a company and they ask you if you have any questions for them. Rest go to companies website and do your research.

          Best of luck!!!

  2. I am too much worried about placement scenario of Masters in Computer Science or Electrical Engineering students, given this anticipated another global economic slowdown in US and European crisis. Will I get a job decent enough to payback the loan within 4-5 years after graduation ?

  3. Mayur,

    I am in agreement with what HSB suggested you. I think if you can get scholarship for your Masters your Cost vs Benefit numbers will change dramatically. I will not suggest you to actually spend $60,000 and leave the job. My suggestion would be if you leave the job make sure your Fee is paid. There are many universities in US who can support your Education if you perform well in GRE and TOEFEL.

  4. HI HSB,
    I caught in the same dilemma.
    I am also freelancer and blogger.Did my engineering in computer science 76% agg. (I-D)
    I have to do MS in Computer Science. in good university.
    GOOD University means in which doing MS should have value.
    I am also working in reputed company.And I decided to pursue MS in US in Aug 2013.
    I will take education loan of 20000.and will gather 10000 from family.
    So problem is which university should i apply depending on my money problem?
    “Plz suggest some university”. I think this post will help for many who belongs to middle class family.
    Suggest some university according to money management.
    Thank you HSB for your great help.and keep continue.

    1. This will be interesting topic to talk about. I will add this to my future post list.

      1. HI HSB,
        I requested to all readers of HSB.This is big topic.
        Please show your interest.This will be helpful to all.
        God bless you.
        Thank you.

        1. Hi Aditya,

          I too have the same delimma…I will be taking my GRE soon and hopefully score 315 atleast to get into good university.

          Although I wont compromise on good university due to cost if I have already secured my job opportunity there before hand—currently I am working in a Major IT company of India, now after taking a loan of 20L and even more if after MS I find my self without job it will be a great problem…therefore I am thinking of taking a study break from my company and if they allow I would join my company after MS in US with salary range according to US – though I have not confirmed this from my HR but if this is not possibile then I will only look for optimising this equation good_university+financial_aid, I would select carefully which university to go for.

          I am not sure how bad is the job condition there in Computer science field….some say one can get jobs easily in CS but others say you will have to be really brilliant or super lucky to land up with a job.

          Do you have any idea of jobs condition there?

  5. One thing you need to know regarding investment.

    If you are already employed
    Your investment is
    1. Work Exp. for 2 years
    2. 2 years salary
    3. Money from bank

    for example if you are earning 7.5 LPA , then consider you earn 16 L in 2years and investment of 15-20L if you get into B-school in india or MS from good school which has good prospects and provide aid to few students.
    finally you spend 36L in yours and you will get all your money back in 3-4 years in INDIA and may be 1.5-2 years in US .

    compare your salary after 4years and salary you get after 2 years in MS.Always be prepared for worst case scenario….


  6. Hi Rorshach, I take the liberty to advise you. With Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago
    (IIT C) – On Campus, Online and Hybrid. The hybrid option is the best when on a shoe string budget. I have placed below a few lines on the same.

    Option 1 – On-Campus in Chicago- For students who wish to pursue a Master’s or Ph.D program on our Main Campus.

    Option 2 – Online- in some of the Graduate Programs offered by IIT, few master’s programs are offered online at a reduced fee. India Internet students follow the same schedules and syllabi as students on the Main Campus. Lectures are posted to the internet within 24-48 hours of their delivery in Chicago and are available 24/7 via streamed video.

    Option3 – Hybrid- – Students may also begin their studies in India and complete their studies in the USA, Students who spend atleast two consecutive full-time semesters as F-1 students in the USA, may be eligible for optional practical training authorization in the USA after graduation.

    1. Sivakumar, I have heard about this option and I think hybrid option is super good because of following reasons:

      1. Online courses are sometimes not as expensive as on campus program so all those you are saying they don’t have the money can go for online courses offered by some of the very best universities like Stanford, UC etc but they are still expensive if you are not working and earning good.

      2. Once you have done those online courses apply for full time MS with waiver on this online courses. With waiver on this courses, you can complete your MS in less time. This will both save time and money.

      3. You can save time and money by doing these online courses while you are working with an IT company.

      But Guys remember this is SUPER HARD because it is not easy to study and work simultaneously specially when you are doing online courses and lots of money are on stake so be very serious and work hard.

      Link for hybrid option from Standford university:

      1. BTW, that link from Stanford University was given by company where I use to work in India and they were happy to finance any of their employees but conditions were that employee needs to prove to their manager that these program are really beneficial for the current project they are working on and they will only be sponsored if they scored more than B grade or something.

        Sometimes you can simply approach your company to ask them to finance such studies of yours, be clever enough to prove them that this will really help current project and develop skill set in you beneficial for the organization.

      2. hi Ashish
        Really you gave very helpful suggestion.
        Thank you.keep it
        Can you give such more links?
        It will be very helpful.

        1. Aditya every other university offers online courses so if starts giving you link, I think I need few months to collect and give it to you so please demand for something that is feasible and sensible. Just being practical here.

          Do you own research, just keep in mind that whatever university course you choose first clarify your intention with right authorities in interested university that you are thinking to do online courses to save time and money but you plan is to do full time MBA or MS, so will they be able to provide you with full time degree, can they waive off all your online course, is there any minimum eligibility like you can do only X number of online courses and rest of them should be on campus etc. Ask them they will surely help you.



    2. if i complete iit-c’s whole course ( ie ms ) in india, what kind of internship and placement opportunities i will be given? i visited the iitchicagoinindia website but there is no data regarding internships and placements! can they arrange accomodation for outstation candidates??

      1. Dear Rajarshi,

        Regarding placements with IIT C, there are 2 options.
        Option 1 – Hybrid – In this option Students who spend atleast two consecutive full-time semesters as F-1 students in the USA, may be eligible for optional practical training authorization in the USA after graduation. You complete at least 5 course in this above option to task IIT C for a placement option visit this link
        Option 2 – Completing full program in India, there are more than 25 companies Sponsoring their engineers for these programs Motorola, Godrej, Juniper Networks
        Digital, Qualcomm, Alcatel, Ebay/paypal, Oracle, Intel, Honeywell, Cisco
        Sasken etc more on this
        Note : There are no Online students at IIT. There are only IIT students who take their courses and programs online. Since the award of degree is the same you can contest for H1 quote as well.

  7. First, Thank to HSB for publishing my concern. (Yeh its mine).

    Now situation has changed little. I am getting good offer from a company who is ready to pay me around Rs.10,00,000/Year, and company is well renowned in industry (not an MNC but they are tech enthusiasts in Mobile Industry). I read all reviews from people and I am really thankful to all. I am planning to give GRE in September/October-2012 and MS in Fall-2012 Batch.

    Regarding finance I am still concerned and increasing my dilemma. Hope someone with same kind of experience will help me.

    Also I want to know more about Finance options available in US (RA or some sort of Scholarship). I had borrowed a loan to pursue B.E./B.Tech but I already repaid it.


    1. Hi Mayur everyone from middle class is facing same problem. You have good salary and try to save it more & more. Invest money to get benefit. When ur bank account is good u will get easy approval of loan.


  8. Hi HSB
    Very Urgent
    My ielts 6.0
    backlogs 3
    Degree( computrs)-59%
    My questn is i just applied for only 1univsty Virgnia Int Unvsty got i20 too
    I got overall 5yrs exp from last 3.5yrs working wipro as senior hardwar engineer
    Am very good at academics school&college topper in inter except in graduation due to my dad health issue i cudnt concentre on studies and got less %..
    Its my dream to do Ms aftr degree due to some probs i cudnt make it but now all is well..and more over its my dad only desire to see me compltng masters from usa..
    I just want to do my Masters its my dad ambition and my dream ..
    So HSB need ur help bcoz am taking Sabbatical leave(2.5yrs) 4 higherstudys just to complete Ms and come back india and resume my work with same company as i shud take care of my family..
    I didnt applied for multiple unvstys,neither gre or toefl i didnt appeared coz am very confident of myself that i will get admit in d unvsty after having word with Viu dept for admission criteria they told ielts is accepted and d unvsty ws suggested by my manager over here as he did from same unvsty few yrs ago..

    so is this reasons enough for VO to get convince that am not 214(g) category nor abt my chances of visa.

    Pls HSB need ur reply am gonna take VI in few days.
    Am still waiting for the above post…pls some one reply me


  10. Hi Surya!

    Your suggestion is pretty good. where are you working(USA or Else). can you name some companies which provide this offer. I am ECE student want to pursue M.S in the same field and as per my knowledge only software companies do it but not core.

  11. hi sir this is praveen icompleted my btech cse 2102 iwant gre &tofell process

  12. i completed my BSc(Hons) and MSc in Physics. after that i completed post graduate diploma in IT.Now i m working with IT more than 6 years.Now i want to take my MS in IT from abroad.
    which country will be best for me?

  13. hi mayur, please go for the education in usa because you have an excellent grip on your subject and learning and getting exposure from good univ’s will take you to new heights
    all the best

  14. Hi all,

    Many companies encourage their employees for Higher Education. In fact, these companies have gained enormously for eg a Project done as a part of the course at IIT C on Client server Application was of Commercial Value . There are more than 25+ companies sponsoring engineers for IIT C programs.

  15. I want to study in UK or USA after my 12th grade in science. Now I am studying in 11th grade science. Many of my friends have given entrance exam test for the enng. course. I have decided to sit for SAT or AP entrance exam test. Please guide me, which course is better to study Aeronautical Engg. My interest is to go UK or USA, but I am worried about finance and accommodation during the studying period.
    Please guide me how can I arrange my visa and fees?

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