Guests post by Vishnu.
After working for three years in MNC, I finally came to the United States.
I said the following in my guest post that I wrote three years back – Joining MNC instead of higher education in the USA was a big mistake.
Plus, I shared my needs and wants and why I am working towards my dream of going to study MS in the U.S.
But my perspective completely changed when I started my journey to America.
Flashback: 3 Years
After working for two years in MNC, I was pretty comfortable with my work.
I got a good salary increase and promotion; life was settled without any hurdles. But deep inside, I still had a dream to study in the US, which was not allowing me to concentrate on my day job, which was luxurious life (believe me, it was luxurious because, after my promotion, I got a hefty bonus with flexible work time).
I finally made the decision to study in America and acquire knowledge, which would fulfill my dream.
Finally, I came-up with a one-year plan, including my GRE and IELTS scores and applying for multiple universities.
I did just enough on both of the tests and got accepted into all of the five universities I applied to.
Impact of Working Experience
The visa officer asked just two questions, which university and where I worked. After listing the company name, he approved my visa.
I enrolled in a MIS program. After arriving at the campus, I contacted my Dean with hopes of getting a scholarship or any other assistance due to my previous work experience.
There was a special scholarship for students pursuing MIS at my university. Unfortunately, they have not offered it for over three years due to insufficient funds. Luckily, the Dean said that they were offering this specific scholarship from this semester.
So, I applied for the scholarship by writing a personal essay, including my primary goals.
I got 50% of the scholarship. I do believe that my work experience played a key role in getting it.
In the MIS course, we have many management and technical subjects to study.
Due to my previous work experience, they waived two of my management courses, which ended up saving me a lot of money.
A Note from Raghu:
After I read the above experience, I felt there were many unanswered questions. So, I compiled a list of questions for Vishnu. You can read his answers below.
1. Can you describe your luxurious life in India?
I used to work for Brazilian clients and my office hours is between 4 pm to 2 am from home or the office, depending on my preference.
I was given a laptop, phone, Wi-Fi, and a car to pick up and drop me off.
I used to get a very good salary and two friends and myself stayed in a nice 3-bedroom duplex in a very nice area.
We would enjoy roaming the entire city, visiting pubs, parties, taking long drives, etc. Working from home daily and partying every day is a lot of fun!
2. What made you think that you wanted to study abroad? When did you think this, what events made you think about it on a day to day basis?
Eventually, after two years, I got bored of the same routine in my life (my friends too). But they feared losing this comfort if they changed a company or followed other dreams.
I can’t even believe that I spent two years just like that.
I needed some change.
I started planning everything for one year and got books, inquired about good institutions, read all posts of HSB regarding GRE test prep tips.
3. Which university did you attend, and where did you work?
I am studying at the University of Houston – Clearlake.
I came to the U.S. to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, but switched to UHCL shortly after coming here due to course work of UHCL.
4. How did it feel when you landed in America?
It was amazing, I can’t express it in words.
The day I landed, it felt like I was entering another world, like a dream came true.
Luckily, I have a brother in Houston who helped take care of almost everything required for me.
5. Why did you contact the Dean, you could have just gone about life?
Our university has one scholarship, which will be given to almost 50% of students.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get it. Before coming, I applied for a loan and it was sanctioned.
They didn’t approve my loan transfer to the other university and it got rejected.
I just thought that it was a good idea to meet with my Dean, explain my situation and hope to get some insight on how to obtain a TA (in order to convert my tuition to instate).
6. How did you find out about the special scholarship?
When I checked on our website, there was one scholarship specialized for MIS students. But the seniors told us that they were not offering it for another three years.
7. What was the primary goal that you stated in the scholarship essay?
In my essay, I mainly said that I wanted to join a small/medium-sized business and wanted to play a key role in developing that company into a multi-billion dollar organization.
I explained to them how this course and subjects helped me in different aspects to achieve it.
8. Why do you say others goals are grades and job?
When I came here I saw almost all (99.99%) students from India came here for one primary goal:
Get a Job and Earn boatloads of money in the shortest span possible.
I saw 60% of students in my branch transfer to other universities or other branches, because the course was tough.
It’s actually not tough, other branches are just easy. That’s the shortcut to get a degree, then a job.
9. Why entrepreneurship? Why this change of mind? What inspired you?
After reaching the U.S., I saw my life in a different way.
When I was in India, I used to think everyone from the US was rich. But I came to know that everyone is happy with what they get.
At the same time, I’m seeing several opportunities here.
For instance, I saw a small mechanic earning $150,000 per year. This is just because of his place and low labor charge. I thought about why to work under someone and make them rich where we have plenty of options to start our own business.
I wanted to become an entrepreneur a while back, but due to the fear of failure, I didn’t give it a try.
Now, I have no fear of losing; I just want to give my best.
When I was working in India, I saw some drawbacks in my work. I want to improve myself, express to you in person some of my improvement ideas, as well as other ideas (I really appreciate your valuable suggestions).
10. What kind of job is an instructional assistant? Describe the duties. How much does it pay?
Instructional Assistant is a different kind of job from TA/RA.
We have no contact with students directly.
We need to prepare materials for students and make our professor’s work easy.
We need to prepare quiz questions, materials, weekly assignment questions for students. The TA will evaluate the answers and have direct contact with students.
11. How much did you earn when you start working in India, and how much when you describe life as a luxury?
I worked for Oracle Corporation back in India, and made 65,000 INR (1300 USD) after deductions.
This is when I started studying for the GRE.
It was not the fear of quitting the job, it was the fear of quitting Oracle, which made me think twice. Because getting a job at Oracle was not an easy task.
I cleared nine rounds of interview to get this job.
Face Fear Head-On
Like many others, my primary goal when I reached the US was to acquire knowledge and get a job after graduation.
But eventually, after the first semester, I am working towards an entrepreneurial opportunity.
I feel that I am more comfortable working as an Instructional Assistant and gaining knowledge than working in India. This is my journey so far and I will continue to update as I make progress.