After working for three years in MNC, I (Vishnu) 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 studying MS in the US.
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.
My dream did not allow me to focus on my work.
I was living the life – a luxurious life. It was luxurious because, after my promotion, I got a good bonus with flexible work time.
I finally decided 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 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. Then, after listing the company name, he approved my visa.
I enrolled in an 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 crucial 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, 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 a Brazilian client. My office hours are 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 an excellent salary, and two friends and I stayed in a lovely 3-bedroom duplex in a beautiful 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 believe this? What events made you feel 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 US to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte but switched to UHCL shortly after arriving here due to the 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 had come 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?
Our university has one scholarship, which was 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 it was a good idea to meet with my Dean, explain my situation, and hope to get some insight into obtaining a TA (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 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 jobs?
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 challenging.
It’s not challenging, and other departments are just easy. That’s the shortcut to getting a degree, then a job.
9. Why entrepreneurship? Why this change of mind? What inspired you?
After reaching the US, I saw my life differently.
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 see 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. So I thought about working under someone and making them rich where we have plenty of options to start our own business.
I wanted to become an entrepreneur a while back, but I didn’t give it a try due to the fear of failure.
Now, I have no fear of losing; I want to give my best.
When I was working in India, I saw some drawbacks in my work. So I want to improve myself and express to you in person some of my improvement ideas and other ideas (I 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. What was your salary in India?
I worked for Oracle Corporation in India and made 65,000 INR (1300 USD) after deductions.
This was when I started studying for the GRE.
It was not the fear of quitting the job. It was the fear of leaving Oracle, which made me think twice. Because getting a job at Oracle was not an easy task.
I cleared nine rounds of interviews to get this job.
Face Fear Head-On
Like many others, my primary goal when I reached the US was acquiring knowledge and getting a job after graduation.
But eventually, after the first semester, I am working towards an entrepreneurial opportunity.
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.