Saturday, October 17, 2009

Best time for overseas degree

While the last few years had seen a trend of Indian professionals in Western countries returning to India for jobs, now there are mid-career professionals looking at opportunities to study overseas in the wake of the slowdown and uncertain job market. However, instead of going to the traditional campus destinations, many mid-level executives are opting to go to Asian countries such as Singapore, whose universities have collaborations with international universities. “Many professionals are using the slowdown to undertake either executive MBAs or advanced management programmes. The other courses, which have big takers, are the virtual MBAs and the short-term three-month courses, offered by many international universities. For example, INSEAD, a graduate business school based in France, has a campus in Singapore as well a centre in Abu Dhabi, which seem to be attracting a lot of Indian students,” says E.Balaji, CEO, of HR service provider Ma Foi Management Consultants.

Interestingly, one reason for the trend of more Indian students looking at courses overseas could actually be the stability afforded by the Indian economy. “Immigrant students perceive India as a market of the future and therefore a sure fire job generator compared with almost any other part of the world. Indian employers also find better value in a student educated say, in the US. The number of Indians studying abroad and eventually securing a senior level position in India is about three times that of those staying put in the US,” feels Rajesh AR, vice president of staffing company TeamLease Services. “Indian students are travelling abroad to study and returning to India to work because they perceive prospects to be much better in India than elsewhere. The biggest loss from this trend is to the US, which, hitherto, has been having a majority of Indian students immigrating to study, finding a job and living in America. The Indian immigrant student talent pool - sized at around 75,000 annually - benefits the US to a great extent,” he adds.

Various IT companies which were forced to put a large number of their junior and mid-level employees on the bench are following a policy of actively promoting the concept of sabbaticals. The IT/BPO industry, did see an increase in the number of junior and mid-level employees who chose to use the slowdown as an opportunity to pursue studies. This was seen particularly in those companies, which had an excessive number of people on the bench. While some companies, gave their employees the option of taking sabbaticals with a small pay, some of the others gave them the option of staying on the rolls without pay,” says Prameela Kalive, vice-president and global head, talent management at Zensar Technologies.

This article is written by Lisa Mary Thomson for The Economic Times (October 11, 2009).

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