Planning for a better future

A sizable number of foreign students in the US and UK are from India and the numbers have only been growing. Students from high income as well as middle class families have been migrating to these countries with rosy dreams of doing their post graduation and eventually settling into high paid jobs in the international market. However, the ongoing global economic crisis has led students to think again and make informed choices regarding the courses they intend to take up. Lay offs and concern of job security has lead to growing doubts in the minds of the student who wish to pursue higher education abroad during these troubled times. They listen to their peers (students who are already based abroad) about the current scenario where pink slips are almost the order of the day and students being forced to make do with part-time jobs. Moreover the credit crunch has made it difficult to procure bank loans. The rupee value is not at its best either. This has only compounded a student’s financial worries.

Nr.X had planned to take an education loan and do an MS in the US. He had even prepared to give my GRE and TOFEL, and had started applying to various universities. But now he is having second thoughts. Is it really wise on his part to tax his middle class parents to invest money to do an expensive course like MBA? What if he does not get a job immediately after passing out? In fact, he may just have to wait and watch, take on a job temporarily and then, if the economic situation improves plan to do it next year. Many students like Ms.S have put their higher education plans on hold. But some have decided to take the option of doing some short term certification courses online.

He has landed a job with a reputed IT firm with great difficulty and he don’t want to risk losing this job just for studying further abroad. He plans to enroll for the CISA certification program of the ISACA, which would help him to advance in his career. The CISA certification will add value to his resume during the next round of promotions.

Online courses are generally opted for by working professionals, who wish to study further and acquire additional qualifications. But during these trying times, many young fresh graduates are opting for online courses as they are relatively cost effective and can be done while holding on to your job. Commerce graduates seem to have the widest range of options for international certifications by distance education. The CPA, CFA, CISA, CIMA, etc are all very popular and attract many students every year. The best part is that the student has the option of joining the local study circle, which allows him the required interaction with core professionals in the same field.

Online MBA is another program that attracts a whole lot of students, especially if awarded by a top ranked foreign university. With more and more campus MBA programs offering the degree online, the online degree has become more socially acceptable, says an executive with a multinational company. He has more than 10 years of work experience and my employer is willing to support his education. So, he has decided to enroll for the online MBA program with a top ranked US University. This will enable him to balance his job, which involves a lot of travel, and ambition to increase my intellectual stock.

The Online MBA has evolved with the times. It is not just video lectures and chats, but also interaction between students and professors by using methods to bring in the real classroom atmosphere and allowing discussions and presentations. However, students have to decide for themselves whether doing the course online suits them as it requires a high-level of self discipline and motivation.

Distance learning requires you to read, think and express your thoughts on your own, apart from making your own deadlines and meeting them. It also requires you be computer savvy, and acceptable to learning new software tools and applications. The flexibility of timing, the ability to pursue your studies simultaneously with your career and affording an integration of the two gives one a rewarding learning experience.