kshay Kumar, 25, knew his journey would be tough. But he thought he was prepared.
Kshay Kumar, 25岁，他知道自己的旅途会很艰难，但他认为他已经做好了准备。
In 2012, after an engineering degree and a oneyear stint with a multinational, Kumar felt he needed a makeover. "I didn't want to be stuck with civil engineering all my life. I also wanted to see the world and explore new options," he recalls. Doing an MBA from a premier institute was on his mind.
He did think of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and the Xavier School of Management, but the desire for global exposure pushed him to explore options overseas. Kumar settled for a oneyear post-graduate course at the Imperial University in the UK, which he financed via an education loan. "Visa rules and the bleak job market there did weigh on my mind. But I had a feeling I could manage it," he says. He had confidence in Imperial's good global ranking, its alumni network and his own hard work.
Kumar began his hunt for a job virtually from the day he landed in the UK. He studied hard to get good grades but worked even harder to find a good job. By tapping into networks of his alumni, friends and family, Kumar reckons he would have reached out to over 200 firms during that year. "It didn't work. My good grades made me eligible for plenty of jobs, but my non-European Indian passport was the problem," he shrugs.
Kumar moved back to India late last year and has just landed a job with a private equity firm. "All my plans have been delayed by five years," he says. Close to half his salary today goes in paying monthly instalments on his education loan.
The World isn't Flat
The West has a problem. Its economy is in a funk, not enough jobs are being created, cautious companies aren't hiring too many, and worried governments — from the US to the UK — are raising visa barriers for foreigners to work in their countries.
Young Indians, who went overseas for education, are facing a tough time finding a job. Many like Kumar have returned home. And some are now casting the net wider — looking for jobs from the US to Hong Kong and Singapore — or settling for sub-optimal options. Rupa Chanda, professor, IIM-Bangalore, who has worked on reports on international student mobility, says visa and immigration is the biggest factor affecting Indian students' decisions.
The US, the UK and Australia — the three most popular destinations for Indians seeking global education — have seen the number of Indian students come down over the past few years (see Out of Favour?). Remember, many Indian students take hefty education loans to finance their studies abroad. While many would find decent jobs back in India that would not help much as these students need dollar salaries to comfortably service their loan. This is taking its toll. "Overseas education is costly. Many Indian students are doing a cost-benefit analysis to figure how to recoup their investments overseas and putting off their plans ," explains New York-based Rahul Choudaha, chief knowledge officer, World Education Services (WES), a non-profit organization that provides credential evaluations for international students planning to study or work in the US and Canada.
美国、英国、澳大利亚，印度人寻求全球教育的最火的三大目的地，已经发现印度学生数量在过去几年持续下降（或者三大目的地已经不受青睐？）。记住，许多印度学生都背负着高额的教育贷款来资助他们的海外求学。虽然回到印度他们都能找到体面的工作，但是这些都没有太大的帮助，因为学生们需要一份用美元支付的薪水来帮助他们更轻松的偿还贷款。这就是造成的影响。“海外教育非常昂贵，许多印度学生都正在进行成本效益分析，以找出如何收回其海外投资，推迟他们（去海外就读）的计划，” 坐落于纽约的世界教育服务中心的知识总监Rahul Choudaha解释道。 这一非营利性组织为准备在美国和加拿大学习或工作的国际学生提供认证评估。
But to be fully able to understand how this trend will play out, one must understand the backdrop. A big generational shift is taking place among the students looking for overseas education. Many of them now are India's liberalization children, who have grown up post-1991 and lived in an increasingly global world with fewer barriers.
So in many ways this is their first brush with a world with barriers. Many are also children of globetrotting well-paid senior corporate executives who think differently about education, exposure and investing in a world-class education. "These parents understand the long-term rewards of a world-class education. I see many of my friends taking their children to these top campuses after they pass out from school to give them a first-hand feel," says Hema Ravichandar, strategic HR expert and a former HR head of Infosys.
所以从许多方面来说，这是他们第一次面对来自世界的阻碍。他们中也有许多是环游世界的、对教育、经历以及投资世界级教育有着不同看法的高薪企业的高管们的小孩。 “这些父母明白世界一流教育的长期回报。我看到我的许多朋友带着他们的小孩去顶尖的校园，让小孩们领略这些高等学府给他们的切身感受，”战略人力资源管理专家、Infosys 公司前人力资源主管 Hema Ravichandar说道。
Woes on Foreign Shores
Both of Ravichandar's children have studied overseas. Her daughter, Aditi, is doing her MBA from Wharton in the US and her son Nikhil, 22, completed his Bachelor's in economics from Warwick in the UK. Nikhil chose the UK over India because of the flexibility available in picking courses — he wanted to do economics with law which was impossible in India with its rigid course structures. "Education in India is not very research-driven and multicultural," he adds.
But during his stay there, the UK revoked the two-year work permit for foreign graduates. Thus he needed a firm job offer to stay on after graduation. This was difficult since he was particular about the kind of work. "I wanted a job in economic consulting," he says. Unable to get that he preferred to do a postgraduate programme instead. While he did not take any loan, for many of his classmates, who had taken a hefty education loan, things were difficult.
Now, Nikhil is back in India getting some interesting exposure at a few start-ups in Bangalore, India's Silicon Valley. He is contemplating a startup of his own. "This is the best time to take the risk and explore it," he says.
现在 Nikhil 已经回到了印度并且在印度的硅谷，班加罗尔与一些新兴企业进行了接触。他正在考虑自己创办一个公司。“这是最好的冒险和探索的时候”他说。
Across the Atlantic, Sujoyini Mandal, in her 20s, offers another peek into the odds that Indian students face overseas. After her graduation from Jadavpur University, Mandal went to Singapore for her postgrad and worked with a think-tank there. Life was good but since she had always yearned for a degree from a world-class university, she applied for a Master's at Harvard's Kennedy School.
For two years, she deferred her admission as she did not get any financial aid. She saved some money and, with a bit of aid, finally took the plunge in 2011. Foreign students in her college face an education loan cap of $30,000 ($15,000 a year), she says, making things even more difficult Mandal started looking for a job when she graduated in May 2013. But mandates that fitted her needs and aspirations were not easy to come by. She did land a contract with the World Bank but that was short term, uncertain and had no medical cover. Last month Mandal finally landed a job with an investment bank.
Despite such struggles, there are many reasons why the pursuit of overseas education among young Indians is unlikely to die down any time soon.
The Demographic Bulge
Every year, around 800,000 Indian students reportedly go overseas for their education. This costs the country close to $15 billion of forex annually, estimates industry lobby Assocham. If students are going overseas for education, it's because India has a problem of both capacity and quality. The country has one of the world's largest education infrastructures: 600 universities and 34,000 colleges with 17 million students enrolled and 5 million students graduating every year. But India is also witnessing a demographic bulge — it has perhaps the world's largest young population. Experts estimate that some 100-million-odd students will seek higher education over the next decade.
据报道,每年大约有800000名印度学生出国留学,，据印度工商业联合会估计这将耗费每年近150亿美元的外汇。学生们出国留学是因为印度不管是在教育容量还是教育质量上都有问题。印度的教育基础设施是世界上最大的教育设施之一，600所大学和34,000学院每年接受1700多万新生并输出500多万毕业生，但是我们也正见证着印度人口的爆炸性增长，印度或许有着世界上最庞大的年轻人群，专家估计在未来十年里，将有一亿多的学生寻求更高的教育。The capacity problem is compounded by the quality issue. About 70% of the capacity in India is of poor standards. At the other end of the spectrum, competitive intensity at the premier colleges is so stiff that it is often easier for bright students to get admission in Ivy League colleges in the US and the UK than in the IITs, IIMs and even top colleges in Delhi University.
All this coincides with the rise of India's aspirational upper middle class. Over the past two decades, many first-generation Indians have risen up the corporate hierarchy and are financially well-off. These welltravelled, financially stable corporate executives desire the best for their children. "They are looking for the best educational experience. They know it is a life-long asset. Indian premier colleges do not have the capacity and are very rigid," says TV Mohandas Pai, chairman, Manipal Global Education. Pai's son studied at Stanford University in the US and now works for a start-up in Silicon Valley.
这些现象与印度上层中产阶级不断上涨的雄心壮志密切相关。在过去的二十几年里，许多第一代移民创立了自己的事业，相当富裕。这些经济稳定，见多识广的公司高管希望把最好的东西给予他们的子女。Manipal全球教育主席 Mohandas Pai说他们在为孩子寻找一流的教育，这是孩子一生的财富，印度的一流大学不能给予这些而且这些大学要求过于死板。他的孩子曾在美国斯坦福大学学习，现在在硅谷工作。
This aligns well with the global trend of rising international mobility of students. According to Institute of International Education (IIE), since 2000, the number of students leaving home in pursuit of higher education has increased by 65%, totalling about 4.3 million students globally. What is more interesting is that the share of students from the developing countries in this pie is rising — it moved up from 54.8% to 69% between 1999 and 2009.
India vs China
Not surprisingly, the world's two most populous and powerful emerging countries — China and India — send the largest number of students overseas. But China has rapidly shifted gears to overtake India.
Consider what's taking place in the US. In 2000-01, India topped the list of international students by country, with 66,836 against China's 63,211. But by 2009-10 China had overtaken India. In 2012-13, China sent 236,000 students; India was nudging the 97,000 mark. While the number of Chinese students has been growing in double digits of late, that of Indian students has been sliding. To understand why that is happening, it is important to analyze the profile of students going overseas from both the countries. 2000-2001年，美国的外国留学生中印度学生是最多的，66836人，而中国学生为63211人。但是在2009-2010年时，中国超越了印度。2012-2013年，中国向美国派遣的留学生
Chinese students going to the US are evenly split between undergraduate (40%) and postgraduate programmes (44%). But Indian students are heavily skewed towards postgraduate programmes (55%) with just 13% at the undergraduate level. Indian students are also unique as over 60% are in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) category. Bear in mind that historically, postgraduate and STEM programmes offer more financial support than undergraduate and non-STEM programmes.
"The decline in Indian students is directly related to the 'Strivers' , who have been putting their plans on hold due to increasing cost of studying abroad which in turn was triggered by economic uncertainty and currency devaluation," says Choudaha.
A majority of Indian students arrives at the Master's level and funds education by taking loans as financial aid from colleges has dried up. So, while the majority of Indian students go for education loans, Chinese students are supported by their families. According to a research by WES, 47% of Indian respondents report loans as one of the primary sources of funding as compared with only 3% of Chinese.
Chinese students, in contrast, are "explorers" (experience seekers), says Choudaha. Often the only-child of financially well-off parents, they have the financial wherewithal to study abroad and are under less pressure to find a job there. But change may be afoot. Some Indian students could make the transition from 'strivers' to 'explorers' and Choudaha expects more and more Indian students — most of them children of well-off senior executives — to go overseas at the undergraduate level. Not so dependent on financial aid, he also sees many more Indians exploring new interdisciplinary fields, beyond STEM. Even in the STEM category, experts feel that Indian students will be the biggest beneficiary as the Obama government eases rules for this critical segment in future.
Lessons from China
Two decades back, China faced problems similar to those India faces today — its higher education had both capacity and quality issues. Since then China has worked hard to upgrade its educational institutions. It has two programmes — Project 211 and Project 985. The former aims to make 100 Chinese universities world class in the 21st century; this will help China churn out world-class trained professionals to push economic growth. These universities are expected to set national standards for education quality that can be replicated by others.
Project 985 started more than a decade back and is an attempt to build China's own Ivy League colleges in the 21st century. In the first phase the project included nine universities. The second phase, launched in 2004, includes 40-odd universities. The projects have been backed by significant investments. According to a New York Times report, China is investing $250 billion a year in human capital.
The dragon country's efforts are now bearing fruit. Many Chinese universities are climbing up the global ranks. Two Chinese universities have made it to the top global 50 in the Times Higher Education report. India has none. In the top 500, 16 Chinese universities make the cut against seven from India. Mobile international students are taking note. A decade back, China was hardly on anybody's radar.
Today, it is the third largest education hub in the world after the US and the UK with 3.28 lakh international students, according to IIE. By 2020, it hopes to host 500,000 international students. Even Singapore is targeting 1.5 lakh foreign students by 2015. In contrast, India was home to just 27,000 international students in 2012. China is aware that to push innovation and realize its economic ambitions, it must be able to attract top talent — in its colleges and workforce.
Also, in virtually every key statistic, the world today is seeing a shift from the West to the East. From economic GDP to consumption power, MNCs across the board are looking at Asia and the world's two most populous nations. This shift is happening demographically too. But in the education space, the West still dominates.
Of the world's top 100 universities, 46 are in the US. Seven of top 10 universities are in the US. Asia has just 11 in the top 100. "It is difficult to replicate what US has done with its universities to 2emerge as an innovation hub," says Pai. So, ambitious and aspirational Indians will continue to look overseas for education. But if India has to realize its potential, it must invest heavily in building world-class institutions in the country — the China way.
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Skhey Mobile (Gurgaon) 22 Hours ago Foreign degree is no more a guarantee card for success.
Neil M (pune-mumbai) 22 Hours ago Finding a good university and a good course is important. I know many guys select short courses which are not recognized world wide and specially in India find it difficult to get a job. Also, dream america is not true for everyone. All the best to seekers.
Rajesh Thambala (Hyderabad, India) 23 Hours ago Very informative article.
Partha (Bangalore) 1 Day ago Nice Article. Much Appreciated
SAMAD (India) 1 Day ago right choice....
Tempcool Mukhopadhyay (India) 1 Day ago An excellent article. Appropriate and very well timed. Issue lies with inadequate job creation in India compared to passing out rate and all sorts of reservation quota for the "privileged" groups. Also unscrupulous marketing by planting misleading information by the education institutes of developed countries and their Indian agents.
Guramandeep Singh (Mexico) 1 Day ago 67 years after Independence, we are still stuck to providing reservation quotas in institutes of higher education. The recent Supreme Court order puts 27% reservation for OBCs which along with that of SCs and STs brings the total reservation to 49.5%. Here is the breakup of IIM-A seats: General 182 Non creamy OBC 104 ---- Schedule caste 58 ---- Schedule tribe 29 ---- Differently-abled 12 ---- Total 385 --- I have read various comments touching upon patriotism towards India to youngsters being crazy and the need to enlighten them. Reservation for a certain group is discrimination against the other groups. So ask yourself, is our system really fair? Should we not be looking at this objectively and trying to solve the root cause of the problem instead of commenting upon the phenomenon which is a result of a messed up education system at the behest of corrupt politicians?
ILA (Chennai) replies to Guramandeep Singh 1 Day ago Dear Learned Singh. This article has nothing to do with reservation. Reservation is about affirmative action (in US parlance). Trying to give some sort of equal opportunity to people (98%) who were subjugated, denied education, and exploited by so called Forward Castes in India who constitute only 2% of the total population for millenium. This reservation is in vogue for only 60 years how can this equation be achieved in such a short span of time. Now the Forward Castes are slowly waking up and cramming for their share in the available piece of cake. If heat is felt for this itself then what should the subjugated feel for having been so for a millenium in the name of MANU SMRITIs laws? People who believe so are as you had rightly (?) pointed out are HYPROCRITS and prisoners of their own conscience.
RM (MN) replies to ILA 9 Hours ago Excuses, excuses. Sixty years after Independence you're still making excuses for a quota system that has made Indian education into a pile of rubbish.
Athena (London) 1 Day ago It is Imperial College and not Imperial University. Perhaps ET must invest in better human capital!
(Hyderabad) 1 Day ago Same thing happened with me as well like akshay kumar. I thought i am reading my story.
Nihar (Mumbai) 1 Day ago It completely depends on which institution a person is studying in abroad. It is not so that somebody got a degree in a well recognized institution in foreign and unable to get a job in India. So I request "The Economic Times" to provide a proper interpretation to the reader.
kshi S (Bhopal) 1 Day ago coming to US was the worst decision of my life
B Venky Venky (Bangalore) 1 Day ago Very informative article. To have world class universities in India, the government should get out of the way. The quota raj in higher education has to stop. More and more private funds has to be garnered towards higher education by giving tax sops. But all this remains in the realm of fiction at the moment.
ketan m (mumbai) 1 Day ago study there, work here. sounds great!
thomas (india) 1 Day ago Yes, every Indian should go overseas for education - build up net work..learn how other s think..their style-quality etc. come back and start self employed business ... it will flourish. take example from china who are into A to Z of business and industries ,they make impossible happen...of course duly and completely supported by their govt..
Saswata mandal (kolkata) 1 Day ago still every good student wants to go abroad.. why is it like that??
Nanda Kumar (Chennai, Tamil Nadu) replies to Saswata mandal 1 Day ago ET pointed it out already..Global Exposure! and Farther mountains always seem smoother :)
Anupam (Bangalore) replies to Saswata mandal 1 Day ago Quick money
Mumbaikar (Mumbai) 1 Day ago It's not entirely the kids fault - some ambitious parents push out the kids too - 'we don't think there is a future here', they say. Now, some are stuck abroad and need to return home, as countries are on an economic downturn and/or are looking more inward now, . Complicated situation - but opportunities are here too, if you want to grab them. Not everything here is as bad as you may think.
Bharath Selvan Sukumaran (Chennai) 1 Day ago Good news for India. Let their knowledge be used for Indians in India
jgsemig (Delhi110007) 2 Days ago what about large numbers of foreign students studying in India? How could IIM-B professor be so insensitive? In a global world does this mean that Indian educational Institutions have already thrown in their towels? Does it also mean that Universities like SAARC and others have no futures?
也有很多外国学生在印度留学啊。 为什么印度管理学院班加罗尔分校(Indian Institutes of Management) 的教授们这么愚钝。从全球范围来看，是不是这就意味着印度的教育机构已经宣布投降了？类似南亚区域合作联盟（South Asian Association For Regional Cooperation）这类的学校就没有前途了吗？
Sriram B (Bharat) 2 Days ago Learn Globally and be back to improve India. Just as they say wait till the last ball is bowled in a cricket frenzy country; do not lose hope till you have tried your hands on what you want to transform the country into.
Ajay Kumar (NYC) 2 Days ago Only the people who have earned admissions into Indian Universities based on reservations, face problems studying abroad, as they are looking for concessions always. People who have earned admissions throughout based on their capability and knowledge, do not face any problem. Such students do not come back.
Ayush Jha (NOIDA) 2 Days ago Study in the US(OUT OF INTEREST in the field and/or spectrum, NOT parental pressure/peer pressure) , Work to repay the loans & then do your own startup in India. All the best :)
Mukesh Mishra (Haridwar) 2 Days ago It didn't work. My good grades made me eligible for plenty of jobs, but my non-European Indian passport was the problem," he shrugs.
Ashwani Kaushal (New Delhi) 2 Days ago righly said, getting an addmission in DU colleages are like dreaming in day time.... it is always good to go abroad and get certification and return back... but once the indian student get a better envoironment and facility abroad why they come back to corrupt indian culture, only few with family business background will come to share the same plateform with their parental company ....shamful for Indian corruption
Parthipan K (Chennai) 2 Days ago I agree with the fact that Indian Universities are not flexible. But intelligent students can acquire knowledge of any subjects of their own. So they should not blame Indian Universities. More over, not all institutes in abroad are of high standards. Even in Ivy schools, the standards are coming down like our IITs. My opinion is that if one works hard in Indian top universities, they can acquire global standards. Also all the premier institutes in US are putting their course material in the web and hence, by going thru them one can acquire high knowledge.
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