Me : Why do you want to study MS to US ?
My Cousin : I want higher education, US is good for MS. Good education, etc.
Me: Very Good. But, why do you want to do MS ? Why only MS ? Why NOT MBA ?
My Cousin : Everyone studies MS. I do not know very well. MS is good. May be I will study MBA. It gives me more money.
Me : What is your GOAL ? Make money or do Job, start Business ?
My Cousin : Want to work in a very good company. Go to higher roles like Manager.
Me : If you want to just work in a good company and become manager some day, why do MS ? You do not need to do MS for good Job or become manager. You can become manager by experience. Why MS ? MBA may help become manager, but MS will not
My Cousin : May be I will do MBA then. Well, I do not know very well…
I am NOT trying to pick on my cousin here. I was exactly like my cousin few years ago when I was in Engineering and was planning to come to US for MS. I was not sure what I wanted to do, I just picked MS because many do MS and it is good. My cousin got a little mad at me because I constantly challenged her with question to see what her goals here. She never thought about goals for studying MS in US universities. So was I few years ago, if I were to be challenged by someone may be I would have done something different. I do not know…Anyways, coming back to point, this article will throw some light on what questions you should ask yourself before MS in USA. This article is part of the series: guide / steps to study in USA for International students? How to plan? Part – 1
What is your Goal for MS in USA ?
One of the things you have to do when you are planning to apply to US schools is ask yourself a bunch of questions :
- What is my goal for higher education in US ?
- What value will MS add to my career ?
- Am I going to MS just for working in US later on H1B visa ?
- Will two years of MS help me gain what I want ?
- Am I applying because my friends are applying ?
- Why am I applying for MS in USA ?
- Why should I only apply for MS, Why not MBA ?
- Should I work in home country for 2 years and apply for MBA ?
- Am I really looking forward to become a Scientist or Professor ?
- What am I accomplishing in next 5 years of stay in US? Will MS help me ?
- If going for Job and no H1B visa for me, can I afford time and Money ?
I can keep on writing many questions. My goal is not to force my ideas or thoughts on you by giving my opinions or answers to above questions. There is NO right or Wrong answer to any of these questions above. It is YOUR life and you will have to plan your career. You will have to talk to professors, seniors, friends, family, etc and come up with justification for you answer. Talk to someone who is doing MS in US, who is working on H1B visa. Get numbers, email ids and contact them. People are willing to help. You just have to ASK. If you are coming to US because someone else is coming, it is not a right justification for all the time and money. First, find out what your passion is and write down your goal for higher education.
Typical MS Career progression :
I wrote an article about Should I study/apply for MS or MBA in US after B.Tech/ B.Com ? , that focuses on some of the key differences, fees, etc. .you may want to read this article to get a high level idea for difference between MS vs MBA in USA. MS is basically a Sciences degree. You study advanced ideas, concepts, theories, etc about a particular subject. Your goal is to become a master in that particular technical area. You are becoming a technical expert in your area of choice. Ideally, most of the people whose goal is to become Professors, Scientists, Technical Architects, Researchers, etc. tend to pick MS. Most of these people pursue a PhD and take it to another level. You may become a lecturer or instructor too with MS. When I say MS, it can be any business related areas too like Advance tax accounting, Advance Supply Chain concepts, Advance Finance topics, etc. People in business world pursue MS because they want to know advanced concepts for their jobs sometimes or they are interested in PhD. Anyways, the overall idea is, you will be studying lot of technical and advanced stuff that can help you for PhD and future research goals. I am not trying to generalize here, but telling where MS makes more sense for your career.
Anyways, in all reality, many students come to USA for MS without a proper goal (I was one among them) and realize after couple years that MS did not help them much and then end up going for MBA(like myself) or other degree of their choice. I am not trying to discourage anyone from coming to MS to US. I want you think about your goals for MS and decide if MS/ MIS or MBA. I do not want all of you to make same mistakes I have made in the past. If your goal is to just work and make money, you may have to think of options as I mentioned in the article: Why Study Masters in USA? Goals for studying abroad? Just job or higher goals? Let me tell you the fact, getting an MS will not get you any better job than others. You are a little more qualified and sometimes overqualified for some job roles. You will not necessarily make any extra money with MS. It just helps for H1B visa application with masters quota and for green card if you wish to work in US. Think about your Goals and then take time and talk to your seniors, professors, friends, family and then decide either for MS or MBA in USA or may be take time off and then come to US later or drop the plan totally if you think it is not for you. Make a wise choice using your discretion !
Image credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/opopododo/2571337302/in/photostream