Below is a conversation that I had with one of my cousins. She really wanted to come to the US for MS.
- Me: Why do you want to study MS in the US ?
- My Cousin : I want higher education, the 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. Maybe 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 a manager some day, why do MS ? You do not need to do MS to get a good Job or become manager. You can become manager by experience. Why MS ? MBA may help become manager, but MS will not
- My Cousin : Maybe 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 a few years ago when I was in Engineering and was planning to come to the 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 questions to see what her goals were. She never thought about the goal for studying MS at US universities. So was I a 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 the point, this article will throw some light on what questions you should ask yourself before MS in the USA. You can also check articles at : Guide / steps to study in USA for International students? How to plan?
What is your Goal for MS in the 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 my 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 a justification for you answer. Talk to someone who is doing MS in the US, who is working on an H1-B visa. Get their phone numbers, and email ids and contact them. People are willing to help. You just have to ASK. If you are coming to the US because someone else is coming, it is not the right justification for all the time and money. First, find out what your passion is and write down your goal for higher education.
Before you go to the next section of the article, you should read Should I study/apply for MS or MBA in the US after B.Tech/ B.Com ? which focuses on some of the key differences, fees, etc.
What is MS Career progression? Ph.D.?
It is very important to understand your next steps after getting an MS from the US. To start, MS is basically a Sciences degree that stands for Master of Science. You study advanced ideas, concepts, theories, etc about a particular subject. When you study MS, your focus is to become a master in that particular technical area. You are becoming a technical expert in your area of choice.
In general, most people, whose goal is to become Professors, Scientists, Technical Architects, Researchers, etc. tend to pick an MS. Most of these people pursue a Ph.D. after getting MS and take it to another level in terms of expertise in that area.
Also, as a career path, you may become a lecturer or instructor with MS. When I say MS, it can even be in any business-related areas like Advance tax accounting, Advance Supply Chain concepts, Advance Finance topics, etc. People in the business world pursue MS because they want to know advanced concepts for their jobs sometimes or they are interested in Ph.D.
The overall idea is, that you will be studying a lot of technical and advanced stuff that can help you for Ph.D. and future research goals. I am not trying to generalize here but telling where MS makes more sense for your career.
The reality with many international students studying MS in USA
In all reality, many students come to the US for an MS without a proper goal (I was one among them). In my case, I realized after couple of years that MS did not help them much and then end up going for MBA. Having an understanding of what you want to do after MS in the US is important for your future, it is 2 years of your life.
I am not trying to discourage anyone from coming to MS to the 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: Study MS or MBA in the US – Education vs. Job, Money
Does having MS get you better job ?
The fact is, most of the jobs in the US or outside of the US does not require an MS or Master’s degree. Just getting an MS may or may not get you any better job than many others. You are a little more qualified and sometimes overqualified for some job roles. You will not necessarily make any extra money by having an MS degree. Check Jobs in India after MS in USA, perception vs. reality
As an international student, MS may help you with the H1B visa application to get you in the US masters quota and for a green card if you wish to work in the US. But, always, think about your goals and then take time and talk to your seniors, professors, friends, and family and then decide either for MS or MBA in the US. Also, you may take time off and then come to the US later or drop the plan totally if you think it is not for you. Make a wise choice using your discretion!
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