One of the most important things that an international student thinks about while planning to study in the US, is if they can work in the US after MS or MBA… In general, most MS or MBA students use H1B Visa to work in the US. In the past few years since 2013, to get an H1B visa, you need to go through H1B Visa Lottery due to the extreme amount of demand ( check H1B Lottery, cap reach History from 2000 to 2023 ). In this article, we will review, if it makes sense to study in the US depending on your goals.
What is the Uncertainty to work in the US? H1B Lottery?
As a student, planning to study in the US, you need to look at what are that aspects that are in your control and what are uncertain and not in your control.
Things you can control to some extent and work hard to make them happen :
- Get good scores in GRE/TOEFL/GMAL and get admission and study at a top 10 school like Harvard/ Stanford
- Prepare well, interview well, and get an internship or a full-time job at a reputed company like Google/Microsoft to work in the US after graduation
Things that are uncertain like H1B Lottery
- You need an H1-B Visa to work in the US. H1B Visa demand is so high, that there has been an H1B lottery for the last few years.
- Getting an H1B visa is uncertain and purely LUCK as you need to get picked in H1B Visa lottery.
- Also, there are many uncertain aspects around immigration to get an H1B petition approved. USCIS’s strict policies in recent years have made H1B Visa tricky at times if you work for small companies or work in an IT consulting role at small boutique firms.
Now that you understand what is in your control and what is not, let’s go back to basics and understand your real goals.
Why Higher Education like MS or MBA? What’s your Goal ?
As mentioned in the article Goals for MS in the USA, many students are not clear on their goals for higher education. You need to be clear on the below aspects.
- Why higher education like MS in the US?
- Are you passionate to learn?
- Do you want to become a researcher or professor someday?
- Do you plan to become a technical expert in a certain area ?
- Why higher education like MBA in the US?
- Is management your passion?
- Do you want to get promoted into managerial roles?
- Do you want to use your MBA for promotion?
- Is it for entrepreneurship?
- Forget all the above – I want to go to America, get a job, and make MONEY!
Both MS and MBA are quite different, many students often are not sure about the differences, they usually ask, I want to study should I do MS or MBA? They consider it as just a master’s degree. Read MS vs MBA in the US after B.Tech difference.
Passion for Higher Education: 1 and 2 points from above
If you are pursuing higher education with passion and a clear goal, with a path defined that your MS or MBA will add value or help you accelerate your journey to reach your goal, then go for it. You should be very clear on this because you are investing in your education without the expectation that you want to work in America.
If you start your education with the goal of just working in the US, then you can be disappointed at a later stage with your future depending on LUCK and uncertainty around H1B Lottery! You will have an opportunity to work in the US on Curricular Practical Training (CPT) during your Master’s for 6 to 11 months and also for about 12 months on Optional Practical Training (OPT), with an option for another 24 months ( total 36 months), if you are part of the STEM designated degree category. Read What is CPT, OPT, and Day 1 CPT for F1 Students?
The STEM Designated Degree Program category is a complete list of fields of study that DHS considers to be science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields of study for purposes of the 24-month STEM optional practical training extension.
As you may or may not be able to work due to the uncertainties related to H1B Visa, you need to calculate your finances and plan for your education. There is no point in regretting after your MS or MBA that you have loans and you did a mistake, etc…It is a tough call, but you need to make it at the beginning! Also, beware of the blatant facts of the job opportunities in your home country like India after MS or MBA from the US.
Go to America – Work in America – Make MONEY – 3rd point of above
If your end goal is to move to America, work there and make Money, maybe settle down there… then you need to really think about it…Though, it may sound logical for many to think that if you do MS or MBA, you fall into Advanced degree masters cap and have higher chances in lottery…still you are relying on luck…it may not be the right thing to do….You will lose two years of your career…Also, you are just studying to get around and get a degree by spending huge sums of money….it is not JUST MONEY, it is also TIME. Few years ago, the path of MS or MBA used to be very attractive to move to America…but not anymore…in my view, you should pursue higher education only if you are passionate about it and it adds value to your end goal. If you are clear on this, you would not be complaining about your luck and US immigration system at a later point…There are other ways to work in America, like on L1, you just need to pick the right company in your home country and plan accordingly so that you can move to America, if that’s what you want to do…
Trump Administration – H1B Program Changes
Since Trump Administration has taken office, there have been many changes to reduce the fraud in the H1B program by IT body shop companies. They have introduced rules that are aligned with their Executive Order of Buy American and Hire American. There are some new policy memos in 2018 like Third Party Worksite Contract Requirements for H1B workers and many other similar actions planned as part of the Fall 2017 Regulatory Agenda that could limit or tighten H1B, F1 related working options.
Many may not agree with my perspective, but considering all the risk you would take financially and your time for it…Higher Education should be driven by passion and not just get another degree to work and move to USA…Honestly, getting a Masters in USA, will NOT get you any better job in America, unless it is very specialised and research driven. Your odds are as good as with a Bachelor’s degree and work experience in that field. With recent immigration changes and Trump Administration, US is no longer attractive for students in the long run to work and settle down…Also, USA is not the only country in the world, you have many countries that offer great education with options to work as well. You just need to explore…
What are your thoughts?