Here are some points to help you decide if you have to pursue an MBA overseas or at home…

There is an increasing trend among youngsters preferring to do their MBA abroad as it opens doors to foreign jobs. Is an MBA from a private Indian institute recognised abroad?

Understanding the dynamics

It is true that many Indian students want to do an MBA abroad, especially in the U.K., Australia and the U.S. Many foreign B-schools even have offices in India and conduct programmes in plush five-star hotels and glitzy fairs to ‘sensitise' prospective students with life in their own respective countries. But one has to understand the dynamics of why such foreign schools want such students. For one, the pool of students who want to get graduate education in the West is low and falling dramatically. So these universities are wooing Indian students in a big way. But that does not mean one is going to get a quality education or even quality jobs. One needs a good MBA education, weather the two odd years in a foreign land successfully and complete with known and unknown forces in a foreign land for a decent job. How many make it, is a question with not so comfortable answer.

A good MBA education, even in the U.S., the U..K, Australia or such is restricted to a few top 30-odd B-schools and no more. Jobs don't come any easy with the other B-schools.

Overlay this with other factors such as expensive education, poor living standards during student life, with difficulty in securing appropriate work visas /cards to settle aboard etc. There are many students who are educated in such B-schools, coming back to India in search of good jobs. The situation has only gone worse with the recent global recession. That is something that all students who apply to foreign B-schools must reckon: there is more glaze and glitter than real gold. It is no rocket science to decide on which foreign B-school you want an entry into. Search for rankings of the schools in the world or specific to that country. Apply carefully based on good research. Some of the points that you may want to reckon are: Is the b-school suffering from local demand? Is their education well recognized? Who are the current students of the school? Who are its alumni? What is the placement scenario? Are the visa rules clear and easy? What are the fees and the hidden costs? Some of the answers will be easily available. Some are difficult. Ask, for instance, past students of the schools not indicated in the schools' website. In this connected world of Orkut and Facebook, searching for alumni of these b-schools will not be difficult at all. There are always MBA forums that will help you liberally. All the same, you will realize that the answers to these questions will lead you to narrow the list down to some of the top thirty b-schools in the US, top 5 in the UK and the Australia and a few others in the Europe and Singapore. But these are as tough to get into, as difficult to complete and as expensive as it can get.

Quality at home

It is true that Indian MBA degrees, with the exception of the degrees from top two or three IIMs, are not recognised by western firms. This is the case for all public and private B-schools in India. Remember that an MBA from top thirty B-schools in India is no better than the also-ran institutes that woo you from a foreign land: both of them open doors to foreign jobs in the same way: poorly! But education in some of the premier institutes in India assure decent and well paying jobs closer to home and friends, culturally more comfortable and relevant and most importantly excellent! Several exchange students from the Europe and the U.S. in India will vouch for the quality and rigor of the MBA education in some of the top premier schools in India.

The pay alone is not an important determinant of a life abroad. What will one earn and do when the root and mind is in India and have no one to share the life that you secured with such difficulty? The quality of life is a comparative one. While we are here in India, we want a foreign life; while we are there, we root for India. Many students, even from the IITs who are sought the world over, are spurning great salaries and settling back in India. So are many students who have finished their MBA from some of the best foreign B-schools. And the last thing I want to say is this: most of us owe our education to the taxes paid by millions of Indians; should we not repay to our own motherland? I think that sensitivity will help you decide.

Points to ponder

There are four things that you should consider before you take a decision to go abroad for an MBA education and settle there.

Is the foreign B-school your true visa to good life?

Which one is the better one among the foreign B-schools?

Are Indian B-schools any less?

Finally, why not India?

Choosing right

Search for rankings of the schools in the world or specific to that country. Apply carefully based on good research. Some of the points that you may want to look at are:

Is the B-school suffering from local demand?

Is their education well recognised?

Who are the current students of the school?

Who are its alumni?

What is the placement scenario?

Are the visa rules clear and easy?

What are the fees and the hidden costs?

The author is Chairperson Corporate Communications and Director Marketing, Loyola Institute of Business Administration.

Keywords: MBAeducation