05 Apr 2021 18:29 IST

Canada vs US : Better place to study?

Canada and Australia cost way lesser than studying in the US? What do you suggest?

Canada and Australia seem to cost much lesser for an MBA or MS, and also offer a variety of courses to choose from. I have completed my undergraduate engineering degree. Compared to the US, is studying in Canada or Australia a good option? What will be a powerful USP to study for an MBA in the US? -Varun

The answer depends upon what you seek in a Master's degree. If your focus is largely academic, you can obtain an MS or MBA from any accredited college in any of the countries you list. But students should think one step ahead before they decide on a country, a university, and a major: How will my journey help me in my career? What kinds of networking opportunities can I have? Does the institution have formal resources to help incubate start-ups so that I can partner with an American and start a company? Could I potentially find employment in my favourite industry? What work-visa restrictions does the country impose?

A graduate degree in engineering or business from a reputed school in the United States excels across all of the above dimensions. The return on your education investment is very high as evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of students each year who get well-paying jobs on the Optional Practical Training (OPT) visa.

A word of caution here. A traditional MBA restricts post-graduation OPT durations to one year only. If you cannot convert to an H-1B visa within this one-year period, you will have to return to India. Students should consider MBA programmes that are in high demand — such as in data analytics or computational finance, or management information systems — that are also STEM-certified. Students who graduate from such programmes get two additional years on their OPT, significantly improving their employment prospects and the chances of obtaining an H-1B visa.

(Rajkamal Rao is Managing Director, Rao Advisors LLC, an education consultancy firm that counsels students aspiring to study in the US.)