We always hear a lot of talk about education being the best investment, and some of us have come to take the statement for granted. Not many of us ever stop to think deeply about what it means, and maybe even challenge its validity.
The good news is that it is definitely valid: education is the best investment there is, higher education is an even better investment, and a graduate degree from the best schools abroad is a 100% guaranteed blue chip investment.
But why is this so? Why is it that, no matter what happens to the external market or to economic conditions anywhere in the world, the one thing you can be certain of is that it is okay to invest in education? The reason is quite simple: there are many factors that make education a better investment than any other kind of investment out there – be it in real estate, in a company, or in stocks or bonds. A top flight graduate degree changes the career prospects of an individual drastically for the better, and that is what is at the root of investment attractiveness.
In this Jamboree in depth feature, we bring you a look at why higher education abroad is the best investment, and why every second you spend in test prep and coaching will pay off in time:
The best investments out there have a realistic RoI of 25% at maximum; the RoI of a graduate degree is many times this
The key metric to look at while evaluating any investment is the rate of return on that investment. Low risk conventional investments are not really attractive from a Return on Investment perspective; with sub 10% return rates, they are almost as good as a Fixed Deposit account. There are higher risk and higher reward investments – in small companies, mutual funds, and so on – but their reward is not sufficiently high (usually never more than 30%) to justify the fact that they will most probably fail spectacularly.
In contrast, the base RoI for a good graduate degree from a reputed university abroad is very high, and most people with these degrees are able to use their superior training, experience and connections to increase their returns hugely. The returns become apparent immediately: increased initial salaries immediately after graduation put them one step above their contemporaries elsewhere.
When you factor in the facts that the lifetime expected earnings of someone with a good graduate degree outstrip those of others, and that such a degree enables them to work overseas for a large portion of their careers, and hence earn in dollars – the tangible benefits are too many to list, and take the RoI of education much above that of any other investment, at much lower risk. In addition, there are many intangible benefits – degree and job satisfaction has been measured to be higher, and the graduate networks abroad are also much more structured and valuable.
Whatever methodology you use to calculate the Return on Investment, a good degree abroad will come out ahead of any other investment.
The value of a top graduate degree from a good school abroad does not depreciate with time, unlike every other investment
Even if you make the best possible conventional investment, you always have to be conscious that it will not last for ever; with every passing year, its value will come down. There is no such danger in the case of education, however: whenever you invest in a good graduate degree from a reputed school abroad, you know that it will stand you in good stead in 2020, 2040 or 2060, no matter what happens to the job economy in the world at any point of time.
There are many reasons which could possibly contribute to this fact. First and foremost, a graduate degree overseas prepares you for one particular career extensively, but it also gives you a wide range of skills that you can apply to any scenario that you might find yourself in: no matter what disruptions come in the careers market in the future, you will have the tools to deal with them.
There is low uncertainty on how to maximize the value of an investment in graduate education, unlike in the case of other investments
If you have a good degree from one of the best schools in the world, you will have multiple options post graduation. You can take up a high paying job, work as a researcher in industry, get into academics full time, or use the expertise you have gained to start up your own venture.
Yes, these are a lot of different options – but they are all good, and will lead to a successful life and glittering career. They are very different from the options set forth before a conventional investor – who might see success if he / she follows a few courses of action, but might see disastrous consequences in many other cases. All you have to do to maximize the value of your investment in higher education overseas is to study hard during your course; there are very few external disturbances that can affect the value of this investment.
Investments in higher education abroad do not become less attractive or valuable in a bleak economic climate
We have seen markets boom, and we have seen markets crash. Over the years, we have all seen that times of economic fluctuation hit conventional investors hard, and can depreciate the value of their investments to zero over the course of a few days.
There is, of course, one kind of investment for which this is not true at all: if you have acquired a top flight graduate degree abroad, you will always have an advantage over someone with similar experience and skill levels, simply by virtue of the fact that the job economy is more competitive then.
The wise will always tell you to invest even more in education during a downturn: this is both because an uptick is on its way, and a good graduate degree will stand you in good stead in such a time, but also because education is an investment that is not tarnished by bad weather, from an economic climate point of view.
Investing in a top graduate degree does not constrain you in any way; if anything, it expands the horizons of your potential opportunities
When you have made an important investment in any area, you are bound to take care of that investment and ensure that it does well. This constrains you a little in terms of other options; you always have some worries in mind, and you cannot act completely freely. Be it land, stocks, companies or people, other investments come with their fair share of risks, and necessitate careful action.
This is definitely not the case with a higher education investment. Once you have your top flight degree from a good school abroad, the sky is the limit: you can choose any one of the hundreds of different careers that are available through your university, or decide to opt for something completely different, secure in the knowl edge that your degree experience has equipped you with the toolkit to do well in any professional situation in which you might find yourself.
This freedom and lack of constraint is very exhilarating – the investment in education frees you and lets you spread your wings.
Making the investment in a graduate degree from a top school abroad is relatively ‘easier’ than making other investments, because it can be mastered with careful practice and application
Becoming a great conventional investor is always hard, unless you’re Warren Buffett. You need a clear, objective outlook, the ability to process huge amounts of data in real time, healthy dollops of luck, and something which can’t be taught or learned – the X factor which sets great investors apart.
This is definitely not something which is for everyone – even successful investors who were not fundamentally sound have seen the value of their investments plummet after one unwise decision or another. Fortunately, an education investment is much kinder with regards to those who aspire to choose it as an option.
If you want to invest in higher education abroad, all you need is force of will, the willingness to work hard, and the right people to help you reach your goal. Time and time again, while coaching thousands of successful people for the SAT, GRE and GMAT, we have seen that only the fundamentals are important; over and above that, it’s just about application and time investment. In this sense, anyone can make an investment in higher education overseas: you just need to want it enough to make it happen.
The best advisors for an investment in overseas education are always more reliable than other investment advisors
A lot of the people who advise other people and organizations in investments are themselves not very good at investing – if they were, they would probably be busy making money. Hence, in a conventional investment, you have to pick your advisors, mentors and guides very very carefully.
However, this is not the case with graduate applications. If you want to invest in a good higher education degree overseas, you will need a prep partner who has proven success across the breadth of the application space – from test prep to application creation to interview prep. For example, at Jamboree, we always try to keep our students mindful of the great opportunities that lie ahead if they work hard and achieve their admission dreams. This is, essentially, showing them how attractive the investment opportunity is, and trying to help them motivate themselves by keeping their eyes on the prize.
The difference is this: if you are investing in education and you have the right partner in your journey, only you yourself (in case you have insufficient motivation or time) can hurt your chances of making that investment successfully with an admit. With any other investment, there are a hundred factors that can derail your success, and this leads to constant questioning of your chances of ultimate victory – something which is definitely counter productive.
We hope that it is now clear why a graduate degree is so much better than any other investment, and why it makes sense to dedicate the most productive years of your life to mastering one area. Our students have told us time and again how great their experiences in grad school have been: its time for you to join their number.