For any Indian student who has completed a course of undergraduate study, the most attractive future option is always to go abroad for graduate studies. Multiple reasons exist: better job opportunities, a more rigorous course of study, powerful networking opportunities, and more credible degrees are just a few.
For a long time, the level of information in India about graduate studies abroad was not very high, even among the people who could benefit most from it – students in the final year of college and young professionals. However, over the two decades that we have provided test prep coaching and application counselling, we have seen that the Internet has been able to reduce information asymmetry, and give the gift of knowledge to those seeking to study abroad.
So here is a Jamboree in depth feature on the publicly available insights on what Indian students are searching for, when it comes to graduate studies and related topics. We have used Google as the basic source and starting point for most insights, but have also used other common websites that disseminate information. A lot of this is educative, and shows us how much we know today – we also found a few common misconceptions cropping up, and would like to suggest ways to correct those.
Here is our report on how Indians view graduate studies abroad:
Search strings related to an MS abroad are extremely popular
If you type the words ‘MS Abroad’ into Google, and wait for a couple of seconds for Google to give you search string completion suggestions, you will see that the three most popular searches that start with the ‘MS Abroad’ string are ‘MS Abroad with scholarship’, ‘MS Abroad without GRE’ and ‘MS Abroad after BE’.
All these things serve to remind us how ubiquitous the thought of a quality graduate degree abroad is. In addition, the things most on our minds when we think of graduate studies outside India is the funding – for example, we at Jamboree constantly answer questions from those we coach about scholarship options – and test prep, given that the GRE seems to be a major pain point. We have also worked with a lot of students for whom the GRE was initially a problem area, but who were able to break the 325 barrier with hard work and systematic preparation alone. Finally, it is clear from the search strings that MS applicants are largely engineers, who are looking for graduate degrees in a core discipline.
Career options post a graduate degree are top of mind for most Google users
If you search for a string like ‘graduate degree jobs’ or ‘MS degree jobs’, there are more than 10 million results; in addition, the second most popular search term starting with these strings is ‘MS degree jobs in India’. Therefore, an increasing number of people are looking to avail of the myriad options that a graduate degree throws open, and return home to practice their newly learned skills in India.
It is not about the brain drain any more, but rather about equipping oneself with the best skill sets in the world, for success in a global career, no matter in what geography.
When it comes to specific fields, an MS in Computer Science tops the list of searches
If you enter a string like ‘Why study MS in…’, Google suggests the auto-complete option Computer Science first (since you’re a user from India, and that string is a popular search for us). Other popular degrees are in engineering, and two dark horses – choices that are somewhat unexpected – are courses in public health and public policy.
These showcase how flexible the graduate degree system is in general abroad, and that information asymmetry is reducing, in general. More and more people know about offbeat degrees that lead to great careers, and we are searching for them, getting to know more about them, and finally opting for them.
The insights from searches related to the GRE prove that the information level is not very high
If you type in ‘GRE Exam’ and wait for Google to suggest text to complete, you will see that the searches relate to dates, patterns and eligibility. These are questions that are more relevant to a typical Indian entrance examination, rather than the premier adaptive test in the world. These are evidence of a general lack of deep information about the GRE and graduate studies within most eligible students in India.
It is, therefore, critical that anyone interested in either of these should arm themselves with information, and get smart on the exam and the degrees. We have a lot of data on the Jamboree site, for example, and you will be able to find some of this knowledge elsewhere.
When it comes to test prep, people are looking for convenient, quick solutions
As you can imagine, the vast majority of people who know a lot about the GRE or graduate studies, and are clear about what they want from these, will probably not search about test prep options; they have already signed up with a coaching partner like Jamboree.
However, there are a lot of people who are late to the party – either because they recently decided that they wanted to apply abroad, or because they were not initially aware that they could – and should apply – or because they changed their timeline of application due to external factors.
When we Google a string like ‘Prepare for GRE’, Google suggests that we complete it with the words ‘online’, ‘in 2 months’ or ‘free’. We have seen these trends in our coaching work as well; a lot of people want quick solutions that they can work on at their convenience – for example, from home, in case they have other commitments during the day / weekend.
To this end, we have customized programs, courses and material; our students often tell us that we can tailor a prep course for anyone who just has the will to prepare and excel, regardless of free time and other factors. If you would like to know more about our different programs, you can look up our website for more information.
It should now be clear that the main message of all these insights is that the overwhelming majority of young, talented Indians want to go abroad for graduate studies. We have also seen that there are very high information levels on the advantages of these degrees, and that almost everyone wants to study abroad for the right reasons.
However, there are certain widespread misconceptions about test prep and application quality that have cropped up in both these insights, and in our experience of working with students for over two decades on GRE coaching, GMAT coaching, and admissions counselling. If you have some of these confusions, we can help.
If you want to know more about any aspect of getting into a top graduate program abroad, or want to evaluate whether your profile is currently at the level of completeness required, or just want to think through the whole process, please feel free to set up a session at any of our centres, where our expert guides and coaches can remove every misconception that you might have, and help you discover the best solution for yourself.