Higher studies, India vs Abroad, When is the right time?
01:29 - When to think of higher studies?
04:30 - Take financial loan to go abroad?
06:00 - Options without going abroad
08:50 - Is higher study my right choice?
10:28 - Opportunities in India itself
About Shreekanth Prabhu
Sreekanth Prabhu is a Professor and Head of Department at CMR Institute of Technology, Department of Information Science and Engineering. He joins the conversation today to demystify the path to higher education, in India and abroad.
If you are in college or have been working for a few years and have wondered if you should go for higher studies — this episode is for you. The conversation today addresses questions like — what are the different options, how do they differ, which is the right one for me, and many more!
Post dateMarch 8, 2021
Brij Sethi: [00:00:00] Ready to work the podcast with success secrets for the young tech professional. Hello, I am Brij Sethi and this is the ready to work podcast. If you are in college or have been working for a few years – have you wondered if you should go for higher studies? What are the different options? Which is the right one for you? Given your strengths and specific circumstances, the answers will change.
[00:00:29] This may require serious reflection on your part, because what you decide has huge financial implications and can shape your future career. I am Brij Sethi, and this is the Ready to Work podcast with Success Secrets for the young tech professional. Today we have with us, Dr. Shreekanth Prabhu.
[00:00:50] Shreekanth is professor and head of the department at CMR Institute of technology, Department of information science and Engineering.
[00:00:59] In addition to teaching, he’s also a prolific researcher and has filed for five patents just this year. He has worked in the industry in senior positions in companies, such as TCS and Hewlett Packard. His son has done MS, in the U S. His daughter is studying engineering in India. So he is personally invested in this decision from both before and after perspectives, as it pertains to the current times. Shreekanth. Welcome.
[00:01:28] Shreekanth Prabhu: [00:01:28] Thank you
[00:01:29] Brij Sethi: [00:01:29] Tell us. When should one start thinking of higher studies?
[00:01:32] Shreekanth Prabhu: [00:01:32] Yeah. Based on my experience when somebody, you know, joins undergraduate program itself, I’ve seen some of my batchmates having some idea about, you know, the opportunities, for higher education or, you know, already heard of which are the best institutes to do higher studies and all that. So having some idea on what opportunities are available early on would really help. That way. you know, people can have some dreams and some goals. After engineering. And typically in India, you know, getting a good seat in a good college, becomes a, some kind of a rat race, and once somebody gets it you know, if you don’t have the next goal, Right?. People can kind of you know, go astray in the sense that, you know they, they, they. You know, they get caught up in the present and there is no future to look up to. So it’s extremely important to have some idea of what will you do after your undergraduation, almost at the early stage and whoever had that – have done a much better and have become more successful.
[00:02:42] Brij Sethi: [00:02:42] You know this reminds me of of a story that you know, if you want to drive fast on the road you need to look further down the road, which means that you should be ready for things as they are coming to you at a faster speed, because now your vision has also extended beyond just the immediate road.
[00:03:01] And what I hear you saying is that if you want to succeed as a professional, then look further down the road. And as soon as you are in the engineering college, or you have started doing your graduate level program, It is good to think – why are you wanting to study, but kind of look ahead look further down. Yeah?
[00:03:22] Shreekanth Prabhu: [00:03:22] That’s very true. Another thing is that the actual planning what exactly one needs to do can kind of wait. And there are also, you know, multiple kinds of people who have succeeded. You know, So it’s not like only one approach or one one type of people succeeded so many times, what happens is that people also get influenced by their peers or seniors, and they may just blindly do that. And because, you know the, the people whom they know how, have applied abroad, they may apply abroad. Some may try out or two or three different alternatives and they may just do it, right, which used to be much easier earlier. And nowadays, you know, the cost are lot more. So it’s very important for any any student or children to decide. And, the current generation also, they are , you know, more sure about their choices. They also would tend to choose, make a choice, than you know, try out multiple things and see how it goes.
[00:04:31] Brij Sethi: [00:04:31] So if you were in the U S or you were in some other country where youngsters have fairly independent lives, you would probably end up taking a huge financial loan before you went for your higher studies.
[00:04:45] Now when we are in India, you still might be taking a loan, but you know that the support system of your family and your parents is there. But nevertheless it is hard earned money and it is a lot of money when you start converting rupees to dollars. So what Shreekanth you’re saying, I think is doubly triply more important because the money that we have is in rupees that will translate to dollars.
[00:05:09] Shreekanth Prabhu: [00:05:09] There’s right, so you know doing higher studies in India and higher studies abroad, both have their own, advantages and disadvantages. And it’s if somebody is doing it abroad in countries where. You know there are Job opportunities – the cost of education also tends to be higher. It may cost at least around, 50, 60 lakh, all expenses covered or even more to do an M S in U S for, for two years. And, and typically education loans in India tend to be at a higher interest rates or you have to put a collateral and all that. That’s one part. So one should be ideally very clear and about, you know, why they are going for higher studies and very determined about it.
[00:05:58] Brij Sethi: [00:05:58] If I can ask you, what are the different options from the point of view of a person who has, who has not made any plans to go abroad?
[00:06:06] Shreekanth Prabhu: [00:06:06] Right! A typical engineer Uh,may not know what exactly management means. Management education means, and many people may not know what is the civil services career path means. Right? And they may have a lot of prejudices or, you know, some stereotype perception. For example we can look at there are two or three ways one can go about making a choice. Right? At an abstract level. One should ask one self, what does he really enjoy? Right? So for example, as a person, if you like to think deeply about something, right. And you enjoy coming up with some you know, new approaches, new methods, new models, you are more thinking type research would be much more ideal for you.
[00:06:55] On the other hand, you know if you are a people’s person, right. People person, you can, you want to make a difference to the people, right. You know, something like a medic or medical carrier, legal career or administrative carrier, where you can make a lot of difference to the people. Yeah. That may give you a lot of satisfaction.
[00:07:15] And thirdly, you know, there are a set of people who like to, you know, run things or do, you know like to run some events or you know like to run a huge organization. So they’re more focused on doing something, you know. They want to be very active. They want to go here, go, go there. Achieve something. Achieve that and all that. And they want to have a somewhat all rounded perspective. Then, you know, somebody may chose a management education. But many times, what we not understand it that even in management education, there are opportunities for research.
[00:07:53] Even in engineering education or research education, there are opportunities for management and even in administration, right, there are opportunities which require you know, somebody’s management skills or you know scientific bent of mind or engineering approach. Right? So, so a person can get fulfillment in any of the career paths, a person chooses.
[00:08:17] Brij Sethi: [00:08:17] So I think the key word is – Do it for the right reasons. Don’t do it because everybody else is doing it or don’t do it because it’s the easiest way forward. Don’t do it because you just want to chill for some more time.
[00:08:32] Do it because you are fundamentally good in it and do it because it attracts you and you want to spend more time in it. So both liking for it, passion for it, and also capabability for it. Both are important. And those are the right reasons.
[00:08:50] Shreekanth Prabhu: [00:08:50] Right.
[00:08:50] Brij Sethi: [00:08:50] And how does one decide what is right for me?
[00:08:55] Shreekanth Prabhu: [00:08:55] Yeah, it’s an interesting question. So I definitely, you know would say that It’s good to have experience, which takes you to the different places, you know enables you to interact with a lot of risk. Definitely very valuable. Because it changes your perspective and you know, it. Innovate. Kind of educates you as a person. You end up learning how to work in different cultures, their work culture, their value system.
[00:09:23] Having said that. What, one needs to do does not come very automatically. Somebody has to really think through what does he really want? What is it, the what is it that really satisfies one person, right. One self. Right? So that is also important because all these exposures, are you know, preparing you as a individual, you know, strengthening you as an individual, you know, and making you capable to fight any battle, but which battle should you fight? I mean that choice, is yours!
[00:10:00] Brij Sethi: [00:10:00] Right. So one is you are deciding where you want to get planted, and then when you get planted at any place, give it your best. And that way you will learn the most, not only about what needs to be done, but about yourself and by trying out different options, you can then arrive at what you want to be doing for, the rest of your life.
[00:10:20] Shreekanth Prabhu: [00:10:20] That’s right.
[00:10:22] Brij Sethi: [00:10:22] So do you want to also speak a little bit about what is possible if you stay in India only?
[00:10:28]Shreekanth Prabhu: [00:10:28] Yeah, See India has enormous opportunities, right? Say, for example, in India if you do a masters – government will pay the scholarship and there are programs which now pay you even up to 50,000, 70,000 rupees. And today the faculty members in IIMs and IITs are the world’s best. You can see the NPtel course ware, which is probably much better than some of the Coursera courses, but there are opportunities for somebody who wants to do master in India. Another advantage if you are doing a PhD in India, is that you are much more freer to choose the topic you want to do work in.
[00:11:18] Whereas, in overseas, majority of the research work tends to get funded, so you may not get to choose work you want to work on, as much as you get in India.
[00:11:29] Right? So, so that you know, advantage is that in India, when it comes to a learning experience, right. The overseas education has uh, you know has, a, just as an experience is really, really, you know, very valuable because a teacher prepares say three hours or more to give a one hour lecture, right. So, you know, each teacher may spend a month or two to really prepare what to communicate, how to communicate, and that in-depth knowledge, which you can learn from some of the best teachers, you know, is much more possible in U S institutions and it’s is also kind of happening in India also because the way they look at is, you know a typical semester. Oh, a student may spend only say 15 hours per week. In classrooms, but once somebody in a classroom, he may have three hours of homework or something, which he needs to work on after the class. So that putting your skin in the game is a lot more. In an American education system.
[00:12:38] Whereas in Indian education system, even though the teacher and it is getting more and more covered. You know, the focus on assignments and, you know, personal you know personal involvement is also yet to come to the same level.
[00:12:54] Brij Sethi: [00:12:54] So so thanks a lot. I mean, I have learned a few useful things myself today and you have taken the time to speak and you have probably spent even more time preparing before you speak. Just like you mentioned that professors in the U S give ample time for preparation and thought before they speak up. So, thank you very much Shreekanth
[00:13:16] Shreekanth Prabhu: [00:13:16] Thanks Thanks brij for the opportunity
[00:13:20] Brij Sethi: [00:13:20] if you liked this podcast, do subscribe to our weekly episodes. Please also visit w w w dot ready to work dot com for more insights on career readiness. I’m your host Brij Sethi, and this is the Ready to Work podcast. The podcast with success secrets for the young tech professional.