Is MS in the USA really worth investing? Here are some Views
Understanding Grad School Finances
If you are concerned about finances of managing a Master’s degree education, a good way to start is to understand how long will it take you to recover your expenses. For this, we need to understand what total expenses you are likely to incur, what kind of income are you expecting after graduation and how much can you save. This is known as break even analysis and I have covered it in detail in theso that you know what to expect. Doing this analysis using the tools in the book will let you feel more comfortable about the decision.
For e.g. if you are spending $77000 on your MS (tuition + living + interest on loan), getting $14000 in summer internship, paying a 12% interest rate on your loan of Rs 20L, graduating in 4 semesters and saving 40% of your post-tax salary ($84000 p.a), it will take you roughly 3.15 years to break even in worst case. If you find any assistance or on-campus job (which is very feasible and again, discussed in the book) or graduating in 3 or fewer semesters, you can break even in few months or a year.
The details of the calculations are covered in the book and you are provided with a sheet (snapshot above) that shows you exactly how long will it take to recover your investment in the Grad School. You can add variables as per your specific scenario and play with it. Lets say that the sheet tells you that it will take roughly 2 years, so after that you are earning a handsome salary in US that far exceeds the package in India at that level. If you just compare the financial benefits and kind of work exposure you are getting in US, then you will understand how much it makes sense to go for MS.
Education is not an expense but an investment in yourself
Another point is that I considered my MS fee as an investment and not an expense and if that is how you look at it, then you realize that it’s not the money that is sinking down the drain but you are gaining skills that make you employable, a credible degree in the resume and a great brand name to help you stand out in the competition. Imagine applying for a job with a credible international grad school degree in your resume. Who is the employer going to recruit? You with a reputed degree from the US or someone with a relatively unknown degree in India? And with a little hustle, you can manage to fund.
I loved my experience of doing MS in the USA and found it financially, personally and professionally rewarding. You have to figure out for yourself but hopefully the above can shed a good light on what to expect. Good luck!
Let us consider that you are an average guy and going to USA to pursue MS in 100+ ranked university. This is how MS will look like –
MS is usually 30 to 42 credits. The program length varies from 1 academic year to 2 academic years.
(University of Cincinnati MS analytics program )
Internship is mandatory and most of the students do manage to secure one.
A great amount of research is involved in MS programs. Your seniors are doing it, Phd guys in the same department are doing it. The Universities highly encourage you to pursue research and write thesis. A lot of program alternatively advice students to do projects ( one kind of research in itself )
(A program having 4 projects in 4 sems)
You get to work with professors immensely. Professors look forward to work with MS guys to help them in projects and research. They know PostGrad students have a lot of potential. You also get to work with PhD guys a lot as professors team you up often. So you get the expertise of Profs and PhD students as well.
You get an assistantship easily, which not only waives your fees but also provides you 600–1500 usd a month as stipened. Thus making MS free sometimes..
In job market, you are highly preferred over Undergraduate students. A usual job opening is – Bachelor and 2 years of work experience or Master’s degree ( no work experience required here )
One of the job vacancy saying MS is preferred.
Many American companies have policy of hiring only MS people. The minimum eligibility is MS. A few notable areand .
A MS puts you above everyone, in countries like USA very few people go for MS. Still today less than 10 percent of Americans do Masters.. North American society gives you a lot of respect if you are PostGraduate.
MS graduates earn $17,000 – $20,000 more than bachelor graduates.. .
If you later plan to do PhD, going for MS will be the best thing as it sets your foot in USA and from there you can go to any University and easily get admission and funding.
Many times after a Bachelor completion, you realise the field was not meant for you. Changing the field is a tough task. A MS just does the work for you. ( Many people in India do Mechanial Engineering and later want to switch to IT fields, a MS has time and again proved effective for them)
Lastly A MS degree is counted as Advanced degree, that means 20,000 extra h1b visas are allotted to advanced degree holders every year. This increases your h1b chances. significantly.
One case study – My brother. After passing out from DCE, started working for Maruti ( Car Manufacturing Unit ). His Annual Salary was 5 lakh a year. After 2 years of work, his salary was still 5 lakh a year. Frustrated, He went on to doin with a 50 percent scholarship ( UTD gives 50 percent fees waiver to people with good gre score). He graduated recently and is doing job in a logistics company. His annual salary is 80,000 usd in Dallas ( where there are no state taxes and cost of living is low). He is able to send 2 lakh rs a month home easily (after all taxes and posh living expenses). Though getting a job was little tough but he is comfortably sending rs 2 lakh a month which he wasn’t able to save even in a year in India. He is now buying a Honda Civic ( ) car at $19,000. This car cost him his 6 months saving. I dont think he would have bought car even in his 5 years of savings in India.
I think, You are the best judge now.
Hope I have motivated you guys enough to go for a masters. That was a great decision for me. And I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.