Saturday, September 20, 2008


Some Recent Questions

Sorry guys I got some questions recently and could not post the answers immediately. Also a lot of your questions were buried deep inside the posts. I am starting this new post to give some visibility to the your questions.

Question 1) Posted by Esha Gupta on September 20th, 2008
i 've got an opportunity to study in the University of Florida for the last semester of my computer science engineering.I will be going as the University i am studying in right now has a tie up with the University Of Florida and they allow students to study there for their last semester with a certain extra fee.The irony is that they do not provide any sought of scholarships for students and one has to entirely go in his\her behalf. As the fee is a little high and not easily affordable i will be taking a student loan and then pursuing my studies in there is a lil' confusion in my mind regarding wherether i shd accept dis offer or nt as I've no clue abt the future prospects in terms of job opportunities for a b-tech student. If i m a lil' sure of the fact tht i'll get a decent job out there just being a plain b-tech i might den ponder over dis offer again.Though i have to go for higher studies later on and do my mba but mba from U.S. will cost me abt $10000 which is again nt affordable!! So i plan to do my 8th sem from Florida ,do a job,repay my loan and come back to India.this will surely giv me an edge over the others,exposure,work experience and a new kind of environment with people pouring in from all parts of the world. This is my tentative i just wan't to get a clear picture of the current scenario out there, for job prospects for engineers with an average score in b. tech and the approximate starting salaries one gets per annum.The dates are almost over so will have to take a decision soon.
also i'll be getting an f1 visa so will i be allowed to work on an f1 and what are the job prospects for an average student doing from an average university --jaypee university of information and technology
sir,i m in real trouble with this decision plizzz help me out.
eagerly waiting for ur reply.

Answer 1)
Hi Esha, you have asked quite a few questions in your one post. Let me try and answer those one by one.
(a) Regarding coming to Florida and getting some exposure, I agree with you it is a great idea. Since I came to the US I have learnt a lot and come to appreciate many different things. The exposure especially when you start working here is amazing especially in the high tech sector and places like the Silicon Valley.

(b) Regarding taking student loans and working to pay them off is a very good question. I am not sure how closely you follow US news but there is quite a crisis going on in the financial markets here. If you are planning to secure a loan in the US it will be very hard and on top of that you will need a US citizen to guarantee your loan. If you are planning to get a loan in India for your studies in the US and then come here it will be a lot easier.

(c) In terms of working while on F1 visa (student visa) that is quite tricky. You as a student in any US university are allowed to work only 20 hours a week. Additionally you can work only on the campus. If there are large number of Indian/Chinese students in the University finding those jobs can be hard as well because everyone is trying to offset their expenses. Also keep in mind the money that you will earn while studying will generally go towards paying for your food, books and lodging. There is no way you will be able to pay off you loan by working part time on the campus in one semester. However if you can totally afford the loan and not worry about it, then the venture is worth considering

(d) The job market in the US is pretty bad right now and lots of people are losing jobs even though there is a requirement for engineers the macro economic conditions are not very conducive. My suggestion to you is to complete your bachelors in India and give it your best shot. Find a job there, work for a couple of years and then plan to come to US for your master whether it is an MBA or MS. One thing you do need to keep in mind is that H1 visas are limited every year and for the last couple of years all visa numbers are used up the very first day of those becoming available. That can cause issues as you have only 1 year to get an H1 visa if you want to continue working in the US after your masters.

(e) Finally regarding salaries for an engineer in the US - it is a very wide range and depends on your specialization, university, GPA etc. I would say you could expect a salary in the range of $45K-$60K per annum. The hard part is finding an employer ready to sponsor your work visa and then H1 visas being actually available.

I hope I have answered all your questions. Good luck.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


F1 Visa Questions - (GMAT/ GRE/ MBA/ MS)

With visa interviews starting soon for the Fall semester I thought it would be a good time to write a post on how to prepare for the visa interview and what to expect from the visa officer. The first thing that you have to keep in mind is that more than 80,000 students from India come to the US everywhere and there is no reason why you won't be one of them. So be confident that you are going to get the visa when you go for the interview.

I recently went to a reunion of Indian students in the Los Angeles area and we all started discussing how it felt when we went for the visa interview. The days leading to the interview are always tense and a lot of preparation goes into it. So what all do you need to prepare for so that you can be anothe Indian student who is studying abroad.

1) You have to make sure that you have all the required paperwork with you and the paperwork is properly labeled in different files. You on an average get 2-3 minutes with a visa officer and none of us wants to waste that time trying to search for our documents.

2) Your passport and I-20 should be ready in your hand.

3) Once the visa officer takes your passport and I-20 he will start asking you questions. Confidently and with a smile on your face answer the questions. It is always better to have a general idea of what you are going to say but there is no need to try and remember the answers by heart. If you try and say it too fast without conviction the visa officer could think you have been tutored which means they will start asking you questions which are not routine and those can be much harder to answer. Let us start with the questions:

4) Why this university? (The university you presented the I-20 for)

There is no one right answer and 100 people could answer it in 100 different ways. One of the answers could be - I did my research and liked the professors in the stream I am specializing in. I talked to a couple of professors and it seems what they cover in the curriculum is very useful in the real world. (If you have a scholarship). Moreover the university is offering me a scholarship and that sealed my decision. I also interacted with a couple of alumni from the university and they highly recommended it.

5) What are the name of the Professors you talked to?

Always know the names of the professors and the email IDs as well if you can remember.

6) How many and which universities did you apply for?

Tell them exactly how many universities you applied to, which all you got accepted to and why you chose not to accept admission to any of those. Again it could be because the university you chose is really good in the your specialization or the other universities were not offering scholarships etc.

7) Why not do your MBA in India, why go to the U.S. for your MBA /MS?

You could answer with something like - with more and more multi-nationals coming into India I would like to get a global perspective of how things are conducted internationally and what better place to do it than in the US which is the engine of the world economy. By combining my local knowledge with U.S. education I would get myself an edge over the competition.

8) What will you do after you complete your studies?

You will of course say that you intend to come back to India and work e.g. I did some research and these companies hire a lot of people with this experience and education and these are the companies I plan to target when I come back. With so much growth in India I think I will be able to progress a lot faster after completing my education in the US.

9) Do you have any relatives in the U.S.?

Always answer this question truthfully. In my particular cases I had a member of the immediate family already in the US. I still told the visa officer the whole detail. You should never try and lie about such things.

10) So XYZ from your family is already there and you will also stay there after you graduate?

Of course not. At this point you need to convince the visa officer you have good reason to come back e.g. your parents who do not want to immigrate etc. Visa officers know that many of us stay back in the US to work etc. - all they are looking for is a smart, well thought answer. Remember a visa officer is looking for an excuse not to give you the visa, if you do not give them that excuse they will not stop you.

11) How do you intend to pay for your education?

Start answering the question confidently e.g. my father is sponsoring my education or I have a approved loan. Would you like to take a look at the documents? If the visa officer say yes hand them over but do not keep pushing your files through the window unnecessarily. Here it again becomes important that everything is properly labeled and in small files. The area to pass documents is not to big so do not try to push through a 6 inch thick file :)

12) What will you do if your visa is rejected?

You can say something like this - "I will of course be disappointed. I have worked hard to get a good score, invested a lot of time and money applying and getting accepted to the universities. I see this as an opportunity for furthering my career. However it is not the end of the world. I know I am a deserving candidate but an adverse decision will definitely disappoint me".

13) What is your family composition i.e. how many brothers and sister do you have?

Tell them about your family and what they do.

14) What are your sources of income?

If you have savings give the officer details about it or provide details of your father's income.

15) Do you know anyone in the U.S.?

Tell the officer about your contacts.

All of the above questions can be answered in 100 different ways and everyone's situation is different. My sole idea is to start you thinking about this process and be prepared for it. There are a lot more questions and I will cover them in a follow up post but the 15 above are the most common. The visa interview is the final step in all the effort you have put in for the last 8-12 months preparing for your study abroad.

Feel free to ask any questions you might have regarding how to prepare, what all to look for in a university and so on and I will be more than happy to respond with answers to the best of my knowledge.

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Friday, April 07, 2006


MBA Infomation for Indian Students

More than 80,000 students come abroad to US from India every year. Maximum number of them land here in California. Majority of these come in for business studies, either Bachelors or Masters. In this post we will be focusing on Universities in California offering MBA courses. We are also trying to interview a couple of recruiters and post those interviews here for you all to read. So lets start with the list of top 5. The following list is from a global ranking list.

Univ Name     2006 Rank     International Students
1)Stanford         3                 39%

2)Haas             16                 37%

3)UCLA            19                 26%

4)USC              54                 22%

5)UC Davis        79                 17%

The above mentioned 5 universities are very hard to get into and require an average of 3 years work experience. Any students applying to these universities without work experience have very little chance if any of getting accepted. Applying to universities is an expensive proposition for indian students keeping the exchange rate in mind. So be sure that you meet the minimum requirements for the universities you are applying for. Also if you are hoping to get scholarships, then these universities rarely offer scholarships to international students.

Universities in the UC system i.e. University of California do not offer scholarships to international students in the first year making the endeavour that much more expensiveOneof the universities know be more liberal with scholarships in its MBA programs is Pepperdine University. The Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine is liberal with its scholarships if you exceed a score of 700. To get more information visit Pepperdine

Feel free to ask me questions in this post about various MBA programs. We will soon be moving to the east coast schools and try and provide some insider information on those as well.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Preparing for 2007

NOW - Mar/Apr 2006 - is the right time to start making preparations if you are planning to come abroad for studies in 2007. Anytime after June, dates for exams like GMAT and GRE are far and few in between with waiting as long as 4 months. Those of you who give their exams by end August will be able to apply to universities in time. What is the benefit? All of you who want to corner a scholarship from a US/UK university need to be in the first round of applicants. Universities that normally give out scholarships tend to be more benevolent in the first round. Second and third round applicants find it harder to get those much needed aids. Also fellow ships are easier to secure and you have decisions by the universities by end Jan for the fall semester.

By getting early decisions you have more time to decide and a wider choice when accepted to multiple universities. So get going now. Most of the students think that preparing for the exam and appearing for it is the major part. Do not be fooled. Applying to an average of 7 universities takes at least a month. I will address university applications in another post.

So pull yourself up and start preparing and scheduling your exams. Majority of the students start preparing AFTER they have scheduled their GMATs, GREs or USMLEs. Before that the discipline is just not there. Getting the language exams - IELTS and TOEFL out of the way sooner is always recommended.

For more information on giving TOEFL in India visit

For information on IELTS visit

For information on GMAT visit

For more information on GRE visit

We are always available if anyone has any specific questions. The above links are made available only to help you get started.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006




Today I was talking to a friend of mine and that talk resulted in my friend saving $3800. While discussing taxes it came to my attention that my friend had been paying Social Security and Medicare while she was still working on her OPT.

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE - On OPT you are not required to pay Social Security or Medicare. If your employer has been deducting that, then you are entitled to a refund just like my friend. Give Uncle Sam what is due, but no more than that.

Since this is the tax season my next few posts will be along this topic.

9:50 PM

Sunday, March 12, 2006



Hi Everyone

First I will start by telling a little about myself. This is my first post so a short introduction is in order. I will be joined by 3 of my friends who will also be moderating this blog along with me. The description of the forum tells you that we are 4 friends in US, Canada, UK and Australia. We are starting this blog to provide information to students who are in India and planning to come to one of the above mentioned countries on study basis. We will provide you only with the information that is relevant and you ask for. As students who started off in the dark, we believe it can be really helpful and time saving to get all your answers at one place.

I have an engineering and MBA. I did my engineering in India and moved to Los Angeles to do my MBA. Currently I work in product management for an ecommerce company. Along the way I learnt a lot and feel that information can be really valuable to everyone back home.

In addition to providing information to students from India who want to come abroad for studies we will also try and answer any queries related to taxes etc for students and working professionals. Using the information collected and researched over the last few years I can provide help in the form of information for both F1 and H1 visa holders.

For us it is a hobby, so we will try and answer all your queries at the earliest. We expect question to range from - best ways to prepare for tests, to timings to how to contact recruiters at different universities. However there might be delays of upto 24 hours before we could answer all questions. We all have full time jobs so we will try and check the blog as regularly as possible.

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