Source: Financial Times
By Jonathan Moules,
The tightening of visa rules in many countries has taken the shine off relocation
Bhuman Dani quit the noise of Mumbai for the tranquillity of the French forest campus of Insead business school in 2013. His plan was to complete an MBA that he hoped would help enable a more permanent transition to working in Europe or the US while building new overseas operations for his father’s Indian IT services company.
But 18 months after graduation
“I knew by graduation that I would move back,” says
Along with fellow expat MBA
“This is the time to be in India,”
The ability to build a career overseas used to be a key reason for Indian students to study abroad. But the tightening of work visa rules in many European countries and the US has taken the shine off the opportunity to relocate. It is a shift reflected in the decline in applications by Indian nationals to many leading US and European institutions.
The percentage of Indians sending their scores from the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) to US business schools fell from 56.9
During the same period, the percentage of Indian GMAT takers sending their test scores to Indian schools rose from 15
Deepak Punwani, director of The MBA Exchange, an agency that helps match business school graduates with jobs globally, says he has noticed a trend among his Indian clients either to cut short time spent working overseas after graduation or to return home immediately after they have finished their studies.
Between 2009 and 2012, only 10
Visa restrictions have been a significant factor affecting perceptions of how easy it is to remain in a place of study, according to
Some schools are responding to this trend by making it easier for Indian students to remain in the country where they studied. Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in the US, for example, has maintained the number of Indian students at about 30—and none of last year’s graduates returned to India immediately.
An important part of Fuqua’s success in attracting Indian students has been the introduction of an MBA certificate in management science and technology. Its status as a science, technology, engineering and mathematics course enables students to move up the queue for work visas after graduation. “We have tried to do our best to position Duke as a welcoming environment,” Bill Boulding, Fuqua’s dean, says. “Others have not been so fortunate.”
Those schools maintaining their Indian student numbers are often also those that can offer the best opportunities for jobs after graduation.
There were 17 Indian nationals in the 2018 MBA intake at Lausanne-based IMD Business School. All but two of these now have job placements with European businesses.
“I do not think seeking local work is a defining characteristic of Indian-born IMD MBA students,” says Seán Meehan, head of the school’s MBA programme, adding that all students conduct worldwide searches. Indian students “share with other classmates a passion for global business”.
When companies feel they have the right match, they are happy to deal with the necessary immigration red tape to get that person,