Brain Drain – The Great Indian Movement

I always wanted to write a series that talks about my life being an Indian immigrant in the United States. Things that you may or may not have heard of, hopefully change your myths about American lifestyle and economy and especially how it relates to the Indian wealth of knowledge. Every time I thought of posting this, my gut said, it’s not the right time or I am not ready. But I think it is time and here I go!

Part 1 of the ‘Brain Drain’ Series

I was an above average student in my school days and I never had a liking for science and technology. I liked math though but I never wanted to live with numbers all the time. Later I realized I have good people skills and I like the management aspects of organization and this propelled me to choose MBA and pursue my passion for HR.

I never wanted to leave India (my homeland) for my studies even if I would have had the financial means to do so. But as it turned out I had to leave India anyways to start the next chapter of my life with my husband who is now settled and working in US after having finished his master’s degree in Dallas. Which brings me to the topic of the great Indian movement….

Yes I am talking about ‘Brain Drain’. It’s an ongoing curse that developing countries, including India, face today. Irrespective of the well known universities that we have in India like IIM & IIT, the destination for high quality learning for Indian students are the universities in US, UK and Canada. Indians are now the second-largest foreign student population in America, after the Chinese, with almost 105,000 students in the United States in the 2009-10 academic year. The number of Indian students going to US has recorded a good jump of almost 8 percent from 2010 to 2011.

Now why there is an uptrend! Students are drawn here by the internationally recognized universities where they can work and earn during and after their coursework, better job opportunities in dynamic companies, freest culture and social environment and one of the highest standards of living.

And I do agree that stepping outside your own bubble to a global environment will help you to develop new skills, learn different languages and be exposed to diverse cultures. Starting an internship in the global market will help you enrich your career possibilities with unique global experiences.

But it is sad to know that to those aspirants who couldn’t make it to their dream colleges in India, the options have boiled down to studying abroad. But why are they not pursuing colleges/universities in India?

1. Lack of quality educational institutions after the top tier institutes such as IIM and IIT.

2. Lack of better placement and richer job opportunities while businesses have emerged into a global platform in competitive job markets.

3. Employers give first priority for applicants who are studied abroad thus attaining a degree from the foreign universities makes them stand out from the crowd.

4. Lack of better infrastructural facilities in laboratories especially for courses like Biotechnology, nanotechnology.

5. Lack of flexibility in opting the courses based on your interest. For example, a math student may not be selected for a degree in the field of medicine.

6. Apart from that the bright students are being rejected by the universities due to corruption in the education system.

What is your take on this? Is India losing its resources due to lack of a better education system and corruption? And how do we retain these next generation resources in our own land?

This is a multi series blog post that you can read here every week. Next week we will talk about the struggle that international students, especially Indians, face in US job market.

Click here to read the full series.

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