Coincidentally I received an e-mail from one Pranab Prabhash, who has written a book, but also attended business school. I asked him to write a guest piece on his experiences as an Indian attending business school and thought his insights and thoughts might prove useful to others. He is also the author of "Perils of Information Age" and is a book you may want to consider picking up. His post below:
Here are some very interesting outcomes of the HSBC surveys "Value of Education". More than 90% of the parents in Asian countries India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia believe that having an undergraduate degree or higher is necessary for their children to achieve their life goals. Interestingly, the number drops to almost 50% for USA, Canada, UK and Australia.
When it comes to international education, the US is regarded as offering the best quality of education worldwide, but is the most expensive destination globally. However, a lot of surveyed parents hugely underestimate the costs. A lot of doe-eyed students come to US for studies and go in deep debt funding their college education. Many of them are left disillusioned in pain and debt in the end, but not many knew about it beforehand. Ironically though, as per the HSBC survey a vast majority of Asian parents, considering a university education abroad for their child, were willing to go into debt to fund their child’s university or college education.
Among the surveyed parents, satisfyingly most have a specific occupation in mind which is driven primarily by earning potential. The most favored subjects for parents would be medicine; business, management and finance; engineering; computer and information services; or law.
As an international student who has done an MBA in USA, the above data bothers me because I can see their validity in my personal experiences and in the struggle of fellow international students. It raises a few questions. Is college education worth the money? Is college degree an appreciating asset or a depreciating asset? Do we see prestigious colleges as educational institutions or as expensive membership clubs? And most importantly, are all college majors equally valuable?
Since, my MBA days I have pondered over the above questions, and I believe today's internet fueled Information age is exacerbating the issue. One of the key negative side effects of today's Information age, among other things, is the issue of college majors. There is a proliferation of worthless knowledge subjects and a growing impotency of academic training. The college education system is feeding on our insecurity to become successful and our ingrained reverence for scholars.
If you are bothered by similar issues and want to know how to deal with it, then the book Perils of Information Age might interest you.