Saturday, October 21, 2017

Scamming East Indians and Asians on American College Degrees

There was something I noticed when I'd occasionally stop by the website of my alma mater, "The Carlson School of Management."  A VERY disproportionately large percent of students in the pictures were of East Indian descent.  I found this odd in that most of the East Indians I met while attending college were in IT programs.  This then made me wonder if business schools, forever hungry and desperate for other people's money, weren't hocking their (more or less) worthless degrees to poor foreigners who didn't know any better.

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. 


laval076 said...

Like "gender studies" ??? LOLOLOL

fred said...

> i have pondered

10/10, would read again.

Whistling_Dixie said...

The way Australian universities manage to con Chinese and Indian students with their worthless degrees (such as an MBA) is obscene. Most will end up as uber drivers or cleaning toilets, thus getting no return on their large investment. Would've been far better off investing that money in a business of their own and develop real business skills by actually running as business, as opposed to questionable online material and multiple choice questions.

liberranter said...

Indians, in particular, seem to equate graduate degrees, especially in STEM fields, with superior intellect, knowledge, and wisdom. If they were able to objectively look into a mirror, listen to recordings of themselves, or watch themselves at work, they would realize that this is the farthest thing from reality. They also believe that such a piece of paper confers social standing (maybe in New Dehli, but not in New York, where even the janitors have graduate degrees - many in STEM).

It warms my heart to know that parents in Mumbai, Jaipur, or Amritsar are pissing away what little wealth they have in order to buy their kids a worthless talisman that they are stupid enough to believe guarantees success. It's the one redeeming quality of the current higher education bubble.

Only two things left to do:

1. Make sure that foreign students, especially Southwest Asians, are the only ones who pay full (or even double) fare at today's American universities.

2. Send ALL OF THEM home for good once they've been separated from their money and have their parchment asswipe in hand.

Brian Dean said...

What should I tell my daughter (at 15) who thinks she wants to start a business or restaurant, but wants to go to college? She thinks that if she gets good grades in high school, she can get scholarships to pay for it.

Raghav Hegde said...

"Would've been far better off investing that money in a business of their own and develop real business skills by actually running as business, as opposed to questionable online material and multiple choice questions."

As a self-employed Indian who makes an income much higher than the national average, I concur with that :) Regular reader of Aaron's blog for many years and read most of his books :)

Stanley said...

For most international students its not the degree that counts but a chance to gain residency in a Western counts. That is what they are paying for.

Wandering man said...

When you need wings to stay above the bullsh1t...