Because the draw of a green card is high and the permanent residence application is based on the new skills of the student, presumably learned in the US school, the student continues to wear a happy smile. He is only interested in securing that coveted green card and if this means a few adjustments, the employee thinks, that is just the price to pay for life in the US.
So the new employee artfully builds a profile which says that the new job was indeed a natural outcome of the training received in the US school. And so, not willing to risk a reject from the US government during the long green card process, the student adapts to his new career - and more importantly, new line of work - hoping to like it along the way.
We have seen brilliant students with MS degrees in Physics pursue a career in software testing. Or people with MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering become Java developers. And Chemical Engineers become business analysts for SAP implementations for large banks. Of course, there is always the possibility that these nice folks love what they do now and wouldn't have it any other way. But common sense tells us that this is improbable.
Unfortunately, the hole only deepens with time. A sad fact of working in the US is that specialization matters. If it takes, on average, 5-7 years to get a green card, the "personal brand" of the individual is now firmly established. The MS in Physics person can only work in quality assurance because this is how he is branded. Or rather, this is how he brands himself as this is the only sure way he can seek other employment.
And so, the die would have been cast on an entire professional life! Not a stellar ROI this, is it? Why do our students subject themselves to this torture?
We have had informal discussions with over 250 Indian professionals during the last ten years. Nearly all of them are working not for the love of their jobs but because they have to work. The lure of maintaining a high-profile lifestyle in the United States, combined with mandatory obligations around mortgage payments, saving for the future of their children and their own retirement drives them to work. Every day.
What is important is not the number of professionals we have talked to. It is the percentage of dissatisfied people - those that would love to do something else but are constrained from doing so because of their obligations. We estimate this percentage to be higher than 80%. We want to emphasize however that our ROI discussion focuses only on career choices. Indians settled in the US live fairly happily for reasons other than careers (such as money, status, ability to have a good lifestyle, etc) - otherwise they wouldn't immigrate to that country. So the overall ROI of going to the US is obviously good.
But back to the Return on Investment on one's career. Is it a good ROI? Hardly. The pity is that a lot of this happens because of poor decisions made by students even before they leave their home countries. For what is arguably the most important decision in the student’s life before leaving for US shores, the current process for selecting US schools is rather arbitrary and not thought out enough.
We believe there is a much better way to make these decisions. We think that a little more effort from the student to take ownership of his/her application can have a significant impact on this person's post US graduate school life. You could jump ahead to know more about our 7-Step approach but we suggest that you first review the common mistakes which students make while still in their home countries, during the application process.
As we say through out our site, we are glad you came here. Because we can help you better manage your expectations of the most important investment you are making in your life. There is never any guarantee, but we believe your odds of success are higher with our approach. And it doesn't cost you anything to try it.
Click here if you want to know more about our firm and its services.
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