By Makarand Gawade, Staff Writer
Being an international student in the US, I have experienced the uncertainty and frustration that come from a job search, mainly due to visa sponsorship. H-1B visa cap and now the lottery system (random selection) make the job search more daunting for international students. Increasingly more and more US employers are becoming skeptical about sponsoring visas for international students. In such uncertain scenarios, one question comes to mind: Why not consider job opportunities back home, while continuing to job hunt in the US?
Well, there are multiple barriers in mind while considering opportunities back home. What comes to mind first is the return on investment, second is the dream of making a career in the land of opportunities, and third is the urge of working in a low power distance country with less bureaucracies and work politics (I don’t want to generalize here about any particular country, but typically eastern countries are perceived as high power distance environment with lot of bureaucracies).
Having said that, there are multiple routes by which an Indian student can overcome these barriers and consider an opportunity to work back home. Some such opportunities I came across are leadership development programs and organizations that are aspiring to expand or strengthen their bases in emerging markets. In both these types of opportunities, a candidate usually spends the first year in the US to understand the culture, offerings, role and responsibilities, and get the training. The next year onwards, the candidate needs to relocate to the home country. I have been involved in one such process and got a fly back for the final round. However, I was not able to convert the opportunity. After going through the process, I must say the remuneration and incentives offered for that position in India were excellent and above par. Also, I think these positions are career accelerators. The position for which I was being interviewed was a country manager position for an equipment manufacturing company based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Saumil Mehta (MBA ’16, India) got the offer from this company. He mentioned that this is a once in a life time opportunity and he is indeed very excited about pursuing it. He feels that the country manager role is more like an entrepreneurial role wherein he would be able to make independent business decisions. He is looking forward to receive the training in the company’s headquarters in Milwaukee for the next year, and he will relocate to India in mid-2017.
Moreover, startups in emerging countries are presenting lucrative opportunities and really a good space where a business graduate would get the flexibility to apply his/her multi-cultural and multi-functional skills, and processes, frameworks, and models learnt during the MBA, and a good visibility to show his/her efforts and dedication. I believe such opportunities can present career mobility options and one would not be stuck at any particular role or responsibility. Chandra Koduri (MBA ’16, India) got an offer from a briskly growing startup in Hyderabad and he is indeed excited about his challenging role of Vice President – Product. When I asked him how he is feeling about this opportunity back home, he mentioned that he got his dream job offer, and while taking this decision, he placed more importance on career mobility and learning opportunities, rather than a country where he would work. He is more than happy to join the company in India.
Also, for international students aspiring to work in big consulting companies without any prior consulting experience, one of the better options is to look for opportunities in the home country. These organizations value graduate level business education in the US and the probability of being able to kick-start a career in the consulting space in India is much higher in comparison with pursuing that in the US.
Thus, I believe that in the period of uncertainty and unpredictability in the job search due to complicated visa regimes, I would suggest every international student to consider opportunities in emerging countries and back home in parallel with the job search in the US.