The foreign advantage
Q: Several of my friends are keen on doing MBA from the US despite there being so many B-schools in India. With the improved standing of Indian B-schools, is an MBA from the US still a better option?
— Latika Roy
A: Yes, the great Indian rush for made-in-US MBAs has now turned into a stampede. Students from India constitute the largest segment of foreign
B-school graduates — around 10-15 per cent.
The overall improvement in Indias economic situation has made people more confident about investing in expensive education.
The loosening of government purse strings in terms of education loans and foreign exchange (up to $100,000 or approximately Rs 42,73,500) has acted as a further incentive.
Indian students continue to flock to the B-schools in the US, thanks to the increasing cost of a management degree in India and the difficulty in getting admission to top Indian B-schools here.
The recent hike in fees at top flight Indian B-schools has narrowed the difference in fees between a management school in India and the US. Depending on the school, an MBA degree in the US could cost anywhere between $60,000-$80,000 (Rs 25,64,100 to Rs 34,18,800) per annum.
Apart from the very top ones, its also easier to get into many B-schools in the US than to break into IIM Ahmedabad or the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, for instance.
The excessive emphasis on CAT / XAT scores in India scares off many aspirants. The other big attraction is the prospect of international placement and dollar salaries that graduates can avail of after completing their programme (barring recession-time).
Sure we have 1,400+ B-schools in India (and the number keeps increasing), but there is a marked difference between a top-20 school and an ordinary one.
Uncle Sam beckons students
Q: I would like to go the US for further studies. However, my parents say that I will not be able to cope with the academic system there. They also fear that I will become indisciplined because of all the freedom unlike our school system where teachers keep a close eye on the students.
— Bijoy Sahay
A: A: University professors in the US rarely check attendance or day-to-day homework. You are expected to be responsible for yourself and fulfil your obligations as a student.
But dont worry — you wont be left completely on your own. Universities have a sophisticated service infrastructure to help you. There are counselling centres, residence advisors, medical services and placement offices.
Sure, the freedom at college can be difficult to get used to. The immense study load with an emphasis on self-study versus rote learning on one hand and the numerous distractions on the other may pull you in opposite directions.
Learn to get your act together
Q: I am in my final year of graduation. I wish to join the National School of Drama (NSD), New Delhi. Could you please tell me about the selection procedure at the institute? I am interested in stage design. Will I qualify?
— Ashok Ghosh
A: The National School of Drama (NSD), established by the Sangeet Natak Academy, offers a three-year postgraduate diploma in dramatic arts which is recognised as equivalent to MA in dramatics by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU).
The course comprises dramatic literature and aesthetics (eastern and western), theory and practice of acting, including components of mime and movement, martial arts, yoga and music and theory and practice of stage technique such as costume and scenery, lighting, make-up and theatre architecture. In the second and third year, you can opt for specialised training in the subject of your choice, that is acting, theatre techniques or design.
To be eligible for admission to this programme you need to be a graduate in any discipline with the experience of active participation in at least six theatre productions and working knowledge of Hindi and English. You should be between 20 and 30 years of age.
As there are only 20 seats in this course, the selection procedure is pretty rigorous. Four seats (out of 20) are reserved for the physically disabled / SC / ST (preferably from communities traditionally connected with performing arts).
After the initial screening, written test and medical test for physical fitness which is held in five centres (Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Guwahati and Calcutta), about 80 applicants are short-listed for a five-day workshop at NSD that forms part of the selection process. For the written test, it is best to read up and attend drama festivals to supplement your knowledge on film, television, culture and, of course, theatre.
Make sure you avail of every opportunity to participate in college plays and street theatre to hone your singing, dancing, mimicking and acting skills. In the auditions you will be asked to enact dramatic passages and recite dialogues from plays. Apart from assessing your natural talent and interest in theatre, your creativity and spontaneity will also be put to test.
No tuition fee is charged. Instead, students receive a stipend of Rs 3,000 per month. While doing an internship in the final year, the scholarship goes up to Rs 6,000. For further information, log on to the website (www.nsd.gov.in).
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