Saturday, November 15, 2008

Graduate Students in US – How to Survive Recession


The other day I was talking to a student who graduated in August from my school. He is in OPT for almost 75 days now. He is trying his best to find a job but with an economic recession he is not even getting interview calls. He was so sad and telling me “since I have some good friends I am surviving. I don’t have any money to spend nor any work”. I found him very low in confidence and cursing the luck for his inability to find a job all throughout the conversation.
There will be hundreds of graduate students like this from different countries especially from India who may be going through the same state of mind as my friend. They are subjected to so many pressures at the same time – pressure due to the inability to find a job, pressure to make both ends meet with no income, pressure to repay the huge loan they took back from their home country, pressure of returning back to the home country as a loser not having able to find a job even after studying so hard. 
I can understand the pain and agony that goes through those students as I also came to US for my studies during the peak of recession. Majority of my friends were struggling to find a job during that time. I have written earlier about the tough life of graduate students and how we all survived it. But I believe this time it is going to be much tougher – mainly due to some changes in the H1B visa numbers and also the recession is widely expected to be worse than the last one. The only ray of hope for a lot of students is the extended Optional Practical Training (OPT) but lot of students can’t take advantage of it as they need to be employed for at least 9 months during their 12-month OPT to get an extension. 
In 2001-03, finding a job was tough but if you get a job you can apply for H1B visa throughout the year as visa numbers were available round the year. It is not the case now. Take the case of a student who will graduate this Fall (December 08). Say his OPT starts from December 15th and he manages to get a full time job by April 15th after four months of search. By the time he gets the job the H1B visa numbers for the year 2009 could have been over. So this guy cannot apply for H1B visa. He can continue working till December ’09. He cannot apply for his OPT extension since he has a gap of more than 90 days in OPT with out job. The net result – he cannot legally work in US from January. During the recession of 2001-03 we never had to face such a situation. Now the whole matrix of job search and H1B visa has become so complicated with timing of the job and luck playing a major part in the visa rather than your ability. 
So what is the way out from these tough times – No easy solution at all. One should be mentally prepared to face the worst but should be highly optimistic and never should lose hope. This is not a situation for you to panic. It is just a passing storm and good times with multiple job offers will soon come. In 2001-03 there was a stage when all of us thought that no one is going to get a job in the near future and every one will have to pack the bags and go back. But things changed for better and in no time everyone was getting jobs. I am positive that the same thing is going to happen at the end of this recession. 
Few things my friends did during the last recession – if possible postpone the graduation by a semester or two. Sometimes it really helps. You may be able to continue the funding you have for another semester or you can find some on campus job and can survive with that. It is better than graduating and having no job. Since you have completed most of the requirements for graduation you may not need to register as a full time student to continue for another semester or two. I had a couple of friends who purposely failed in the comprehensive exam to maintain student status. They all graduated subsequently once the market came up and are doing really good. 
Another thing you can do – if you have already graduated - come back to school and do another degree- say in the latest or the hottest field so that when the market comes back up you could position yourself in a better position to get a job. Even if you did your first degree paying from your pocket you may be lucky enough to find some form of funding to do the second degree. Being in school for around 2 years should make you aware of the various opportunities available internally in the school better.  Going back to school for another degree will buy you couple of years and by that time market will be back to normal and you are good to go. 
Another possibility – but have to be careful in choosing this. There are a hell lot of consultants out their willing to sponsor H1B visas. There is lot of genuine ones but there are lots of rotten apples in that field. They make all the promises but once you join them you may have to go through lot of hardships. Joining a consultant who is willing to sponsor a H1B visa is another option if you desperately want H1B visa and all your trials in getting a full time job fails. But do your home work and never fall into the trap of crooked and cunning consultants whose sole aim is to suck your money and blood. 
So if you decide even in this economy I am going to graduate and search for jobs what should you do? At least 3 months before your graduation make job search your full time job. At least spend 30 to 40 hours every week in job search. Get professional help in writing the resume so that your resume comes up when companies search resume with key words in your field of study. Just applying online or uploading the resume to the job sites is not going to serve any purpose. Talk to as many potential employers as possible. When you call them they may tell you that they don’t have an opening and call them back in 1 month. Exactly after a month give them a call back. Always remember one thing – during recession it is true that hundreds of jobs are being lost but even during that time somewhere some company may be hiring one person and that can be you. Bottom line is, never lose hope. 
Not getting a job in this market is not due to your inability or ill luck but due to the global phenomenon called economic recession. If you understand this and move forward confidently you will surely find light at the end of the tunnel.
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66 Comments:

Blogger BJM said...

This is good.....Really good information....
Well thought and well written....

November 16, 2008 6:26 PM  
Blogger Prashant said...

Another great article. Thanks!

It is really important for anyone on H1b to plan on taking the steps you've mentioned and prepare for any eventuality. It goes without saying that anyone with a job needs to do everything possible to keep it. Show up on time, be very particular about talking up your achievements and make yourself indispensable!

Although you are technically supposed to leave if you are laid off, I know of several cases where my friends were able to find alternative jobs and have the visa transferred (in 1-2 months). The best thing you can do is negotiate for a notice of 3-4 weeks, even though the standard is 2 weeks.

And finally, have a nice cash cushion of at least 6-9 months of living expenses, as that will let you handle any eventuality.

November 18, 2008 3:34 AM  
Blogger Mani said...

It is well thought out, complete and honestly written! I graduated in a very similar time too. It was the summer of 2003. It was a very tough time and things were looking very bleak. I was undergoing all sorts of pressure whatever the author has pointed out in the article. It was a long and uncertain journey of eight long months.

I finally got a job by feb 2004. The company I got into was neither through monster nor through networking. It is one of the companies which had come down to job fair at the campus and were for looking for graduates with a background that is totally different from mine. I had still noted down the company name and visited their website. As i was browsing their jobs section, I found a job profile closely matching mine and applied for the job. That is how I got my first job after eight months into OPT.

My struggle had not got over yet. My company applied for my H1B in the very first week itself of my joining the company. But unfortunately the H1B quota for that year had already got over! I was thrown into a situation of returning to India after only three months of job in US after so much struggle. But my company liked me and wanted to retain me and came up with a very unusual plan.

They said they 'd apply for H1b in the next year quota which 'd start by october 2004 and 'd give me sabbatical for three and half months gap between the time my OPT ends and the time my H1B visa starts! There is only one reason to share this piece of personal information in this public forum:

it is to tell you NEVER LOSE HOPE; EXHAUST ALL THE POSSIBLE WAYS; KEEP WORKING ON IT; YOU WILL BE THERE!

November 18, 2008 6:01 AM  
Blogger Karthikeyan said...

With or without the recession, there are more international students coming in than there are H1s available. So, there would be people who would be left out, even if they get a job. Its something students who come in should keep in mind too. Yesterday Times of India said more than 94K students from India made it out here for higher studies. With just 65K H1s available (and not every one of those is open to all - there are subquotas), its not going to be easy for not just students graduating now, but those who plan to hang in there at school for one or two more sems.

November 19, 2008 6:26 PM  
Blogger Prashant said...

Yes, the odds are definitely getting trickier. With the job market slow, the ones that might benefit appear to be the students who might decide to join consultants straight away, as there will still be a huge number of visa applications from the usual players - WIPRO, Infy, Cognizant, etc and getting in your application early is vital.

But remember, for doing that, you must have an employer petition for you.

A backup plan that I have seen other students use is perhaps to start working on CPT (not OPT) while one is enrolled, if the university allows it. This gives about 6-9 months of extra work time, before the 1 year of OPT kicks in. At this point (if you still have the same job) one can file for OPT extension as per the new laws (with same company) and file H1b concurrently.

November 19, 2008 7:21 PM  
Anonymous sagar said...

Yes...
it is really a good post...
But can anyone tell me that, is it advisable to apply for MS now???
I got my GRE score as 1380 and i am planning to apply for fall 2009.
please suggest me asap.

November 24, 2008 6:46 AM  
Blogger Prashant said...

Hey Sagar, you are in the best position to know if it is advisable for you.

If it fits in with your long term goals, then an MS is always good. Where do you eventually want to work and settle down?

Remember, unlike others off to do their full-time MBA's right now, and thus spending upwards of $25000 a year, an MS will cost you only half as much (generally). Furthermore, you have a good chance of getting funded for perhaps a year, even in a recession. Hiring remains decent in the tech sector.

If you plan to work in the US market, it is getting difficult now, but who knows what the market and legislation has in store over the next few years?

The one thing I would say is that please consider your schools carefully and try to go to the best school you can get admitted at, as it does make things much easier for that first job. Some exceptions might be good universities that in very big markets (which helps in local employment), which may make sense over a slightly higher ranked university.

I personally feel this is a bad time to spend a lot of money to do a full-time MBA, but an MS (in engineering, I presume?) still makes sense to me.

November 24, 2008 11:37 AM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

Sagar,
To add to what Prashant wrote, by the time you finish you MS the US economy should be up and running well. If you dont get admit to a good school with lot of funding you may end up with no funding as funding/schlorships will also be limited during the time of recession.

November 24, 2008 7:23 PM  
Anonymous Sagar said...

Thanks a lot guys.

I am an electronics and telecommunication engineer.
and Now planning to do my masters in networking.
Is it a good plan to do MS in US and return to INDIA after working there for 2-3 yrs(only till I repay the loan).
I am from mumbai, so I think there will be many oportunities here also.

November 25, 2008 9:20 AM  
Blogger Ad said...

Thank you Brijesh for a very insightful post. You made it very to the point and helpful. Thanks again

November 28, 2008 8:45 AM  
Blogger Rajesh Sampath Kumar said...

this is a really good post.
I have a question.I'm planning to do MS in MIS.Does anyone have any idea about the job opportunities after graduation in MIS.I heard the market is good only in core IT courses like MS in CS.Please advise.Am planning to write my GRE soon.

December 18, 2008 5:08 AM  
Blogger Rajesh Sampath Kumar said...

this is a really good post.
I have a question.I'm planning to do MS in MIS.Does anyone have any idea about the job opportunities after graduation in MIS.I heard the market is good only in core IT courses like MS in CS.Please advise.Am planning to write my GRE soon.

December 18, 2008 5:08 AM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

Rajesh Sampath Kumar
This recession should be over by the time you complete yours Masters. If the recession last that long none of us will have any job. When the economy is good all streams of CS have lot of opportunities.

December 18, 2008 5:38 AM  
Blogger vrushty said...

sir,
I m an physical therapist. I got I-20 from Texas for summer intake.Should i accept it in this period of recession?

February 14, 2009 1:23 PM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

vrushty,
I am sorry I have no idea about the market for physical therapy.

February 14, 2009 6:39 PM  
Blogger Surya said...

whosoeva writing this blog...there are lots of strings attached with the OPT/H1/Graceperiod and Quota...which you completely ignored..plz dont misguide people who fallow this...

February 15, 2009 5:11 AM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

Surya,
Can you tell me where/what I am misguiding in this post?

February 15, 2009 6:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey i came here in fall08 for mscs, can anyone plz tel me wen shud i graduate in august 2010 or dec 2010

February 16, 2009 6:11 AM  
Blogger Prashant said...

Depends on circumstances. Ideally, you want to be working for a living, not studying, right? So if things pick up, you'd want to be ready to graduate and hit the ground running.

It makes sense to keep your options open for as long as possible, and watch things closely. People are still being hired (no matter how bad things might seem). We laid off a biomedical engineer but he was hired within 1-month elsewhere.

2010 August is over a year away, so you can wait and watch. Meanwhile, it would be ideal to get some sort of internship through CPT if possible. Experience trumps degree in these times, and more experience equals better employability.

February 16, 2009 6:17 AM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

Anon @ 11.11PM
I don't think you need to panic. You have long ways to go before you graduate. Even if you are graduating in 2010 you have more than 18 months from now. So many things can happen in 18 months. I don't believe the recession will extend till middle of 2010. If it extends till that time things will be so bad that graduating in August or December doesn't make any difference. I think either you graduate in August or December of 2010 you will be entering into a market coming up after a recession. Good luck with your studies.

February 16, 2009 6:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AKSHAY : HEYYY HI everybody...i have a question hope somebody answers it with clarity.....how should a student plan his job, H1 documentation and all the normal stuff to change the status....WHEN HE GRADUATES IN FALL...AND WHAT WHEN HE GRADUATES IN SPRING...GIVE EXAMPLES AND EXPLAIN....thank you

February 16, 2009 6:37 AM  
Blogger Prashant said...

Hey Akshay, everybody's situation is different and so it is hard to generalize.

I can say this from my personal experience, graduating in Spring seemed somewhat preferable to me. You get enough time (from Jan to say May, if quotas don't end) to find an employer who will file your H1-b work permit application. I know they do have an OPT extension clause now for STEM degrees, but it requires certain things from the employer and is not as simple as it originally seemed.

By graduating in Spring you get some time to find the employer of choice while on OPT. You would then, if all goes well, change to H1B status as late as possible (maximum 6 months from date of filing application on request) so you utilize your OPT as much as possible. This is beneficial as you don't begin the clock on your H1b earlier, but a lot of times you may have no say as the company attorney does what is convenient for the company.

This doesn't take into account the Desi consultant route, which often skirts the law, and I have no idea how that system really works and whether it will survive the upcoming scrutiny due to the rather expected "protectionism" from the US govt.

February 16, 2009 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks prashant and brijesh
actually i have assistantship from my skool, and the assistantship rules require me to take 2 subjects in this summer(they require me to maintain full time student status), thus i wil be able to contine wid my assistantship. i cant look for a cpt, coz if i luk for one , i will loose my assistantship.my assistantship is a full tution waiver+ monthly stipend, i knw experience(cpt experience) counts, but right now money is a big issue for me, i wont be able to pay fee from my pocket, so i require assistantship to continue.
so my question is, if i take 2 subjects in dis summer 09, which my assistantship rules say. i will be left wid 12th subject or d remaining 1 subject for summer 2010. depending on the market i wish to graduate in summer 2010 or fall2010(dec2010), but right now some new rule has been introduced by our universities, dey are throwin out people who hv completed 12 ccourses(36 credits) , not allowing them to extend der MS. so can d uni force me to take my 1 remaining(12th subject)in summer 2010, instead of fall2010, can dey introduce such a rule, dat forces me to take my remaining 1 subject in summer2010 rather than fall 2010.
and the 2 nd question is , i think it will not be wise for me to look for a cpt nd throw away my assistantship, wat are your thoughts on this?
thnks for replying to my previous post.

February 16, 2009 5:56 PM  
Blogger Prashant said...

Obviously, an assistantship is valuable, and so it's not worth throwing that away. An internship is very valuable too, mind you.

But clearly, as per your own statement, you need the assistantship.

What university are you at? They can introduce whatever rule they want. Back in 2003-2004 in many universities around the country they created rules requiring anyone who had completed their coursework to file for graduation. Of course, there are several ways around the rules. For instance if you need to take an exam to graduate, find out if you could "not pass" and prepare to take the exam again.

Or explore if you can take up Research Credits (that's what I did, and you can register for as many credits of Research and it's paid for by your assistantship). However, you'd need to be in the "thesis" track to do that.

I understand that this does make it harder for other students, as they would benefit from assistantship dollars when you graduated. Clearly, some students will be very unfortunate and lose out. All I can say is hang in there, and the economy will recover in due time.

February 16, 2009 6:36 PM  
Blogger Prashant said...

And all said and done, look at the bright side. Even if you were forced to graduate by your university, you'd have done so with little or no debt, thanks to your assistantship. You'd have earned a good degree from a good university, and there are ALWAYS opportunities for people with skills. One of my buddies got laid off recently, and found a better job with higher pay and benefits within a month!

I know another friend who called me today asking if I knew anyone with skills and experience in Java since they were hiring. Opportunities exist, but they are scarce and one must prepare to find them. You can't just wait for something to fall in your lap.

My advice would be to broaden your network, meet as many people as you can, attend as many workshops as you can and most importantly, figure out how you can become valuable to someone. Think about it this way - the moment you can make someone money, you have yourself a job!

February 16, 2009 6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am at university of houston maincampus

February 16, 2009 9:42 PM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

Prashant
Thanks for replying.
Anon
I think Prashant gave you a very good reply. I could have given you the same advice.

One more thing to add - the new rule you are talking about -schools asking those who completed 12 courses to graduate - it is not a new rule. It is an existing rule. Only during recession you will come to know about that rule. Usually students get job before they complete their MS and go out. So now students will try to postpone their graduation and hence the universities are forced to enforce the rule that is there for a long time. It was there in 2002 and many students were forced to graduate because of this rule. As Prashant told there are ways to beat this like failing in the comprehensive exam etc.

February 16, 2009 11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wat r d bst ways to find jobs , interns, if u know online links plz mention all nd plz let me knw all means to search for job and intern , dat u must be knowin coz of ur valuable experience.
actually we dnt have ny comprehensive exams, but will have to find ways to beat d law, actually life here is tough study , earn , cook nd dan find ways to beat d laws, nywaz guys u were of gr8 help.
thnks for participatin in d discussion nd givin valuable feedback.

February 17, 2009 4:19 AM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

Anon
“wat r d bst ways to find jobs”

The best way is networking. Talk to you seniors, friends who already have a job and that are how I have seen majority getting a job.

actually life “here” is tough study , earn , cook

not only “here” everywhere life as a student is tough. Even when there is no recession life as a student is very tough. Take this as a passing phase in life.

February 17, 2009 5:19 AM  
Blogger ashesh said...

hi all,

This is ashesh. I am from Hyderabad. Till date, this is the best article I have ever read. You people are so helpful. These suggestions are clearing most of the doubts that people have, who are facing recession for the first time and those who are especially have no idea of what is going on.
Thanks for the information. and keep posting.


I applied for Fall 2009. I got admits from 2 universities (Utah state university, University of texas, Dallas). I got a reject from University of Florida, Gainsville. I am still waiting for replies from - North carolina state university, State university of new york - University at buffalo, University of Houston - main campus.

Myself and most of my friends who applied at the same time are in a state of dilemma at this moment.


There are many factors ------

1) RECESSION - donno when the damn thing ends and donno how students are affected by it.

2) Our seniors and cousins who are in US went there with a hope of an assistanceship or fee waiver or an internship or a part time job etc.
You can do some work there to earn a living, for food etc. All you need to do is concentrate on your studies. This is the opinion we had till now.

Now the situation has changed. I agree this is the best time of pursuing higher studies. But we are not sure if we will get any fee waiver even from the second semester....or an assistanceship...or a part-time job.. Moreover, our parents are a direct victims of recession too. They are also a bit hesitating to send their children abroad.

Most of us have already applied for fall 2009 and just waiting for reply from universities. We are almost at the end of deciding which university is the better one to go and what to take to US etc.....

But suddenly .............

Now almost 90% who have applied are like searching for an alternative if they stayed back in India.......

Last but not the least......

Parents are almost willing to send us to US if we are so much willing to pursue MS..
However, Parents are also equally worried about the security for students in the present situation...
Indians , in general I can say many Asians (most of them from Andhra Pradesh), have been killed in the past 5 to 6 months.

So, a lot of advices, opinions and etc pouring on to students like me who are graduating in this year
and hence a lot confused.


Well a lot of stuff written till now.......

I just want to know what is your opinion about it.....

February 24, 2009 5:44 PM  
Blogger Prashant said...

Hmm, you don't seem to be asking any specific question.

Obviously, this is the classic example of situation where one has to do a cost-benefit or risk-reward based analysis. You do have time on your side as you're looking at graduation some 28-30 months from now.

But you alone can decide whether giving up what you have in an attempt to achieve more is worth it or not!

Don't forget, the recession would be affecting folks in India just as much as people here.

It is always important to carefully think about your university if they do not offer you funding, especially as I personally think neither Utah State nor U.T. Dallas are great choices (i'm just presuming that you're going for grad school in engineering). Doesn't mean that they are bad schools, but in bad times you'd want to have every advantage you can get. If they offer you assistantship then it would change the whole picture, especially since you do have time on your side.

February 24, 2009 9:46 PM  
Blogger Prashant said...

Also, the whole question of whether grad school (in the U.S.) is a good idea or not is a complex issue, as there are several things that need to be factored in. What are you giving up? What is your financial position? What are your long-term goals? What do you really want to do in the next 5-10 years? Where do you want to live and work in the long term?

Traditionally, during recessions many people to go back to school as they're directly affected by the downturn. School shelters you from the real-world effects to some extent. You'll see more competition for ordinary schools, and good schools will be tough to get into.

But if grad school is generally aligned with your long term goals, it makes sense to plan for that (locate the best schools that meet your budget, secure financing, plan for all eventualities, etc.)

Talk to as many people who've gone to grad school abroad as you can about this. They will all give you useful feedback.

Personally, I would not quit my job to go to an ordinary school if they didn't provide funding. A great school changes the picture, and I'd consider getting a loan to go to a top 15 school in the U.S.

But in the end, one has to take some risk either way. After all, there is an opportunity cost to not doing anything, right?

February 24, 2009 10:13 PM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

Ashesh,
I think Prashant has replied to all your queries. There is no simple answer to these questions. Even if there is no recession and you come here to do your Masters you may not get a scholarship or funding. “Luck” also plays a big role in this. During the normal times say eight out of ten may get some kind of assistantship but during the time of recession may be two out of ten may get scholarship. No one can tell now if you will be one of those two students.

February 25, 2009 4:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been on OPT for 6 months. I joined a consultant who trained me but will not sponsor my visa anymore.Infact none of the consultants I contacted are willing to do it. Apparently they do not want to take a risk considering the current scrutiny of applications. I never had funding,my campus job was the only source of money . I have to pay compound interest for my loan, I cant stay here anymore and I will go back to India with a 15 lakh loan to repay.
The honest truth is , funding is ever harder to get, there are too many Indian students, and there are too few jobs, bring in H1B and lets just say you might end up playing lottery with your career. In my case its a 15 lakh lottery ticket on which I won a trip back to India.

February 25, 2009 6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been on OPT for 6 months. I joined a consultant who trained me but will not sponsor my visa anymore.Infact none of the consultants I contacted are willing to do it. Apparently they do not want to take a risk considering the current scrutiny of applications. I never had funding,my campus job was the only source of money . I have to pay compound interest for my loan, I cant stay here anymore and I will go back to India with a 15 lakh loan to repay.
The honest truth is , funding is ever harder to get, there are too many Indian students, and there are too few jobs, bring in H1B and lets just say you might end up playing lottery with your career. In my case its a 15 lakh lottery ticket on which I won a trip back to India.

February 25, 2009 6:22 PM  
Blogger ashesh said...

I am from the Computer Science department. (Acads - 73%, GRE - 1240, TOEFL - 101, internship)

I don't think I would get an admit from a great school with the above figures.

Regarding financial position, my father is ready to take a loan for my graduate studies (If I go to US).

The most important point. I am very much interested in pursuing graduate studies in US. I am not interested in working there. If I go to US, I am returning after I complete my graduate studies.

February 26, 2009 6:48 PM  
Blogger Prashant said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 26, 2009 7:12 PM  
Blogger Prashant said...

Hmm, Ashesh please think it through carefully. I don't know how the Indian job market is for U.S. returned engineers, and perhaps the pay/benefits are worthwhile provided the U.S. grad degree will get you a job.

I am not sold on the idea of going to a mid-tier grad school in the US, racking up loans to pay for it, and then return to find a job in the Indian job market. Unless you find immense joy in learning, my personal opinion is that the main purpose of education is to allow you to find a suitable job with an income that is acceptable for you. So it is only a means to an end.

I'm sorry, but your strategy doesn't sound like a reasonably hedged strategy to me. Perhaps others might think otherwise, but I am skeptical of the probability of success of your strategy.

How well off are you, financially speaking? Can you afford to rack up, say $20K in loans at 10% and then after living here for 2-3 years, work in India for some $1K a month (just a wild guess, I have no clue how the job market in India is)?

February 26, 2009 7:13 PM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

ashesh,
I fully agree with Prashant. If you take some kind of loan from India to study in US it is very tough to pay it off with the salary you get in India. You should be working in US for few years at least to pay the loan. That is how I will do it.

February 27, 2009 4:20 PM  
Blogger ashesh said...

hey guys......thanks for the information.....i completely agree with you guys...


Me and my family members have an opinion that a masters degree in US is very good. Also me and my parents are interested in me being in India.

So, as said by prashant and others, 'going to US to do masters in a normal university and coming back to India and taking a loan to do all this' sounds a bit stupid.

So whats the final suggestion you guys can give?

What I came to know from all this discussion is - Stay in India.

February 28, 2009 10:30 AM  
Blogger divya said...

hi everyone.this is a great article...
i hv applied for fall 2009 and as of now i hv 4 admits...
SDSU,CSU,NJIT,UIC...
lookin at all these issues like H1b's, recession, no jobs...
its really very scary to take a decision...

i desperately want to do MS....i never thought of neother options at all...very determined towards it...
but i feelin sick now...i am very afraid to take a decision...
pls can neone tell me is it worth and safe goin now...i.e. fall 2009...
thankyou..

March 01, 2009 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Himanshu said...

Hey fellas!

Just came here through a web search and I've been mighty impressed with the work y'all have done here! keep it up!

I do have a question for you guys though...although it seems there's not a whole lot of options for me, but any help is good, right?

So here's my story

I completed my undergrad in Info. Systems & Decision Sciences (similar to Management of Info. Systems) from Louisiana State University (LSU) in Dec 2008 (yeah not the best time to graduate but oh well) and started working with one of the Big Four auditing/accounting firms starting Jan in NY (which is where I am right now)

I did what was asked of me to the best of my abilities but unfortunately it wasn't enough. I got terminated in early Feb thanks to the economic crisis that we all are currently facing.

Now my problem in the fact that I'm not really sure what my options are at this point...

I have (and still am) on the lookout for any potential openings but the search has been futile for the most part - its already hard to find jobs as it is...but the fact that I am a new graduate means my chances of finding another job are even slimmer.

Furthermore, being on OPT means there's very little time that I have left as April is fast approaching and I would miss the H1-B quota then (I doubt the 65k openings will last for much time)

Now I've been seriously contemplating what I can do at this point and have pretty much short-listed the following options

1) I should look an MBA from pretty much anywhere in the world (unlike many other people, I am not picky about being in the States)...but from my research till now...it seems that won't work for most uni's until I have atleast a few years experience and/or given the GMAT (and got a fairly high schore)...considering that the deadlines are rapidly approaching, I simply do not have enough time to study for and to give the GMAT.

The only exception I have found to the above is some uni's in Australia that are willing to hire without experience if your other activities such as sports, leadership experiences, etc are "strong" (which I'd say mine are)

2) I can look into doing a Master's...it seems this might be the most suitable option but there's two big factors hindering me from following this

a) Unlike most desi's (generally speaking), my background is "not" engineering as my degree is more managerial than technical (although it involved both). As such, I don't really see much meaning in following a Master's program (I don't intend to change career paths either as I'm happy with my current degree/path)

b)From what I've been told, the whole point of Master's is if you want to specialize in any particular field - which I don't really want to. I mean, my first interest is definitely towards Business Management and/or Entrepreneurship and so, doing a specialized Master's isn't really much help

3) I can simply go back and try looking for jobs there - In truth though, as we all know, finding jobs there isn't any easier than here either and so I don't really see much meaning in following this direction (even though, to be honest, this is where things seem to be heading as I'm nearing my 3 months of unemployment on OPT - after which I have to leave the States anyways)

So yeah...this is my present scenario...its pretty much as bad as it gets (Only thing worse I can imagine is the same scenario but on H1-B...then you have only 2 weeks to find a job!)

Any suggestions, ideas, recommendations, advice, etc?

Much appreciated!

March 05, 2009 4:06 AM  
Blogger Prashant said...

Hey Himanshu,

That is indeed a tough break, and I do hope you are somehow able to pull through. What position were you working in? I had a friend at KPMG but she was laid off too. She did find a job somewhere (but she's a citizen).

My thoughts on you doing the MBA now:

1) It would be an incredibly poor use of money/time/resources and it would not benefit you much at this point so early in your career.

2) In fact, doing your MBA from an institution that doesn't require a widely standardized test score (GMAT, etc) more or less guarantees that you would have wasted your time and effort on something that will not be perceived as valuable in the market.

3) You would graduate in two years with a degree that has not only become very common, but you would be competing with people who'd have MBA's AND lots of experience.

Seriously, please save the MBA for a later time, after you've racked on some solid work experience and had the chance to prepare for and write the GMAT, craft some good essays and figured out your financing for the MBA (well north of $50K for good universities).

So forget that "quick" MBA option. Now, on to your other options.

- Keep searching: This is not as bad an idea as you think it may be at first sight. I know it is tough and it gets depressing to not get any calls after sending out hundreds of applications. But don't give up merely based on the time factor. From what I've heard, the H1b might actually last longer this time around. Consulting companies are being closely watched, not too many tech jobs available right now, which means H1b demand by IT firms might be lower, and so we may be back to 2005 or 2006 levels - hopefully!?

- Going back to India is not a bad idea in the long run if other options don't seem reasonable. India seems to be a little shielded due to the fact that it is not completely export-dependent such as east Asia. See if you can get anyone from the Indian affiliate accounting firms to talk to you. You'd be more valuable to them than some regular Indian graduate. I know it is not an attractive option if you have a lot of student loans, but to me the Indian economy looks quite strong compared to the EU, American and East Asian economies.

- I can't comment on M.S. as I'm not sure what could be beneficial for someone in your position. Perhaps an M.S. in Information Technology Management and Accounting? There has got to be something decent, and agreeable to you, which also won't break the bank?

March 05, 2009 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Himanshu said...

Hey Prashant,

Truly appreciate the response!

I was working as a staff assistant in the Internal Audit Department with Ernst & Young. I got culled in about 3 weeks of working with no "real" reason given (they had tons of excuses sure...but we all know the real reason)

As for the MBA idea...I agree with you that its not a very feasible option. In fact, my original plans were indeed to gain at least 2-5 years before moving on to an MBA.

Having said that, I'm not really sure what my other alternatives are either. I mean lemme give you a better run-down of what exactly I can do at this point

1) I can continue searching for jobs as you suggested (which is what I intend to do at least until April - when the H1B opens up and my chances of getting a work visa are pretty much gone)

The only real problem there is that I can only stay in the States for 100 days of unemployment...considering its been around a month already, that leaves me with around 2 more months - however, I only really plan to stay here for maximum of around mid-April as I doubt I'll find anything after that (or that the H1-B positions will be available)

2) I can enroll into some university again and do a Master's program (would probably be something alone the lines of Master's of Info. Systems)...unfortunately, even this idea seems extremely tricky...here's why

First of all, the Info. Systems course isn't offered by a lot of universities and even those do, would most likely (I haven't done this research yet) require GRE. Now since I have no prior experience with GRE, I'm assuming it would take me at least a couple months to prepare for the course - well in those couple months, I would easily end up missing the deadlines for the Fall semester...and would again as a result end up having to go back to India as my 3 months of unemployment would be well up by then

3) Indeed going back to India isn't a bad option as I personally feel that the likelihood of getting a job back there is well higher than finding anything here...however, there's a few hiccups with that for me (as is always the case lol)

My family actually lives in Thailand (dad works there) so I'll be pretty much by myself in India (with relatives at best). Sadly, I can't even go back to Thailand any longer as Thai government only allows children to stay on their parent's work visa until they are 21 (and to my luck, I turned 21 6 months back!)

The bigger problem however is the fact I have no prior experience with India as most of my senior high-schooling was from Thailand (an International school) while my Bachelor's of course is from the States...all this diverse experience might actually be a good thing abroad...but I sincerely doubt that the Indian employers will see me in the same light (although I am an Indian citizen but I doubt that matters here)

The only bright thing in all of this is the fact that I have absolutely zero loans as I was offered 75% scholarship for Bachelor's (yeah its a rare case) and my parents were able to afford the rest of the costs.

I don't really fancy taking high-end debts as that's a bit of a gamble...and as you can probably tell by now, my luck isn't something I hold in very high esteem lol

Even 4 years back when I was in a somewhat similar dilemma (looking for uni's that offered scholarships) I had to decline some really high-end universities (such as Imperial College, London - the third best uni in UK after Oxford and Cambridge) as the fees were well beyond what I would imagine paying...admittedly, it may not have been the best decision in hindsight...but I do feel had I taken the decision to go there and then been in the same situation as now, I would've regretted that decision definitely...so yeah in that sense, it was a good decision

Anyways I just realized how much I've been rambling so I'll shut my mouth here lol

Thanks again for all the advice and please do let me know if you have any particular suggestions as to what a suitable option would be for me in these given circumstances...

Cheers!

March 05, 2009 4:18 PM  
Blogger Prashant said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 06, 2009 4:49 PM  
Blogger Prashant said...

That is quite a bit of international experience there, and I can now understand your apprehension about going back to India. I grew up all over the place as well, and lived in Manila, the Philippines for five years before moving to South Africa, and then moving here. I have traveled infrequently to India in between, and from talking to a lot of people there my take is that international experience is always preferred, especially in the IT and the Finance/Business sectors. Of course, it's probably not going to be easy if you don't have a network of friends and family that you can plug right into. I personally would feel very uncomfortable about moving back. My parents live abroad as well, and so I totally understand where you're coming from. Also, I am aware of the difficulties of getting a work permit in Thailand.

I don't know what to say to you, Himanshu, except that don't beat yourself up about something you can't really control. Looking at the bright side, you graduated with no debt, got some great education, and I think that was a great decision. I know people from UCLA (Anderson) and Berkley that owe over 40K-50K and don't have much chance of getting a job right now. So, it's clearly a crap-shoot and, although it's a cliché, it could be worse.

Today's unemployment numbers tell me that things are clearly deteriorating and I expect things to get worse before they get better.

You must just prepare yourself and figure out how and where you want to wait out the recession. Things will get better, no doubt. Even though it may seem hard right now, you must stick to your long term plan, as it seems like a really good one.

I was not aware of the 100-day unemployment rule on OPT. That must be something new, but you may wish to verify that by talking directly with someone at the USCIS and explaining your situation.

Don't worry too much about the GRE, you'd find the math straightforward since it isn't much different from your SAT level math (really!) and as you've grown up going to ISB, you'd do fine on the verbal too. Give yourself 10-days of preparation and take the sample tests. Of course, if you find out from USCIS that you do have more time, you might wish to take more time.

March 06, 2009 4:50 PM  
Blogger kool-till-the-end said...

Himanshu here - just using my blogger profile now

Thanks for the reply mate!

Yeah I've traveled quite a bit considering I'm just 21. I guess that'll hopefully help me in the long run.

I do have somewhat of a network in India through my relatives and some friends I studied with in the past but most of my friends are entry level candidates themselves so not much help there. As for the relatives, well they are doing all they can but in the given circumstances, I can't expect them to help me much (its always a bonus if they do find something though!)

Its actually 90 days of unemployment afaik with 10 days between jobs (and since I had a job those 10 days add up)...I'll def. contact USCIS and see if something like that does affect my status but quite frankly, without a job I can't afford to stay here for much longer anyways...besides if i don't find something in 100 days, the chances of me getting something later are even less I'd say (although who knows when the economy might start recovering)

As for the GRE, even if it isn't very difficult...unfortunately, time is against me at this point. Deadlines have already passed for numerous uni's and even the ones where I can still apply...the deadline is in approximately 1-2 months max. As a result, I have like absolutely no time to study for the exam and even less to take the exam + submit the official scores to the uni's.

I took some GMAT trial questions the other day and I got about half right straight off the bat so indeed they aren't that hard (I'm guessing GRE is easier than GMAT) but since I do not have enough time to take the exam again if I mess up, (not to mention, its expensive!) I don't really want to take chances in the matter.

Having said this, it does seem that I'm pretty much out of options at this point so I'll just have to follow whichever route seems most realistic. I don't really want to go to India at this point (I love the country but with my qualifications even finding something there would be very difficult - not to mention, most certainly lower paid than here) so I'm trying to focus on options that I can pursue here but the options seem to get slimmer and slimmer by the day

Thanks for all the help! Its definitely good to gather all the advice I potentially can especially from people more experienced than me.

March 07, 2009 2:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear All,
I have completed my graduation(B.Tech) in 2008. I have selected in Wipro in campus interview.
I want to do M.S. Is it better to do M.S or to go to wipro. My desire is to do M.S. Hey anyone can please suggest me.

March 13, 2009 1:05 PM  
Blogger kool-till-the-end said...

Dear All,
I have completed my graduation(B.Tech) in 2008. I have selected in Wipro in campus interview.
I want to do M.S. Is it better to do M.S or to go to wipro. My desire is to do M.S. Hey anyone can please suggest me.

Hi there!

Well all I can suggest to you is that you should think carefully about what your interests are...finding another job in this economy might be extremely difficult and as such, you should think again about declining an opportunity with one of India's leading firms.

However, if you truly feel that doing a Master's is more important now than some time in the future, then indeed you should decline Wipro's offer.

So yeah, think about the pro's and con's involved with both decisions before you take a further step.

Also remember this...Master's you might be able to do in the future...but there's no assurance of the job offer in the near future.

Cheers!

p.s. I forgot to add...if you are thinking of doing a MS from US then I would def. suggest going to Wipro as you will have an extremely tough time finding a job here right now - for more info. just read the few posts above yours...they all say the same thing (although they are about me)

March 14, 2009 3:43 AM  
Blogger abhishek said...

Hello everyone,
well I have a question.I want to pursue my Phd in cs in usa?I am a btech in cse in 2007.After that I worked in a development company for 1.5 yrs.II need some suggestions can you tell me
Is it better to do my mtech in India and then apply for phd in usa or do ms+phd in usa??I am really comfused over this issue.

April 16, 2009 6:03 PM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

abhishek
Doing a MS and Phd here in US is a btter option than doing MTech in India and coming for PhD.

April 17, 2009 12:26 AM  
Blogger abhishek said...

Thanks Sir.
Well I have one question..I have some 75% in Btech which is not much .Seeing the case of fall 2009 applicants ,I am worried.Student with 80% are being rejected this fall,even with descent gre and toefl.can you say something about it.Most Ms students are not getting aid this fall,compared to ones in fall 2008.Sir, it would very nice if you kindly say something about this mater.

April 18, 2009 11:37 AM  
Blogger Prashant said...

Well, competition has obviously increased for existing seats, and so in a simple case of demand-supply, only the students with better grades, more money (because there is low chance of getting funded) and better connections/impressive networking skills who will get in.

There is very little chance of getting aid if you didn't score really well in the GRE. Average scores wont help. And even then, it is unlikely that an international student will get aid.

Think about it this way - the university is only going to offer you aid if they DESPERATELY WANT you to attend their university. What do you have to offer to them that others dont, that will make them desperately want to give you admission and not just admission, but financial incentive to go there as well???

April 19, 2009 2:05 AM  
Blogger Anush Prabhu said...

HI,
This is really a good blog. Thanks for all.
Coming to my situation
I got admit from 3 univ for MS in Electrical and computer Engg(Dual degree) with no funding
1. north eastern univ
2. Illinois institute of tech
3. Southern methodist univ
As of now im working in india's top IT firm as a fresher(SE).Im confused whether to quite job for MS or continue work. My financial status is average, but my parents are willing to support me if im really interested to do MS.
My ultimate thing is to earn for my living expenses during the course and i must get placement. please help me in making decision about to go or not and which university to opt...

April 30, 2009 5:25 PM  
Blogger ashesh said...

hi all......back after a long time....

this is ashesh from hyderabad.....
almost completed my engineering from mjcet, hyderabad...writing exams at present.....

Profile: Acads - 73%, GRE - 1240, TOEFL - 101, internship at EIT, a subsidiary of Team F1, USA.

Refer previous posts of mine in this blog...

I applied for NCSU, UHMC, UFL, SUNY Buffalo, USU, UTD.

Status:

North Carolina State University - admit.

Utah State University - admit

University of Texas, Dallas - admit

University of Florida, Gainsville - reject.

University of Houston, main campus - waiting

SUNY, University at Buffalo - waiting.


No Funding whatsoever

Am I going to USA for Fall '09 - I have no idea.

My head is full of opinions, blogs, USA, INDIA and whatever you can think of.

Reason:

New opinion by HR of my internship company and a strong opinion. I strongly believe this is true.

Scene start:

I went to the company to meet HR and take the internship certificate. He is a nice guy and always asks us about future plans and gives suggestions.
That day he showed me a mail from a senior who is presently in his 2nd yr MS in US and a previous intern from his company.

Senior said:

Presently, situation is bad (hahaha....how many times I heard that line since 8 months).

When you do MS, the first yr is for studies and the second yr is for internships, assistanceships etc...i.e., 2nd yr is like a preparation for your work after graduation. Most of the students continue in the same company where they do the internship.


Now comes the actual solid point. Considering the present situation, IT industry is going to start becoming good again from the next year. So the next year, the companies will be busy reemploying the people and will have no time looking for interns.

Sooo, if a student is coming to US to do MS this yr i.e., Fall 2009..then he is not going to get any internship or industrial experience the next year and should go on continue just studying. And an MS is of very less use when you have no assistanceships and internships during your course.

If you can come the next yr, then by the time you start your 2nd year i.e., 2011, industry is good and funding is good and in the meantime from 2009 to 2010, do some job in INDIA or get prepared for the course of MS or improve ur profile by writing GRE again etc., any of the above improves ur profile and you can get a better univ. the next year.


Isnt this a good idea considering my profile.......Well, the problem is that I am not placed in any company but I still find this a good idea...


Please comment. Please reply.

May 03, 2009 10:31 AM  
Blogger ashesh said...

hi all......back after a long time....

this is ashesh from hyderabad.....
almost completed my engineering from mjcet, hyderabad...writing exams at present.....

Profile: Acads - 73%, GRE - 1240, TOEFL - 101, internship at EIT, a subsidiary of Team F1, USA.

Refer previous posts of mine in this blog...

I applied for NCSU, UHMC, UFL, SUNY Buffalo, USU, UTD.

Status:

North Carolina State University - admit.

Utah State University - admit

University of Texas, Dallas - admit

University of Florida, Gainsville - reject.

University of Houston, main campus - waiting

SUNY, University at Buffalo - waiting.


No Funding whatsoever

Am I going to USA for Fall '09 - I have no idea.

My head is full of opinions, blogs, USA, INDIA and whatever you can think of.

Reason:

New opinion by HR of my internship company and a strong opinion. I strongly believe this is true.

Scene start:

I went to the company to meet HR and take the internship certificate. He is a nice guy and always asks us about future plans and gives suggestions.
That day he showed me a mail from a senior who is presently in his 2nd yr MS in US and a previous intern from his company.

Senior said:

Presently, situation is bad (hahaha....how many times I heard that line since 8 months).

When you do MS, the first yr is for studies and the second yr is for internships, assistanceships etc...i.e., 2nd yr is like a preparation for your work after graduation. Most of the students continue in the same company where they do the internship.


Now comes the actual solid point. Considering the present situation, IT industry is going to start becoming good again from the next year. So the next year, the companies will be busy reemploying the people and will have no time looking for interns.

Sooo, if a student is coming to US to do MS this yr i.e., Fall 2009..then he is not going to get any internship or industrial experience the next year and should go on continue just studying. And an MS is of very less use when you have no assistanceships and internships during your course.

If you can come the next yr, then by the time you start your 2nd year i.e., 2011, industry is good and funding is good and in the meantime from 2009 to 2010, do some job in INDIA or get prepared for the course of MS or improve ur profile by writing GRE again etc., any of the above improves ur profile and you can get a better univ. the next year.


Isnt this a good idea considering my profile.......Well, the problem is that I am not placed in any company but I still find this a good idea...


Please comment. Please reply.

May 03, 2009 10:31 AM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

ashesh
these are all speculations. No one knows when the market will come back up. in a good market i have seen lot of students getting job even without any internship. So if you come now and when you graduate if the market is good you are going to get a good job. It is relative and no one can predict these kind of stuffs accurately.

May 05, 2009 7:39 AM  
Blogger Prashant said...

Ashesh,

1) Internships are not common, and in fact, I'd say only 25-35% of the entire masters level students get any sort of internship opportunity. Of these, international students make up an even smaller percentage as you cannot work more than 20 hours in a week during classes. At least that is my take from my experience and the experience of other students. Assistantship is a different story, and they might actually be easier to get than internships.

2) The only circumstance where you'd see better chances for internships is if you go to school in a big metropolitan area with a good job market. For example Berkley, UCLA, UNC Chapel Hill and Columbia come to mind. Getting into these top schools require excellent grades, GRE scores and you might pay a hefty tuition fee (for the first year).

3) What makes you predict so confidently that 2011 will look good, especially for IT? Maybe things get better later this year and early next year, only for another leg down in 2011. It's happened before. Go look at Japan from 1989 to 1997, it's an excellent example of a sick economy in a prolonged recession, with deflating asset prices and a stagnant job market. It can happen here too. I'm amazed that you actually wrote that!

4) Right now, if you do not have an assistantship or are not very well off, then it makes things very tricky. That is my honest opinion, and I would stick by that if I were in the same situation.

From your current choices, NC State seems reasonable as it is a decent college, good location near the research triangle and seems to have a nice engineering dept.

May 05, 2009 9:40 AM  
Blogger Prashant said...

Also, internships right now appear to be a questionable strategy or option.

Please read the following article from BusinessWeek online:

http://www.businessweek.com/careers/managementiq/archives/2009/05/intern_abuse.html

May 07, 2009 5:11 AM  
Blogger GreEnBlood said...

hi prashant...thanks for all ur replies over here..i read certain posts here and u have said that in the present economic situation, it is advisable to spend lakhs of ruppees only in colleges coming in the top 15....does that mean that good colleges that fall under 50th rank should also not be considered?

In my case i have got an admisssion in suny buffalo for MS in EE..what is ur opinion...is it really worth the risk to go to buffalo at this point of time? Or should i take the TCS offer i have at hand right now...?
please do help
im in a total mess
thankyou...

May 21, 2009 9:52 PM  
Anonymous Naresh said...

Its a great blog and has lot of good information for F1 students.
Need your suggestions....
I graduated in Aug 2008 from an decent university in Bay Area. After graduation i worked as an intern for 11 months in an MNC.I thought i will be offered full-time in the same company, but unfortunately due to bad economy they laid me off in april 2009.

Now i joined a consultant to maintain the status.I had not applied H1B this year, hoping for OPT extension. If i get a full time BEFORE OCt 2009 i will apply for H1b.

My Confusion....
I want to get full-time. I don't like to work as contractor. But, i am not sure when i will be getting full time. I am still applying and trying my luck.

If i get a full time job with an e-verified company than all my problems are solved.I want to know if anyone has faced same kind of situation and like to know their options. Any suggestions is appreciated.

May 24, 2009 10:46 AM  
Anonymous naresh said...

GreEnBlood said...
hi prashant...thanks for all ur replies over here..i read certain posts here and u have said that in the present economic situation, it is advisable to spend lakhs of ruppees only in colleges coming in the top 15....does that mean that good colleges that fall under 50th rank should also not be considered?

In my case i have got an admisssion in suny buffalo for MS in EE..what is ur opinion...is it really worth the risk to go to buffalo at this point of time? Or should i take the TCS offer i have at hand right now...?
please do help
im in a total mess
thankyou...


My suggestion:
Please join TCS. AFTER WORKING FOR COUPLE OF YEARS YOU CAN COME TO USA FOR YOUR MASTERS. By doing so, you will easily find job in USA after finishing masters. Masters+experience you will land in good company.

May 24, 2009 10:53 AM  
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May 24, 2009 7:53 PM  
Anonymous naresh said...

Just edited my previous comment, to be specific...
Its a great blog and has lot of good information for F1 students.
Need your suggestions....
I graduated in Aug 2008 from an decent university in Bay Area. After graduation i worked as an intern for 11 months in an MNC.I thought i will be offered full-time in the same company, but unfortunately due to bad economy they laid me off in april 2009.

Now i joined a consultant to maintain the status.I had not applied H1B this year, hoping for OPT extension. If i get a full time BEFORE OCt 2009 i will apply for H1b.

My Confusion....(I have this options in my hand please suggest me the good one)

Note: I want to be in US and earn money to payback my loans. Up to now i earned some money through my internships which are helping me in this tough days.

1) Be with the consultant and try for contracting job BTW try for full-time. If got a full time go for it or if got contract go for it.(Having legs on both boats)

2) Concentrate more on contracting and be with the consultant until you get H1b.

3) No contracting, try for full time....(What is my chances of getting full time? My profile

Masters degree+done internships in two companies+java certifications)

Please i want your suggestions.. Your experience in handling this kind of situation will help me.

May 24, 2009 8:37 PM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

Naresh,

Sorry for being late..

1 -Be with the consultant and try for contracting job BTW try for full-time. If got a full time go for it or if got contract go for it.(Having legs on both boats)

Try for a full time job. These days a job with a consultant is not a good option. I hope you know the fact that being with the consultant just to maintain status without a actual job in H1B visa is against US law.

2) Concentrate more on contracting and be with the consultant until you get H1b.
Try getting a full time job now itself and if you get one apply H1B through a full time employer. Don't just concentrate on contracting.

You never know what will happen tomorrow. You need just one job and if you try hard you may have find that one even during recession.

Best of luck.

May 30, 2009 8:27 AM  
Anonymous Ravi said...

Great post! Hi all, I am Ravi Kumar graduating this dec 2009 with MS in chemical engg. I wanted to move to houston for job search but considering the current economy and recession I am confused and couldn't take a stand on houston. But my advisor offered me PhD admission with assistantship but it will definitely narrow down my job options once I become a PhD. What should I do? I was told that chemical engineers do get jobs in houston in recession but haven't found one to confirm that. Please advise.

November 07, 2009 10:32 PM  

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