Advancing your education

19 US-bound students stopped from boarding Air India flight from Hyderabad

Students headed to two specific universities in the US were stopped from boarding a flight to the US. Air India explained that these universities were under scrutiny and that students have been deported to India from the university and on arrival in the US. This is very expensive for the student and their families and Air India wanted to help them avoid this unnecessary expense.

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University of Texas at Tyler

The University of Texas at Tyler is a one of the fastest growing universities in the UT system and is offering financial aid to international students. Click on the link to learn more about University of Texas at Tyler:

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Way2StudyGlobal in partnership with Kaziranga University

Kaziranga University in Assam, the fastest growing private university has engaged Way2tudyGlobal for internationalizing its programs, building its profile and global culture. The university offers Bachelors and Masters programs in science and engineering majors. Recently, Kaziranga University was awarded the title of ‘best emerging private university’ in Assam. Way2StudyGlobal is working closely with Kaziranga University to set up partnerships with US universities and mentor their graduating students for education opportunities in the US.

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Testimonial from Viswanathan C – 29 June 2015

“You are doing a great job. Please keep this going to help future students.”

Viswanathan finished his Bachelors at Rajalakshmi Engineering College and is headed to Arizona State University for a Masters in Industrial Engineering in Fall 2015.

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Ball State University – MBA

Ball State University is a State university located in a town known as Muncie. It is located around 60 miles from the capital city of Indianapolis. Also known as a university town, Ball State has a beautiful campus. It is bigger than the college campuses where I had studied previously in India. It was a bit disconcerting to find myself lost on the first day of orientation, but navigation became easier by the 3rd or 4th day on campus.

International student orientation was a week-long program prior to the week actual classes began. The Rinker Center for International Programs scheduled orientation in such a manner that there were many international students flying in on any of the first three days. A schedule was created for each day of orientation in order to complete enrollment, including health tests, getting identification cards, speaking with advisors, and enrolling in courses. The staff at the Rinker Center for International Programs were very meticulous and clear on the procedures that needed to be completed.

Another small orientation program was arranged to meet other new international and American students. Orientation week is a period when you get to meet so many new students who may even end up being your close friends during your time at the university. A new student must attend all of the required events at orientation in order to register for courses.   The required events explain how to keep in good standing with your immigration status, acclimate yourself to the university, and it is a great time to meet many new students just like you. You may wish to arrange a place of stay before orientation week to make this busy week less stressful.

The Ball State University campus is beautiful. As compared to other universities, it might be smaller in area but it has its own beauty and charm. One of the famous landmarks is the Shafer tower, an exquisite piece of architecture. There are a few more landmarks situated around the campus. It is easy to commute within the campus since a university shuttle service is available from Monday thru Friday and Sunday evenings.

The MBA course is a commendable program. The educational system is different from back home as most of you would know. It is more assignment oriented. Since I did not have a business background, I had to complete a few prerequisites before taking my core courses. For a general MBA, you are only required to complete 30 credits or 10 courses. It is also possible to complete the prerequisite courses online prior to your arrival.

The professors are very eager to assist their students. Help is always around the corner if you have doubt or if you need clarification and advice on class assignments. During a core course this semester, my professor brought in guest lecturers specializing in the areas of business which we were studying. This allowed the class to better understand we were learning in the subject. I look forward to what I will learn next semester!

Life in general is entirely different here. You will find that your normal routines are very different here. In the classroom, you will learn how to multi-task to schedule and manage time in order to complete all of your course assignments. You have to move swiftly to get things done. You will find that procrastination will leave you feeling overwhelmed and add stress to your experience.   Overall, you will learn to be independent, yet a team player.

Ball State is AACSB accredited and have amazing professors who will guide you through the course. The MBA program is well-suited individuals who have a science or arts background. They also have great library resources, recreational and other facilities on campus. I highly recommend Ball State University if you are seeking an MBA in the United States.

By. Elizabeth George

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Actuarial Science – where you can be a student and professional all at once

On an early summer morning in June 2013 as I walk in for my  first class meet at Columbia, glimpses of the last few months and the next year and a half flash in front of my eyes. It’s a surreal feeling being a student again. Just a few months back I was an education consultant with Innervision Inc., helping students make those crucial decisions for their higher education. With every student I met then, my personal resolve to pursue a masters course in a field of my choice strengthened. One fine day, my wife and I gave it a good thought and decided to take the deep-dive.

With six years of experience working in the technology and education space, the decision to start my masters in Actuarial Science was obviously a calculated move. Actuarial Science was at a pretty nascent stage in India then and we were strongly recommending it to students with a good aptitude in math. I had been contemplating long on possible options and with the help of my in-laws I had zeroed in on this career path that would keep me on my toes for the next several years and challenge me at every level. It’s only when you jump you realize how much you’ve lost standing by the cliff!

I was drawn to Columbia’s Actuarial Science program for its choice of electives, strength of its network, the support framework and the curriculum. Late in September 2012 when I heard of my acceptance, I knew I had to shift gears and prepare for the credentialing process. Entering the Actuarial profession is easy and hard at the same time. To be considered a strong candidate for an entry-level actuary, one needs to pass at least two preliminary exams, have a strong GPA and ideally have a few related internships. Since the profession is highly regarded and one just needs a Bachelor’s degree to enter the profession, the entry-level market is extremely saturated. Unless you are extremely serious in seeing this through, it’s highly unlikely that you’d just ‘wing it’. Another interesting aspect I learnt over the next couple of months was that though your past work experience is valued, it isn’t necessarily factored-in while you apply for jobs. That is just the way the profession is built – You start from the bottom, make your way up as you pass the 9 – 12 professional exams, gain experience on the job and eventually get credentialed once you satisfy a slew of other requirements.

The internship phase is a wonderful catch-22 situation. Career-changers have an edge over others since they bring great value-add to the team with their experience (provided they are able to connect the dots really well for the interviewer). While on the other hand, you are more likely to get an internship if you are a current student enrolled in a related program, having exams under your belt is an obvious game-changer. I cleared the first preliminary exam in Fall 2013 and interned with Deloitte Consulting for a couple of months in their Actuarial and Advanced Analytics (AAA) service line. Later in Spring and Summer 2014 I interned with a start-up Insurance firm- Atikus Insurance. Both internships were good learning experiences and diverse in terms of the exposure they gave me.

Later in 2014, I cleared the second exam and started applying for full time positions. By then with two internships and exams, I was very confident of my profile. Though it took some time to get used to setting aside six years of my work-experience and playing the entry-level game, I did find a great match with a team in Towers Watson – A leading global professional services company. With this move, I enter the Property and Casualty side of the Insurance business and can’t wait to start working early this June. Personally my target is to earn the ACAS credentials by EOY 2016 and the FCAS credentials by 2018. A huge roller-coaster ride awaits and time would tell how fast it spins. The thrills of being a life-long student!

Should you have any questions related to Actuarial Science or just about pursuing a masters of your interest, send us an e-mail or call us. We would love to listen to what you have to say and could help bounce your thoughts and ideas.

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Niche courses – One for the environment

Niche courses – One for the environment

[Originally published in Sunday edition of the Deccan Herald, dated 20 May 2012]

By doing the MS in Natural Resource Environment Management, offered at some US schools, you can be sure of a wide range of job opportunities opening up. A specialisation that has seen a resurgence in the US recently is environmental science. Let us look at some facts.

  • Employment of environmental scientists and specialists is expected to increase by 28 per cent between 2008 and 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations.
  • The Indian scenario is comparable and possibly more favourable than in the West.
  • There are new mandates from the Central Government in India; the Anna Hazare movement has also thrust environmental and social awareness to the front. Carbon Credits are driving private sector initiatives too. NGO’s and social sector organisations are targeting this as a major thrust area. Therefore graduates would have excellent prospects even if they returned to India.
  • Job growth should be strongest in private-sector consulting firms. Growth in employment will be spurred largely by the increasing demands placed on the environment by population growth and increasing awareness of the problems caused by environmental degradation.
  • Further, demand should result from the need to comply with complex environmental laws and regulations, particularly those regarding ground-water decontamination and clean air.
  • Graduates may find careers in central, state, and local government agencies that are charged with managing natural resources, in the private sector with productive careers in the industry and consulting firms, or in academia as college or university faculty.

Let me cite a specific example within the broad canvas of environmental studies: for instance the MS in Natural Resource Environment Management (NREM) offered at some US schools. It has the path to your future in an extraordinary wide range of interesting specialisations that may interest you:

  • Parks and recreation management or environmental interpretation
  • Sustainable agriculture or land management
  • Wetland characterisation and delineation
  • Urban and rural community development at the local, state, national, and international level
  • Industrial ecology, global environmental change, or resource economics
  • Water quality, conservation, or hydrology
  • Soil quality, conservation, or pedology
  • Waste water management, management of hazardous materials
  • Environmental site assessment, remediation of contaminated materials
  • Awareness and response to Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), the science of WMDs
  • Air quality, pollution control, environmental permitting

It would also prepare you for certifications in:

  • OSHA HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response)
  • Fire Training System — Red-Card Certification from NWCG (National Wildfire Coordinating Group).

With NREM there are courses to meet your interests and needs, projects to hone your skills, and multiple field stations to conduct research and engage with nature. With a major or minor in Natural Resources and Environmental Management your professional options are wide open. Employers are seeking qualified graduates to incorporate knowledge about natural resources and environmental management into their business infrastructure and future development. As a teacher, politician or policy maker, conservation officer, park naturalist, environmental consultant, environmental engineer, urban planner, business owner, economist, diplomat, historian or a county or state health inspector you will complete your higher education with a highly desirable, unique skill set to offer future employers.

Admission requirements

  • To be admitted to the Masters or Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences you must have the equivalent of a four-year Bachelor’s degree in any one of a wide range of majors, including Sciences, Geology or Engineering.
  • You must meet typical American university entrance requirements, such as: TOEFL, GRE, Letters of Recommendation, Statement of Purpose etc.
  • A graduate programme in Environmental Sciences has a uniquely interdisciplinary focus. Through rigorous core curriculum and dissertation research that draw from more than one discipline, you will learn about traditional and emerging areas of environmental sciences, developing the knowledge, skills, and expertise necessary to pursue complex questions in environmental science.
  • This programme would also build on the university’s institutional strengths in offering you university teaching experience and research opportunities such as National Science Foundation (NSF) grants.
  • Typically, Indian students have done very well in an inter-disciplinary programme, such as Environmental Sciences or Environmental Management. Most importantly, most Indian students have a strong concern for the environment.
  • That passion for the environment is arguably the strongest factor in the success of Indian students and young Indian professionals currently working in the growing field of Environmental Studies.

By Bhaskar Rajah

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Study Actuarial Science in the US

[Originally published in Deccan Herald, dated 03 Aug 2011]

With the Indian insurance and financial sectors growing rapidly, students doing a Masters in actuarial sciences in the US will have excellent prospects even if they return to India, writes Bhaskar Rajah

There are three key aspects to making the right decision regarding collegiate and graduate higher education overseas: First, is understanding the various niche specialisations that offer a demand-supply gap in terms of employment; second would be the individual and career development benefits of studying at the right university that offer such niche programmes; and third is the interest and suitability of the student vis-a-vis the major and the university.

Let me start off by addressing two related questions students ask me:

I studied something else in my undergraduate studies in India, how will I be admitted to a Master’s programme in a different discipline?

Past education need not be a constraint for your future education.  American education prides itself on flexibility.  Broadly speaking, an engineer can go on to study medicine and a doctor can switch to engineering studies, should he so desire.

As long as the prerequisites for entry to a programme of study are met, your undergraduate degree will not compartmentalise you and prevent you from studying a different major at the graduate level.

Why should I go to the US?  Why not study in India?

I ask the same question to students whom I meet.  Here are the main reasons they gave me for wanting to go to the US for such programmes, and I quote:

  • There are not enough seats in accredited universities in India for such specialised programmes
  • India has become more global and it will give us a competitive advantage to have at least one international degree and then return to India
  • An international degree will offer us prospects for international careers

Having said that, let me introduce you to a niche specialisation, actuarial science, that is currently very popular in the US.

The actuarial profession was included as one of the best careers in US News and World Report. The job of an actuary has also been rated as the second best job in the United States by the Jobs Rated Almanac. The popular reference book lists the actuarial profession above other highly regarded careers such as accountant or attorney.

The Jobs Rated Almanac printed five previous editions between 1988 and 2001. In two editions, actuary was rated as the best job and in two others, actuary was rated second best. Actuary has never been rated lower than fourth, a ranking it received in the fifth edition before climbing two spots in the most recent edition.

The editors compiled statistics on 250 occupations, from accountant to zoologist. The occupations are ranked on the basis of six key criteria: environment, income, employment outlook, physical demands, security, and stress. The data comes from government sources, such as the US Bureau of Labour Statistics and the US Census Bureau, as well as studies from trade associations and industry groups.

There are a few graduate programmes in the US focused on actuarial science.

Typically for actuarial studies faculty members are top-notch: All are fellows, the highest professional actuarial designation, and all have years of practical business-world experience.  When it’s time to seek your first internship or job, you’ll be able to interview with some of the world’s top employers.

Admission requirements

To be admitted to the Masters in the actuarial science programme, you must have a bachelor’s degree with three semesters of calculus, a course in linear algebra, and at least one semester of probability and statistics.

You must meet typical American university entrance requirements, such as, TOEFL, GRE, Letters of Recommendation, Statement of Purpose and so on.

Why is it perfectly suited for Indian students?

Typically Indian students with Math, Statistics, CA or Engineering background excel in mathematics.  Moreover, Indian students excel in applying quantitative techniques in the financial services industry and with insurance applications.  In fact, American universities are surprised by the small number of Indians studying actuarial sciences there compared to the more robust number of Chinese students.

The Indian insurance and financial sectors are also growing rapidly and there is not an internationally ranked Masters in Actuarial Sciences programme in India and therefore graduates would have excellent prospects even if they returned to India.

By Bhaskar Rajah

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