Iftekhar Hossain is a software engineer working for Hewlett-Packard Company based in Roseville, California. After completing his education in a university in Bangkok, he worked for a while in Bangladesh.
Imran Hossain is the younger brother to Mr. Iftekhar. Imran completed BBA from American International University-Bangladesh (AIUB), Dhaka. After that he worked in an advertising firm, but left the job because of the disparity between workload and payment structure.
Imran looked for a suitable job over a year but couldn't get a good break. At a stage, he was planning to follow the elder brother's footsteps. His mail to his brother proceeded like this "….I have been trying for a good job here for last one year and there are jobs, good jobs but those are really a matter of continuous communication with those good companies. I realised that as long as I can't get an MBA from a well recognised university, I can't get a good job….."
This was the problem statement by the young business graduate. Imran is not the only person facing this setback. This is a typical problem scenario that worries many graduates in Bangladesh. How grim this worry gets is apparent in the following words of his mail: "… I am losing my patience and I want to have an MBA from a good university. Please let me know if I am thinking wrong, I am just worried because I need to build up my career as soon as possible, I am 26 already…."
Urging for suggestions, Imran's eagerness for success translated into his education plans in the following words "….I really want to work hard for a very bright future, I want to grow faster but there is very little scope in Bangladesh. I'm planning to apply for MBA in USA and Canada by this December. Please let me know because I believe you are very practical…". Many students in Bangladesh have such a common dream. So it is worth knowing how Mr. Iftekhar replied to his brother's mail.
"….I do understand your situation…Canada does not seem to be a good choice as it has a very high unemployment rate. I have a lot of friends who moved from Canada to the US just because they couldn't find decent jobs there. US might be a good choice if you have the right skills for the job market and also if you have determination to succeed. This is a very competitive place and you will always need to justify in terms of your contribution why a company should hire you and keep you for long time over others who are US citizens or permanent residents…."
Those were the portrayal of the war field called job market. Here is how Iftekhar Hossain wakes his brother from the 'higher education dream'- "…..Regarding coming to US for doing your MS will be way too expensive to afford. Just to give you an idea, you will end up spending about US$30,000/year if you even go to a state university. Most of the programs are 2 years. Now, you can do some odd jobs or student jobs in the university campus and earn about 10,000/year but you will still need to come up with another US$ 20,000/ year. I can help you with 30-40% of that but not all….."
If you think that all that matters then think again! I have also seen a lot of people in the US with MBA and most of them are jobless or doing odd jobs. Only a few that were top of the class got good jobs.
Iftekhar Hossain is one of the lucky and talented people working for a giant like Hewlett Packard. With years of experience, he throws a pack of vital questions to his ambitious brother "…It will be a good exercise if you ask yourself the following questions. Based on your answers, you can make your next move…". His self- awakening questions were :
l Can I get a US student visa?
l Can I afford the expenses for 2 years ?
l Can I get support to cover my expenses?
l How much support I can get? How much will I need to come up with? Can I do it ?
l What should I study?
l How marketable will I become after my degree?
l How is the salary structure of the profession I am planning to build my career in?
l What will I do if I don't get job in US after completing my degree?
l Will it be a good idea to get my degree from US and come back to Bangladesh?
l If I come back to Bangladesh, what kind of job will I be qualified for? How much will it pay? How long will it take to earn the money that I have invested in my degree?
l How about getting a H1B visa for US then work and do part time MS?
l What risks might I need to take in this case? Am I ready for it?
l How about getting MBA from some private university from Dhaka, for example, North South or East-West?
l How about going to ABAC?
l Does it matter if I get my degree from US, Thailand, Bangladesh if I would ultimately like to settle in Dhaka?
It is a fact that even the experts' comments are not always to be taken for granted. Still, the students who aspire to go abroad for higher studies may find it worthy to go through the above questions and answer themselves. They should remember that it's their lives and it's a question of their careers. So they need to have complete control over it. The relative or friend extending helping hand from overseas can be no more than a helping hand and facilitator.