Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Life at College of William & Mary

Chaitra G. shares her experience at College of William and Mary.

Q :- Please tell us about which course is you doing and why did you choose that course?
A :- I am pursuing MBA. I chose the course because I wanted to continue in my field but at a managerial position. Also, I wanted to understand how overall business works.

Q :- Why did you choose the USA for higher education?
A :- I plan to pursue my career in the field of IT software. A majority of the clients in this industry come from the USA. So, when I plan to understand business, I wanted to do it better where my clients would be so that it is easier for me to understand them later when I interact during my career.

Q :- How is College of William & Mary different than any other USA University based on whatever you have heard from your friends about?
A :- 1] The College of William and Mary is very unique in its selection and education process. They personally speak and get to know the students before they conduct the interviews. The faculty is extremely helpful.
2] Above all, the executive partner program provides you an immense experience in working with a veteran of the industry you are interested in.

Q :- Are you happy with your decision?
A :- Yes

Q :- Please share some of your experiences of the USA for aspiring students
A :- 1] One of the things that I have learnt in the past few weeks is that it is not easy and simple to migrate into another country. There are many aspects of the way we talk, interact and live which comes from the place that we originate from. I had to re-learn basics aspects of like how to cross the road to speaking to employers and companies. So, it has been a tremendous learning curve for me. It has also been exciting because I had never realized what I do and the way I do it because I come from a particular background.
2] There are many things which I would like to share for the aspiring students. Particularly from my experience because I live in a small town and not a city. So, you may not find Indian stores to shop in every place. Please be aware of the same. From where I live, the Indian store is about 2hours away and there is no public transport to it.
3] I think finding out about basic things would have made my stay here during the first one month a lot smoother. So, it is necessary to find out about the basic aspects of living such as which mobile connection to buy (sometimes all service providers do not have network in all areas. AT&T doesn’t work in the place where I live!). I chose to buy a laptop in the US. So, find out which is the best way to buy a laptop, online or the nearest store available. It is best if you have an apartment before landing here because it is extremely difficult to land here and then hunt for an apartment. Do a lot of research on the public transport in the place and how frequent, how easy it is and what are the places it does and does not cover, like may be the nearest wallmart store or the nearest mall. If you plan to buy a car, find out if the state allows you to drive on the International drivers Permit. Many states do not allow you to drive on these.
4] The best source for all these queries is the current students and faculty of the college, the admissions staff and the alumni.

Q :- What’s your advice to students who aspire to go to the USA for higher studies?
A :- Find out about the course which is offered at the college and how it is paced and what are its concentrations and focuses. Each college is different in terms of what they focus on during the course and this must be matching with your interests.

Q :- Other than academics, what else did you learn from the country USA ?
A :- It is important to learn the culture of the place where you would be living. So, make a few Americans as friends. This is important because now you will find Indians in all colleges no matter where you go. So, if you would stick to your Indian pals, you may end up not knowing many things about the inherent culture of the country. I understand it is an easier choice to find someone from India and stick to them but don’t do it. Remember that Americans are very nice and helpful people.

Q :- How are the studies in the USA different than the studies in India ?
A :- 1] Studies in the USA are very demanding. In India you are not expected to be “prepared” for the classes which you attend and you can make it to good scores if you can study on your own and do well in the exams at the end. This does not work in the USA. You need to do your readings before every class. Every class would have a deliverable in terms of an assignment or a project work or some group activities. These are important to be submitted as most part of your final grades depend on these everyday submissions rather than the exams at the end.
2] Invest effort in building a relationship with the lecturers. This pays and the lecturers have complete control here on the way they would organize the course and how much factor would your assignments play and your grading structure etc., For example, if you were unable to do well on a particular assignment, you can go and speak to the lecturer. If he finds that your reasons are genuine, he may not change your score but he may give an additional assignment to the entire class and change the weightage of the previous assignment.

Q :- Is it worth spending so much money to get a degree from the USA as compared to similar degree in India with lower costs?
A :- The learning curve is very high for the education in the US compared to the same degree in India. Further, the opportunities are very wide and diverse in the US as compared to India. In India you may not get a job if you are interested in working in a very specific profile. But in the US, it is possible to find the exact job however unique it is which interests you. It is a land of opportunities.

Q :- What’s your advice to parents of aspiring students?
A :- 1] Coming from a middle class family, I understand that you are spending a lot of money, but do look at it as an investment rather than an expenditure. I assure you that if your child is sincere, there are far more ways to success in this land than back home.
2] It is also hurting to see your children leave home to a strange land but all of it is a part of the learning experience. Communication has improved drastically over the past few years. I stay in constant touch with my family and it does not cost much to speak for a couple of hours every week. Further Skype has provided an angle of presence to the communication. Technology will help you be much closer to your children.

Q :- Key things to remember for parents and students while planning for the studies in the USA
A :- Make sure the course is something that you would want to do and you have your motivation high. It is easier to loose motivation here because the courses are very demanding. Be ready to work 14-15hours a day. Education here is not simple. Dedication, discipline and determination are the only things which can ensure your success.

Q :- Any other advice to students and parents?
A :- It is definitely a better choice to study here than in India so remember that you are making the right choice.

Q :- What are you future plans?
A :- Have a successful career in the field of IT software at the customer relationship handling.

Q :- How did you fund your higher education?
A :- I took an education loan from Credila for tuition and living expenses.

Q :- Why did you choose Credila?
A :- 1] Faster loan processing
2] The representative comes home and all the paper work can be done sitting at the comfort of your home.


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