Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Advanced degree seeking Indian student

I was having a conversation with my friend's brother-in-law the other day and during our chit-chat he happened to mention Well Jhantu it must feel great to have your degree from Stanford. And I went Huh!! Really!!

A couple of years ago when I was about to land up at Stanford, man o man I was mightily excited. This is Stan-fucking-ford for God's sake, where I shall meet super smart people all around me who'll dazzle me with their sharp brains and analytical minds. Problems that have forever taken me an eternity to digest will be a walk-in-the-park for my peers here at Stanford. But then just before I came in I got into this yahoo-group that was formed for Indian students coming into Stanford and thats where I got my first small shock, which in the subsequent years has magnified from small to mega-enormous. My peers were from engineering colleges in India I have never-ever heard names of or were the run of the mill software professional with an year or twos worth of work experience for some software sweat-shop churning out junk codes on systems with fancy names. There was one more sting in the tail as well. If I remember correctly 60 out of the 70 students who were coming in werent funded by the grad school at Stanford. Now this was a strange and worrying statistic. For the simple reason that the good grad schools and the good departments in the US have a very stringent admission policy. They usually do not tend to hand out admission to every Tom Dick and Harry on the road for the simple reason that the quality of a department is as good as the PhDs that it churns out.

So what was going on? Now there could be a very simple and elegant and satisfying explanation to all of this. Which is the following: These students that Stanford decided to bring in from India were brilliant, irrespective of whatever undergrad school they attended back home and hence the admission into Stanford. But somehow I find it difficult to digest that a student from MIT (not the boston one dickheads, but the indian ones, theres one in Pune and one in Allahabad and a couple more as well) who does get into Stanford engineering, is superior to say the 2nd topper from one of the IITs. The law of averages just dont work out , how ever much you scream bloddy-IIT-ass-sucking bugger.

So what was the deal then?? Before you start arriving at conclusions heres one more statistic for you. There are engineering departments here at Stanford who have an acceptance rate as high as 65-70% for some of their Masters programs, while the same departments have an acceptance rate bordeing on less that 15% for its PhD programs. The physical/social Sciences on the other hand have a strict admission-only-with-funding policy and the number of Indian students you find in these departments you can count on your hands. Also ALL the Masters students (from India) didnt have any funding from the university or the department whereas ALL those admitted into the PhD programs were fully funded by the school/their departments.

That brings me to a statement that I made earlier: Quality of a department/university is as good as the PhDs that it churns out. And the reason for that being the fact that the Masters student isnt expected to contribute in anyway to a school/department's projects or research and hence its reputation. The only purpose that the Masters student serves is being a cash-cow for the school (read pay their tuitions in dollars and make the school some money).

That being the case it is kind of pathetic that these students decide to spend a pot-load of their Dad's money (hard-earned or not is a completely different issue which I shall not get into) and come all the way to the US saying "I am geting an advanced degree from Stanford University mannn and learning so fucking much in my courses." The poor fuckers dont know the first thing about an advanced degree. An advanced degree (atleast in the US and all top schools worldwide) is meant for a student to contribute an original piece of work to his field of choice. It does not mean that you take 10 courses that you need to complete your degree requirement before going on a job hunt that will help you fulfill your dreams of living in the US of A.

In a way even amongst these people who do admit that the primary reason why they came for an"Advanced Degree" in the US is to somehow get their asses into the US of A and earn in dollars, I respect them. Atleast they are bloody honest. The people that really irk me are those amongst these bunch of "Advanced Degree" seekers who'll give all kinds of fundas as to "Oh how much Im learning in my courses Jhantu and its not the money that I want to earn after this that matters but its the educational experience that matters". Stupid cunts the only reason you are here in the first place spending your Dad's money on your education at an age when for all practical purposes you should be as self sufficient as possible is you could not get you stupid ass into any halfway decent instituion in India. You pretentious cunt, if you are so much in love with your damn subject then why in fuck's name are you in such a hurry to finish up your 10 required courses instead of going for a PhD??

As for those of you aspiring for an Adavanced Masters degree from Stanford engineering heres a sure shot recipe of getting one if you can spare $50K:

(1) Doesnt matter which instituion you are in all you need is a first class, which as far as my understanding goes is a walk in the park.

(2) GRE scores : anything upwards of 1300 and you are in damn good shape.

(3) Letters of recommendations: Since you'll be writing your own recos and getting your profs to sign at the bottom potray yourself as the next best thing since Feynman himself.

(4) Work for an year in some software-sweat shop and then write on your resume "Working on top-notch developmental projects for a leading high-tech company".

PS: Someday soon I'll write about these same "Advance Degree" holding students who go to work for such revered companies as Google or Microsoft and tell you the absolute hilarious asses they make of themselves.

56 comments:

sribharath said...

One at the right time Jhantu! :)

People get into Stan,MIT and other big places and fucking mock at the people who got an admit and not a RA saying that "Kya be admit nahin mila?.The world doesnt know that they would be spending their baap ka paisa.Some of them are even ashamed to tell it in India for the fear of being mocked at.I have seen this happening here.

Apropos thanks for this crucial piece of info.I was wondering how every Tom,Dick,Fuck and Harry gets into a top notch grad school.

The only purpose that the Masters student serves is being a cash-cow for the school (read pay their tuitions in dollars and make the school some money).

Do keep writing! Its fun to read your blog :)

M (tread softly upon) said...

That is so pathetic. I knew some of it was true and happens, but didn't know it was that bad. But I always thought with visa restrictions these days the consulate needs to see the uni is going to support you 100% before they grant you a F1 visa. Or is that something you can get around too?
What worries me is that if it is that easy to get a degree, good recommendation letters and into a top Uni in the US, then where would the honest regular folks go? the ones who fight it out in a competitive exam to get into college, then slog there way to earn a degree, then get actual letters of recommendation? What are the chances of THAT working, huh? May be I should be just thankful that I made it through the muck and survived.
Another thought, may be that is why people here mistrust degrees and experience gathered in foreign shores. I may do a post on that (i just came face to face with something like that which appeared discriminatory to me). On second thoughts I think I know where they are coming from.

good morning, midnight said...

Now I'm sad I didn't take up engineering. Does it have a well-funded Arts department? :D

sunshine said...

aah theres the advanced degree post! good tips!

looking fwd to the hilarious ass stories...

jhantu said...

@sribharath: well even i didnt know this was the case until i landed up at stanford, the quality of the MS students, indians and without funding, is pathetic to say the least. And I have met atleast a dozen of the same people from MIT and if you talk to them at any depth about their subjects you are guaranteed a good private laugh. On the other hands schools loke Caltech/Berkeley dont condone this policy that Stan/MIT has.

@m: visa guys on seeing a stanford/MIT on the I-20 give out blanket visas. You only need to show the visa guy about $70k and hes happy. As for te really honest slog-it out folks who arent super-brilliant (to get into s Stan/MIT) but still good enough and who wouldnt dream of coming into the states with their parents' money these guys do pretty well in the upper-midde to middle ranked schools. Take it from me that getting into a MS program in a top private uni in the US is a walk in the park. PhD though is a different story all together

jhantu said...

@good morning: Unfortunately sweetheart no. But you can always work around the problem by aplying for Stanford's famed Management sciences & engg program. I can personaly guarantee you an admission into its MS program.

@sunshine: The ass stories is coming up pretty soon, Ive met way too many of them already

Anonymous said...

Interesting point of view, though one thing you forget is that all these students from the "revered" non-IITs are also toppers or 2nd topper from their undergrad institutes. Does that in any way make them less fit for the top schools?

holy spirit said...

doesnt the well known companies that hire these grads know the fact that they were admitted in an ad-hoc fashion in the first place?? How come these companies then hire such a bulk of these people??

blindederos said...

Nice post and a refreshing change from the usual sex posts

Anonymous said...

This is one-sided story, does this mean that just because an MBA from a good school costs about $70K you wouldnt do it because you wont get school-funding??

stan-girl said...

@sribharath: Its not that every Tom dick and harry who get in inspite of what the post says. You must be smart enough to realize that some sort of decent grey-cells are required to get into a top school. and whats with the ashamed/mocked part?? I have never heard of that. Do explain

stan-girl said...

This is a stupid post I must say.What you dont realize that many of those "unfunded stupid MS desi studs" do get RAs and TAs once they get into the school. If they were that stupid how do they land up with these jobs??

abhi said...

Do you realize that you do carry a major chip on your shoulders about the expat-indian population.

That said the post was very much on the mark.

DD said...

one absolutely fabulous post. not many people can tell this story the way you have done.

i am a doctoral student of SUNY, stony brook which is way down in the university rank lists. i see many masters students around me, possessing similar ideology but less richer baaps. but one feels really sick slogging one's butt off trying to publish papers, when these guys join a $100K job in new york city after 3 semesters.

orkuts said...

Now this is being way too harsh. f someone can afford higher educatuon then theres no point in trying to say that even if you do afford education you cant get it because you dont deserve it. Thats daft logic

bobby finstock said...

Very insightful post and very gutsy as well. Somehow this post makes perfect sense and can infact be extrapolated to the H1-B visa scenario as well, in terms of the way that some companies (indian and US) seem to be completely misuing the visa's purpose and bringing in people from India just for the sake of paying them less money.

ria said...

You do bring about an interesting view-point, but one thing you must know is that if someone can afford an education and the school does give that person an admit, then saying that these people are dunb bcos they took up the offer is kind of not very smart on your part.

sribharath said...

@stan-girl

Enough has been said by Jhantu in his post.I think it will be reduntant to explain what I feel and what I know to a person whom I dont know.

Anyways,if grey cells are all about writing your own recos,getting 70% in some ordinary college and paying $70k to the univ then I agree whoever the person is is extremely brainy.

I would even rank him next to Feynman.

Whoever that fucking person is is interested in the subject why not do a PhD in the subject there? As Jhantu has rightly pointed out all the person wants is a high paying job after 3-4 semesters and 10 fucking courses and not doing research.

On the other hand I have seen people in my place who slog their asses off for 8 semesters,intern in India,try fucking hard to publish papers and get a mediocre univ just because their baaps arent all that rich.

And yeah according to you these people arent smart.Right?

I think I have said what I needed to say.I dont intend to continue the argument with I dont know who.

@Jhantu

If you find this comment objectionable you may please delete it :).

opinionatedinjerzee said...

great blog!! thanks for coming by mine.. thats what i heard about princeton.. you'll be the luckiest man alive if you live in nj and get into princeton from the start.. they prefer international students.. but the grad program is much easier to get into if you have the cash!

BridalBeer said...

Yeah. And the ones who mirgate to the US using the "human rights card" only to have a quick change of heart when it's time to select courses. Those are the most hypocritical of them all. This is endemic to those who "do" liberal arts.

Anonymous said...

Bang on target post Jhantu. Very true.

the girl said...

It seems that this post has attracted some lengthy and weighty comments, though that is fine, the thing I cant understand is whats the problem if someone can afford an education and thus gets it???

It isnt as if you are bribing the school and getting in, you are actually being selected by the school after whatever screening process they have and then only getting in. So whats the big deal??
Asinine is the waord that comes to mind.

Rapid I Movement said...

@ stan-girl - Stan (and most of the top engg. schools) almost never gives schols for MS. Unlike in India, the diff in a MS and PhD in the US, is huge!!! MS degrees are seen as job-oriented and these schools (rightfully) see them as money-earning sources - as in, the Univ delivering service to you, as opposed to a PhD where you are offering your resources/services to the dept./Univ.

Also, while it's true that most of the MS admits from my year to Stan initially did go self-funded and proceeded to successfully obtain RA's pretty soon, for the depts. they were gunning, that was pretty much the only option for a MS app (NOT a PhD) for anyone in the world.

The people who the original post talks about, however, mostly vie for MBAs and such other "shiny" streams (not exactly academic/research oriented, ie). There is just no comparsion at all between the two.

@ jhantu - excellent post man!

wannabe blogger said...

Its stupid to think that just because the 2nd topper from IIT didnt get through, someone from some other college will also not be able to get through. While yea the chances are high, but that other person could also be as good and even better.

jhantu said...

@ anon,ria: the point wasnt whether one can take an education if one can afford it or whether the 2nd topper from IIT was better than the other uiv topper, the point was that it is downright pathetic that people come to the US under the "Advanced degree" seekeing pretext when the real reason why they do that is to somehow get their asses into the US and earn some decent dough in dollars, the degree or the program or the subjects is of least consequence to them.

@ holy spirit: To get cow-fodder labour for their day to day bacis boring work. Not eeryone in google is reinventing their search engine you know, they need people to crunch out those stupid codes that decorate or beautify their front ends too.

@blinded eros: thanks

jhantu said...

@dd: I have no problems if someone gets a $100K job after 3 sems, my problem is that these people shouldnt be pretentious, but have the guts to say that Im here not because I loooove my subject but because I want to earn 100K after 3 sems. The BS that they dish out during those 3 sems when they are in school is what drives me crazy.


@orkuts: this is not higher education in high school. This is an advanced degree Im taking about. The point of which is not about afordability, but learning and then contributing to that field. Hence the system of RAs and TAs for such advanced degree in the US.

@bobby: Agreed
@opinion: Thanks for dropping by
@bridalbeer: As usual right on the money.

jhantu said...

@rapid I: thanks man and right on the mark your analysis is

@wannabe: Yea he definitely can, when do you start your blog though ;-)

raghu said...

"cash-cow for the schools"
thats a good one :D

anon-x said...

Nice non-sex post dude.

soum said...

The ass post will be worth waiting for, put it up soon

maddy said...

A vey apt post and as always with a liberal dose of the F and C words thrown in ;)

subhra said...

Nicely put forward viewpoint, I remember that in my grad school, which was mid-ranked the same thing prevailed but it was more in the industrial/operations enginnering dept than anywhere else and also in EE/CS

Z said...

Very interesting blog you have here and filled with lovely sex-based posts all of which are really really funny.
Keep blogging

Cyberkitty said...

Its always knowledge that counts in the end, doesn't matter if it was stanford or if someone learned from the tech tutorials on the internet - of course well paying jobs are possible only abroad and it helps to have a few big names behind you.

ichatteralot said...

Please dont join a software comp - bunch of jokers in here

manuscrypts said...

i guess your real irritant is the hypocrisy behind the whole thing.. but isnt that a scenario in all walks? education, profession, love life... the eternal roleplay of one upmanship? .. in this case, it finally would boil down to the el dorado called US, and an education there.. and until we, as a nation, dont mature enough to understand our worth, such symptoms will continue..
good post, a dose of objectivity would have made it a great post.. but hell, this is a blog, so objectivity be damned :)

jhantu said...

@cyberkitty: Well that wasnt the point of the post but you are absolutely right

@ichatterlot: unfortunately even i write software under the fancy name of high perfomance computing
:(

@manuscrypts: extremely valid point, now that I re-read the post i see what you mean. Thanks for the pointer

Ram said...

hey english is a indeed a very phunny language and you know what I can also walk english talk english and sleep (with) english.......

starry nights said...

Jhantu..interesting post.did not know that these things go on, news to me.thanks for stopping by my blog.

Perspective Inc. said...

Nice

abhi said...

the viewpoint is a bit one-sided isnt it, though it is teue in parts it is not the whole complete picture i would think.

wonderwoman said...

Nice post

sua said...

Yup Stan and MIT does follow this policy primarilytreating the MS degree as a professional degree type of thing, schools like Caltech or berkeley on the other hand dont do this, especially at the grad level.
Rightly said.

sachit said...

I came here to do an MS. I went to great lengths to get into my field of interest. I didn't write my own recos, but yes I did sit with my recommenders to discuss my goals. Unfortunately, I had to pay for my education. I took up an RA/TA and another job so that I could make ends meet. With two jobs on campus, thirty credits, and not even a second to spare, the only thing I enjoyed was academic fulfillment. Many also see it as an eye-opener to help them with their decision for a doctoral program (A five year commitment, sometimes, is hard to make). MS, though expensive, gave me a second chance to be back in school. Just like any other group, the people who come to US for Masters are as varied as those coming for PhD. I can recall at least five more students like me. Generalizing, and then ridiculing, isn't what I hoped for after all that sweat.

Om said...

nice post jhantu, though FYI, stan does offer a thesis option for its MS (at least in CS dept); and thats definitely a way to contribute to the ongoing research in the dept

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

stanford and porn, what a wierd combination buddy! me being an erotic intellectual like you, feels happy that there's another person out there.

anon-2 said...

Couldnt help noting the last comment, whats so weird about stanford and porn anon??

Good post btw

Sunrayz said...

I do agree with what you say. I got the point about hypocrisy too.Have heard and seen so many students say the stuff you listed.

However, there is another category of Indian students wanting to do a masters in the UK where there are not many scholarships/ educcational support to come by. I found myself in this category. I then had to plan for more than a year, save money (no rich parents :)) and take a loan. I kept wondering if it would be worth it. But,it was. For me it was personal. It was not what I learnt (which you do, otherwise one has to be a moron), but the fact that I got live my dream, in my 30s (which is usually difficult for an Indian woman staying in India)!

Thanks for dropping by 'my place'.

Vj said...

Hey Jhantu,

You are perhaps the most popular blogger this week.50 comments,Man I barely manage to get 5 and you're Indeed one of them

A friend of mine (ambrosia) stumbled upon your blog and told me, Watch out this man ,he writes Interesting articles and I told her I could write like that but truth is i can't .
you have a fantastic way of expressing yourself and it's addictive

I wish you could tell me the secret recepie of grabbing more eye-balls on your page

Appreciate it
great job
cheers,
VJ

S1mba said...

Agree with sunrayz here, living your dream is definitely worth the whole trouble of arranging the dough and paying for your schooling and everything.

jager said...

If you have money (loan or otherwise) and you afford an education for which you have been selected (through the admssion process) then why the hue and cry over it?

Anonymous said...

Hi Jhantu,

You are so right. There is another category you forget. Wives/hunbands of working Indians in US landing up admits once they come to US, and flaunting it in India. Well aparently it is easier to get admit in Univs after you land up in US! I slogged all my life in India, got to IIT and got a good schol (not just admit) at Stanford, but when I see such people (mainly wives, and yes I am a woman), it feels really weird. I do not mind their getting the admit, but I do mind their flauting it as if its got the same value, when I know their GRE and all the grades SUCKED!

piyela said...

this is correct satya....most of the people coming here not for education but for earning dollars this is true especially from hyderabad.... i hink today in US more than 300,000 students/workers belong to this city....not every one is brilliant...but still bcoz of dollars they are coming...may be some of them can't survive in india but here thay can make better money than most of the IITians

Ch@ry said...

i plan to join a (funded) phd program this fall. thanks for disillusioning me even before it starts! :)

Sour-ing Mercury said...

Bad logic ... Bad language ... Bad portrayal .. No donuts for you ! ( good way of writing though )