Q: Dear J.T. & Dale: I am 24 years old and currently working as a stem-cell scientist. I have been thinking about going to India for a master's degree in biotechnology. I've been there before and fell in love with it. The colleges I am looking at are the best in the country, and I do not think I would be stinting my education. My biggest concern is how future employers would view such a degree. - Rex
A: Dale: You write, "I do not think I would be stinting my education." This suggests that even you, who loves India, believes that the best you can hope for is an education that might be about as good as you'd get in America. You'd have to anticipate that many employers would be more skeptical than you are.
J.T.: It's true that a degree from a prestigious stateside university would open more doors, but going overseas to pursue a passion shows initiative and a desire to create a healthy, balanced life - something that some researchers struggle with.
Dale: But if a door doesn't open, Rex and his balanced life are still standing outside. The key is to find a way to make the foreign degree into an advantage.
Do some research on American biotech companies with a presence in India. Among such companies, the Indian degree would become an advantage because they need Americans who can travel to and work with colleagues in India.
J.T.: The key will be to do project work, internships and other career-related opportunities while getting your degree. Applicable experience coupled with the degree will give you more career options.
Dale: So, even before you go, you'll have your plan to return. Meet with some people in biotech who work with Indian colleagues and ask for their advice with that plan.
I'm guessing you'll land a job with an American company, working in India, and instead of getting a degree, you'll get a nice income along with job experience and plenty of new experiences.