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Help! SMU VS IU kelley

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 29-04-2013, 06:53 PM
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Default Help! SMU VS IU kelley

Hello all,
I have been accepted as a direct admit to Kelley business school in Indiana university bloomington. (It is a top 15 program in the US) I know that it is a relatively unknown uni, and along with the fact that i have a spot at SMU biz, i am currently facing this dilemma as to whether or not to accept the offer.

Here are a few of my considerations.
1) Cost. SMU would obviously be a cheaper choice, and although IU does not have as high tuition as some private schools in the US, the difference would be about 150k. I will not be taking out a loan, however it is my parent's hard earned money, and i would not like to squander it without making an informed decision.
The 150k saved could be used towards a master's or investments in the future, however i am not sure as to whether or not a US degree is worth all that money, esp from a non ivy league school.
However, if i do land myself a job in the US upon graduation, compensation wise, it is better over there, for starting salaries and annual income as a whole. Therefore this 150k would then be justified. However, given the current economic climate and quota for h1b visas, it would be very difficult to obtain a job being an international student. Companies would shy away unless you're the cream of the crop.
In case you are wondering, Kelley has an IB workshop that has a near 100% placement rate for it's participants into investment banks, however it is only for a elite few students ~60.

The Investment Banking Network at Indiana University: IBA Index

2) Brand name/ Prestige. I am aware that many people have never even heard of Kelley as a business school, as compared to the ivies. This is also a cause for concern as brand name and prestige probably matter a lot in the business world, in order to open doors for my career. I would like to go into IB or consulting in the future, and if i do return to Singapore, how well would this degree from Kelley serve me as compared to a local grad? Also, brand name is also important if i do want to source for a job in the US, due to placement that the school name offers.

3) Returns of investment. As mentioned in the previous point, i would assume that a Kelley grad and an NUS/SMU/NTU grad would draw the same pay (if i do return to Singapore), and this would not seem like such a good trade off, considering the amount of tuition i paid in the US. Career advancement wise, I can't say for sure, maybe someone here can advise me on that, as to whether a US degree holder will have an advantage.
Best case scenario would be to land myself a job in the US.

What do you guys think? Any input would be much appreciated. I only have 2 days left to accept the offer.


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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 29-04-2013, 08:03 PM
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Choose SMU Business.

Background about myself: I studied at a US University and worked in the US for a while after graduation on a H1B visa. I didn't study business but I have lots of friends who studied in the B school. Btw, my alma mater is far better than IU in ranking, wealth, prestige and job placement.

Sorry to burst your bubble but IU Kelley is not a target school by any ranking. IU is in a backwater mid-western town(I have visited IU for the Singaporean Society mid-western games). Big Brand MNCs and Bank tend to keep their target school list to 10-15 universities and IU is definitely not in this list.

Finding a job is tough in the US. Finding a job for a foreigner is 10x harder. You have to prove you are much better than a similarly qualified American. It costs more to higher a H1B worker at a bank/MNC than a similar American because of expensive visa processing fees/lawyer fees. Expedited processing fees paid to the government alone is USD$2k and then you have to enter the H1B lottery. In the 2012 Lottery, only 1 out of 2 applicants managed to secure a visa. This lottery is pure luck and not based on ability. Most companies don't bother with the Singaporean H1B1 visa since it costs the same and has more restrictions/less benefits than a regular H1B visa.

A lot of my Singaporean friends who studied in the US decided to come back to Singapore because of their inability to find work. These are guys with 3.8/4.0 GPAs who are unable to find ANY H1B-sponsoring job in the US.

The pay really isn't that good to begin with. My first job out of University paid my 75k a year before bonus. This is USD$6250 a month. My federal + state tax + medicare + social security tax bill came up to 35% of my monthly salary. So after tax my take home was USD$4062. However, this didn't include any retirement saving yet. I contributed 16% to my 401k retirement account to get the maximum employer match. This left me with USD$3410 a month. On top of this, I had to pay for my car + rental + etc. In the end, I didn't save much. I was lucky if I could save $1000 a month.

I have now returned to Singapore and I think that's the best decision I have made. I save more money in Singapore and I get to see my family daily.

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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 29-04-2013, 08:12 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2013
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yourplaceormine is on a distinguished road

Wow, thanks for the really informative post.
Just to put it out there, Kelley as a business school is ranked #13, and its programs are ranked top 10 in the US, does it really still have zero prestige in the US and to SG employers?
How long have you graduated from the US for, and what uni were you from? I ask this out of curiosity, nothing else.
I am aware of the hardcore process of the h1b visa. And as i have mentioned, i know that IU isn't as great a school as the ivies.

That being said, I think you have given me a push in the right direction. I was leaning towards going to the US initially, but i think that maybe 150k in my situation, may not be worth it despite my ambitions. I think I would go to SMU business, however i may still try to transfer to a US uni if i'm able to in my 2nd or 3rd year.

Also, do you have any idea if a US degree offers more advancement opportunities career wise? Judging from since you returned to Singapore to get a job, and in the case of your friends that have returned upon graduation in the US.

Thank you.

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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 29-04-2013, 08:28 PM
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The only ranking that matters is the overall university ranking(US News) and IU is ranked #83 this year. I graduated in a Uni in the top #20

I have been back in Singapore for 4 years.

I would only spend that 150k on a US education if:
1) You can get into a top #30 University(overall ranking).
2) Using this 150k will not affect your parents' living standard one bit.

I will definitely not spend 150k on IU.

Career wise, having a US degree and work experience has helped me. I have gone for interviews where the US recruiter chose my resume because of a familiar school name on my resume. One recruiter even said this to me: "I received tons of resumes from PRC/Indian students in Singapore and from their resumes they look like very qualified technical candidates. However, I need someone who can liase on a personal level with the US counterparts and have strong language skills. Many of the PRC/Indian candidates fail in this area".

Having US work experience looks nice on my resume too and puts me one notch up from local candidates.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 29-04-2013, 08:39 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 38
yourplaceormine is on a distinguished road

Yes, that is definitely a given, given the brand name of the school and your previous experience/education.
The points you have raised are very valid, and i would like to thank you for your input.

On a separate note, and this may be slightly irrelevant, but I would like to ask if you know anything about the chances of working abroad being hindered if i pursue a local degree, in this case, SMU. I would like to work abroad in the future in places such as HK, US and maybe even the EU. Because from what i know, SMU is only recognized within the region, and not so much as NUS outside of the region.
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