Money Spent in Undergrad and return in Investment

I spent 2 lakhs to finish my undergrad in India (I had a 60% tuition waiver, my sports achievements got me the waiver). Post undergrad I got a job in CTS with 3.15 lakhs/ annum. If I took it up, I would take home ~Rs.20,000/ month. On average I would be spending Rs.15,000/month and my monthly savings will be Rs.5000, i.e. Rs. 60,000/annum. To get my 2 lakhs that I put in my undergrad it will take me 3 years roughly.

Note: I was lucky to get a sports scholarship at undergrad, the average fee for a BE in Mech is around Rs.5,00,000. You can do the math on the time taken for return of investment.

Money spent in Grad School and return in Investment

I did my Masters at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, the tuition fee was $12,000/semester/9 credits. I had to take 30 credits, which approximately is $40,000/Masters degree (Rs.28,00,000). Three semesters in I was recruited by Cummins, Schlumberger and Roush. On average $75,000 (Rs.50,00,000) was what the companies offered. All of these companies was located in the midwest.

While pursuing my Masters my rent was $300, food cost $300, entertainment $100 – Total $800

What are the opportunities

First up, you will get a part time job, every grad and undergrad student will get an on-campus part-time legal job, which will pay on average $1000. This will cover up your monthly expenses.

The best opportunities

If you slog around and are willing to work – you will find a Professor, work with him, impress him with your work and get a funding. I did that and got a TA + RA in my first semester and got the whole $40,000 waived off. And to top it off the TA+RA got me around $1500.

Let’s do the MATH.

My Flight ticket was – Rs, 1,50,000

Tuition Fee – $40,000 – Rs.28,00,000

Living Expenses – $1000/ month *20 months – $20,000 – Rs.14,00,000

Total expenses – Rs.43,50,000

What is the return of investment

Job – $75,00,000 – Rs.50,00,000 i.e. you will receive ~$5000/month in hand

Once you get a job, you mostly move to a more comfortable place for housing $700/month, buy a car $400/month EMI, spend more on entertainment and travel $400/month, spend more on food, clothes etc $800 – in total your expenses would be around $2300/month

You will save around half of what you earn. i.e. $2500 i.e.Rs. 1,75,000/month in savings. Say you send Rs.75,000 back home and pay Rs.1,00,000 for a loan. You will be paying back your loan in 4 years and at the same time your savings will be in the range of Rs.25,00,000

And now think about if you are willing to slog and get a TA / RA / PA / Part time job. You will end up earning right from you start your Masters. All you need is to network, be ready to slog your way into a research position or any sort of assistantship.

I was lucky to get a part-time job, RA – TA and a full-time job which allowed me to finish my Masters with Thesis in 3 semesters. So were a lot of folks who I knew in UW-Madison. You might argue that the assistantships helped me. But if you look above even without the assistantships I would easily recoup the money I would have spent for my Masters in 3–4 years time.

Well till now I spoke about just the monetary benefits and the pure ROI math. Don’t even get me started with the benefits of a Masters in a good university in the US> They are aplenty.

  1. Network – Getting to know some of the best minds in the world.
  2. Technically Strong – The hard work needed in Masters helps you get technically equipped and ready to face any challenge
  3. Opportunity to work on the state of the art research / I had the opportunity to work on problems that prevent pollution and much more. So will you.
  4. Community, Interpersonal skills, Discipline and much more.

I can go on and on and on. But I guess you get what I intend to say. In case you still have doubts and want to talk about this, reach out to me at Surya(at)edxengine.comor ping me on Facebook – MS and Phd in the USA

More than everything a Masters in University of Wisconsin-Madison was one of our prime reasons to start Skill-Lync. The need to expose students to the experiences we got there got me and Sarangarajan V Iyengar start Skill-Lync and MyUniversity

Also take a look at my answer on the job prospects for Mechanical Engineers here – 


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