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UK meltdown sends Indian students packing

india Updated: Aug 04, 2008 22:43 IST
Naomi Canton
Naomi Canton
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

When Kanica Vora packed her bags for London to do a Masters, her plan was to land a job in the UK.

Less than a year later, the 22-year-old Mumbaikar is getting ready to return home as she, like hundreds of other international students in the UK and local Britons, is unable to find a job.

Most had spent between Rs 24 lakh and Rs 36 lakh on their courses and living expenses.

But with the UK on the brink of one of the worst recessions in decades and with no jobs on offer, they are heading home before their student visas expire. About 20,000 Indians are on student visas in the UK, according to British Government statistics.

“I’ve sent off dozens of applications and signed up with two recruitment agencies,” said Vora, who had been looking for a job in marketing and sales for two months. “All I get is rejection. There are hiring freezes everywhere.”

There were 70 people on her MSc in International Management course at King’s College London and all were struggling to find work, she said. She had wanted to work in London for a few years to see how a non-Indian company functioned and get global exposure.

Shreyans Chowdhary (23) from Ahmedabad is completing his MSc in Management from Cass Business School in London. He too has faced a barrage of rejections after applying for 16 graduate trainee schemes.

After shelling out Rs 13 lakh for course fee, he is now planning to return to India.

Anand Biyani (27) from Kolkata is one of the few Indians who got a job after a Masters in London. But rather than being in London, it is in Mumbai — with Old Mutual plc.

This time last year, almost 100 per cent of students from his Rs 20-lakh MBA course at Cass Business School had job offers. This year only 50 per cent did, and many of those were lower-level jobs, he said.

But after unsuccessfully applying for 30 jobs in investment banks the ex-stockbroker said: “London is not a great place to find a job right now. The situation there is pathetic.”

Susan Roth, director of MSc programmes at Cass Business School admitted recruitment in London this year had been “tougher”. But she said historically students from emerging economies had returned home to family businesses. “The current business climate in India, particularly Mumbai, is one of the most exciting in the world,” she added.