Dear Mentor:

After biochemistry, what next?

I finished my M.Sc. in biochemistry from Madras University. But now I don't know about the future. Please tell me if any further education in the US would help me or if a job in India would suit me. Please advice me and give suggestions. Thanking you.

What Next?, Chennai, India

Dear What Next?:

As you know, education is a means to an end and not an end unto itself. Thus, one should have some idea of what one wishes to pursue before one undertakes the pursuit of any education.

Your choices, at this stage, depend on the knowledge you have acquired and your personal interests. You have told us of your education but we are totally unaware of your interests. We have duly noted the choices you have outlined. You can certainly pursue further education in the US, provided your academic performance is good and you can arrange the required financial resources either via personal means of through financial aid. Alternatively, you can take up a job in India. Which of these "suits" you better is near impossible for us to tell. Making a better choice - further studies in the US or job in India - depends on what the criteria for defining "better" are. The criteria must be yours and not ours.

Let us assume that your sole criterion is that of making yourself more marketable; that is, you wish to enhance your value in the marketplace as you enter the job market. Generally speaking, the higher the education level, the greater the value but fewer and more specialized the opportunities. However, this rule of thumb is valid only for entry-level positions. As you progress through your career, your work performance and success become more important than the level and quality of your education.

Financially, the remuneration for work in the US is considerably higher than that in India. For employment in the US, education in North America is highly desirable, perhaps excepting the engineering and computer science fields.

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