Used to be, when we were counseling candidates who were considering coming to the United States for grad school, we’d be focusing on practical matters like career paths, need for an American MBA, expense and ROI, that sort of thing. Now, people are concerned about safety.
Safety?!? In America????
Yes. If you’re an international BSer, you’ve likely become hyperaware of this just in the past few weeks. This is definitely an important question, given the changing political climate, and the apparent hostility to foreigners that we’re seeing today.
This soundbite video from Columbia’s Chazen Institute for Global Business features a variety of Indians within the Columbia community expressing opinions about an American education and employment opportunities for citizens of India:
They’re surprisingly optimistic.
Of course, that video was almost certainly produced before the events of last week where two Indians were shot in a bar in Kansas. You’ve undoubtedly heard about this. They were employees of Garmin who were out at a local bar. They were both graduates of American master’s programs who stayed on in the U.S. on H1B visas. The gunman thought they were Iranian — not that that’s an excuse. It’s just another completely sad and awful fact, that further reinforces the truth that anyone who holds such hatred in his heart is not even educated about those he hates. Srinivas Kuchibhotla died from his injuries. Alok Madasani survived and has been released from the hospital.
We’ve heard that some internationals who are still considering school or work in the U.S. are focusing on the coasts, the so-called blue states — those places that did not vote for the current president. The climate is seen as friendlier in there. Here’s our map showing locations of the U.S. business schools in case you’re not familiar with the geography and where different bschools are located.
Most urban areas in America could also be called “blue”, in that they typically did not vote Republican in this last election, regardless of where they’re located. Even places you might not expect – like Dallas, Texas – voted Democrat. The State of Texas went Republican, but there were pockets that did not. When you look at a map that shows how the country voted, it can be very deceiving when there are big blocks of red. That just shows how the whole state went, and thus who won their electoral college votes (if you don’t understand the electoral college, don’t worry about it, it’s an idiosyncrasy of the American system that many Americans don’t understand). When you’re thinking about where you want to go to bschool, then you may have heard the advice that you should aim for one of these “blue” areas. With only a few exceptions, most top American bschools are located in cities. Even Ann Arbor, where Michigan Ross is, is a decent-sized place, and anyway, many smaller college towns also tended to go Democrat. Head to a college town, or any big city, and you should be safe.
It’s not like it’s only brown-skinned people who are now nervous and scared, or only POC living in some backwater parts of the country. There’s also been a rash of threats against synagogues, temples and JCCs, along with the despicable desecration of Jewish headstones at cemeteries. These have happened largely in those “blue” areas. Hatred is everywhere now, it seems.
And that may be true. However, we can’t live life based on fear.
The point of this post is not to castigate everyone living in one part of America compared to another. We are not trying to say that people in the South are racist and that if you’re coming from another country, you should not travel there or want to live there.
Why aren’t we saying that?
Because to say that would be exactly the same as what others are currently saying about specific countries.
That bad people come from those areas. That we need to watch out for immigrants coming in from some part of the world.
An act of violence could be committed anywhere.
It’s these shocking crimes that hit the media and get so much airplay.
Just a few years ago, it seemed there was a rash of rapes of female tourists in India. We heard about it here in the U.S. quite a bit. It probably caused some Americans to change their travel plans.
It did not change EssaySnark’s opinion of Indians.
People do awful things to each other. Always have. It’s unfortunately part of humans living together on this planet, at least at our state of current evolution.
EssaySnark does not advocate making decisions based on fear.
We still do not know where the American immigrant policy will go, and we can’t say if schools have changed their admissions strategies in response to the current administration’s attempts. We do not know if application volumes have been affected or if the schools are seeing fewer international applications in Round 3 than they normally do. We don’t know if any accepted candidates have changed their minds and canceled their enrollments.
What we do know is that American universities welcome free thinking and free speech. Both conservative and liberal views are expected, and supported, and encouraged in our educational system here. That has not changed.
American companies still value international perspectives and they appreciate the hard work that employees on a visa contribute. They will continue hiring international graduates as they are allowed to do by law.
Will those laws change?
We have a really hard time believing that fundamental overhauls to the skilled worker programs will truly pass through our Congress. Maybe EssaySnark is simply idealistic. Dunno. We’ll have to see.
Should you be freaked out by what you’ve read in the news and the horrible stories that have been coming out lately?
Should it make you rethink your life plans?
Yes to the extent that re-examining your goals is always healthy.
A resounding No if you will be abandoning your dream of an American education out of fear.
The entire world is facing terrorist attacks. No place is exempt.
That’s not an excuse for what’s going on in the U.S. right now.
But instead of reacting in fear, EssaySnark hopes that more education can be offered and pursued to change the world – not just for you in getting a business degree and a fancy new job, but education in the most fundamental sense.
We’ll get off that soapbox again. We’d be very interested to hear others’ thoughts on this. Obviously we have our own perspectives as Americans, and we don’t want to discount the very real emotions and concerns and difficulties that these changes may be raising in others. Feel free to leave a comment if you have anything you want to say about such matters.
You may also be interested in:
- Politics: International MBA applicants to American business schools (November 2016 – post-election)
- Application Strategies: International MBA applicants in a changing U.S. political reality (November 2016 – post-election)
- How will Round 2 go for international MBA applicants to U.S. bschools? (January 2017 – post-inauguration)
- What happens to global business schools when the U.S. President is protectionist? (January 2017 – post-inauguration)