In Pakistan there is a concept that holding a foreign degree really boosts your earning potential, along with your chances of getting a great job. However this concept is not entirely true. Unless one does not hold a Bachelors/Masters/PhD degree from a top global university it does not really matter if you have a foreign degree or not. And getting into a top program like at Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, MIT (just to name a few) is not an easy task.

Over the past few years many Pakistani’s have went abroad for higher education. Many pursue their Bachelors/Masters and a very few go on to do their PhD’s. However I have not seen many get anywhere extraordinary with these qualifications. On the contrary those who went to the top U.S. universities or to Oxford and Cambridge have all made their way into some really awesome places or have made important contributions to this world or country.

Therefore the decision is not whether as a Pakistani student you should go abroad for a degree or not. The question is where from. I know that many of us go abroad just as a means of migrating away from Pakistan. But that is not doing justice with yourself if you are a top student in Pakistan. As a student you must try once to get into the top and then if you are unable to do so, decide future alternatives.

Going abroad for an education is a humongous task that one undertakes. It requires time, effort, money, sleepless nights of work and above all facing the problems of living away from family. Therefore it will not be fruitful to make all these sacrifices for a meager degree. After all it is you career, your future at stake. You must make decisions wisely.

Breaking into these top places will require you to have an extraordinary portfolio comprising of a good GPA, letters of recommendations, Statement of purpose, work experience, top scores in tests like the GRE, GMAT, TOEFL etc. Therefore start preparing early. Standardized tests like the GRE/SAT/ACT/GMAT are a big obstacle and as a student in Pakistan, one must strive hard to ace them early in your application process. Experience, LOR’s etc are another part of the bigger picture.

To summarize do dream of going abroad but dream high. Dream of riding your bike through carefully manicured quads, past blooming flowers and statues at Harvard 🙂 Good Luck!