What Attracts Indian Students to Studying Abroad

For Indian applicants, there are a number of factors that characterize their pursuit of a post-graduate experience.

In a new report published by the QS Intelligence Unit titled, Indian Applicants: Ambition, Competition, and Fight for Employment’, the authors found a widespread feeling that there is an entrenched lack of equal opportunities in India. Such sentiment pushes prospective Indian students to seek study elsewhere. This is related to a range of grievances such as unemployment, which generates the desire to access the labor markets of study destinations elsewhere.

[fusion_testimonials design=”classic” backgroundcolor=”” textcolor=”” random=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=””][fusion_testimonial name=”Virish ” avatar=”male” image=”” image_border_radius=”” company=”Master’s in Finance Applicant ” link=”” target=”_self”]

My main aim and inspiration going into international study is that we will be getting better job opportunities and global recognition. In India there exist hierarchies in terms of employment opportunities and a degree from abroad will help to push these boundaries as we will get more recognized.


Population strain, work politics and ageism

Population strain is viewed as one cause of the inequality in India, with applicants feeling this creates intense competition for jobs. This is raised as a concern alongside attitudes towards mature workers, work politics and unequal hierarchy structures. Such views are expressed particularly strongly in Delhi, where prospective students conduct a lively debate about these issues.

Virish, who is looking for a master’s in finance, highlights issues with politics in the workplace: “Chances of getting recognized (abroad) will increase significantly, this is not possible in India. India is much more political, and nepotism exists. Internationally, it is much more meritocratic, these barriers will not exist as much.”

Concerns about ageism are also raised in Delhi, with mature workers feeling they are subject to discrimination both in the work place and when applying to study. Applicants suggest that a young worker will undercut a mature one by offering cheaper labor. Furthermore, a number of mature applicants expressed frustration that they would not be considered for a place at university, having had a gap between studies.

Gender Inequality

India’s labor force has witnessed a decline in female participation in recent years, hitting a alarming low of 22.5%. Some participants shared that they feel there is a glass ceiling in the workplace for women in India.

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We can become bold, because a lot of societal things make us oppressed in India. When it comes to women, it’s even more of a big stigma. That is [a] major concern, whereas when you go abroad it’s normal, they don’t judge [you] according to your gender. So maybe when I go abroad I can be free, I don’t need to think ‘I’m a woman I shouldn’t do this’, which makes me feel even more confident.


It can’t be denied that India is one of the fastest growing economies, and the next few decades will bring prosperity. However, this is also expected to coincide with huge population growth, that will overtake even China. Thus, the work economy will need to adapt fast in order to cater for this greater demand.

Regardless, the international student population can expect to experience enormous growth from the Indian market in the coming years.

Read our “Indian Applicants: Ambition, Competition & Fight for Employment” Report in full and explore all factors influencing student decisions.

Read our Report

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