I had met Arpan back in 2014 in Kolkata through a common friend. Back then he was studying for his Bachelors degree. Two things that really impressed me were his curiosity and his aspirations. He comes from a very humble background. His family had serious financial constraints. He was on a scholarship to support his undergraduate studies in Kolkata.
He was among many other Indians who have these doubts about how to fund studies abroad and what are the chances of getting a job in a foreign country after the completion of the degree. He pretty much reminded me of myself during the 2006-2007 phase.
I told him to start gathering information and to keep in touch with me. He has been very diligent. Arpan got in touch with me in 2015 and expressed his plans to go abroad for Sep/Oct 2016 intake. I suggested considering UK and Ireland as shorter durations of Masters programs in those countries would help to bring down the overall expenses.
He got an admit to the Masters in Interactive Media program at the University of Limerick with a 50% scholarship. He recently moved to the Netherlands. Let’s find out more about his study abroad journey.
Career Transition from Content Writing to UI/UX Design to CRM Management
By Arpan Mitra
My Motivation and Thought Process for Studying Abroad
I always had aspirations of pursuing a Master’s degree and I also wanted to get the formal education chapter of my life over in one go since I was personally not keen on working for a few years and then going back to academics.
I was interested in studying abroad because firstly, living abroad and experiencing the culture of a different country is something I always wanted to do. And secondly, I was of the belief that there were better opportunities for me out there.
My decision to go abroad for a Master’s became harder to make because once I had completed my Bachelor’s in Multimedia from St. Xavier’s College, I secured a role at Cognizant through our college’s placement drive.
Overall, the decision at the time was a hard one to make because I had to turn down a job opportunity, but moving abroad has been an extremely fulfilling decision at the end of the day and I’m definitely happy with the choices that I made all those years ago.
About Masters in Interactive Media
The Master’s in Interactive Media programme at the University of Limerick offers students a best of both worlds approach to Human-computer interaction. The first semester is (or atleast used to be) theoretical in nature, while the final two semesters tended to be more practical.
The programme offers career paths to students who have aspirations of working in a professional capacity while also opening pathways for students who want to pursue a future in academia.
My Experience at University of Limerick
Overall I had a very positive time at the University of Limerick. I found the teaching faculty to be excellent and the course content was also quite relevant.
The careers division was supportive with any basic requests that you would ask of them, such as reviewing your CV and giving you information about careers fairs and other events. But something that aspirants need to be totally clear about is that the actual process of seeking the right career opportunity for oneself is something that students have to lead.
My Advice on Getting Internships and Jobs after Masters as an International Student
I would always urge students to be as flexible as they possibly can when moving abroad for higher studies. International students will find themselves living alone in a new country and being rigid in accordance with how they lived life before moving abroad will only make it more difficult to settle into their new surroundings.
This piece of advice is applicable when seeking internships and jobs as well because aspirants can never know what lies in store for them if they never open certain doors. At the start of my career, I worked in a variety of different internships and jobs before discovering the world of CRM.
In fact, when I first moved abroad, I wanted to become a UX Researcher. Working in Performance Marketing or CRM was not on the cards!
I came across the world of CRM in early 2019 and found this area to be the perfect combination between Technology, Design, User Experience and Communications and I’ve never looked back.
My Advice for Study in Ireland Aspirants
I lived in Ireland for almost 6 years and I had definitely become attached to the country, the people and the culture. I have a number of friends in Ireland and it was hard to uproot myself not just from the country but also my social circle.
In my opinion, Ireland is a good country to pursue a higher education in. The absence of a language banner, the welcoming attitude of the people, the high standard of education and promising career opportunities all make it a good option.
Few Limitations of Studying in Ireland
As with anything in the world, however, Ireland has some drawbacks as well. Ireland is very centred around Dublin and that leads to certain socio-economic imbalances which foreign students will also eventually become privy to when they move there.
There is also a housing crisis that affects both the rental and the buyer’s market. And finally, I found that after a while, the opportunities that are present in Ireland in certain fields can seem limited when compared to certain other countries that are also popular amongst international students.
How a Strong LinkedIn Profile heldped me with Landing up a Job Role witrh Uber in Netherlands from Ireland?
I did not proactively seek this opportunity at Uber in The Netherlands. A member of our recruitment team found me on LinkedIn because I happened to fit the profile of a vacancy they were looking to fulfil.
I believe that it can be quite difficult for international students to get a job in a country other than the one where they have gone to pursue their higher education. However, nothing is impossible since companies can sometimes be open to the idea of relocating potential employees if they fulfil their requirements.
My Role as a CRM Specialist/Manager
In my role as a CRM Manager at Uber, I focus on our Driver and Courier partners. Since I work on the Global CRM team, my work targets Driver and Courier partners from all across the world.
To summarise in one sentence, my job at Uber is to activate, nurture and retain our existing Driver and Courier partners by sending timely, relevant and supportive communications that help them make the most of the Uber platform.
Advice for Non-STEM Graduates to Land Job Roles in the Tech Sector
I have found that in Europe, there are often no clear lines and boundaries that divide and define certain graduates from others. Of course, there are obvious exceptions to that statement. Certain technical roles have very specific requirements which can only be fulfilled by graduates from very specific programmes.
However, I have personally found that there are enough roles in the Creative, Marketing and Operations sectors that are extremely malleable and only really need solid, well rounded people who are professional, independently driven and have a certain amount of understanding of the industry that they are stepping into.
I feel that students from Non-STEM backgrounds can prepare themselves for potentially transitioning into the Tech sector by getting some experience of the Tech industry whether it be through certain elective bridging modules in college or by looking for internship opportunities in Tech companies.
Pick Up Some Niche Tech Skills
Knowledge never goes to waste and having a diverse background across multiple spheres is definitely an advantage.
In terms of a roadmap however, I am a firm believer in doing what you like to do. Playing to your own strengths is the best thing you can do so if you feel that you have an interest in learning a bit of coding or analytics, then go ahead and learn more about this. But if this is not your jam, then I don’t think you should force yourself to do something you don’t like.
Figure out what you enjoy doing and what you’re good at and make them the core pillars of your profile.
My Views on Mentoring and Professional Career Counselling
I have a very positive opinion on counselling and mentoring in all walks of life, not just in education. Having the right guidance from the right person who understands your needs is extremely important and I believe that all aspiring international students should speak with specialised counsellors who are experts in their field.
All aspiring students who would like to go abroad for higher studies should first start planning their journey with some strong introspection into what they want to do, what their strengths are and also equally what does not float their boat.
Once they are happy with themselves and their answers to these questions, they should communicate this clearly with their counsellors so that their counsellors can better help them.
My Experience in Netherlands
The Netherlands has been great so far!
There are a lot of positive similarities with Ireland such as the welcoming attitude of the people and the warm culture.
But then, The Netherlands adds to this and goes a few steps further by also providing much better public infrastructure with more robust public transport options, better developed frameworks to support international students and workers, and improved standard of living.
Additionally, more varied career opportunities in certain fields.