Data science, business analytics top course choices among study overseas aspirants

Around 52 per cent of Indian students intending to study abroad prefer specialised courses over university reputation when choosing the institution, shows a study commissioned by Western Union.

“They seek courses that are niche, but slowly gaining importance, often looking beyond Ivy league universities that are unable to offer these courses,” said the Education Overseas–An Evolving Journey study commissioned to NielsenIQ.

Specialised courses a hit

Tarun Aggarwal, CBO of CollegeDekho, said the major concern for most of the students is Return of Investment (ROI) as pursuing a degree abroad requires a significant expenditure. Courses that land lucrative jobs like engineering, management, computer science, law, design and hospitality are always sought after by those who want to study abroad.

“Lately, the trend has shown that demand for courses like data science, business analytics, and fintech has been gaining traction. Also, combination courses like health informatics and engineering management have also proven to be popular choices for students,” Aggarwal added.

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The study abroad sector has witnessed an increasing trend of students opting for specialised courses. Leap Scholar’s data shows Indian students are inclined towards more popular courses like MBA, MSc Data Science, and Computer Science.

“While MBAs have always been a popular degree for international students in the US, students are increasingly choosing MBA-adjacent subjects like finance, analytics, and management. These fields hold extra appeal because they not only provide more career stability but also offer US immigration benefits after graduation, thanks to their STEM accreditation,” said Sasha Ramani, Associate Director (Corporate Strategy) at MPOWER Financing.

“MBA-adjacent STEM degrees are particularly popular among women, and even top schools are rushing to make them more widely available for everyone. Yale University, for example, recently rebranded its Economics degree as Econometric and Quantitative Economics so students can receive STEM accreditation, and the one-year master’s degree in Finance at MIT is predominantly made up of international students,” Ramani highlighted.

Popular courses in overseas universities

As per the data released by the Ministry of External Affairs, a total of 11,33,749 Indian students study in 99 foreign countries, as of January 2021. Of these, UAE, Canada, Australia, China are among the top destinations that Indian students choose for overseas studies.

Piyush Kumar, Regional Director (South Asia) at IDP Education, said students opt for best-specialised courses available in a country or the university they choose to study in.

“New Zealand is popular for its high education offerings while Canada is home to some of the most premium universities in the world, known for offering the best courses in business and finance, computer science and information technology, engineering, health and medicine, and media and journalism,” said Kumar.

“Several students opt for the UK to study courses associated with business, engineering and technology, natural sciences, medicine, law, social sciences, sports science, media and communication, creative arts, visual arts, performing arts, and hospitality and tourism. Meanwhile, many students choose to build a career in the field of medicine, medical sciences, engineering, and business management and consider Ireland as a preferred choice,” he added.

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