Chinese Set Sights on U.S. Grad Programs

The Wall Street Journal’s Melissa Korn reports that specialized master’s degree programs in the have “found tremendous popularity” from Chinese nationals in recent years:

Companies in China’s fast-growing finance sector want hires with some advanced skills beyond a college degree, yet don’t need recruits with the high-level strategy expertise—and high salary requirements—that an M.B.A. might have, according to students and schools. A U.S. credential also makes students more appealing to multinational companies, schools say.

Nearly 60,000 Chinese citizens took the Graduate Management Admission Test in the 2011-2012 testing year, about triple the number in 2007-2008. In the latest year, 78% of those score reports were sent to U.S. programs, while 64% went to specialized master’s degrees world-wide.

Patricia Ying Ding was one of those students. Ms. Ding, 23 years old, attended college in her native China but spent time at University of California, Berkeley, and wanted more Western experience. Now enrolled at MIT Sloan School of Management’s M.S. in Finance program, about 85% of Ms. Ding’s class is international, and the school says a large share of those students are from Asia.

Chinese students who want to stay in the U.S. to work after they graduate must obtain a prized H-1B work visa, and the China Daily reports that competition for such work permits has soared:

The application period for the work visa opened on April 1 and continues until April 5. The congressional-mandated quota is a maximum of 65,000 H-1B work for the fiscal year 2014 beginning Oct 1. Another 20,000 H-1B will be awarded for those with masters or higher degrees from US academic institutions by US Citizenship and Immigration Services, which processes the applications.

Last year, the visa quota was reached in June, but it’s expected to quickly hit the limit this year, which would trigger a lottery of all the cases filed in the five-day filing window. That also would signal that companies feel confident enough about the economy to hire more foreign workers.

CIS plans to announce by the middle of next week if it will hold a lottery .

Cases not selected in the lottery will be rejected, and the filing fees won’t be cashed.

April 4, 2013, 1:18 AM
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