Saturday, 11 April 2009

Wanna work in the US - No thanks say the Chinese

Has the US lost its lure as an attractive destination for the best and the brightest ?

I gave a guest lecture at the MBA school in the Sun Yat Sen university here in Guangzhou today. This is one of the top universities in China and some of the brightest students in the country study here. They come from all over China - there's a tough competitive exam to get through before anyone can get in.

There were about 70 MBA students I was talking to. During the course of my session I asked, how many would like to work in the US after graduation. I was expecting a sea of hands.

Not one hand was raised. Yes not one. I asked three times and got the same answer. Not one wanted to work in the US.

I was dumbfounded. I asked why. Got some muted responses - there won't be many jobs in the US after the recession. Somehow I was just not connecting. These youngsters weren't all that excited about going and working in the US. It just didn't click for them. I almost heard them say " Why should I go "? They thought they would be better off working in China.

Here is another evidence of the massive change happening in China. Parts of China are clearly first world. There's enough money to be made here. The action seems to be here. Exciting careers can be had here, without having to go anywhere else. For this group of students at least, the US is far from the Promised Land.

Sure, one session with a group is no evidence of anything. But sometimes the penny drops.

The world beware. You better start learning Mandarin. There's a tectonic geopolitical shift happening.

Ni Hao world !


Adesh Sidhu said...

Good thing about India and China is that that can look inwards in these bad economic times. Indian corporates are doing well because rural India is insulated to world recession, agricultural produce for last three years is good and farmers are reaping benefits of various govt. schemes.

There is also trend of NRIs are coming back to India as job situation in US is getting worse.

Kevin said...

Mr. Ramesh, I'm one of the audiance of you lecture today. Thanks for your great lecture! I agree with your analysis, but here I think there are some other reasons. Because all of us have had several work experience, I think most of us are confident to find a better job in China after we graduate. Another thing is that some of us have been married and even some have already had children. So we will not consider about working aboard in the future. But I belive that if there is a opportunity I can work in U.S., I will take it surely. ^_^

Ramesh said...

Adesh - Yes thats true in India, but many of the best and brightest in India still aspire to go to the US.

Kevin - Thanks for visiting. Understand that there are the other factors you state as well behind the lower attraction of the US.

Anonymous said...

Mr.Ramesh what you have written I believe is strong anecdotal evidence of the shifts.India will also reflect the same sentiments in due course.There are many wanting to return to India.India lacks political leadership strength and low middle class interest in public life and policies. Deeyes

Ramesh said...

Deeyes - yes this might happen in India as well, but not for sometime I think. China is some distance ahead.

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