Published: 18th September 2019
Australian universities attract Indians as the education system here is pragmatic: Macquarie University's Nicole Brigg
We spoke to Nicole Brigg, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), Macquarie University, to understand how good the opportunities are for Indian students in Australia and whether it makes financial sense
Macquarie University is currently among the top two per cent of universities in the world and easily in the top 10 in Australia. They are offering new dual-degree programmes, specifically designed for Indian students from 2020. We spoke to MQ's Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), Nicole Brigg, who tells us about why an increasing number of Indians students are opting for higher education in Australia and more. Here's what transpired:
How is Macquarie University making it simpler, providing more opportunities to Indian students to pursue higher studies in Australia?
Macquarie University is committed to making the process of application and admission simple and easy for our students. Our new curriculum architecture has been designed in a way that makes it easy to understand on one hand and flexible enough to meet the student needs and aspiration on the other. Our application process is very simple. We have an online application which is mostly applicable for all programmes except MBA. MBA requires a different application but for all other programmes, we use one single application. Also, we don’t charge any application fee . In fact, the scholarships we offer to the students are not complicated at all.
A lot of Indian students are opting for higher education in Australia currently than applying to other countries? What has changed?
The quality of study in Australia is carefully regulated by the Australian government in order to maintain a high standard of education and this makes it more reliable for students to choose this place as a study destination. Apart from these factors, Australia offers a post-study work visa for the students. If a student is enrolled in a three-year undergraduate degree or two-year Masters degree, they are able to stay in Australia for a further two years and look for work and gain some work experience. Also, there are similarities between the Indian and Australian education systems. Both are broadly based on the British education system.
What is the career or job prospects for Indian students who earn a degree from Australia? How does it increase their employability?
One of the great things about the Australian education system is that it is of very high quality and very pragmatic. It understands that the reason students are pursuing these degrees is to get a job at the end and hence the system focusses on imparting practical knowledge in the content areas of the degree and puts major emphasis on transferable skills for example, the ability to think creatively, being innovative, being entrepreneurial, being able to work in diverse teams with people from different cultures and backgrounds, being able to master different kinds of technology, being resilient etc. At Macquarie University, we focus on making sure that the programmes we are offering are relevant to the current labour market. Keeping this in mind, we have introduced whole range of new programmes that provide skills current employers are looking. Big Data, Business Analytics, Psychology, particularly psychology that relates to Marketing and Business, Forensic Accounting - moving traditional accounting into forensic accounting - and then cyber aspects of accounting, which helps to keep track where the money is going/protect data around money. Similarly, in the area of science, we are looking at what is new/cutting edge like Synthetic Biology which is going to be one of the great new technologies of the next 2 decades. In the telecommunication areas, we are looking at 5G, news ways of using telecommunications. At this point in time, our main aim is to only make sure that the content of our degrees is very relevant to what is happening in the economy and industry.
There has been a significant increase in the number of scholarships given to students, why is that?
At Macquarie University there has been a tenfold jump in the scholarships for all degree programmes commencing in 2020. The university offers up to $40,000 scholarship for Indian students enrolling in the undergraduate program and up to $25,000 scholarship for postgraduate programs. The scholarships will be disbursed as $10,000 annual scholarship towards tuition fees covering all coursework programs commencing in 2020. This would mean a student enrolling in a 4-year undergraduate degree would receive $40,000 over 4 years or approximately 25-30 per cent off their total tuition fees.
What are subjects or domains Indian students are most attracted to while they opt to study in Australia?
Indian students are particularly interested in IT-related programmes and that’s probably the bigger group, but we are also seeing lot of students coming into engineering, business, humanities and social science programmes. Some of our best programmes are in International Relations, Media and Communication, Cultural Studies, Creative Writing as well as all traditional business areas especially Management, Marketing and Applied Finance.
Tell me more about the Dual Degree programmes on offer at MQ.
We have made it possible at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels to put together two different discipline areas in a way that was previously not possible. It is quite a rare and unusual approach which is not taken by any other Australian universities and even internationally. At the undergraduate level, we have taken the core of two undergraduate degrees and now we are offering a double degree programme ie two undergraduate degrees in four years. For e.g. one can put together a two-year degree in Marketing and a two-year degree in Psychology and graduate with a degree in Psychology & Marketing. A student with this double degree is more attractive while applying for a job to an advertising company rather than having just one degree in Marketing or a degree in Psychology. At the postgraduate level, students can do the same.