How to launch ID career? MDes or Job?


Well I am in a dilemma of my lifetime! I am at a point where I need to decide if Masters is the right option for me or not.

Heres a little background story:
I am an Indian ID graduate with a diploma in Industrial Design. ( Indian 4 year diploma is equivalent to underGrad abroad) I did my graduation from one of the leading design schools of India. I was one of the top student of my class and was awarded the best graduation project award. While studying I did two internships in India with Samsung and a private design firm. And then I applied for coop/graduation project internships all over the world. I got few positive responses and ended up doing 4 month internship in China with a house appliance design firm and then got an opportunity to travel to US to do a 6 month internship with one of the leading design firms on the east-coast. These back to back internships gave me a good work exposure to the different design cultures and industry setups from two major design leading nations. After that I came back to India and started doing freelancing/contract basis assignments for last one year. During this time I was also fortunate enough to win a Red dot award for one of my design concepts.

After working in India for a year I have realized that Indian design scenario is still developing and it would be much beneficial for my career if I get an opportunity to work in US or Europe. And Hence I have been applying for different job openings but have realized that though I have been getting a positive feedback, its much difficult to find a job mainly due to the visa complexities. Hence I am in a dilemma if I should quite the job hunt and instead apply for Masters course in US/EU which would be a potential launching pad for my career or am I doing something wrong because of which I am failing to find a good job opportunity abroad?

I also wanted to know if its possible and common for international students to find jobs after their Masters in US/EU and get a sponsored work visa? (Pardon me for this long post, but I would really appreciate all inputs/guidance I can get. Thank you. ) :slight_smile:

Coming from an international background the masters could be beneficial to get you some time in the US to meet contacts, share your work in person (conferences are very helpful for this) and get your feet planted.

It will be a challenge to find a job that is able to provide the Visa sponsorship in either case.

One other possible option is rather than jumping straight to the masters (which will be a very expensive investment) it could be more beneficial to come to the states for a few of the IDSA conferences. The trip would cost much less than semesters tuition, and if you have a solid portfolio you could share it and meet contacts that way. There are several regional conferences in the spring, you could try to attend more than one. Often this is where local employers will look for new graduates to hire.

Best of luck.

Thanks a lot Mike.Especially,for informing me regarding the IDSA conferences. That seems like an interesting option to try.
Anyone else has any feedback?? They would help me put things in perspective. Thanks

I have some friends from China studying in Germany. They are able to work there after the masters for two years, I’m not sure afterwards. I also think the master tuition is for free or just something like 300 EUR for the semester including transportation. You could contact the German Embassy in India and ask about it.

I’m also interested in working in the US at some point in the future, so it would be nice if you shared anything you found :slight_smile:

Good luck!

I work at a small firm in Chicago. It’s difficult for us to hire someone from abroad and to go through the Visa process partly due to the cost (which is unfortunate! I believe design firms should be as diverse and international as possible).

From my perspective you’ll have better luck with a large corporation, or larger design firm more familiar and willing to go through the process.

Best of luck!

I just wanted to let you know that it doesn’t cost that much to go through the visa process and there are a couple of different options. For a small company it would cost around $5000, a larger one around $6-7ooo - this includes lawyer fees.

When you think about it, over the 3-4 years the visa is valid for it isn’t a huge sum of money in the grand scheme of things. Like you said it is bringing diversity to the talent pool.

Another route is to hire someone international as an intern/trainee for a year to give them a test run before coughing up the visa money. This is a simple visa where the employer only has to fill out a bit of paperwork outlining what the employee would be doing with them. The cost of the visa is swallowed by the employee and for a year is about $1300, a fraction of what a degree would cost. Hope this helps

Awesome thanks for the info! I’ll share that with others here - we have shied away from opportunities in the past. Unfortunately decisions like that aren’t up to me.

No problem! A lot of it is designed in such a way to make it seem undesirable and hard work for US companies to hire internationally. It isn’t easy but with a bit of research and the right lawyer it can work - and not break the bank.

The intern/trainee option is a great tactic too as the employee provides their own health insurance which is why it is a little pricey for them. They are also exempt from paying certain taxes. It might work out cheaper for an employer to hire someone this way than it is to hire full time. At least you know at the end of the year if things don’t work out you can let them go. OR if things do work out it makes the $5000 for sponsorship a little easier to swallow as you know how well they work.

If you need anymore advice inbox me and I can point you or the head honcho in the right direction!

Thanks for that info, i will try to make some research in the visa issue, is good to know about that intership option, because for us as non-usa citizens is hard to get a working visa/permit. i have only a tourist/business visa for 10 years, but im not sure if with that visa will be enough to work legally for an intership position.

Thanks a lot IDAL for that info. Good to know that there are job opportunities for foreigners in Europe. I will definitely have to look into it. May I know which university your friends did their Masters from?

Thank you.

I understand your point of view but as “Sketchgaurd” has mentioned, It is much easier than it sounds. Two years back, I had the opportunity to do an internship in a Design firm in USA for 6 months, They had sponsored my Internship visa and travel expenses. It didn’t cost them more than $2000 approx. I was very fortunate to get that opportunity being a student at that time.

Also after doing some research I have found out that the Employee also can apply for H1 work Visa on his own through a 3rd party Sponsor company. In this case the Design firm only needs hire the international Employee ,and the Employee needs to pay the Visa fees of $5000 and do all the paperwork. Seems like a good alternative. ( One can look at the cost as an investment towards his career) :stuck_out_tongue:

Hi, good to know there are others sailing in the same ship with me :stuck_out_tongue:

But let me tell you, You are not allowed to work or do an internship on tourist/Business visa. You need to apply for J1 visa for that.

They were studying at Folkwang University and HFG Schwäbisch Gmünd but I think it’s the same for any other uni. There are pretty good design schools in Germany, I think it could be a good option.

Can you clarify this a little more please as so far to my understanding and speaking to immigration lawyers the H1 is only valid through the direct employer and not a third party?

I can speak from personal experience and recommend the J-1 arrangement, which Sketchgrad has mentioned.
It’s a great low-cost/low-commitment solution for both the firm and for you to see if a fulltime position would work out.
I have to warn though, the health insurance that comes with the visa is terrible and practically useless. So I would recommend to add an additional one.

Don’t be discouraged by the technicality that it is labeled an “internship” or “trainee” position, which it was in my case.
It is much more a trail period for both parties.

However, I think that you should not pay a bunch out of your own pocket. $1300 is not going to be much for a successful firm but it is a lot for a young designer, just starting out. If the company is reluctant to pay at least this and to help with the paperwork, it doesn’t bode well for future possible employment as there will be more cost and a lot more paperwork.
As tempting a position in the states might seem, I’d recommend to be careful and to make sure that the company has a healthy and fair way of dealing with international employees.

As Bepster confirmed the J1 is a great route. It can be used by people a little more senior as a trial period and not just recent grads/juniors.

Also be weary of the position, make sure its paid and make sure the company is doing the design you like. Its a long way to go to find out you don’t like the way they work.

I also suggest heading over to your desired city for a month or two and make yourself as indispensable as possible for interviews. It’s a lot better to discuss the visa stuff in person than it is over Skype/email, this way the employer can get to know you a little and will wait a while while the paperwork is done.

Can you clarify this a little more please as so far to my understanding and speaking to immigration lawyers the H1 is only valid through the direct employer and not a third party?[/quote]

Even I am trying to get more information regarding this process, but one of my acquaintances got a H1 Visa similarly.
She applied for H1 through a company which basically hires you as their employee and then they get into a contract with the company/design firm where you want to work. So basically the design firm doesn’t have to do any paper work etc. The only clause is that you need to pay the visa fees own your own and have a confirmed job offer in you hand before you apply for the H1 visa.

Seems like an interesting option, but the issue that still remains is to get a confirmed job offer, as most of the firms I came across were looking to hire within 1/2 months notice time and aren’t ready to wait for 4 months time which is needed for H1 processing.

Well I have been through that option. J1 Visa is definitely the best option to get an actual exposure in the industry and have a few months of international work experience under your belt but the main hurdle you face if you want to convert it into a full-time job opportunity is:

A. J1 Visa has a clause which doesn’t allow you to come back to the country for next two years. This means that one is required to return to their home country for two years at the end of the internship. This happened with me, I wasn’t aware of this clause until I received my J1. and at the end of my internship even though my employer was open to the idea of extending the offer, I had to go back.

B. As per my knowledge you are only eligible for J1 visa if you are a current student or a recent graduate ( no longer than one year since graduation).

Please do share any information regarding this. My info might be not 100% accurate.

You’re information is more or less accurate.

Regarding point A - the 2 year home stay requirement depends on which country you are from. The UK and most of Europe/the Western world are exempt from this, unfortunately most of Asia, India and the East aren’t which is probably why you couldn’t take the offer of extending your time. It’s just another one of those rules that the US enforces to make it difficult.

Point B - This is the difference between being a J1 intern and a J1 trainee. You can be a J1 intern up to year after graduating. You can be a J1 trainee with one year or more professional work experience in your home country in the same field. Proof of this would be pay stubs etc.

A J1 trainee is valid for 18 months and is more what Bepster was talking about when taking it as a trial period. I did forget to mention the home stay requirement so it’s worth double checking what countries usually get this enforced. Sometimes though this can be at the discretion of the interviewer at the US embassy - however it very rarely happens to UK/European citizens.

Unfortunately the J1 option isn’t for you and I’m sorry for the false hope. Although it sounds like you made some great connections through your original internship so if you have completed your 2 years in India why not reach out again? I’m not sure if the 2 year stamp may impact your chances of getting a student visa also? It might be worth reaching out to an immigration lawyer in the US as my knowledge of the situation is running a little dry!