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European education

Old Jun 7th 2004, 3:05 am
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Originally posted by Muswell Hill

Forget the evaulation, they are shite anyway. WES are a non-regulated and non-accountable independent company, who only offer and i qoute "their best judgement of a qualification". You will pay upwards of $100 for something that is useless.
Which begs the question.. why have none of you clever people started your own evaluation business... A web site, nice headed paper and your away...
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Old Jun 7th 2004, 11:59 am
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Hi Ola,

I've pretty much been through the same myself and will try to explain what's waiting for you. However, I don't have a job that has anything to do with my education yet and am still doing my MBA in General Management. So, I cannot help you with what to do with it. Hopefully in less than a year or so I can help you with that, too .

1. First of all, sooner or later you will have to get a WES document to demonstrate the equivalence of your education. If you apply for jobs whilst still outside the US, the companies may not ask for WES type of evaluation. They would probably want to send your documents to evaluation, themselves. However, if you apply for jobs when you're here, then the best thing to do is to provide the WES documents even before they ask for them. There is no harm in being prepared for any kind of situation. If one's looking for a decent job in today's business world, one should be able to demonstrate what he/she's done with his/her life up to that point. Not only verbally but by providing documentation also. Any published article of yours (professional of course), Master's thesis or some study you did in a particular object that is relevant to the position you're applying for etc. would be perfect a document to bring with you to a job interview. Personally I believe that it would also show your future employers how organized and detail oriented you are which is crucial in today's business world.

The qualification of WES as an organization ... blah blah blah ... is totally irrelevant. You cannot assume that people are what they say they are. As far as I'm concerned, qualifications should always be verified. An academic should know it better (hint hint). Also, you cannot expect to start a new life in someone else's country without spending a penny and going through routine checks of any kind. That would be absurd. When you live in a foreign country, you have to live by their rules not your own individual rules. Also, some HR lady in Arkansas is not obligated to know everything about different educational systems in different countries. Hence the need for WES or others. I hope some people would understand this.

You probably will work in a finance company or a bank that would probably have a strict pre-employment screening due to obvious security related reasons etc. in that field. So, you are most likely to be asked to provide WES or something similar. Most of the financial companies verify every degree with no exceptions and they don't care if it's obtained in the US or not. However, they may just interview you and offer you the job on the spot without asking for any kind of documentation. You never know what crosses an employer's mind.

Also, some states require a Bachelor's Degree for certain positions even the Degree is in an unrelated field. They certainly verify it as well. For example to work as a state registered Mental Health Technician/Counselor in PA, you have to have some sort of a Bachelor's Degree. It doesn't matter if it's in Horticulture. In the UK for instance, you can do this job with no qualifications.

2. WES wants you to send just a clean copy of your documents for employment related evaluations. If you need the evaluation for admission to a university or a graduate school then WES wants the institute that you graduated from to send the ORIGINAL transcript and the other desired documents DIRECTLY to them in a sealed envelope. WES then performs the course-by-course evaluation and determines what your GPA would be equal to in this country. I believe that is also a smart thing to verify the "authentication" of the documents if you know what I mean.

3. Some employers MAY and almost every graduate school WILL ask you to take the TOEFL exam as English is not your native language (given they require all the paperwork before your interview). Most of the time however they just determine the level of your English during the interview and skip the TOEFL. There is no fail or pass in TOEFL. All you have to do is get a score of 650 or higher (usually) for a good graduate school. I don't think you would have any problem with getting a near perfect score.

4. WES keeps your evaluation papers etc. in your file and whenever you want, they send a new one to you or to an employer or a school that you choose. All for an additional charge of course.

5. Although I don't know a lot about Swedish educational system, I know that the Master's programs in Switzerland are pretty much similar to those in Austria. Years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Vienna and check out the University of Wien. They had programs very similar to yours. Basically the programs were a combination of Bachelor's and Master's. Although it sounded fine at first, after careful research and conversations with academics as well as students I was convinced that it usually took 5 to 6 years to graduate from the said programs. Although I was flattered with the possibility of studying at Wien Uni, I didn't want to spend that kind of time in school as I already had a Degree and found out that there were better opportunities for me in England.

Since you'll get your MSBA Degree in only 4 years, I'm sure the quality employers would realize that you are/were an exceptional student. I know that it is really hard almost impossible to finish that kind of a program in as little 4 years. That tells me a lot about your determination and self-discipline. I hope your future employers would think the same.

Lastly, experience is as important as education in the US. Without the experience, a Master's doesn't make a significant difference in salary and the level of seniority that it would if accompanied by experience.

Good luck.
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Old Jun 7th 2004, 2:35 pm
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dbj1000: thanks for your help.. it made me abit less worried! I still have the option to take another year in school in Sweden (since I have to wait for the 2 year home residence requirement anyway, in case I don't get a waiver), and I could take master classes for that year. That would give me a record of five years at university. However I'm not sure if it's at all worth it since it would cost me alot of money, not only in higher student loans but also in lost revenue as I could work for that year instead and save up some money and also gain some more experience to put on my resume. If you're right, it won't make such a big difference weither or not I have that extra year anyway.

Gross50: my year in the U.S. was on bachelor level, undergrad, as it was the bachelor / study abroad part of my programme.

Muswell Hill: thanks. that was exactly what I experienced during my semester in the U.S. - the classes I took on senior undergrad level were very (very) basic in comparison the to classes I take back home (in the MSBA programme). It would be silly to call the MSBA programme equivalent to an American bachelor degree.

matt_in_philly: thank you for all the information.

1. You say that I should bring a WES evaluation even before they ask for it - why? I will bring a diploma stating my degree, and if they start questioning it, I might consider getting a WES. If they don't question it, there's no point of giving them a WES certificate evaluating my masters as a bachelor just becouse I took it in 4 years instead of 5 (or 6). I would definately bring my master thesis if it was of relevance for the job applied for.

Aslo, let me know on what basis you are so sure that certain companies "most likely" will request a WEST certificate (or equivalent). Have you heard or read anything about it before or are you just guessing?

3. I will do the TOEFL test before I leave Sweden and will include it in my resume.

5. You're absolutely right that it usually takes 5 or even 6 years to accomplish a 4 year education in some European countries (in certain educations, of course). None of my friends will accomplish my MSBA program in 4 years, all of them are already planning their fifth year since they're lacking behind with some classes. I, however, have done well so far and hope to do just as good my last year, and if I do, then I will get my degree in total 4 years. I don't see why I should be punished for this when applying for jobs in the U.S., as I've worked very hard for the degree. I could of course have partied more and studied less and got it in 5 years instead, and if that's something WES would like to hear then I could take it easy this last year, skip some classes and get my degree in the end of my fifth year instead.. I could of course also take additional classes for an extra fifth year, then WES would probably give me a master, but I don't know if it's worth the effort (see above).

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Old Jun 7th 2004, 2:59 pm
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just finish your degree as planned, then deal with anything that arises later on.

Last edited by Gross50; Jun 7th 2004 at 3:01 pm.
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