Thursday, February 16, 2006

Job in UK? Internship in the UK?

Since I thought about doing an MBA, I had thought about the option of doing it from UK/Europe. In the end however, I came to Fuqua (for good reasons). However, ever since I came here, I toyed with the idea of interning in UK. I didn't know where to begin though. I did not have a work permit for UK, and even if there were ways to get it, would any company would process your work permit for a 3-month internship? Definitely not.

So in my free time (precious free time! :-D), I browsed around looking for options to do an internship in UK. There were many questions. How can I enter UK? How can I convince companies of my interest in UK? Is there a way for me to work in UK for 3 months and come back? How do I go about getting a visa without a job offer from UK company? It was a chicken and egg problem. Should I look for a company that might be interested in me first, get an offer, and then go to the UK consulate with that? Or should I first get some visa in which I can work and then go with that visa and look for an internship? The latter seemed more feasible of course. If I can pull that off, I can technically check the box "Have necessary work authorization to work in UK" and then of course, I get a level playing field for job opportunities in UK along with work permit holders and citizens.

So I looked around some more, found an appropriate visa, and succeeded in the process! And the least I can say is that I am THRILLED! Part of the reason I am thrilled is that I have been to UK before on visits and I love the country, its pubs, music, people, diversity, literature, culture! In addition to that, it is the fact that I am now technically eligible to work in the UK for up to 1 year! I still don't know how feasible it is to get a job in UK, but nevertheless, trying this option out was really really fun!

So here are the mechanics. I don't quite know where to start, so let me start at the beginning and give some background. UK has something called the Highly Skilled Migrant Program (HSMP). (If you know about this, hold on a second because this is not the solution to doing an internship there). This is a migrant program for people with certain set of skills that might be useful to UK. To read more about this program, you can visit:
"The programme is designed to allow highly skilled people to migrate to the United Kingdom to look for work or self-employment opportunities.... The Highly Skilled Migrant Programme is different from the work permit scheme because you do not need a specific job offer in the UK to apply."

So I guess you get the gist. What's more? There is something called the MBA provision in HSMP. Read:

"The 2004 Budget announced a new provision for graduates of 50 top business schools to work in the UK for up to 12 months on completing their MBAs. This provision is now part of the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP)."

Needless to say, Duke University is part of this "list". So, in essence, after an MBA from one of these universities, you can apply for this migrant program and walk in freely into UK! But WAIT A MINUTE: It says "on completing their MBAs" above. So technically, you can't avail of this opportunity until you pass out of the program. I am looking for internship and clearly, I don't think this clause will help. Before I move on, here is a link that lists these universities and has more information about this clause:

(The only unfortunate thing is that there is no Indian university listed there, not even IIMs, so I hope UK government adds at least a couple from India) :-(


OK, so that was about the MBA clause of HSMP. And it is useful if you are interested in working in UK.

For internship, I explored the visa site and came across a visa called Working Holiday Maker. Under this visa, you can stay in the UK for up to 2 years and during your stay, to support yourself, you can work for up to 1 year. Here is a website with more information:

"You can stay in the UK for up to two years as a working holidaymaker, in line with the validity of your visa... You must intend to take work in the UK only as an incidental part of your holiday, so you must intend to spend no more than 12 months working, and to spend the rest of your stay on holiday."

Two important conditions (please check the above website for the exhaustive list) are that you should be from one of commonwealth countries (I know India is one of them) and that you should be between the ages of 17 and 30 to apply. The list of commonwealth nations is given in:

My idea was simple. I want to go to UK during summer and do my internship there to support myself. It is 3 months, it's a fantastic time to visit UK (I think, with the nice summer sunshine and weather!) The next question was to look at the Fuqua alumni list and see if I can get contacts in UK to apply for jobs. I found a reasonable amount of Fuqua alumni in UK and went ahead and applied for the visa.

I heard back from the consulate today and my visa has been approved! Now I can check that checkbox in job sites and hopefully will have a better chance. Here are the logistics: (Please note that these might change depending on your country of current residence. I applied from here in US and this is the process from here. From other countries, there would be of course slightly different procedures)

Cost: ~$200 (Again, in US at least, but it should be same everywhere I would think)
App. Fee - $162
If you apply by post:
Postal charge (for returning passport to you) - $12
Postage charge (to send your material to UK consulate by UPS/FedEx) - ~$20
Main documents:
US stay document (like I94, H1, green card etc.)
Bank statements to support your application and financial strength (3 months statement)

That's it!

I am hoping that with this visa, I can go ahead and apply to UK companies for internship. Most companies hire for internship with your long-term intentions in mind, so if you have JUST this visa, then they might say "OK you can work for us for 3 months, but if we like you, what next? We will have to process your work permit for UK once you pass out".... and that might not be necessarily what they want to do. Here is where the HSMP clause kicks in. If they like me and I like them, I can get the HSMP status and go and work for them! So this theoritically makes me as good a candidate as anyone else.

I am not even sure if I will apply for positions in UK, now that I have this visa. However, it is an option for me now. As I come across good companies and good roles, I would like to use it and just might spend my summer at a great country!! :-) Cheers mate!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for providing the cooked information.

Anonymous said...

This is super news, congrats! :)

You've really done a lot of research on this! :) And the info you've provided is priceless!

Let us know the good news soon :)

Anonymous said...

Yohoo!! You are well on ur way boy! Rock on!! Lol, I knew it had to be the pubs there... LOL ;-) Cheers.. Simbaaaaaaa

Anonymous said...

Hi Shivesh,

I am a Duke applicant from India. I have been observing your posts silently and your tips on MBA admission interviews helped me a great deal with the Duke alum interview. Thank you for that.

However the scenario with internships scares the shit out of me. Need more details on the internship stuff. Would it be okay to reach you over email? My email ID is

Drop in a line if you can spare some time.

Thanks in advance

Shivesh said...

Good luck for your results on Duke interview. I am glad my experience helped in your interviewing. Regarding the internship search, my thoughts relate to general job search for an MBA student. The two key points I want to get across is that if you want to change careers, start early and if you are an international student and have limited exposure to US society, you might have to find an entry into certain functions through different paths. I have known interns who got into brand management in a US CPG company and found themselves a little out of place. That is a reality that most applicants will face, so I just want to make you guys aware of it. Both these facts are regardless of you getting business education or anything particular to any business school. There are a lot of opportunities coming our way, and it depends on how seamlessly you can fit in. There is nothing to be freaked out about! :-) I am sorry if I painted a rather gloomy picture! :-)

To take my example, I came here with strategy and marketing in mind, and that's what I still want to do. In fact, I find myself more of a fit into some functions of marketing whereas earlier, I was inclined very much towards strategy. Overall, I would suggest exploring the strengths of schools and fit during the application process; the rest depends on individuals themselves. As far as marketing is considered, I found Fuqua fantastic. The Marketing Club is super-active, the profs. are very well known and really good and I think I have seen more companies in Fuqua campus than I could ever imagine! Anyway, I will stop my rambling and hope I have been able to answer some concerns.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the response Shivesh

Well your posts did not exactly paint a gloomy picture. It definitely helps me n other fellow applicants be well informed about the scenario.

Would you mind throwing some light on strategy at Fuqua? That is something I am interested in. And I come from the common Indian IT pool with 6 years of experience at Honeywell. I am not sure if the profile info matters much..


Dave Hunter said...

I would definitely reccomend doing an internsip in the UK. My wife is from England and it is a great place to spend some time. Just amke sure you go to one of the nice parts- London of course is fantastic although very expensive- MAnchester would also be a really cool place to intern at- loads of big companies there, and it is nice and central for visiting the rest of the UK. If you do go make sure you check out the cheap flights to the rest of Europe.

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Unknown said...

Shivesh ... I am in the UK and will be applying to Duke next year. I'd be happy to help you with visa and HSMP queries. I will get my residency (GC equivalent of US) this year and then it takes only 1 year after that to get ur citizenship. You can reach me at my blog

Good luck mate

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