In the past two years, I have received a number of questions regarding Erasmus Mundus IMIM (International Master in Industrial Management) programme. And with every passing year, the interest among Indian students is only increasing. So I have decided to collate all the questions I have received so far and make my own version of IMIM FAQs (you can find the official FAQs here). Although some answers are specific to Indian applicants, the information is useful to anyone who is interested in IMIM.
Note: If you have any question(s) apart from the ones already discussed here, feel free to post a comment below.
Q. Is the programme well known in Europe?
A. Not really. Even Erasmus Mundus (or Erasmus+ now) is not as famous as it should be. I am not sure if it’s the lack of marketing budget or poor marketing efforts, but not enough people know about this even within EU. And that is surprising considering the unique features of the programme, and of Erasmus Mundus in general. But things are improving and with each passing year, IMIM brand is getting bigger. And if you decide to join this programme, in job interviews you can differentiate yourself with points such as experience of living and studying in different countries, studying in an extremely diverse, multi-cultural environment etc.
Q. Is it worth to invest ₹20 Lacs and join this programme?
A. It depends on what you are looking for. If you are looking at it as a life experience, this is as good as it can get. You will get to study in 3 different universities, live in 3 different cities (and countries) with people from all around the world. And on top of that, option of traveling to 25+ countries due to Schengen visa and the flexibility it offers. And if you get a full/partial scholarship, the decision becomes easier. But if unfortunately you are not able to get any scholarship and spending ₹20 Lacs is a huge burden on you and your family, then I would say it is risky. Because as explained in other answers, getting a job in EU depends on many factors. So if you have to return to India, are you comfortable with repaying the loan with a job in India? You need to think about this worst case scenario and then decide based on your risk appetite. On the other hand if money is not an issue, I would suggest you to go for it!
Q. How easy is it to do the third semester at TU Munich?
A. This option was not available in my class (IMIM 10th edition). So I cannot answer the question. Please contact IMIM for clarification.
Q. What is the typical class strength of IMIM?
A. I can only comment on my class size. There were 32 people in my class from 21 different countries.
Q. Is it possible to find part time jobs or university assistantships during the studies?
A. Due to the relatively high unemployment rates in Spain and Italy, finding a part time job is not easy, especially if you do not speak the local language. So the chances are higher if you find a job where knowledge of English is enough. But it is not easy to find such jobs. And there were no assistantships during my time, although the IMIM website now mentions this option. So you can contact them for further information. But beyond that, assume you are going to pay for all expenses on your own, and consider it as a bonus if you find a part-time job.
Total expenses can be divided into two broad categories –
Monthly living expenses
Rent: expect to pay on average 450€ a month including utilities, internet etc. (in Madrid, Milan, Edinburgh, and Munich). Of course there is a possibility that you may find a cheaper room, but while estimating expenses it is better to use average values instead of best case scenario. Still to give you an idea, it is possible to find a private room starting at around 350€ a month (including all expenses) and shared room from around 250€.
Food: depending on your lifestyle i.e. vegetarian or not, cooking every day at home or eating out often etc., expect to spend between 100-300€. So let us consider 150€ as average, assuming you will cook at home on most days. A meal in a basic restaurant will be between 8-15€.
Local transport: if you opt for a monthly travel pass, expect to spend between 35-60€ per month depending on the city. Other option is to buy a second hand bike for 50-100€. At the end of the semester you can sell it for more or less the same price depending on the condition of bike. So in terms of money, it is a much cheaper option. But consider factors such as distance from university, weather etc. that may make it difficult to use bike for extended periods. So to be safe, let us add travel pass into your monthly expenses, with average amount of 50€.
Misc. expenses: there is really no limit for this category, but let us assume that you will keep it at 50€ per month on average.
So the total is: 450 + 150 + 50 + 50 = 700€ a month. Now on some months I have lived on even 500€ and it is possible to live on such amount for many months depending on the variables explained earlier. But when you are estimating expenses it is always better to consider normal or worst case scenario. Hence I would prefer to use 700€ as the average amount, though you may end up spending less.
The programme lasts for 22 months. So 700 * 22 = 15,400€
This includes visa cost, moving from one country to another at the end of each semester etc. I would say it will be between 1000-2000€ for the whole 2 year period, again depending on the situation i.e. flight tickets, amount of luggage etc. So let us consider 1500€ to be safe.
So the total cost of programme will be somewhere around 15,400 + 1500 = 17,000€ + tuition
This calculation does not include the cost of traveling to India during vacations if you plan to do that. So add around 700€ for each trip. Again, it is possible to find a return ticket for as low as 500€ if you are lucky. But from my experience, 700€ is a good average price.
Important suggestion: While estimating the expenses in INR, assume fluctuation of 10% in exchange rate and adjust your final number accordingly on the higher side. During my two years of this Master’s, I saw INR fluctuate against Euro in the range of 65 to 85, which is 30% change. But of course since you will pay tuition fee every semester, you may not see such steep change in exchange rate. But it is important to be mentally prepared for such a situation because even 10% change will be equivalent to adding 1700€ more to our calculation above.
Q. Can I email the university requesting for further scholarships? Does it work that way?
A. I am not sure if it works that way because I did not try this approach. If you are talking about the Erasmus Mundus scholarship, then you do not need to do anything after you submit your main application. You will receive the notification sometime in March, or at least that is how it happened in my case. If you are talking about other partial scholarship opportunities, you can try to contact IMIM. The coordinating staff is very helpful. But remember that they receive a lot of emails and are busy with other responsibilities as well. So do not bombard them with emails. Wait for at least couple of days if you do not get any reply.
Q. I have X years of experience, have studied Y, have done Z… can you let me know my chances of getting Erasmus Mundus scholarship?
A. Unfortunately, I am not on the admissions committee of IMIM so I do not know the criteria they use for selection. So I cannot comment on this. But to give you some idea, most (not all) students in my class with EM scholarship had few years of work experience. And then of course they had good grades etc. And in my strictly personal opinion, having a good GMAT score may help you stand out.
Q. I have X rank in the waiting list of Erasmus Mundus scholarship. What are my chances?
A. In my personal opinion, the probability of someone rejecting this scholarship is very low. So if there are say 5 scholarships and your rank is in 50s or 100+, clearly there is almost zero chance of so many people rejecting the scholarship before you. So unless you are in first 10 of the waiting list, start looking for other means to support your expenses.
Internship / Master Thesis
Q. Will the students receive a stipend during the fourth semester for doing thesis at university or internship in company?
A. It depends. In the university (academic thesis) it will be unpaid unless you find some research work for which professor is ready to pay you. Although this second scenario is theoretically possible, I have not heard of any such case yet. On the other hand if you end up doing an internship in a company, then depending on the company you may or may not get stipend. But of course probability of getting paid is very high. And in many cases the stipend will be enough to cover your monthly expenses.
Q. Without any contacts in Europe how am I supposed to do the Master Thesis in a company? Does the university help me in finding an internship?
A. Universities do help you in finding an internship in the sense they have contacts in many companies or have formed relationships through which they will help you get interviews. But it depends on the company, their requirements, and whether your CV/profile matches with that. If you do not find an internship for thesis, you can do always do an academic thesis in one of the universities. For that you can either suggest a topic of your choice, or select one of the topics provided by the professors.
Q. Where did you do your internship?
A. I chose to do academic thesis with a professor in Politecnico di Milano. Although I enjoyed the experience thoroughly, I would suggest you to go for an internship if you have the choice, unless you are aiming for an academic career. Because an internship is your first step into a company and your performance in those six months may lead to a full-time offer.
Q. What are the job prospects after completing IMIM?
A. Obviously it depends on your skills, knowledge of local language, job market situation at that point etc. So I cannot say anything concrete. If you are fluent/good in any major European language, you stand a better chance in those regions where that language is spoken. Especially because (I am assuming) you will be applying for jobs into business/management area that involves frequent interaction with customers/clients. And these people obviously prefer to speak in their own language. On the other hand getting a job in technical area with just English is easier. Please note that this information is not valid for every case, of course there are many exceptions. But this is the general trend. The only big exception is jobs in start-ups, where English alone is suffice in most cases. To summarise, along with work visa, lack of knowledge of local language will be the second most frequent hurdle you will encounter during your job search.
Q. How to find a job after graduation?
A. It depends completely on you. Career services of each university can and will help you to a certain extent (which involves arranging career fairs, sending your CV to companies on your behalf etc.) but beyond that you have to apply on your own and “network” on your own. In some cases you may get an internship opportunity through the university and then you stand a higher chance of converting that into a full-time job because you have six months to show your skills and talent to the company. But do not expect any placement events similar to how it works in India.
Q. How many international students manage to get a job in Europe?
A. This is hard to answer as I do not have any statistics. But from what I know (and what I researched on LinkedIn during my application) there are many who were able to find a job in EU. But I am not sure how many of them speak the local language well. Because that is a big factor if you are looking for a job profile that involves customer/client interaction, which most roles in management/business area will involve. So unless you find job in a start-up or some such scenario where knowing English language is enough, it is difficult if you do not speak the local language at a minimum B1 level, preferably B2/C1 level.
Q. Which are the companies where students generally get a job? How is the scenario for jobs and internships in XYZ industry?
A. Please check on LinkedIn and/or contact IMIM. I do not have this data.
Q. Will you be able to tell the salary range upon employment in Europe? Especially for people with X years of experience in Y industry?
A. Salary depends a lot on your experience, industry, and country. And then the gross and net salary will vary a lot also depending on the taxes in each country (which generally will range in 40-50%). So it is very difficult to give a number. It is better to check salary ranges on websites such as glassdoor or PayScale.
Q. Have all Indians in your and previous editions of IMIM got a job? Not necessarily in Europe, but found a job after this course?
A. I guess so. I am not in contact with Indians from previous editions so cannot comment on that. But based on LinkedIn profiles, it seems like everyone has received a job after graduation. But I would like to repeat that you should not expect to easily land a job. Especially if you don’t speak the local language at a minimum B1 level. It will be different for each industry and country, and maybe it will be very easy for you to find a job for your specific profile so take this information with a grain of salt. The best advice I can give you is to talk to some people from your industry, and talk to people who are studying/working in EU. That will give you a realistic picture of current scenario.
Q. I am afraid and worried about the ₹20 lakhs (2 million Indian Rupees) loan repayment. I can get a job in EU after Graduation, right?
A. There is no 100% guarantee of that. Of course chances are much higher if you speak a European language at near fluent level. Or chances are higher in countries whose economy is doing well such as Germany. But there is no guarantee because you cannot predict what the economic / political situation will be in two years. Or which visa rules may change. So you have to also think about a plan B before taking the plunge. Of course in life you have to take risks, but you have to also think about your action plan in case things don’t go the way you planned. So talk to your parents, friends, ask for opinion of other people who are studying/working in EU at the moment to get different point of views and then decide what you think is the best.
To read second part of this series, covering Spanish student visa process, click here.
To read third part of this series, covering pre-departure FAQs, click here.