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ETH Zurich: A hidden treasure of education

This week we are happy to have a guest post by Ajita Gupta, an alumna of ETH Zurich, sharing her perspective on ETH Zurich and Switzerland in general as a study destination for international students. 
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There is a general trend of going to the US or UK for higher studies and education.  Whereas MIT is part of everyone’s vocabulary, not every good university is very well known outside the field of science and engineering. This post aims at shedding more light on a hidden treasure of education located in the heart of Switzerland: ETH Zurich.


ETH Zurich in a nutshell
ETH Zurich is one of the premier international universities in the field of engineering and the natural sciences. Founded in 1855, it accommodates more than 18,000 students from over 110 countries, including 3,900 doctoral students taught by 500 professors in 16 different departments.


ETH Zurich appears amongst one of the 12 best universities in the world in its field of expertise. 21 Nobel Laureates have studied, taught or conducted research at ETH Zurich, the famous alumnus being Albert Einstein, professor of theoretical physics from 1912 until 1914.


Why pick ETH Zurich over US / UK universities?
 ETH offers various incentives and benefits over other universities in the top league. Its strength lies in the following criteria:

1) Student fees / salary: What makes ETH Zurich stand out from US / UK universities are the low tuition fees (2-3k Fr. As opposed to 60-80k $). This is mainly since ETH is NOT a private university but funded by the government. You can use all the extra money to go travelling and sight-seeing! ETH also offers the highest salary worldwide (7-7.5k Fr. as opposed to 2-2.5k $/month for PhD students).

2) Work-life balance: There is a stronger emphasis on work-life balance in Europe than in the US, which is known for its "workaholic" environment. ETH has a world-class gym with a huge variety of courses and training sessions. Once you start your PhD you are officially employed by the university and therefore entitled to a proper holiday (40 days / year).

3) Stability: Switzerland is the most stable country in the world. People are helpful, polite and professional. You are provided with all the resources / facilities / infrastructure needed to work and study without having to fight for them. Switzerland also has the world’s best public transportation system. The US and the UK are messy and chaotic. Things do not always work the way they are supposed to.

4) Travelling / sight-seeing / winter sports: Europe is rich in history and culture. Every country has its own charm. You won't be travelling every weekend, but once in 6 months is doable and encouraged. Further, there is close proximity to the Alps which offer ski resorts and sports facilities.


If you get into the top 5 US universities - there is surely prestige of being affiliated with a big name. BUT - in the end - it's a personal decision. You have to be at peace with the trade-offs that come with it. Set your priorities straight. And then make a decision accordingly.


About the author:
Ajita Gupta
M.Sc. ETH Zurich
Technical Consultant, Hewlett-Packard

Ajita is a new Coach at GradTrain
She has written a blog for aspiring candidates. It provides a list of tips and advice on applications and student culture at ETH Zurich as well as life in Switzerland.


Link:
http://faqsonethzurich.quora.com/

8 steps to finding your dream job abroad


If your objective is to find a job abroad after graduation, planning is key.
It might seem exotic to travel across the world, change landscape and experiment local food, but your only chance to make it happen is to adopt a very structured strategy. We have identified 8 steps to help you attain that objective.



1.       Select the country and focus
Identify in which country you wish to start working after graduation. If you don’t, you will just err from one lead to the other, switching from Europe to Asia without coherence, wasting time and drastically reducing your chances to find opportunities abroad. This does not mean that once chosen, you cannot change your mind or simply follow a different lead from the one initially planned.

2.       Master the language
Provided you want to find a job in Argentina, take Spanish classes, hang out with South American natives, watch the local news and learn the culture. The most radical yet effective way to learn a language is obviously a previous language immersion: go to a Spanish speaking country and find Spanish roomies.

3.       Research the country dynamics
Understand which industry is hiring, which jobs are in high-demand and adapt yourself to those dynamics. To give you an example, last week a French candidate asked me about finding a financial advisory job in Tel Aviv. That candidate did not understand the dynamics of the Israeli economy. Indeed, the financial sector there is not as developed as in other locations, unlike the startups / entrepreneurship sector that is one of the most developed in the world outside the US. Finding a financial position will be very challenging in such a case, whatever the profile of the candidate is.

4.       Make your Resume understandable
Your university / degree / grading system might not be readable for a foreign recruiter. Certifications and standardized tests will help you solve that problem. Some certifications are more recognized in certain regions of the world, so pick them wisely. At the very least, you will need a language certification that will prove your fluency in the language of your target market. If you are applying for a junior position out of college, convert your grades into the local grading system. Specialized certifications can prove useful as well, such as the CFA in Finance.



5.       Do your online networking
-         Update your LinkedIn profile with a proper picture. Remember that last profile you checked without a picture? It seemed dusty & abandoned, right? Don’t fall into that category. A nice picture of you dressed professionally will serve your applications well.
-         Reach out to Alumni. Contact Alumni from your school currently living or that previously lived in the country of your choice.You can find such people on GradTrain. 
-          Congratulate. Top executives nominations often make the news. A new Head of EMEA got appointed at your DreamCo? Shoot him a congratulations email, it works especially well to get interviews or contacts.




6.       Don’t forget the offline networking
-          Your career center must provide valuable resources and contacts to work abroad
-          Explore your immediate network: friends, family, neighbours. They will provide you with invaluable contacts. They are undoubtedly the most valuable source of information. Remember that French penfriend from highschool? Time to find him on Facebook!

7.       Seize opportunities
Opportunities are everywhere in the news. You just need some chutzpah to make it work. A US company launching a new business in Brazil? A new joint venture in Russia just got announced? A new fund specialised in South Asian investments? A local headquarter of a recognized NGO just opened? A startup just raised money to expand its operations in India? These news are fantastic opportunities to reach out to those companies and emphasize your desire to work abroad.

8.       Prepare for your interviews
Preparation is key, just as it is for any job interview. Finding an open sloat abroad is definitely harder than in your country, but don’t forget that you will be competing for the position with other candidates, and you need to demonstrate that you’re the best for the job. In addition to the required skills for the position, you will need to demonstrate your interest for the region and your language proficiency. If you consider applying in competitive sectors such as investment banking or consulting, your competitors come from all around the world and your country of origin does not matter. You will be assessed on the same criteria such as financial knowledge, mental calculation, fit interview preparation, ability to effectively handle a case interview, demonstrating analytical skills, business sense or time management.


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Michael Ohana is the Founder & CEO of AlumnEye, the French Leading Consultancy firm specifically dedicated to the preparation of candidates for their job interviews in highly selective fields such as Investment Banking, Financial Markets and Strategy Consulting. AlumnEye has partnerships with the best European Masters in Finance programs and has placed over 1000 candidates in the most prestigious Consulting Firms and Investment Banks.





How to access your favorite content while studying abroad

If you’ve traveled abroad before, you might have noticed that some websites and media are blocked when you’re outside of your home country. Common examples are Netflix, Pandora and Amazon Prime, which are restricted. But there’s a very simple trick to get around it. Let us guide you through it so you’re prepared when going to study abroad!


What are the website restrictions abroad?
It’s tricky to cover all the sites here because it depends on where you’re coming from and going to. When it comes to copyrighted material, popular movie sites like Netflix and Hulu or music sites like Pandora, Spotify and Beats Music offer limited access abroad.
Moreover, your local TV station’s website or sports channel subscription are usually also blocked abroad. So if you want to follow your favorite shows or sports, you’ll need to find a workaround to get access.

On top of these restrictions, some countries censor their internet. China is censoring heavily, for example you can’t access Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a lot of other sites from there. Other prominent censors include the Gulf States where a lot of social media and VoIP apps like Skype and Viber are blocked either from time to time or permanently. Surprisingly, about 60% of the most popular YouTube videos are blocked in Germany due to copyright issues.



What can you do about it?
Without getting too techy and lengthy, let’s put it this way: The website or service you’re accessing will look up your current location using your Internet Protocol (IP) address, which is your unique address on the internet that can be used to identify you.
Now, if you’re located in Italy and want to watch American Netflix, their servers will look up your IP address and block your access since they can see that you’re surfing from abroad.

The simple solution is to get an IP address from your home country. It’s really easy to do so actually and your solution is a Virtual Private Network (VPN). It’s essentially a software that you download to your computer or mobile device. Use it to connect to a server in your home country to get all your online traffic rerouted through it. You can then surf the web as if you were in your home country, being able to access any website you want, watch your favorite shows and listen to whatever music you like. These VPNs are really simple one-click solutions nowadays and anyone can use them, you don’t need any tech experience at all.



What else can you do with a VPN?
Some universities and colleges will block your access to certain sites. With a VPN, you can bypass such restrictions and access whatever website you want, even if the school is blocking it.

You can also save a lot of money by using a VPN. For example you can get your software or e-books much cheaper from the American versions of web shops if you’re located abroad. Also pricing on flight tickets depend on your geographic location: sometimes you can save a few hundred dollars on a long haul trip if you connect with a foreign IP address.

How to get started
There are several companies that provide VPN services. You can start by trying SaferVPN’s free VPN trial, it is fast and really easy to use. Their 20 server locations include United States, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Scandinavia, Spain, Italy, France and Germany to name a few - meaning that you can unblock content from all those countries.

Go ahead and give it a try, there’s no risk since they don’t ask for a credit card and there’s a 15 day money back guarantee too if you change your mind.


Enjoy!