Desis, very much like white people working in book stores and coffee shops, hope to use Masters degrees as a gateway to the real America. But very UNLIKE white people, desis always get ONLY into engineering degree programs.
You have to bear in mind that Asia produces a gazillion college graduates every year or more accurately a gazillion engineering graduates. A Master’s degree is a gateway to the American dream. In other words, an American degree is a definitive way of scoring high on one’s reputation as well as feeling unique among his/her high school friends.
The journey begins with out realizing the huge unforeseen identity crisis lying ahead. It comes as a shock to the desi to find hoards of other desis in United States. The after-shocks are pretty serious resulting in partial or complete loss of uniqueness he/she felt all the while.
Desis start retrofitting their feeling of uniqueness by comparing several traditional parameters of reputation like: Urban upbringing in India, reputation of the undergrad institution etc. People from Bombay, Delhi, Madras, Hyderabad and Bangalore start re-affirming their faith that rest of India is just rustic and they alone have read PG Wodehouse. Similarly, people from IITs, BITS Pilani and NITs instantaneously start looking down upon the rest of the folk. Computer Science folks re-enact feeling/acting superior over say, Civil and Mechanical engineering branches. A complex social hierarchy of position and superiority emerges.
This goes several steps deeper: When desis from different universities meet, they instantly run US News ranking comparisons to see who is likely to emerge superior. Universities outside the US News ranking list will almost certainly be considered not to have Wikipedia entries.
Desis who do not have a Master’s degree from United States are considered to be at the bottom most of this pyramid. These people will be pooled under a ‘contractor/consultant’ category and are perceived as some sort of pollutants/diluents to American society and culture who should have never been issued American visas in the first place.
However, everything returns back to good and joyful times when desis are visiting back in India. The very fact that the degree/person is from a ‘foreign’ university/country , no matter which one, restores normalcy. It is important not to get intimidated by this maze of hierarchy. Desis, often, celebrate their Master’s degrees by having them printed beside their names on Wedding invitations. Attributing some sort of superiority to this degree on the invitation is likely to quench the desi thirst for feeling unique.