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India’s connection with the University of Birmingham dates back to 1909, says Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chancellor


With the United Kingdom (UK) deciding to retain the Graduate Route Visa (GRV) in its present form, the focus is back on the UK as one of the most-sought after study abroad destinations for Indian students. Having announced a scholarship totalling in value over £1 million exclusively for Indian students and partnered with IIT-Madras to offer Joint Masters programs, the University of Birmingham (UoB) is ranked 84th globally in the QS World University Rankings 2024, placing it 15th amongst UK universities. In the latest Complete University Guide league table for 2024, UoB is ranked 14th out of 130 institutions surveyed.

A Cambridge law graduate and Chartered Accountant, Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chancellor is also the founding Chairman of the UK India Business Council.(File)

In July 2014, Lord Karan Bilimoria of Chelsea, CBE, DL (Commander of the Order of the British Empire, Deputy Lieutenant) was installed as the seventh Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, making him the first Indian-born Chancellor of a Russell Group University in Great Britain. During his Chancellorship, the University was twice awarded the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize.

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A Cambridge law graduate and Chartered Accountant, he is also the founding Chairman of the UK India Business Council. In an exclusive interview, Lord Bilimoria talks about the University of Birmingham’s long association with India, its £1 million scholarship for Indian students, tie-with IIT-Madras and how it is helping students with post-study work opportunities.

India’s connection with the University of Birmingham dates back to the early 1900s. How many Indian students come to UoB every year?

The University of Birmingham’s (UoB) relationship with India began in 1909 with the first cohort of Indian students attending the University to study for degrees in Mining and Commerce. Over the past three years, 2,401 undergraduate and postgraduate students from India have joined UoB with Business, Engineering, and Medicine being the most sought-after programs,.

The recent review report by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) on the Graduate Visa Route in the UK reaffirms the continuation of this important pathway for international students, including those from India.

What are the scholarships available to Indian students?

Studying abroad, specifically, in the UK can be expensive. UoB offers a variety of scholarships specifically for Indian students, totalling more than £1 million in value. These scholarships aim to alleviate the financial burden of studying abroad and recognise the academic achievements of Indian applicants. Additionally, for Indian students interested in studying at UoB’s Dubai campus, scholarships of up to 40% are available, further enhancing accessibility to quality education.

What is UoB’s collaboration with IIT-Madras?

The University of Birmingham and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-Madras) have launched Joint Masters programs, making this partnership a first for any UK Russell Group and an IIT. Last year, a Joint Masters was launched in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence and this year we are introducing a new Joint Masters’ program in Sustainable Energy Systems, with applications now open. This new program aims to equip graduates with expertise in a rapidly growing sector critical to combating climate change.

Students will study at both Chennai and Birmingham, ultimately earning a single degree jointly awarded by both institutions. The course includes a significant individual project within internationally recognised research groups, allowing students to apply their knowledge to real-world challenges.

Have job prospects for Indian graduates in the UK shrunk?

Despite the changes and uncertainties in the UK economy, the prospects are now improving. According to data from the Department for Education’s Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO), the upper quartile earnings of graduates in key subject areas such as Computing, Economics, Engineering, Physics, Medicine, and Business & Management, five years after graduating, stand at an impressive £55,785, while average earnings amount to £43,843. These figures underscore the potential for Indian graduates to secure financially rewarding positions in their chosen fields.

How does UoB help students with post-study opportunities in the UK?

The University provides comprehensive support to students seeking post-study opportunities in the UK through its dedicated careers network. This network offers graduates access to a diverse range of careers support services tailored to their individual needs. The UoB organises a program of events specifically designed to inform international students about the various pathways to employment within the UK; the events cover topics such as job search strategies, visa regulations, and networking opportunities.

Additionally, UoB facilitates interactions with global employers who are interested in recruiting international students for positions both within the UK and in the non-UK arms of their businesses.

Study Abroad: How to prepare for GMAT

Navigating employment opportunities can be tough. What the best ways to navigate the road to employment?

With the continued availability of the Graduate Route Visa, Indian students have an extended window of opportunity to navigate employment prospects post-study in the UK. To make the most of this, students can actively engage in career development activities during their studies, such as internships, networking events, and professional workshops, to build valuable skills and connections.

Additionally, leveraging university career services and alumni networks can provide valuable insights and support in job search strategies tailored to the UK market. The University’s award-winning Career Network team provides students with one-to-one advice and support with resume building, interview preparation workshops, online resources, and connections to employers. There are a lot of different opportunities available for students, even Indian students, in all industries.



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