Mayur Shirode had pursued Master’s in Business Administration & Engineering (MBA&E) from HTW Berlin – University of Applied Sciences and is currently working in a multinational company in Poland. His interest in the automotive industry made him apply for an education loan and select Germany as his study abroad destination. Post completing his Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from India, he pursued his Master’s degree from Germany.
Preparation for the journey:
One of the initial preparations for his Master’s degree was to learn the first level of German from Max Mueller Bhavan, Pune. To study in Germany, he started applying in various German colleges and universities during his last semester of Bachelor’s degree. He also had started taking various entrance exams which were a prerequisite for applying in abroad colleges. He reached out to a number of people who were already pursuing various courses in Germany and friends who had similar plans of pursuing their higher education from this country and other study abroad countries.
One of the important websites from which interested students can secure information is the DAAD Academy. DAAD is the German Academic Exchange Service which was founded in the year 1925 and is the largest German support organization in the field of international academic co-operation. In this website, you will be able to find details of all the universities and colleges, various courses, tradition and culture, student stories, various international programs, about the higher education system and many more. Based on his research information, he shortlisted the colleges and courses and then accordingly started filling up the forms online. He also approached a consultancy in Pune and they too suggested colleges and courses as per his scorecard and experience.
As per Mayur, knowing the German language and prior experience increase your chances of getting through colleges and also makes your resume attractive for German employers. He had done a thorough research on themes like important aspects to keep in mind before you go to study in Germany, things that you should have prior to entering this new country, climate details, etc. so that nothing would surprise him post reaching there for his higher education.
Mayur also used Facebook as a platform to connect with people in Germany. There is a page named ‘Indians in Berlin’. He used the information available on this page and connected with people who helped him understand the lifestyle followed there and shared their initial experiences so that Mayur was well-aware.
At the beginning of his journey:
When he reached Germany, he was slightly scared as he was away from home, his family and friends. But his first day at college made this fear vanish completely as he came across many Indian students which made him feel that he was not away from his own country. He quickly gelled with his peers and Germany became his home away from home. Most of his time was spent with his friends doing assignments, group studies, coffee sessions, dinners and many more. He never felt homesick in the company of his peers. Each one of them, as a true friend, encouraged each other to focus on their course and academic career.
A mistake that should be avoided:
Finding an appropriate accommodation was slightly challenging for Mayur when he reached Berlin. Thanks to his Facebook friend with whom he connected prior to travelling there. During the first week, he stayed at his friend’s place and searched for sharing apartments. One of the mistakes that he committed was to trust people easily. He saw a couple of house options at a cheaper rate and called its owner for enquiry.
One of them told him that since he was out of town, Mayur should transfer the money to him via Western Union and only then he will send the keys by post. Since he was in a hurry to get an apartment, Mayur decided to use the funds he had from his education loan. A kind gentleman in Western Union checked all the details and informed him that such cases could be a part of some scam. He warned him of such traps and helped him get away from it.
To register yourself in Germany, you have to sort your accommodation first. As soon as you enter Germany, you have to get your city registration which will only be possible with the help of your new address. Once this registration is complete only then you can activate your bank account. Hence, it is advisable to sort your accommodation before reaching the country.
Mayur’s course structure
MBA&E is a combination of management and technical subjects. The standard duration of this course is 3 semesters. At the beginning of your studies, you have to choose your specialisation. The programme content is based on your chosen specialisation. In the third semester you have the option to complete an internship, in which case your Master’s thesis will be postponed until the fourth semester.
This internship is a voluntary program. You can opt out of it if you think it is not necessary for you. But according to Mayur, internships add value to your overall resume and corporates in Germany value such experiences during recruitment. Mayur had done 3 internships during his course which proved to be beneficial for him for two main reasons – firstly, his resume became stronger and secondly, he earned an extra income to cover his additional expenses. He interned in companies such as Henkel and General Mills.
Some of the broad themes taught in this program are Interdisciplinary Management, Automotive Management, Lean Management, Global Procurement, Global Leadership in Engineering and Business Process Outsourcing. 60% of Mayur’s course curriculum focused on management subjects and 40% on technical subjects related to automobile sector. The teaching language used for this course is English.
Major challenges faced by Mayur
One of the major challenges shared by Mayur was, though he wanted to secure experience in the automotive sector, but language posed a challenge in securing an internship. Most of the automotive companies expect you to know German fluently. Mayur was abreast with the basics of German but he was not fluent in it which created a major hindrance in securing a job in his desired sector. But this issue could not stop him from securing the necessary experience needed for his future. He grabbed every opportunity that came his way and learnt the German way of doing business.
Difference between Indian & German academic course structure
One of the major noticeable differences as per Mayur is the student-teacher ratio. Lesser number of students in a class helps the German faculty to focus well on each student and thus, assist them better. As a part of his course, he visited automobile manufacturing plants for getting practical experience on the sector. These field visits were conducted in a very structured manner which would make it easier for the students to grasp all important information and implement them in their future assignments.
Thus, the course captured a perfect mix of theoretical and practical knowledge. Also, the examination format is quite different. The exam duration is lesser than that of Indian institutes. Most of the college examinations in India last for 2-3 hours. But for his Master’s level course, the exam duration would be 45 minutes to an hour. Professors in Germany prefer short and brief responses for most of the questions and students are asked not to share unnecessary information in their exam papers.
Piece of advice for all students who aspire to be where Mayur is today:
Make strong connections with everyone you come across as you will never know who will extend his/her helping hand when you are in need of it. Learn German to avoid difficulties in terms of communication and to secure a job in your desired sector. Prepare a checklist of all the important things that will assist you to achieve your aspirations. Stay focused and tick the boxes as and when you complete them.
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