Eine lächelnde Person trägt einen weiß-rot-blau gestreiften Pullover und steht in einem Gebäude. Die Person heißt Kian Farahza.

“Originally, My Goal Was to Learn More About Management, Now I’m Here to Discover More.”

Kian Farahza comes from Yazd, a historical city in the middle of the Iranian desert. His early passion for Humanities and Mathematics led the 25-year-old to complete a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Economics and subsequently a master’s degree in Financial Economics in Teheran. While he was writing his master's thesis, he decided to go to Germany. Today, he is a student of the Mannheim Master in Management (MMM) program. In his myUniMA story, Kian shares with us which challenges he came across when applying to the university and what he values most about the program.

You already hold a master’s degree in Financial Economics. Why did you decide to study the Mannheim Master in Management (MMM) program at the University of Mannheim?

Above all, it was the practice-oriented aspect of the program that caught my interest. My studies in Economics and Finance were very theory-based. This is why I decided to acquire additional knowledge and experience in the field of Management. Furthermore, friends of mine who also studied the program had told me about the university and I was also able to establish contact to two chairs while writing my thesis in Iran. They encouraged me to apply for the degree program and come to Mannheim in order to continue my academic career with a doctorate at their chairs. In the end, this recommendation was the main incentive that convinced me to come to Germany. I was passionate about their research areas and activities, and I knew that this was what I wanted to do in the future. The Mannheim Master in Management program thus was my first choice.                             
The program offers a wide variety of courses, and you can choose among lots of options, so it’s not just management. For example, I can focus on more practice-orientated courses in finance and explore other areas like information systems, which I knew nothing about when I came to Germany. Now, I even find it exciting. Originally, my goal was to learn more about management, now I'm here to discover more. The key argument, however, was the program’s job market orientation. The courses draw heavily on industry, companies, and real-world management, and not just rely on textbook instruction.

What was it like for you to come to Germany? Did you face any difficulties?

I decided to apply to the University of Mannheim shortly before the application deadline ended. Therefore, it was a very intense period, with everything coming at once. The good thing was that I didn’t even have the time to feel the stress: I had to apply for a visa, defend my master’s thesis, pack up and prepare myself for a new life – and all that within only 50 days. I was so busy running around to get my visa and deal with all the administrative issues that, in the end, I didn’t even have time to say goodbye to some of my family members. On the flight to Germany, I reflected on my decision for the first time. Suddenly, I realized that I am on a plane right now and that there is no way back. Today, I would say “luckily”, because I just continued my way to Mannheim and now study my preferred degree program. In retrospect, I might say that it was quite risky to manage my move to Germany in such a short period of time and to master all these challenges. But I was determined to take a chance and was looking forward to the opportunity to go abroad and start my life in Mannheim.

What experiences have you made in Germany in general and how are you doing here in Mannheim?

I’ve never been in Germany before, so at the beginning of the program, I traveled a lot around Germany and visited about twelve different cities in the last few months. In each city, I learned something new about German culture and society. The differences between the cities are considerable. In each city, you can learn many new things about German cultures and traditions, or the way people live. Iran is a multi-ethnic state with many different backgrounds, cultures, and languages. I always thought that there is only one big ethnic group in Germany, which is not true at all. There are many different cultures and regional differences. This was one part of my experience when I came to Germany. Social and cultural diversity also persists in Mannheim: the city boasts a variety of concerts, theaters, festivals, bars, and party life. I also noticed this variety and diversity in the world of academia. Degree programs in Germany, and in particular here in Mannheim, are more interdisciplinary. Other than in Iran, the contents are not limited to the subjects of one school; rather, the modules of different schools are connected and integrated.

Your goal ist to pursue a doctorate after graduating from the Mannheim Master in Management program. What is your motivation to continue your academic career?

Above all, my passion and capacity for insight drive me toward teaching and research. My fascination with research is mainly based on the aspect that I’m not just doing something for myself, but rather hope to be able to contribute to solving some of the world’s problems. I consider research to be a creative process that requires the use of one's knowledge, intellectual abilities, and creativity to create a new academic world. My recent experience as a teacher in Iran, where I taught pupils at high school and students as a teaching assistant at National University and Sharif University, has kindled my passion for teaching. When I pass on my knowledge of a subject to others, I become more adept and competent in that subject area myself. Thus, for me, teaching is one of the best ways to learn. When I am teaching, I am responsible for what I am saying. This responsibility helps me to be even more accurate and deepen my knowledge. I also really appreciate and enjoy connecting with other people, making new friends, and establishing long-lasting networks, on both a personal and professional level.

What makes you forget about the time beside studying?

I travel a lot and I play three instruments: the piano, the flute, and a Persian instrument called Setar. It’s traditional Persian music, a completely different type of music compared to the classical music of the Western world I hear around here. Besides music, I love to do sports, in particular, I like running and yoga. Sometimes, I also do calligraphy.

Do you have any advice you would like to share with other international students who want to study in Mannheim or in Germany in general?

Do a lot of research, take a deep dive into the university’s degree programs, and check the details. Do not only check the rankings, rather, go through the programs thoroughly and find out if you like the subject and whether it matches your own interests and perspectives. Before applying, it is good to acquire international experience to figure out if you are an outgoing person who likes to make new and international contacts. I completed an online exchange semester at a British university and attended courses at my university and other US universities. You do not need to cross a national border, even seminars and informal sessions will give you an understanding of what’s going on at a university and if you would like to study there. Thanks to these experiences I realized that a master's program abroad is something I would love to realize.

Text: Kathleen Entz / December 2022