Before that, I completed a bachelor's degree in English and German Studies at Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. At the time, I wrote my final thesis in German, which was unusual because I had studied German only as a minor. When I even got a very good grade for it, it became clear to me: I wanted to take on a new challenge and continue my academic education in Germany in order to broaden my prospects for the future. Thanks to a DAAD scholarship, I had the opportunity to attend a German language course at the University of Freiburg. At that point, I fell in love with the complex German language and this beautiful country. Then I worked as a teaching assistant for one-year as part of a volunteer project in Görlitz. There, I taught German to refugees and at the same time obtained the C2 Goethe-Institut certificate (Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom). This enabled me to apply at a German university.
I remember taking a trip to Karlsruhe during my voluntary service: When I was driving through Mannheim, I saw the beautiful baroque palace. That's how I learned about the University of Mannheim, which repeatedly ranks among the top universities in Germany in the field of Business Administration, and I was thrilled. At that time, I would never have guessed that the following year I would be studying at this prestigious university. At first, I enrolled for the bachelor's program in Economics, but then I switched to Business Administration. Today, I know that I could not have made a better decision than to study in Mannheim.
At first, the difference between the two programs of study was not so clear to me, but after the first few lectures, I realized that they are very different indeed. Since I had a job as a working student at MVV Energie AG in Mannheim at that time, I became familiar with various internal company processes. So I noticed that it was much more the small details of a business enterprise that I was interested in, and not so much economy as a whole. When I was preparing to change my degree program, the advice I received from the Changing Lanes program was a great help to me! For example, many of the credits I had earned in Economics were recognized for the Business Administration program. That's another reason why I never had any regrets about the decision.
The program in Business Administration at the University of Mannheim is very multifaceted. In addition, I love the program's international character. Courses are held in English and German, a semester abroad is mandatory, and the foreign language courses you have to take fit in perfectly with my great passion for foreign languages!
I think it's great that the University of Mannheim promotes foreign languages, cultural events, and spending semesters abroad. I felt very well supported here from the very beginning: You can learn anything you want and invest your time and energy in anything that makes you happy.
I would generally say that I am happy to have been able to overcome all the challenges. At the beginning of my studies, when I was confronted with economic topics at a high academic level, it felt like I was jumping in at the deep end. However, I was still determined to pass all my exams on the first try, and I succeeded. This was also thanks to the dedicated teaching staff and the excellent teaching materials provided at the University of Mannheim.
I have been working as a working student at SAP in Walldorf for 1.5 years now Apart from that, I like to take part in Accounting & Taxation workshops of the “Big Four” in my free time. These workshops are organized by the MaFAT Student Club of the University of Mannheim. I also enjoy learning foreign languages – I currently speak five different languages – or riding my bike along the Rhine promenade. This is my favorite place in Mannheim. But above all, I am a passionate singer. Before the coronavirus pandemic, I was a soprano in the University Choir, and I also sang solo at concerts of the choir as well as in various churches and at events of the University of Mannheim. Once, I even sang spontaneously during a management lecture in the large lecture hall A3. This was just before Christmas (laughs). Everyone really liked that, including the professors and my fellow students!
I will definitely stay here. The University of Mannheim has convinced me because it is really outstanding in terms of academic excellence. I would like to pursue the Master in Management program and later work for one of the “Big Four” companies in Germany.
Have the heart to pursue and stick to your dreams and goals! When facing challenges, it is important to keep reminding yourself why you first started. Even if you want to change your program of study, my recommendation is to take your wish seriously and seek advice early on. It's worth it and it's important not to be afraid of it!
Text: Sarah Kempe / May 2021