“Mannheim Has Become a Home to Me”

19-year-old Nora Petra Younis comes from Budapest, the capital of Hungary, and is currently completing her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. In her myUniMA story, she tells us about her great study experience and why the orientation week is one of her best memories.

Why did you decide to study at the University of Mannheim?

I had several close personal ties to graduates who completed their bachelor’s or master’s degree in Business Administration in Mannheim. It was their firsthand reviews that solidified my decision to apply to the University of Mannheim. But of course, there is a wealth of factors that first drew my attention to the university: Mannheim is arguably the best address in Germany for students with an interest in Economics, Business Administration or Social Sciences. The university’s top rankings, Triple Crown accreditation, and exceptional reputation excited me. Besides, I was also very intrigued about the university’s location. It’s close proximity to Frankfurt, the financial capital of the country and of Western Europe – this is where I saw exceptional opportunities for kick-starting my career.

What challenges did you face when you arrived in Mannheim?

At first, I was on the fence about what it would be like to live in a city the size of Mannheim, as I grew up in a capital with almost two million inhabitants. In Mannheim, the city center is much more condensed, and the population is much smaller. But just after spending a couple of days in Mannheim, I was captivated. The charm of the city and the friendliness of the locals erased all my previous doubts. I really love strolling around the Wasserturm, grabbing a coffee in the area near Q7, or unwinding in the calm of the Luisenpark. And, of course, it is a one-of-a-kind experience to have lectures in the second largest baroque palace of Europe!

Right now, you are completing a semester abroad in Rotterdam. Do you miss Mannheim?

In the time that I lived in Mannheim, I had the dilemma of whether I should refer to Mannheim or to Budapest as my home. But now that I am in Rotterdam, I feel that Budapest and Mannheim occupy a similar place in my heart. Because of the pandemic, I only spent one and a half semesters in Mannheim, but with the friendships and memories I made, I can safely say that Mannheim has become a home to me and that I cannot wait to be back again.

So, you left Mannheim during the coronavirus pandemic?

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, I came to the decision that it would be best for me to return to my family in Budapest. It was a difficult call to make, as it was unpredictable how long this ‘new normal’ would last and how it would impact our everyday life. This was not how anyone of us would have imagined their student life at the start of our studies, of course. I feel fortunate that I will still have a chance to spend some time in Mannheim in the last semester of my bachelor’s program and to reunite with my friends to exchange the memories we gained and the adventures we experienced during our semesters abroad. 

How did you experience digital teaching at the University of Mannheim?  

I think that the University of Mannheim has adapted to the challenges of online education remarkably well. In only a day, the online infrastructure has been vamped up to accommodate the increased volume and to cover all essential educational and administrative functions. The schools and Student Services gave their best to re-design the courses in a way that makes the online learning experience as enjoyable and engaging as possible.

Even though I spent my digital semesters at home in Budapest, I could still stay in touch with my friends and meet other like-minded peers, thanks to the finance and consulting club Arbeitskreis Börse (AKB). In the last academic year, I was a member of the AKB’s Executive Board and directed my efforts specifically towards maintaining the organization’s corporate partnership network and shaping its future strategy. For example, we initiated the international case competition AKB Business Champions.

In May 2020, I joined the EMEA Pricing team of SAP, where I have been working remotely in a team of international colleagues ever since. I have developed a deep interest in digital transformation and feel inspired to help firms adapt to today’s digital market as a management consultant.

What do you particularly like about the University of Mannheim?

What I admire most about the University of Mannheim is the fact that its campus is always vibrant. Whenever you pass the A3, the Ehrenhof or the Mensawiese, you can be sure to stumble upon a happening, be it a research conference, a corporate networking event or a student get-together. Mannheim is a hub of respected academics, company executives, and young professionals. It is genuinely inspiring to be surrounded by ambitious and bright youth, and to meet alumni who drive positive impact in the world of business through their careers. Studying in Mannheim offers so much more than basic theoretical knowledge – it shapes your thinking, broadens your personal horizons, and extends your professional network. This combination serves as an excellent footing for a career in any field or industry.

What are the best memories you have made at the University of Mannheim so far?

I will never forget the orientation week: I met tens of people, international and local students alike, from completely different programs. It was a week filled with new contacts, inspiring conversations, and unforgettable parties – from that moment on, I knew that my studies would get off to a good start.  This was the time when I first came into contact with the AKB at one of its regular kick-off events. Some of the best memories I made at the University of Mannheim were in one way or another connected to the AKB – office visits and case workshops in Frankfurt, networking sessions with bankers and consultants, progressive dinners or wine tasting events in the Palatinate region.

Text: Sarah Kempe / October 2021