Esslingen's Neckar Forum was crowded with festive bachelor and master’s graduates from all faculties of the university, among them 83 from the Esslingen Graduate School.
The ceremony was opened by the university’s Pep Band playing Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Night in Tunesia,“ and then passed on to our University President, Professor Christof Wolfmaier, who hosted the ceremony. Also extending their congratulations to the new graduates were Christine Kumpf, Head of Business Development for the City of Göppingen, Marc Grün from Business Development for the City of Esslingen, and the Associate Head of Board of the Friends of Esslingen University (VdF), Markus Sontheimer.
Prof. Dr. Fabian Diefenbach, the University’s Vice President for Strategy and Communication, awarded prizes to top graduates. We were very proud that the following Graduate School graduates were amongst those honoured:
VdF Prize for the Programme Best
- Julinda Sokoli from Albania (MBA)
- Johannes Rauhut from Germany (ASM)
- Debadatta Prasad Swain from India (DDM)
DAAD Prize for outstanding accomplishment
- Ömer Bingöl from Turkey (MBA)
Festo Prize for an outstanding master’s thesis
- Andrew Lewis from the USA (MBA)
- Vitul Bansal from India (ASM)
- Marcel König from Germany (DDM)
Robert Bosch Prize for the top graduate of the Esslingen Graduate School
- Johannes Rauhut from Germany (ASM)
The ceremony was brought to a close by the graduation address of the Graduate School's Julinda Sokoli and Stefan Schlereth.
"These past months have resulted in an experience of self-growth and fulfillment. Taking this Master's degree challenged me intellectually and practically, but I took all my courage and decided to take the challenge and to pursue further education.
"It was great that the program pushed us to the industry in the third semester. This gave us the opportunity to work for well-known German and international companies and in some cases to successfully get employed there.
"The other thing that had an impact on all of us is the international aspect of the MBA program in this University and the diversity of professional and life experiences that we shared among each other during this one and a half year. It is not so common to get such a wide exposure in such a short time. Furthermore, doing the master program in Germany, gave us insight into differences between cultures, study and work environments." – Excerpt from the graduation address by Julinda Sokoli.
"You come to Esslingen as a mechanical engineer so that you can study in the heart of the automotive industry. To do it all in English is an added plus - the industry really appreciates this.
"I was really surprised by the very high academic level of our master's programme, and at the same time by the way the professors treated us - as equals. We had a class size of 25 students and that was really fantastic, as the professors could take time for each and every one of us.
"The same goes for the Graduate School Team, who were always there for us with any of our personal issues and helped us in every way." – Excerpt from the graduation address by Stefan Schlereth.
During the awards ceremony in Esslingen's Altes Rathaus, Kareem Hamza (MBA) addressed his Graduate School colleagues:
"Coming to Germany for a graduate study was not an easy decision for many of us... Our passion for studying abroad and career development pushed us to go into this experience. And now it is the moment of graduation where we are all recalling the whole experience, and we should recall it with great happiness and pride.
"Personally, I had a very fruitful experience... I had a very interesting international experience and many friends that developed my understanding of different cultures. I was able to work at the university during my studies, and at a reputable company, Zehnder Group, during my master's thesis. I was also able to join CERN entrepreneurship Student Program in Geneva last Summer where I had another international experience and gained a higher passion for entrepreneurship." - Excerpt from the graduation address by Kareem Hamza.
Our graduates are now entering a very exciting time of their lives, where their career plans will be pursued and fulfilled, where they are at liberty to concentrate on work and to push themselves as far as they can. With more than a touch of humanity, however, Markus Sontheimer from the VdF advised all graduates, particularly at this point in their lives, not only to see the career in front of them, but also to keep an eye on the values and relationships that give this life meaning:
“I urge you not to plan your career too much, but to let it develop naturally, and to steer it in a direction that brings you happiness and fulfillment. You should enjoy your life with your friends and your family; they are a very important part of you that you should not put aside or neglect.
“For me, one of the most important lessons in life is that you should not work for a boss who does not respect you. If you ever feel that your boss does not respect you, then that is the time to take your career in your hands and change. Life is too short…
“I also counsel you to be very critical of any information that you receive. Be aware of fake news, and try to avoid it by not accepting information from just one channel. You are intelligent academics: find neutral sources, multiple sources of information, and study them critically.“
Mr. Sontheimer finished with a quote from Steve Jobs: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.“
We wish all our graduates the very best for their start in this new phase in their careers, in their lives. We hope that you will keep in touch with us at the Graduate School, and are always happy to hear from you.