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Meeting "Corona Era" Graduates: Óscar Fernando Grisales Arredondo from Colombia, MBA 2021

EsslingenStudents

2021 graduates have had to deal with completely unfamiliar challenges. Shortly after their studies began, they were faced with the onset of a global pandemic that threatened their health and that of their families, and changed day-to-day life completely. For international students who were separated from their families, this was particularly difficult. In addition, students had to transition, mid-studies, from on-campus to online classes, to studying in lockdown and managing their time and their studies in a completely new way.

We salute all our graduates for dealing so well with these challenges. In this series, two of our recent graduates talk about their experience.

Óscar Fernando Grisales Arredondo from Colombia joined the Esslingen Graduate School in 2019 to study in the MBA in International Industrial Management.

"I chose to study in Esslingen because of the focus of the MBA program. I have previous work experience only in an import/export company, so I liked the opportunity to learn more about manufacturing industry.

"I was really looking forward to the opportunity of living abroad. It was something I had pushed away since I finished high school due to the fear of leaving so many things behind, and a couple years ago I finally decided I really wanted to do it. Living here, I feel very comfortable with the German culture. The challenge has been the language and the limitation to meet people due to the current situation.

"It has been a great experience, though, despite the challenges. I have been very happy here and I think it has been worthy of the sacrifices I made by leaving my life in Colombia “in pause”. The best thing has definitely been the people I’ve meet, my classmates, my professors, the University staff. It is very nice to be part of this international environment.

Going into Lockdown

"I had many expectations for the summer semester, being more accustomed to the academic requirements I thought I was going to be able to enjoy more the experience with my classmates. I never thought that when we finished the winter semester 2019/2020 it was going to be the last time we were going to be all together in a classroom.

"I think the University made a great effort for us to be able to do the semester online, but we missed the chance of some experiences that we would have had on site.

Finding a thesis position

"I think I was very lucky, even though I sent many applications and only got two interviews I had a job offer by the end of June. I think Corona had a big impact since some companies stopped the hiring process for many months. I ended up doing my thesis at Angst+Pfister AG on “Blockchain implementation in the Supply Chain”.

"I think Angst+Pfister AG is a great company, the fact that despite the current situation they are still working in a lot of projects says a lot about their vision for the future.

"There were a lot of restrictions because of Corona, of course. I work for the main company in Switzerland but since I am not an EU citizen, I needed a work permit, and it was not possible to get it because of Corona, so I was hired by the German office and worked mainly remotely. I had travel to Switzerland a couple of times for important meetings.

"For the rest of the company, the company directive is to work from home as much as possible, and held meetings and events online. For example, they organize a kick off meeting at the beginning of the year every two years with some members of the group, and this year it would be online available for all the 1000 employees worldwide.

"I really enjoyed my thesis experience. It was not my initial expectation, but I have learnt a lot, I have a very supportive supervisor and had the opportunity to be a part of a very good company and a project that could have a big impact in the future.

Future plans

"I would like to stay in Germany working in a full-time job, and if I like it, I could see myself staying indefinitely. Also, hopefully things will be better soon and I’ll be able to meet my friends that are going to stay here too."

Apply for winter semester 2021/22!

The application period for our bachelor's degree programmes runs to 31 July 2021.
For the master's programmes, the application deadline is 15 July. Please note the different application times for our international master's programmes.

Apply now
Catriona Fekete-Nester
M.A. (Dalhousie Univ.) Catriona Fekete-Nester

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