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Meeting "Corona Era" Graduates: Avani Rathod, MBA 2021


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.

Avani Rathod from India joined the Esslingen Graduate School in 2019 to study in the MBA in International Industrial Management.

"Before the lockdown came, I really enjoyed travelling. The Graduate School organizes trips to several beautiful cities in Germany for incoming freshmen before the classes start. I made some wonderful friends there. Also, my classmates are amazing and in some of them I found my close friends.

Lockdown has its advantages...

"My first semester in the MBA was really hectic and testing. I did not live in the hostel located near the Hochschule like my other classmates, and I was worried about managing the 4 hours of door-to-door travelling every day, along with the lectures and the assignments at the end of the day. My second semester was a blessing in disguise for me: with the whole Covid 19 situation, the study mode changed to online classes. This saved a lot of travelling time for me and I kind of enjoyed online classes.

...and its disadvantages

"Online studies were definitely not what we were used to, and it did make school a lot harder for me. The interaction with professors and classmates decreased. But on the other hand, professors were very understanding, probably because they were also going through this transition and had more responsibilities in terms of designing online lectures, etc.

Finding a thesis position

"I would say that it is already very difficult for international students who do not speak the language to find a position in Germany. Without doubt, the Covid situation made it tougher.  Fortunately for me, I found a thesis position in the same company where I started as a work student. I did my thesis at Allianz Technology SE on Transfer Pricing, evaluating different transfer pricing practices followed by internal IT service providers. I can only say positive things about Allianz. Everyone is so professional and knowledgeable in their fields, and I really enjoy their international work culture where both German and English are spoken widely.

"There were quite a few restrictions due to Covid. My company is located in Munich, and there were travel restrictions on and off because of the Covid situation, hence I did 90% of my work from home. This is unfortunate as you do not get to meet your colleagues, expand your professional network, or have fun company events! Allianz managed the situation very well, though. With their strong technological and digital approach, it was not so difficult to implement WFH successfully for all employees. In fact, during this period the company realized WFH is a huge success and would continue to be effect for employees who wish to do so.

"I now have a full time permanent position with a Berlin-based Fintech – Solarisbank, currently working 40 hours a week.

"On a lighter note, once the travel restrictions go away, I want to go for a long vacation :)

"My advice for young students who are thinking of doing a master’s in Germany...

" to learn the German language - also, do not forget to drink beer like a German!! Trust me, there are varied types and I still discover something new about beers!"

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

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