Student Life in Germany: MIS Alum Shares His Bitter-Sweet Experience

According to DAAD, Indians form the 2nd largest group of international students enrolled at German universities. Cheap tuition fees (almost free education at a few universities), favorable stay-back options, and a growing job market also provide good enough incentives. But, is pursuing Masters in Germany really all hunky-dory? In this post, Ravikant Agrawal shares his international student life in Germany during his Master’s program at the University of Munster along with bitter-sweet internship experience and advice on searching for jobs after Masters in Germany.

Admission for Masters in Germany

Study Masters in Germany - Indian Alumni shares his MS in Germany experience
Ravikant Agrawal

Whether it’s affordability or quality of teaching (or amount of beer consumed at Oktoberfest!), Germany is consistently listed as one of the top countries to study abroad. It’s also the third most popular destination in the world for international students.

I had met Ravikant back in 2014. Back then he was in his final year of his B.Tech (IT) program. He had pretty good grades and was on a tight budget. So, Germany was an automatic first choice for him.

He had applied to 4 universities and had received 3 admits. Ultimately, he decided to join the Masters in Management Information Systems at the University of Munster for the Summer Semester 2016.

Internship Gone Wrong during Masters in Germany

Life can be very unpredictable for sure. However, I (even Ravikant) never thought that a Masters program would turn out to be a 5-year long affair.

Due to certain unavoidable (and unpredictable) circumstances, Ravikant’s internship didn’t go as planned. Eventually, he ended up finishing his Masters in 5 years. He did a finished his internship and ultimately landed up at Deutsche Bank (Graduate Trainee In Technology, Data, and Innovation).

One thing that kept him going was his determination. He never gave up. I remember even his application process was not smooth at all. He was supposed to apply for Winter 2015. However, he had to postpone his plans.

During his Summer 2016 applications, his courier agency made a huge blunder. He almost missed out on submitting his application before the application deadline.

However, as the saying goes – if there is a will, there is a way.

Now, we will move on to the main segment!

Life as an International Masters Student in Germany

Q&A with Ravikant Agarwal

What would be your advice for study in Germany aspirants? How to choose the right universities and how can they improve their admission chances?

Ravikant: First decide on the field that you want to study in. Germany has many possibilities in terms of interdisciplinary areas.

So, make sure you know exactly what you want to pursue.  Start with looking for available courses on the Daad website. Make sure you have a nicely written Cover letter, your CV is clean, and do not forget to highlight your extra circular, it isn’t all about academics.

A lot of information is available on the Internet. Do applicants need to work with an admission counsellor to get into German universities?

Ravikant: It is true that most of the data is available online. But with a counsellor, you have everything structured and in one place.

On top of that, they have vast experience because that is their job. So do ask them for help.

At least, take one counselling session and you may be surprised to find opportunities that you might have not discovered on your own.

How would you describe your study experience at WWU?

Ravikant: My experience at WWU was an enriching one. I have learned so much during my master’s studies. You have so many course options to choose from. You can build your career in so many directions (developer, IT manager, marketing, sales, strategy, etc.).

The IS department has a wide range of collaborations with industry as well as many other international universities. In addition, it is the headquarters of the European Research Center for Information Systems, hence you also have a good research opportunity if you are interested in an academic career.

How has been your overall experience as an International Student in Germany (Munster)?

Ravikant: Living in Münster I can say one thing for sure, it is an awesome city for students. Very international with so many students and the biking capital of Germany. The people here are very helpful. The city is calm and still very happening. You will fall in love with it.

What are your thoughts on spending 5 years to achieve your Masters degree in Germany?

Ravikant: That is true I had some issues which resulted in prolonging my study time. Some of the issues were because of my own mistakes some were due to the situation.

In the end, I honestly do not regret my decision, I had a great learning experience, I choose to do an internship which helped me to grow as a professional.

So my word of advice from my experience would be, it is ok if you are taking some extra time(not as much as I took) to finish your degree. Just make sure you are utilizing your time to its best and not just wasting it on useless things.

Could you please tell our readers what went wrong and how future students can avoid such situations?

Ravikant: Make sure you do not procrastinate. Communicate with the faculty regularly, do not shy away from asking advice and questions. The faculty is there to help you and make sure you are clear with your plan. Do not get settled into your comfort zone, get out of it and try new things. Make friends with international students, they can guide you on how things work in Germany which will make your journey easy.

How has been your experience as a Working Student at Projekteins GmbH?

Ravikant:  I had a great time at Project eins GmbH (PR1). I was selected for the role of Scrum Master/ coach. My main task was to make an S/W development team adopt the Scrum Framework. I was very fortunate to have mentors who were supportive in all the suggestions I made to carry out the process. They guided me wherever I fell short. I consider myself very lucky to have such mentors for my first job in Germany.

How can international students find such working-student positions and how much stipend/salary can they expect?

Ravikant: Look for jobs on Linkedin, ask your university’s career center. Visit job fairs and have the main intention to expand your network. Ask the Germans to recommend you.

The main thing that helped me to land this job was making a network. I left no opportunities to ask for help from anyone whom I found a potential person to land me an internship/ working student job.

Recommendations in Germany are taken very seriously. So, expand your network as much as you can.

You can expect a minimum salary of 10€/ Hr and it can go up to 14€/hr.

Tell us a little bit about your job hunting experience? How did you land up the graduate job at Deutsche Bank?

Ravikant: To land a job in Germany you need to have patience. Don’t get dejected if you get rejections. Keep on applying to the jobs you find suitable to your profile.

Grow your network that will help you a lot. I laded this job at DB because of two main reasons, first, my working student job helped me a lot during the interview, It helped me to present myself confidently and with more knowledge.

I had attended the DB tech day organized by Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt. There I met with the head recruiter and other employees of DB. I expanded my network, asked them questions added them to my LinkedIn profile so that when I apply they would remember me. And that is what exactly happened.

Making contacts helps a lot. It also helps you in gathering information that you would need to convert an application into an interview and an interview into an offer letter for the job. Until now I am enjoying my job, it is a great learning experience along with an independent way of working. 

Study Masters in Germany FAQs

  • What is the average monthly living expenses for international students in Germany (or Munster)?
    • ~600€ for Münster. for bigger cities add 150-200€
  • How easy or difficult is it to study in Germany without knowing German?
    • For masters not that difficult. There are lots of english taught courses so it is not that hard.
  • Do employers give preference to candidates with German language knowledge for Technical Internships and Technical Jobs?
    • Definietly knowing german language helps, having said that what matter most is your skill set. If it matches to the requirements of the company you would be in.
  • How easy or hard is it to get basic things done outside the campus (e.g. grocery, transport, shopping, restaurant, entertainment, etc.) if you don’t speak German?
    • Not at all hard, in biiger cities (even in mid size town) you will easily find englis speakers. so if you get stuck just ask for help polietly. 
  • How is the current job market in Germany for non-EU citizens?
    • They belive in matching the skill set required. So if you fulfil that criteria and fit into the cultural backround of the company, they will welocome you with open arms. 
  • How easy/hard is it going to be for foreign graduates to get the EU Blue Card in the next 5 years?
    • It is very subjective to your respective field of study. The IT jobs most of the time easily pay the Blue card salary whereas the core jobs or natural sciences jobs might not be that easy on blue card salary.
  • Working with independent admission counsellors (no tie-ups but charge a gees) vs agents or study abroad counsellors (no fees and takes commissions from universities).
    • I have experience of only one of the above and I am very satisfied with the results. For me the idea of studying in Germany was completely unknown teritory. Tanmoy sir’s help made it possible for me to acheive what I am today.

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