If you are considering a Masters degree study abroad, it can never be too early to start with your research and preparation. Once you have narrowed down your top choices for a university programme, it can be a good idea to plan a campus visit to one of the schools that has ended up on your list.
In this interview, Lucy Mako, who won a free Campus Visit provided by the Access Masters Tour, talks about how her trip to ESMT Berlin in June 2017 helped her in the decision-making process. Finding out whether this is the place that fits your study requirements and student experience preferences is certainly an extremely useful experience.
What are the main factors that have led you to consider getting a Masters degree?
Considering that I have lived and studied in Hungary, I am eager to get some international experience and study abroad. I missed out on all the exchange programmes during the time I spent at university as I was working alongside my studies. I would like to take advantage of all the networking possibilities and the career service options that a Masters programme can provide. I'm looking for a programme with an entrepreneurship track so I can learn more about doing business myself but also focus on general business management that can help me in the corporate world.
You attended the Access Masters Tour last season. Can you tell us about your experience at the event?
The event was well-organised and the atmosphere was great. I was really happy with the informative lecture and with the One-to-One meetings afterwards. I had the chance to meet with recruiters from ESSEC (France), Hult Business School, ESMT Berlin (Germany), and IE Business School (Spain).
I had enough time to talk with each of their representatives about the programmes they offer, the admission requirements, tuition fees, and scholarships. It was a really useful experience.
What was your initial reaction when you first set foot on the ESMT campus?
To be honest, my first reaction was "Wow, this is not as big as I imagined”. I obtained my BA at Corvinus University of Budapest which occupies two huge buildings with large rooms and staircases.
The ESMT Berlin Campus is housed in a beautiful building with a very interesting history. The building itself has been the home of ESMT since 2006 but before that it used to host the National Council of the German Democratic Republic. In fact, one of ESMT's meeting rooms has also been used as a temporary office of the German Chancellor.
Did the ESMT Berlin campus visit exceed your expectations and, if so, how?
It was a useful visit as I had already done my research online and I needed to see the campus itself in order to find out if I can enjoy my time in a different environment. I got a lot of information about the building and we visited a few classrooms and auditoriums. We even had a presentation by Rick Doyle, Head of Marketing of the Degree programmes, who gave us all the essential information. I had a great time listening to the lecture of Professor Gianluca Carnabuci. The topic was about “the company behind the chart” and we had an amazing interactive one-hour class as a representation of the in-class experience.
What about your visit to the ESMT campus was valuable to you in your search for the right business school?
This visit was definitely valuable as it helped me figure out that ESMT Berlin is not really the right school for me as the class size is small. Apart from the fact that I really like the campus and the programme, this visit to Berlin made me realise that I do not like Berlin itself. However, it could make a difference if I could meet some of the alumni of the programme.
Who did you meet during your visit at ESMT and how did that help you get to know the school better?
As I mentioned before, I met with a few of the recruiters and organisers as well as Rick Doyle from Marketing and Professor Gianluca Carnabuci. I also had a great discussion with current candidates who participated in the Open House.
What did you do during your stay in Berlin? Did you dedicate all of your time to education?
In general, I had a great time in Berlin. I have some friends who live and study in the city, but not at ESMT. I asked them to show me around so I could see what the student life was like in Berlin. We went to some exhibitions, restaurants, and cafes. On the last day, I went on a tourist bus tour so I could have the complete tourist experience.
Which other schools are you considering for your Masters degree and did your visit help you decide to which schools you will apply?
My visit helped a lot in getting closer to my decision but, for the final choice, I still need to consider other schools first. I would still like to visit some them such as Hult Business School in London and ESSEC in Paris.
What would you advise new attendees at the Access Masters Tour so that they get the most out of this opportunity?
I would highly suggest that they do all the necessary research online in advance and make a list of their preferences for the future. Decide which programmes fit your requirements, pick the top three and then try to get in touch with them. The Access Masters Tour is a great opportunity to meet with recruiters and ask them any questions you may have.
Will you visit other university campuses before you decide where to study?
I am planning to visit ESSEC in Paris. I have been to Paris several times but I have never approached the city as a potential home so I should go and have a look. I think the decision to start a Masters study abroad needs to be well thought out and you need to conduct your research in advance.
How did you prepare for the campus visit prior to your trip?
I always do my research before any visit. I come up with a list of questions and even try to organise a meeting with local people so they can show me around the city.
Your top three dos and don’ts for campus visits?
- Come up with some questions and do not hesitate to ask them.
- Visit the city together with a local student if you have the chance – it can help you get an idea of what your life would be like.
- Try to apply to different campus visits and open house programmes featuring useful resources such as a personal CV/resume consultation – you could get some good tips for your application.
- Don't be afraid to ask – you are already there and it is much easier to get answers in person.
- Don't miss out on the chance to meet alumni if you can – they can give you essential information about possibilities after graduation.
- Don't leave your CV/resume or business card at home – you will need them for sure.