From Madras Institute of Technology to University of Applied Sciences Esslingen

“You can never connect the dots looking forwards. You can only connect them looking backwards” were the famous words of Steve Jobs.

My presence at Esslingen, Germany in September 2016 is a surely a series of dots (a collection of steady efforts, hard work and cumulative experiences) tracing back to the days of September of 2009 at Chennai, India.

The Start

It all started with my interest to learn a foreign language in 2009 while still at Madras Institute of Technology, not just for the career opportunities it offered me, but also for the feel good effect and sheer joy of learning a 3rd language. I signed up for the German classes in 2010 and by December of 2011, I was through with my A2 level in German. Though I wanted to go further, my language journey came to a grinding halt owing to a financial crunch. As a university gold medalist, I soon started my corporate stint with Caterpillar Inc.

Exams, Classes, Lengthy Applications

As with every prospective Indian applicant (or almost all), the US was my first destination in pursuing a Master’s degree. With a Bachelor’s in Automobile, the scope for technical specializations in India seemed limited and time-consuming. Thus 2014 was the year of GRE, TOEFL, CVs, SOPsand LORs.

Why Germany

Germany was not a destination in 2014 primarily as my German skills were just a memory. Time was in shortage to take up any classes too. (I was working during the week and weekends were consumed with the application process). But no sooner had “Plan A (USA)” failed, it was now “Plan B (Germany)”. Two reasons. One is that I already had a foundation in German and can be back on track easily. The other and more important one was that tuition fee in most universities at Germany are nil. (This is likely to change in the near future )

Choosing a University

With some guidance from seniors/friends and mostly the university websites (Facebook was not one of my preferences), the application process to German Universities went ahead. I applied to 3 (UAS Esslingen, FH Aachen, Ruhr Uni Bochum) and before I did my last two, I received the Admission Letter from University of Applied Sciences Esslingen. Considering the close proximity to the automotive sector in Germany and from the experiences of few senior students of my department, I trusted my instincts and immediately accepted the offer to study at Esslingen

Work experience

My ability to comprehend the automotive world grew in leaps and bounds during my 3-year experience at Caterpillar Inc. Other potential advantages of gaining professional experiences are:

  • Only a real-working environment grooms an individual in team work, result-oriented problem solving and interpersonal skills which are “highly” sought after by organizations. This can be also obtained from serious project works
  • Develop a network with Germans (if working for German organizations in India e.g. BOSCH)
  • Very suitable way to save up for living expenses that one will incur while studying at Germany
  • To know the gaps in theory and practice, to forget what was learnt earlier so that they can be relearnt with a fresh perspective

What I like most about studies in Germany

The things I enjoy most about studying in Germany are the structured, interactive lectures from Professors with rich experience and the international peer group to engage with. These are vital to expand one’s thinking deep and wide on a global scale. This is even more essential in today’s world since the economies of the world are so intricately interlinked. Also, the opportunity to constantly analyse numerous choices, make suitable ones (mind it, there are no right and wrong choices) and then do our best in it.