Interview with MIEEP students

Meet MIEEP – we have asked current and former MIEEP students about their experience. Hear from Bernhard and Darius who already graduated, from Pooya, Nicole, and Ida who are at the end of their studies and from Muzayyan, Christina, and Andreas* who just started to study MIEEP. All interviews were held in the winter semester 2019/2020.

*Name changed

You can also find an interview with the program director Prof. Dr. Rainer Klump here.

Bernhard: I was enrolled in New York University before, my major was economics and I did a minor in East Asian studies, particularly Chinese. I chose the MIEEP program because I was interested in the courses that were offered. I did econ before and I wanted to continue doing econ. I liked the program because it is focused on development economics, also in combination with the international aspect and the different empirical dimensions that it offers. And, personally, I liked the fact that it was in Frankfurt where I had an employment opportunity to work with KfW while I was doing my masters.

Pooya: I did a bachelor in economics and another master's in finance. So this is already my second master. I chose MIEEP because back then I was planning to go for a Ph.D. in economics, majoring in macroeconomics, and MIEEP was a good preparation for that. But currently, I am more interested in getting a job out of the university.

Muzayyan: I studied economics in Azerbaijan. I was planning to go for a master and I had an interest in international economics. When I saw this program I just went for it.

Darius: I did economics in Münster, so a basic economic bachelor. I chose MIEEP because I wanted to deepen my economic background and I also wanted to study in an international environment. Having a program including a lot of nationalities from around the whole world was a big plus for me. Also, I wanted to go back to Frankfurt since I am from the area and I did my bachelor's somewhere else.

Nicole: I did a bachelor in “Wirtschaftswissenschaften”, majoring in finance and accounting. During my fifth semester, I realized that I really like Economics, even more than finance, and that is when I applied for the economics program.

Ida: I already did my bachelor's here at Goethe University. Because I already focused on economics during my bachelor – not a lot of people did that but I find it super exciting – I was looking for a master program that puts a lot of weight on economics but also covers development economics and some politics. What is more, Frankfurt is a great city to live in and to work in. In the end, did MIEEP cover a lot of politics? No, not as much as I had hoped or expected. Or at least there where no classes purely focusing on politics.

Andreas: I studied economics before. I chose MIEEP because I looked at the professors online and saw their background, what they’ve done in terms of output. And then there's Frankfurt city!

Christina: I already did my bachelor in Frankfurt, majoring in economics. I was satisfied with the university so it was an obvious choice to stay here since the MIEEP program basically united everything that interests me about economics. I am not too keen about finance courses and I felt MIEEP is a full-fletched economics program that gives me a lot of freedom in choosing the courses I really like.

Bernhard: Well the main benefit is that education is basically free. And so the students have less pressure to complete their studies in a very short time. In the US if it’s a 4-year program, everybody graduates within 4 years as otherwise, your bank account is empty. Here, since it doesn’t cost that much, people tend to take their time a bit more. It’s totally fine in terms of discovering your personal preferences doing whatever internships or additional classes and study abroad opportunities you are interested in. In general, you have a bit less stress on your hands.

Pooya: It's different. It’s a different system so in this university I understood I should work more with papers. I used to work with books, reading one or two books on a topic, but now I am reading articles, books, and journals. Now, I actually have a better scope of everything that I am working on.

Darius: As I touched upon before, it is much more international. In my previous studies, the lectures had been in German and all the fellow students were German students. At Goethe University, I suddenly came in contact with people from Peru, from Brazil, from Hongkong, … basically all over the world. It was really an eye-opener and also to get their views in, was really something special in comparison to my previous studies.

Ida: The campus is super beautiful and that eases some hard hours in the library. When I started to study we still had the old campus in Bockenheim which really differs from campus Westend. It’s a lot more pleasant here. I did an exchange semester in Paris at a university where I really liked the lectures. But on campus, it was difficult to find a seat at the library or to find a group room to study. That’s a lot better here.

Christina: I am happy about the small class size. In my year we are only 40 students. In my bachelor's, I started with well above 500 fellow students. So now everything feels more personal. It is easier to get to know other students and classes are less stressful as they are not held in the audimax anymore. 

Bernhard: I think you need to be good at managing, kind of like time management and project management. You’re given a lot of flexibility: whether to go to class, when to study for your exams and so forth, and to budget yourself in a way that works for you. You also want to make time for everything else in life too and I think time management is probably a very useful skill. In general, it is important having a very systematic approach of going about your lectures, the papers you read, the assignments and the problem sets. Also, the team working aspect is important because often you work in a team on your problem sets or seminars and you need to be able to work together well.

Muzayyan: As I did economics in my bachelor as well I am using the skills I acquired there right now. So I would say that almost everything that I learned in my bachelor I am using now.

Darius: I think the most important skill is structuring or getting to know a topic, understanding it and structuring it for your master thesis or in your seminar paper. Then also the ability to present results was something that is really helpful to me. In my daily work now I use it, as well.

Nicole: Math! You should do many math courses. Moreover, be openminded to new people so that you can find a group quickly.

Ida: In any case, you should not underestimate the math skills. They are important, especially in the first semester. But there is nothing you cannot learn. What’s also very important and I noticed during my exchange semester that we are well prepared for critical thinking. In general, thinking for yourself, being independent, working in a structured and organized way and finding the point to say: It’s good, I’ll leave it at this. Don’t overthink everything.

Christina: I feel that the professors really want you to understand rather than just learn by heart. Before the exams, the workload can get heavy so you should be disciplined and mentally strong to not lose it during these intensive periods. 

Bernhard: Generally speaking, I am interested in infrastructure, promoting the development of good infrastructure around the world, especially in emerging economies. I am interested in doing that either from an advisory perspective or from a financing perspective. Through consulting or through banking. I am pretty much open to either, as long as it matches up with infrastructure

Pooya: Investment banking, cryptocurrencies, and maybe hedge funds

Muzayyan: I am not really sure about that yet, but for now maybe something on the development economics side. Or in a consultancy. 

Darius: I am currently already working at a consultancy. That kind of was a first career goal. Currently, I am continuing to climb a bit of the career ladder at my current company.

Nicole: I want to work in development economics, especially at the KfW, that is my current goal.

Ida: I don’t know yet, I will let myself be surprised…

Andreas: Consulting, I want to try that out, but time will show.

Bernhard: In general, I think it is a fun city. I am fonder of larger metropolitan areas, so for me, Frankfurt is a bit small but it’s great in terms of employment, all the banks and consultancies and so far, they are all here. I had a great experience here with the MIEEP program, I met a lot of great people and enjoyed meets around the city. Yeah, it’s a nice city!

Pooya: It’s a nice city although it is small compared to the previous cities that I was living in, Teheran in Iran and Istanbul in Turkey, both of them have a population of more than 10 million people. So here it’s quite small for me, but it is fine.

Muzayyan: I love it. I like Frankfurt, the climate isn’t that cold. But yeah, its nice here and people are nice, too.

Darius:  Actually not too much, I feel more at home in cities a bit less crowded, so currently I am living in Münster which is a bit more my cup of tea, driving to work by bicycle instead of taking the tram or the uber. I like it a bit better, but apart from that it was good

Nicole: Very good. The city offers a lot. There are cool bars once you discover them. What’s your advice for a good bar?Tannenbaum” in Bockenheim, or also “Die gute Stute” in Gallus.

Ida: Super. I am living here since my bachelor and I thought that I would move after my bachelor's. But then I fell in love with Frankfurt and stayed.

Andreas: It takes some getting used to, its too cold for me. Apart from that, Frankfurt has everything that I need.

Christina: I really value the short distances. Frankfurt combines many things: great employment opportunities, internationality, cultural and leisure opportunities and more parks and green areas than I expected. And all this in a city that is rather small compared to other big cities in Germany or the world. I need less than 30 minutes to go to university and some of my fellow students even take their bikes.

Pooya: For university, I don’t actually need it, but for daily life it’s different. In Frankfurt, it is okay because everybody speaks English. In Germany in general, it is not that easy, but personally, I don’t speak that much German, I am really really basic. I can just catch up some words in the whole sentence and I can grasp what they talk about. But up to now, I did not need that much German.

Muzayyan: Learn German! I think it is really important, for daily life. For university not that much - but maybe for communication it would be easier. For daily life, however, and if you want to work it’s really important. Have you tried finding a job? Yeah, I have checked some jobs and they require German. When I see that I get frustrated. It would be easier if I had the German C1 level.

Andreas: It is very important for both, you can get by with English but you don’t really feel like you belong and you can’t identify with the place if you don’t know the language. So you really need to get that out of the way first. And regarding my classmates as well, I would love to be able to communicate with them on their level of German. That would be much better. You’re always stuck as a foreigner, somewhat left out. So yeah, it’s crucial.

Bernhard: Yes, I would do it again

Muzayyan: I don’t know yet, because I haven’t finished it yet. It’s a well-structured program I would say and if you have an interest in international economics then you should do it, but as my friend said, don’t expect to learn a lot about the financial side, it’s more about economics.

Darius: Definitely. Would you do it again? Definitely!

Nicole: Yes, definitively, I would do it again.

Ida: Certainly. Would you do it again? Yes.

Andreas: Of course! It was actually recommended to me by a friend of mine. He said you should really look this place up, the professors are amazing, the place is amazing, it’s related to your studies. He said only good things. So, Frankfurt was the first place I applied to and it was basically the only place I really wanted an answer from. I am happy to be here.

Christina: So far I am happy to have chosen to come here. I just had a look at the courses for the next semester and got excited about all the courses that focus on current topics. 

Bernhard: Well, I would say if you are thinking of entering finance and consulting, know your accounting and your finance and if you can take classes in that arena, do that. Otherwise, take advantage of all the career development opportunities, take as many internships as you can during the time to get to know what kind of firm you are interested in working with. If you’re an international student try to develop your German skills to a good proficiency level by the time you graduate. And yeah, also just enjoy the time that you have, enjoy the flexibility that comes with being a student, because when you start working a lot of that goes away.  But if you say you want to go into finance or consulting then why not choose another program which focusses on finance? Why choose purely economics as it is taught here? Because I don’t want to do finance my whole life, I want to still know econ and do an econ job later on. However, there is very few econ only things that you can do with a master's in econ.

Pooya: Take seminars if you are really interested to learn more. I preferred the seminars over the lectures. Maybe take econometrics classes and related stuff because you can start to understand and learn how to analyze data.

Darius: I’d say do it, go for it if you kind of like the idea of going to Frankfurt and studying a very international master program that is definitely broad in what is taught but is also refreshing the basic knowledge that you may or may not have from your bachelors.

Nicole: You should pep up your math skills, especially for macro. And you should join learning groups.

Ida: Come to university, form learning groups and spend time on campus because it’s worth it. Additionally, you will find it easier to get into the topics. Studying is not only going to class and to learn but also to spend time with the people and to enjoy the student lifestyle. Enjoy it once again during the master before you will eventually start to work.

Andreas: Learn German!