Mpho on vacation in Limpopo, South Africa. (Photo: private)

"This master really requires you to get your time management right."

Mpho decided to accept the spot at the FH Münster's IMS programme because she was positively surprised to find a master that combines the Sales and Marketing aspects. After understanding the business value chain during her time at Unilever, the alumnus wanted to deepen her knowledge since her passion has always been to work on sustainable products with a focus on their value-chain and, therefore, gaining a deeper understanding into sales and marketing was critical for her. For her third semester, the South African alumnus opted for the semester project and worked as a Business Intern at Google in the Google Ads team for six months. "The knowledge and experiences I have acquired during my first two semesters at FH Münster have definitely helped me achieve this internship position!", explains Mpho. The fact that she is able to think and reflect critically on business problems and knows how to add value to a business set her apart from all the other skilled candidates. "This master really requires you to get your time management right", laughs the South African alumnus. The now former student successfully submitted her master's thesis in May 2021 and is now pursuing her career in Sales & Business Development. The question of whether her time in Germany or Europe has come to an end was answered with a definite no! "I would love to move back to Europe and have a job that allows me to move around the world and be flexible with my home base." The Covid-19 pandemic has made traveling quite challenging, but nevertheless, Mpho is determined to see more of the world once things have settled down again.

The alumna in Johannesburg proudly holding her master's thesis. (Photo: private)

But what motivated Mpho to come to Germany?

Mpho had previously been to England on an English Literature Tour in 2011. This was her first time in Germany after attending school at the Deutsche Internationale Schule Johannesburg and therefore, always wanted to experience the authentic German culture, education, business environments and ways of doing things. She thought she knew what Germans were like after having participated in things like Beerfest and celebrating German festivities back in Johannesburg, but she realized rather quickly that the culture in South Africa had a deep local influence and things were not exactly the same as she encountered in Germany.

The most interesting cultural aspects for her was that Germans need everything to be structured, organized, and on time. It was not easy to connect with her fellow German colleagues at first since she is so bubbly and asks a lot of questions, but Mpho continued to be herself. Once she realized and accepted that Germans might just need more time to warm up to new people in general, she made a lot of new friends and thoroughly enjoyed her time in Münster.

"Struggling is not a bad thing!"

Mpho's most significant advice is for everyone to be aware of cultural differences. "You need to keep an open mind and accept that you are the way you are, and this goes for the other person as well, which is not a bad thing at all." She emphasized that patience and understanding are key and that struggling to adapt culturally within the first few weeks is normal and can happen anywhere so it should not discourage you from continuing this experience.

DAAD Award Winner

As if her time in Germany has not been eventful enough the former South African student was nominated for the DAAD award and was beyond surprised to have received this reward on June 11th, 2021. "I was asked for my CV back in March and thought that there are so many deserving students out there," Mpho recalls. To her surprise, she was able to convince the jury with her extraordinary Summer School project engaged in social entrepreneurship and sustainability and her outstanding academic excellence. Together with Prof. Dr. Bert Kiel, Mpho had organized a Summer School for disadvantaged high school students in 2020 to encourage social entrepreneurship within the society. "I just had to do something useful and impactful for my hometown while I was in Germany," relates Mpho proudly. Prof. Dr. Michael Wasserman led the laudation and outlined the student's distinctive engagement within the FH Münster but also for the environment. Mpho participated in the ceremony via Zoom and thanked everyone involved in helping her achieve this reward.

Mpho and her Summer School project learners in Johannesburg. (Photo: private)

We wish Mpho all the best for her future and are excited for her to continue the social entrepreneurship project in Johannesburg!

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