Széchenyi 2020
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Double degree, double the experience, double the challenge

What can a student do when they find that only one degree is no longer valuable enough, or when they would like to obtain a full degree at a foreign university in a shorter time? Apart from this, a double degree program is also a great opportunity to build international relationships. Below we present a report written by our guest author Mercedes Nemes, a marketing student who participated in the double degree program of Corvinus and the University of Passau.
What is the double degree program? Double degree programs enable students to obtain the full degree of the partner university in addition to the degree from a Hungarian university. A double degree typically takes less time than it would take to complete each program separately, and it is a great opportunity to gain international and intercultural experience. To find out more information about the double degree courses available at Corvinus, please visit this page.

In my experience, a double degree program gives you much more than an Erasmus semester. Although when I applied for the DSG program I was told that this year would be quite different from other semesters I’ve spent abroad previously, still at the time I couldn’t imagine just how eventful this program was going to be.


Double the challenge

Let’s begin by the professional and academic benefits and the challenges associated with them. It is always difficult to start a new degree, but starting this Master’s program abroad was especially hard. It cannot even be compared to an Erasmus semester, as in the case of the dual degree program, you are all of a sudden living the lives of a German student doing a Master’s degree.

There are no English courses for foreign students, interesting, optional, workshops with lots of credits and easier exams. You need to meet the same strict set of requirements, maintaining equally high standards as any other German student. The style of German education is by nature completely different from the Hungarian. It is not enough to prepare and study just in the last few days before the exam, libraries are already full 6 weeks coming up to the exam period, and students begin to study hard. Instead of the creative projects we are used to having at Corvinus, we were assigned to do in-dept research. I really learned to how to study in Passau.

Double experience

During my stay in Germany for nearly a year, I had the opportunity to do lots of things that I could not have done during a short Erasmus semester. As the months passed, I managed to adapt myself more and more to the situation, also because I started working as a barista in a café near the university very soon. In addition to learnig how to make latte art, I also got to know a lot of students in that cozy cafe. In the fast-paced environment, I learned to switch from English to German and from German to English in a split second. That was perhaps the most entertaining student job I have ever had. Taking a mini-job is not only beneficial because of its financial implications, but also because it greatly speeds up the integration process.

There were plenty of professional challenges too. The 5-Euro Business Wettbewerb, which is a startup competition with 5 Euro capital was the highlight of my year. In this competition you need to build a business in 8 weeks with 5 euros. During these few weeks, my team and I worked on creating the region’s first outdoor escape game, at an unimaginable speed, which we then sold at the university based on our own business concept and marketing strategy.

We had to present the result to a professional jury at the Town Hall in a 5-minute pitch, and we also represented the team in a booth. All the energy we have invested was well worth it as we won the first prize as well as the special prize for media appearances. I have gained a lot of experience from the competition, starting from how to set the right pricing, how to allocate responsibilities within the organization, how to calculate variable costs and funds in practice, to how to find the most optimal point of sale.

The most profound experience for me, however, was being a valuable member of the team as a foreign student, and to give a presentation to the jury, - which even to their surprise - resulted to be professionally impeccable, albeit delivered with a foreign accent, on why our startup marketing strategy could succeed.

 
Double degree

Though the year would have been worthwhile already in light of the above described experiences and knowledge, I am indescribably proud to have been able to meet the strict requirements imposed by German system on students. The double degree is just the cherry on top, and I only hope that the labour market will also appreciate this experience just as much. In any case, I am grateful to DSG and the professors of DSG for making it possible for me and for so many other students to gain not only a double degree but also double the experiences.

The original article is available on the Közgazdász Online student blog.
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