Sebastian is a German student who currently follows the Master programme Engineering Management at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) in Copenhagen. Find out more about Master's programmes in Denmark.
Why did you choose Engineering Management?
After finishing my Bachelor's degree in Engineering and Management in Darmstadt in my native country Germany it was clear to me that my wish was to have a new and more enriching experience for the future course of my higher education.
I mostly wanted to experience a university with a culture of learning and teaching that was different from what I was used to for the last few years and doing so in an international environment and a program that suits my needs well. Thus I decided to do my entire Master abroad with a degree that complemented the knowledge I gained from my former education the most.
How has your study experience been so far?
I am nearing the end of my second semester at DTU and so far the experience has met my expectations in almost all facets of my student life. While I do not have any official statistics, I would say about half of the students at the university are foreigners and the overall atmosphere is very international. The entirety of lectures and exercises is held in English and everybody speaks and understands it very well, which makes communicating inside and outside the classroom as easy as it should be.
The university itself is very well organized and people here notice and appreciate this aspect quite a lot. Whether in terms of organizing the curricula and numerous study programs, administrative tasks or general ad-hoc issues related to individual students and their concerns, usually it only takes a short call to or visit by one of the offices to solve the problem. This leaves a lot more time for actual studying and, of course, leisure activities.
And when it comes to those, Copenhagen has too many to offer in order to list them all. While the DTU campus is located a bit far off the city center, the university offers many activities like sport teams, student clubs for all sorts of mutual interests and on-campus bars that have prices which are affordable for students, especially for Danish standards.
What aspects of the study programme and the university do you especially like?
What I like about studying here is the impressive amount of flexibility every student has in forming their own individual curriculum. In my program, out of 120 ECTS there are 25 that must be covered by mandatory subjects and the rest of the courses are free for me to choose. This way I can create my very own fields of specialization and pick exactly those subjects that provide me with the knowledge and skills I seek. The opportunity to create your own course if you are interested in a certain topic that is not covered by any of the subjects and have it accredited in your curriculum by one of the professors is the icing on the cake.
The organization of the courses is excellent and materials, methods and course plans are uploaded on a weekly basis in the central intranet, which serves as a one-in-all platform to register for courses and exams, hand in assignments and projects and a communication channel between the professors and the students. I never ran into a situation where I had to ask or search for the location and time of a lecture or how to find that one set of slides for the lecture.
Professors and the people from the university staff are friendly and approachable and while the studies here follow a certain structure and format like anywhere else, it’s the little details that make everything seem a bit less formal and a lot more accessible. One example which made the culture here seem so different from home is that regardless whether talking to a student, a professor or the dean; everybody is addressed with their first name.
Lastly, while some of the subjects do have written exams as their evaluation method, DTU focusses heavily on group work and projects in the spirit of learning by application. Many of the courses are suitable for students of different programs, which makes for a lot of interesting situations where students from different professions come together to work on an assignment. As an Engineering Management student I learned a lot from working together with students from Mechanical or Chemical Engineering programs.
How does an average university week at DTU look like?
Each weekday at the university consists of two blocks from 8:00 to 12:00 and from 13:00 to 17:00 where in each of the blocks, usually one subject is taught. In some cases and when it comes to special courses, a subject can last for both blocks an entire day, but you still get the lunch break from 12:00 to 13:00. The blocks itself are split up between 1-2 hours of lectures and the aforementioned hands-on application and exercise afterwards.
Free mornings or afternoons are mostly spent in the library with its many working booths for groups or individual spots in the silent learning section, or in one of the many all-purpose rooms all around campus, where students can meet to work or just have a coffee and a Danish 'Kanelsnegle'. For working sessions, computer terminals and other facilities and equipment are universally available. It was never this easy to find an unoccupied whiteboard and some markers.
Why would you recommend Engineering Management at the Technical University of Denmark to other people?
I am going to answer this question with a sum up of what I have written above because I believe it proves my point quite well:
- Excellent organization paired with an extensive amount of flexibility for creating YOUR studies, students are individuals here.
- An educational culture that has a very international atmosphere, that is not too formal but easy to find yourself in and professors and teachers who can be approached directly with any questions you might have.
- Learning by doing, based on sufficient theoretical knowledge as opposed to studying theory, with a chance of application.
What activities are you involved in besides studying?
Two months after arriving to Denmark I started looking for part time jobs and as of November 2013 I am a student assistant in a major Danish shipping and oil company. Unfortunately I cannot speak for the Danish working culture in general, but at least in this company the atmosphere and environment closely reflects the conditions at the Technical University of Denmark, which means I am working with a lot of international colleagues and people are approachable for any thoughts, ideas and suggestions.
What would you like to do in the future?
Finish my Master's degree here, enjoy my time in Denmark, stay in Copenhagen to work or continue to study as a PhD student (maybe and hopefully at DTU).