LIFE-CHANGING YEAR: Double Degree Programme with Technical University of Berlin
An author of these lines got an uneasy task of combining so similar and yet so different thoughts, feelings, memories, opinions and pieces of advice of our amazing group of 4 people that travelled to Berlin last year to study for a double-degree (though everyone had own reasons: get the second diploma, experience the cool life in Berlin, get out of the comfort zone). This article is a must-read for you if you consider becoming a part of this double-degree program. We will try to describe the life and the studies in Berlin as they appeared to us. Let`s dive in this experience.
The city of Berlin
How to describe Berlin in several words? We would come up with the following: evolving, historical, crazy, versatile, entrepreneurial, special, life-changing. But does it really matter? Berlin has its own vibe that you will never put in words fully. Everyone will find it personal. Everything that could be said will never be enough to describe it. You need to live it to understand it.
“The city of Berlin has enough to make you go crazy – parties, museums, concerts, parks, etc... There are cultural, fun events every day, all day long. So, you, who consider going there, beware of the craziness of the city. But don't be afraid, you will have plenty of time to explore every corner of the city, balancing it with the courses. No matter what you like – from weekend-long parties to entrepreneurial meetups, from historical and art museums to the flee markets` counters with the history lying just there – Berlin has it. But more than just having it, it will challenge you, push you to learn more and go see what is there, at the next corner street. And no matter if it is a new restaurant, a new kind of music you thought you hated (I personally talk about techno), street art, or historic events, you will get to know and appreciate, if not love it. Berlin is a city that brings you out of your comfort zone daily. I lived before in France and Montreal, and never experience such gathering and culture shock, knowledge, and experience than in Berlin” – Valentin.
If you read this and think – “Hey, come on, every city is somewhat special!” – Anna has something to answer you:
“I have had a chance to live in Moscow, Amsterdam and Seoul, and can certainly admit that every capital has its own unique charm. Yet, Berlin is something extra unique and extra charming. First of all, the number of cool events, festivals and exhibitions, where you can learn something truly fascinating and meet incredible people. Bonus point: some of those you can enjoy for free by simply applying as a volunteer. This way, I got to attend the Q Berlin Conference (https://q.berlin/), where I got valuable insights on social justice from the Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong and the 55th president of Mexico Vincente Fox, as well as infamous Tech Open Air (https://toa.berlin/), where I saw Steve Huffman (co-founder of Reddit) and Markus Witte (co-founder of Babbel) talking about current technological trends. Besides that, Berlin is undoubtedly the Europe’s food mecca: you can get anything (and I mean anything) from infamous Döner Kebab and Falafel im Fladenbrot to Vietnamese Pho and Korean Bibimbap literally everywhere, in every corner. Same goes for Kaffee, same goes for Kuchen. Finally, the nightlife. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a big fan of techno culture and 72-hour-long raves, you will still find your way: there will be numerous get-togethers organized by your fellow students and communities you’ll join” – Anna.
From myself I would add that Berlin exceeded all my expectations. The city amazes you with its duality. Every time I think of it, I wonder how the East and the West are living together in a harmony being so different. The merger of two states and two systems into one city created something truly unique and powerful. The vibe of freedom that is mixed with German obedience and practicality. Berlin is the city to live while young, to learn, to explore, to tolerate, to experiment, to find like-minded whoever you are.
TU Berlin University
Well, well, well, let`s get down to earth! This double-degree is not a year of vacation in Berlin. We assume you are here to learn about academic experience as well. In this amazing city of Berlin, there is a place you will have to go to regularly, and we are not talking about bars and clubs, but about TU Berlin.
Technische Universitat Berlin is ranked as one of the top German institutes of technology and is widely known across all scientific disciplines. Being the Alma Mater for numerous German and International Nobel prize laureates, scientists, prominent entrepreneurs and business people, the university offers many opportunities for its students to dive into the both academic and business worlds by inviting worldwide famous speakers, such as the founder of Microsoft Bill Gates and Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai. Besides that, TU Berlin is one of the most international universities in Germany with around 24% of the student body coming from abroad.
But, as a small critic, we cannot say that the university administration is good, or even easy. At first, you might get lost between the registration for the courses (can you imagine that it is done by paper), to get access to the online platform and other technicalities. But be reassured, we are all in the same situation and you will always find another IMES student to help you out (or at least to struggle together). Once the struggle of registration is done, just enjoy, a great learning experience is starting, the IMES one.
IMES stands for Innovation Management, Entrepreneurship, and Sustainability, and is the DDP you are about to sign in for. It is considered to be № 1 Master in Entrepreneurship in Germany and № 42 worldwide, which explains intense competition among applicants and, as a result, a diverse and exceptional student body and alumni community (https://imes-community.de/). This success is easily explained by its set of courses, focusing on entrepreneurship, student participation and exchange with teachers from all over Europe. You will be able to take classes to develop your soft skills, master business planning, technology management, and much more.
When it comes to curriculum, you are offered a set of mandatory courses and a wide variety of electives, ranging from more standard “Innovation Policy” and “IP Management” to rather unexpected ones, such as “Design your happy life” and “Prototyping Eco-Innovation”. Even though the required number of credits per year is 60, so more or less 30 per semester, you are free to satisfy your curiosity and take any additional courses, including the ones taught within other study programs, faculties or even universities.
“When I arrived, I wanted to know more about entrepreneurship and innovation, and now, I can say that I do. Thanks to the courses such as Venture Campus and Prototyping Eco-Innovation, I understood what it means to be an entrepreneur. From Innovation Policy and Innovation Economics, I satisfied my curiosity to understand innovation and its relations with different actors. I was even able to dig deeper into myself as a human being thanks to courses like Design Your Happy Life. I learned much more than I was expecting and feel much more prepared for whatever could come next” – Valentin
“ When it comes to studies, what immediately caught my eye is how different students and teachers do about classes in comparison to some examples that I witnessed back in Russia. In an environment of mutual respect, you can feel how energetic, prepared and eager the teachers are to involve you, to give you more. What is even better – the students are eager to get that knowledge. Everyone is there to learn. Everyone wants to perform great. No one cheats. That is the right mindset! ”
It would be not possible to talk about IMES and its success without talking about the amazing student body that will be there at the same time. Along with the different classes, you will be with other students from the program, and because these classes are designed to develop your knowledge as well as your social skills, you will form, by the end of the first semester a community with your fellow students.
“At IMES we had an international community that I rarely saw, even in my previous university which was famous for it. I think I have never exchanged and talked with so many nationalities at one, from all over the world – Asia, Europe, South America, Russia, Canada, Africa. And what is even rarer is that all of us shared a similar mindset. We all were eager to exchange, learn from each other and create a solid bond. And even if we are all split for our second year, I am sure we will meet again along the way. I never met such an inspiring people”.
As every great story comes to an end, we finish this one too. For some of us this year of double-degree program in Berlin was one of the best, for others it was the greatest. We all got something from it.
“I learned so much, experienced so much, met so many people, I can say without a doubt that it was a life-changing year. I manage to feed my curiosity regarding innovation, explore an all-new city and way of living, attend inspiring events and all of that alongside amazing people. I will always be thankful to HSE for offering such a program that pushes you to explore and give you such opportunities. So, if you are doubting that a DDP is for you, don't!! It is for everyone and it is an amazing chance that you should not miss” – Valentin.
"Now, being already back in Moscow and working on the first draft of my master thesis, I can definitely call this past year life-changing. Within less than a year, I managed to learn a lot about innovation and entrepreneurship from the best in field and the academia, attend numerous inspiring conferences and events, work as a bartender at one of the coolest bars in Mitte, improve my German from the very basic level to C1, travel to the Netherlands, Greece, Spain, Hungary, Poland and Czech Republic and meet dozens of bright and beautiful people. So, if anyone is still doubting whether or not to apply for this program – doubt no more".
“Last year was the best year in my entire life. Amazing, unique and powerful vibe of the city, awesome classes with enthusiastic teachers and smart students, fruitful groupworks, projects with real impact, informative meetups, crazy parties, wonderful escapes to other countries, great and deep talks about things that truly matters, new friends, new best friends – that is definitely not all, but that is enough to make it a life-changing year. There was no minute when I regret about going for this DDP” – Alexander.
As four of us established one day while arguing about the taste of vanilla ice-cream with honey at the kitchen of rented house somewhere in the village to the south from Granada (Spain), – every interaction that we have with other people changes us.
Last year was full of interactions.
Last year changed us.
Authors: Anna Nedospasova,
Edited by Alexander Suvorov