What part-time jobs, student jobs, mini-jobs did you have and do you have?
Alongside my university cap, I have multiple hats that I am wearing:) Namely, a student-job, student-representation, and a think-tank StartUp. Currently, I am working at the Career Service of the University of Potsdam in its project that creates special programs for the UP-International Student base. We help international students in all their career-related questions, and try to address their needs with dedicated programs, workshops, trainings, as well as services such as one-on-one counseling. One important agenda for us right now is to further pursue the potentials of volunteering and alumni-student exchange.
Within the University realm, I am also engaged in the student representation structure – this is not a job, but a responsibility which I value a lot. The University of Potsdam is leading an ambitious University Consortium that has the potential to bear fruit for very interesting opportunities regarding the internationalization of the institution. The EDUC-Alliance will allow the involved institutions to not only engage in exchanges, but also form deeper partnerships that taps specializations of the institutions, and especially connects their research, administration, and course offerings as well. As a student representative, alongside my other colleagues, I regularly attend meetings (in-person and online), and help the EDUC- and University Administration.
I also recently founded a Think-Tank/Consultancy – The Global Policy Research Group (GPRG). We are a very active organization with high ambitions, sound strategy, and thanks to these and our dedication, an organization that takes big and bold steps. I am mainly responsible of operations and partnerships, alongside many other things — as it would be the case at any startup (: —
We have been active since around 8 months, and we have published many reports under our Development, Economics, Environmental Solutions, EU, Good Governance, International Affairs & Security programs. We are an organization of nearly 40 individuals from around 25 countries, and are currently providing consulting, joining consortiums, and undertaking special research projects and cooperations. I have much passion and drive for our venture, and we are looking for all the exciting things that the future holds for us.
Can you accept multiple jobs and how was it for you?
My answer to this would be – absolutely! The most important thing is to know what your priorities are and where you see value. Of course there is a compromise, we all have 24 hours in our pocket per day, and what we invest our time will be dependent on what we see value. I have a no-pain no gain mentality, and of course there is no one size fits all – some like to focus on one and only thing, and others like doing multiple things at the same time. However, I see much value in pursuing at least one additional thing to regular studies or student-work. This can be a venture or volunteering. I have done both and both are very fulfilling.
Which activity was your favorite?
All of the responsibilities have special place for me. Among these, however, The Global Policy Research Group has my most drive, and where I am mostly invested both emotionally and professionally.
Did you have a job that was compatible with your interests?
I think understanding interests is a process of trial error. And alongside this, it is also about the way a person views their jobs. There probably is always something interesting, perhaps at a tangent, or at a deeper layer of the job.
Currently, all of my jobs are related to my interests. I am very fond of our work at the Career Service – the chance to work on contributing to the prospects of international students, as an international student is very valuable and close to my heart.
On the other hand, even seemingly irrelevant jobs can bring much value to a person. For example, I also provide English, Russian, Turkish, German negotiation translation from time to time – these experiences give me insights into the e.g. the steel, transportation, or agriculture industries, and also provides me an observation to negotiations and dealmaking of C-Suite and managers.
I have mentioned the GPRG before – I am overall very interested in developing partnerships, setting up organizational processes and structures, creating solutions and tailoring providing trainings. I am also very interested in our output of course– our researchers are producing very interesting reports on a variety of topics.
Did you have a job that was compatible with your studies?
I am studying the MA-National and International Administration & Policy program at the University of Potsdam. My work at the UP-Career Service is very much related to my research on labor market integration – however, I developed this rather parallel to my studies, and it’s not a main component of it. My work at the GPRG is topically quite related to our output. However, I would say that’s the only relevance. Otherwise, I am in the management and coordination aspect of the things, and am not totally involved in the conduct of research under the programs. The „ideal work“ for a person I think, is a combination of knowledge, skills, and interests. I think my position at GPRG captures this well.
Who to contact when looking for a job?
I first believe in myself, and then in people and connections. Networks are very important, be it for a one-time venture, or a full-time job. If you have the right people around you, you will carry them, and they will carry you.
Is there a “best time” to start a job while studying?
I think there’s no best time – since it’s a trial and error process, the best way to go is to start as soon as possible. Volunteering is very good bet here – there are so many volunteering organizations and so many invaluable causes where one can invest their time in, get into a conversation with themselves, and also meet others. This is a zero-cost test, and the best time to start is perhaps now?
What you always wanted to say about “jobs during your studies”:
If I had a magic-wand, I would hit and break it on the problem of limited entry-level jobs & internships for International Students. So many companies have English-working culture, to which international students can apply, however, they choose not to lower their German requirements.
Furthermore, many of the study-programs provide somewhat inaccurate descriptions of „what happens after graduation“. One cannot simply become a journalist right after graduation for example – many social sciences & humanities programs just list a number of supposedly relevant job titles. Setting correct expectations is very important. International students who make the decision to commit their time and future to a program and in a country, more often than not rely on the savings of their parents, or their own.
Therefore, it is very, very, and very important to create support programs and strategies at the instution and regional level, that are able to streamline the potential of international students – a group of some 400.000 students in Germany.