Experiences

Experiences

Experiences of former SEM students

In order to get a personal impression of the SEM Master, some reports from current and former SEM students about their experiences are collected below.

The reports have been collected from different SEM years, with the years representing the beginning of the Masters.

Note: The reports reflect the subjective opinion of individual students. This is neither a representative opinion of all students nor is it in any case reflected in the opinion of the study program coordination.

Year 2017

Report 1

What did you study before the SEM master?

  • B. Eng. Maschinenbau

What kind of sustainability experience did you have before you started your studies?

  • Quite little, which was related to my studies
  • In my private life, I have been more and more interested in the topic since the 4th bachelor's semester, attended many lectures and events and therefore wanted to do a master's degree in the field.

How demanding and time-consuming do you experience your studies?

  • I only had basic lectures on Business Administration and Economics in my bachelor. Nevertheless, in my opinion, studying the SEM maseter is not too demanding.
  • However, time should not be underestimated due to many and often parallel examinations.
  • All in all, however, I can say that it is quite feasible in terms of time and effort.

What do you like in particular?

  • Definitely the "atmosphere" and the relationship between the students! The SEM Master is like a small family. Everyone tries to support each other as much as possible.
  • The interdisciplinarity ensures that many different perspectives on topics are analysed and as well different argumental positions arise.
  • The assistance regarding the coordination of the studies is wonderful, friendly and helpful. The support from the FSR is as well outstanding!

What don't you like so much?

  • Sometimes it seems as if the master exists only a few semesters, although the program is older than 10 years already. Unfortunately, there are still some "teething troubles" that crop up over and over again with regard to examination regulations, examinations or modules. However, the coordinators often help out.

 How is the relationship between teachers and students?

  • Very close and friendly in most events. Almost all teachers respond to feedback and seek to implement the advices from us students.
  • As a SEM student, you also feel welcomed in many other events that are not explicitly assigned to the SEM program!

Would you recommend the SEM master's program?

  • Definitly yes!

Why would you (not) recommend the SEM master's program?

  • If you are looking for meaningful study and want to broaden your horizons, you will find what you are looking for at SEM. The togetherness is extraordinary and turns into a fun study!

Do you already have an idea what or in which area you would like to work after the master or how it could continue for you?

  • I currently have a return offer to my old company, which is not heavily involved in sustainability. One possibility that I could imagine would be to push this area.
  • On the other hand, I could also begin another apprenticeship in order to develop myself personally.

What else do you want to add?

  • The SEM Master and Oldenburg are together an unbeatable combination. The city offers direct implementation possibilities of what is taught in the study course. Oldenburg really got very close to my heart, as did my fellows.

Year 2016

Report 1

What did you study before the SEM Master?

  • Bachelor of Economics with an ecological focus

What experiences in the field of sustainability did you have before starting your studies?

  • I was also interested in it before, read a lot about it and tried to live more sustainably and reduce consumption.

How demanding or time-consuming do you find the SEM programme?

  • The demands are okay. Especially in the second semester, I find the SEM programme quite time-consuming. But this is mainly due to one module.

What do you particularly like?

  • The solidarity of the SEM students is great. You do a lot together and help each other with everything.
  • I think it's good that there is the possibility to take modules from other courses of the Master Cluster.

What do you not like so much?

  • In my opinion, the economics modules, which are strongly mathematical, do not serve their purpose. It makes sense to know these basics. But it would make more sense for the learning success and understanding of the interrelationships to include more practical relevance instead of mathematics, for example in Resource Economics.

What is the relationship between teachers and students?

  • I find working together a good interaction. In principle, the teachers are willing to respond to requests and suggestions. For me, it's a good interaction.
  • The courageous work of the student council is worthy of special mention.

Would you recommend the SEM Master to others?

  • Yes

Why would you recommend the Master?

  • Because it is a meaningful alternative to the typical economics, business administration and management courses of study in which the standardised teaching of economics is taught, which in my opinion has reached its limits in the present time and will require revision in the future.

Do you already have an idea what or in which area you would like to work after your Master's degree or how you would like to continue?

  • Possibly in the municipal sector, e.g. in the area of sustainability/environment

What else would you like to comment on?

  • Strengthen the "sustainability" department of the University of Oldenburg more again! Other universities are now building up these areas in which Oldenburg actually has core competences and are rubbing their hands that this area is currently being treated like a stepmother. Apart from that, it is simply enormously important to expand education with sustainability as a cross-cutting theme across all degree programmes.

Report 2

What did you study before the SEM Master?

  • An international programme in Global Management

What experiences in the field of sustainability did you have before starting your studies?

  • I took modules in the field of ethics and corporate social responsibility in my Bachelor's programme. Due to the intercultural and international orientation of the programme and my own personal interest, I had already dealt with the criticism of global markets and possible alternative business practices and sustainable consumption.

How demanding or time-consuming do you find the SEM programme?

  • The amount of time required is okay, but it varies from semester to semester and is also strongly dependent on the demands of the professors.

What do you particularly like?

  • The SEM community is great. There is a lot of exchange and close friendships develop.
  • The interdisciplinary orientation of the programme allows for a great variety of choices from different disciplines in terms of sustainability and brings with it an exciting exchange.

What do you not like so much?

  • Practice could be integrated more strongly in many modules, e.g. through cooperation or something similar. There is a strong emphasis on research in some areas, while practical implementation is sometimes neglected.
  • Overall, the Master's programme could use more lecturers and professors who are more committed to sustainability.

Would you recommend the SEM Master to others?

  • Yes!

Why would you recommend the Master?

  • The Master's is very well positioned interdisciplinarily and combines many different subject areas, as is necessary for sustainability. It enables all students to focus on their own personal interests.
  • In addition, the relationship among students, but also with the teaching staff and especially with the Chair of Ecological Economy is very positive, which greatly enhances the quality of studies.
  • The FSR SEM also does a great job in developing the programme and supporting the students.

Do you already have an idea what or in which area you would like to work after your Master's degree or how it could go on for you?

  • Sustainability research and municipal sustainable development

What else would you like to comment on?

  • Oldenburg as a city is also highly recommended for students and especially those interested in sustainability. There is a wide range of events on offer!

Year 2015

Report 1

What did you study before the SEM Master?

  • B. A. Intercultural Management and Communication

What experiences in the field of sustainability did you have before starting your studies?

  • In my spare time I have been involved in sustainability issues in a very practical way, such as organising anti-nuclear demonstration in response to Fukushima. But also through my participation in workshops of different environmental organisations, I became interested in topics like urban gardening or the post growth economy.

How demanding or time-consuming do you find the SEM course?

  • Since I had already looked at the economy with "cultural studies glasses" in my previous studies, I am already used to critically reflecting on entrepreneurial actions. To do this now from the perspective of sustainability feels like a nice and not too difficult addition for me. However, mathematical argumentation is an exception, as for me, due to my background, it is equivalent to learning a foreign language, which is fun, but takes time.

What do you particularly like?

  • First and foremost, it's fun to be in good hands with like-minded people during my studies and to deepen my interest in sustainable topics even beyond the lectures and seminars. The strong motivation in the SEM collective to also promote social change towards "sustainability" is something that makes studying incredibly lively.

What don't you like so much?

  • I think it makes sense to value interdisciplinarity in my studies. However, the SEM programme with its many cross-Master's modules also brings with it a number of challenges. Especially when working together with rational-thinking business students, university life is therefore not always a ponycampus. Be careful.

What is the relationship between teachers and students?

  • Due to the manageable size of the programme and the various modules offered by individual lecturers along the Master's programme, it is possible to build up a close relationship with lecturers. However, it is not always quite as stress-free when it comes to email correspondence or finding office hours.

Would you recommend the SEM Master to others?

  • yes

Why would you recommend the Master?

  • So far, the SEM programme has been a very inspiring phase of my life, which complements my personal interests and previous knowledge very well. The constant joy and the released motivation for intensive self-study are wonderful, personal indicators for a (my) right choice.

Why would you not recommend the Master's programme?

  • Someone who does not enjoy critically questioning an ecological, social or at least economic status quo will probably not be happy here.

What else would you like to comment on?

  • Even outside of the university, the city of Oldenburg offers an incredible diversity of events and initiatives, especially for SEM students, that deal with sustainable topics in any form. This results in a clear location advantage for Oldenburg!

Report 2

What did you study before the SEM Master?

  • Environmental Sciences

What experiences in the field of sustainability did you have before starting your studies?

  • Throughout my entire Bachelor's degree, I have been dealing with sustainability.
  • In addition, I was able to complete two internships in CSR departments and am also involved in sustainable business in my free time.

How demanding or time-consuming do you find the SEM programme?

  • The first semester included some repetitions for me, so that I could concentrate on other things in a pleasant way.
  • Especially for the world of economics it takes a bit more time if you have little previous experience.
  • The many group reports are quite time-consuming, especially their coordination.
  • But all in all, I think you still have enough time to get involved outside of the university.

What do you particularly like?

  • Fellow students are excellent, the cafeteria is good and there are also many interesting events after university.

What don't you like so much?

  • The accessibility of some lecturers is quite difficult.
  • In addition, not many use the full range of creative pedagogy to make the material understandable.
  • In general, the university organisation cannot keep up with the one of my Bachelor's degree.

 How is the relationship between teachers and students?

  • We've been taught by rather young lecturers so far, so the connection is pretty good. Questions are answered and we mostly talk at one level.
  • The more postitions and degrees a person has, the worse the supervision or accessibility.

Would you recommend the SEM Master to others?

  • Yes

Why would you recommend the Master?

  • Because it gives a good economic overview of sustainability.
  • With a practitioners' forum and interesting institutes, it also provides a fertile ground for students to deepen their knowledge independently and make further contacts.

Why would you not recommend the Master to others?

  • If you only want to focus on business studies, then you are rather wrong here. You also have to be a bit flexible in your choice of modules. It's not always offered what the range of courses in the examination regulations would seem to suggest.
  • It should also be taken into account that important personalities in sustainability economics are currently leaving the university. The focus on sustainability could be in danger for the future.

What else would you like to comment on?

  • If you are interested in the Master's programme, it would be best to get in touch with the current students. But also keep in mind that the people you are talking to have similar motives for starting this Master's programme.

Report 3

What did you study before the SEM Master?

  • B.A. Economics

What experiences in the field of sustainability did you have before starting your studies?

  • In terms of development economics during my semester abroad

How demanding or time-consuming do you find the SEM programme?

  • Not challenging, but due to many seminar papers, sometimes very time-consuming

What do you particularly like?

  • Small study groups

What do you not like so much?

  • Too much focus on strong sustainability without addressing the risks of such a focus in terms of growth and prosperity. It is often assumed that prosperity cannot be reversed by reducing growth. Growth criticism without reason.
  • Sustainability is overrepresented in many courses, with the choice of economic (except environmental economics) and business subjects being too limited.
  • Had I known this in advance, I would have decided otherwise. Alternatively, I had an Economics Master's in Hohenheim.

What is the relationship between teachers and students?

  • Some lecturers have retired or changed universities without an immediate replacement. That doesn't work like that.

Would you recommend the SEM Master to others?

  • no

Why would you not recommend the Master?

  • As already described, the Master is too one-sided and too polarised and a one-sided opinion is imposed.

Do you already have an idea what or in which area you would like to work after the Master or how it could go on for you?

  • Yes. Foreign trade relations

What else would you like to comment on?

  • I very much hope that the degree programme will be reformed quickly so that it doesn't completely disappear.

Older years 2012 - 2014

Report 1 - 2014

What did you study before the SEM Master?

  • B.A. Global Management

What experiences in the field of sustainability did you have before starting your studies?

  • I worked in a communications agency and helped to create a design award for sustainable product design.

How demanding or time-consuming do you find the SEM course?

  • For me it is very time-consuming, especially compared to my Bachelor's degree, which I completed at a university.
  • The structure is simply different and I first had to get used to it.
  • But it's quite manageable and above all it's fun, because I'm now mainly concerned with topics that really interest me.

What do you particularly like?

  • Diversity, high degree of student identification with the subject area, different backgrounds of fellow students, many extra-curricular activities, great environment in Oldenburg (many initiatives).

What do you not like so much?

  • There are a lot of things that could be improved, especially in the individual modules, but I think that would be going too far to explain that here.

What is the relationship between teachers and students?

  • It's good. Mostly almost amicable, at least (mostly) at eye level and open-minded.

Would you recommend the SEM Master to others?

  • Yes

Why would you recommend the Master?

  • Because I am personally enthusiastic about the Master and it was the right decision for me.

What else would you like to say?

  • You can also emphasise the commitment of the student council: It's great that you fought so hard for us SEM students to have a voice! Thanks for that :)

Report 2 - 2014

What did you study before the SEM Master?

  • Industrial Engineering and Management

What experiences in the field of sustainability did you have before starting your studies?

  • Employee in the sustainability department of an international energy company
  • Dual study programme including practical assignments and bachelor thesis in the field of sustainability, environmental protection and occupational safety

How demanding or time-consuming do you find the SEM programme?

  • You can decide for yourself how demanding and time-consuming your studies should be, because you can choose the courses according to your personal preferences and capacities.
  • There is a great variety of electives, lecture series, additional courses and other possibilities to get involved.
  • The compulsory courses are demanding, but feasible.

What do you like about the SEM Master?

  • The wide variety of courses on offer
  • Content enriching lectures and qualified lecturers
  • The critical reflection of current systems and practices, of course contents and scientific approaches
  • The focus on exchange and discussion also within the lectures
  • Developing new ideas for a sustainable society
  • The interdisciplinarity and wealth of experience of the students
  • The cohesion and atmosphere among fellow students

Where do you think there is room for improvement in the SEM Master?

  • In modules where the form of examination is a presentation, the input of the teachers is sometimes not enough, as the students design most of the course.
  • The course Behavioural Economics cannot be taken by all interested students due to admission restrictions.
  • The compulsory economic modules are very theoretical and do not sufficiently relate to practical experience.

What is the relationship between teachers and students?

  • Teachers attach great importance to the exchange with students and take criticism as a stimulus for the further development of the lecture content. Students are encouraged to express their opinions and critically reflect on the contents. It is a respectful cooperation at eye level.

Would you recommend the SEM Master to others?

  • Yes

Why would you recommend the Master?

  • Exciting and enriching lecture content
  • Personal and professional development
  • Super Study Group

Report 3 - 2014

What did you study before the SEM Master?

  • Politics, Communication and Media Studies

What experiences in the field of sustainability did you have before starting your studies?

  • I co-ordinated a research project on climate adaptation in an agency for ecology and communication
  • I have been involved in state policy in the field of energy
  • I have taken a private interest in the topic

How demanding or time-consuming do you find the SEM programme?

  • Compulsory courses are medium to difficult, but definitely feasible
  • The degree programme is very flexible: Those who are interested in individual topics can familiarise themselves with the programme in a very time-consuming way, while those who have different priorities can get by with little time

What do you particularly like?

  • The exchange with the other students: Motivated, interesting and competent people. The exchange at eye level, in which everyone contributes their own strengths, perspectives and experience, has enriched and advanced me tremendously.
  • The wide range of choices in terms of content and methods for courses and seminars in the study programme

What do you not like so much?

  • In some seminars, the lectures are "outdated" (in terms of presentations, empirical data, etc.), but this is well compensated by current student input.
  • Unfortunately, some really good lecturers left the university last semester.

What is the relationship between teachers and students?

  • For the most part very good and relaxed
  • The vast majority of teachers are very flexible and fair
  • Usually there is a "short wire", you can easily reach the teachers for questions outside the lectures

Would you recommend the SEM-Master to others?

  • yes

Why would you recommend the Master?

  • We need interested and committed people who also deal intensively with sustainable topics during their studies
  • Great fellow students* from whom you can learn a lot
  • The broad orientation of the degree programme gives room for (and requires!) an individual focus, which can be chosen after the many suggestions in the first semesters
  • Practical relevance through the Practitioners' Forum, lecture series, excursions and the Practical Project and a generally large non-university offers for sustainable topics in Oldenburg

Why would you not recommend the Master?

  • The Master's consists of at least three economics modules and there are also many other modules with a focus on economics (but also many other topics). However, if you don't know anything about economics (and business studies), you should reconsider their choice.
  • Presentations and group work are an important form of examination, and discussion with other students has always been the most enriching for me. Anyone who is an absolute lone wolf will probably have a hard time in this Master's

Report 1 - 2013

What did you study before the SEM Master?

  • Tourism Management

What experiences in the field of sustainability did you have before starting your studies?

  • Bachelor's thesis
  • Courses on sustainable tourism
  • Internship with a CSR certified tour operator

How demanding or time-consuming do you find the SEM programme?

  • Demanding and rather time-consuming, but definitely feasible. It is also flexible due to the many options available, especially the many group activities are very time-consuming.

What do you particularly like?

  • I really like the SEM course!
  • The Bioplanet Earth course has given me a great overview as a business administrator in my first semester.

What do you not like so much?

  • Some of the compulsory modules are more or less to your liking, of course, but that's clear and otherwise there are many options, especially in the 3rd semester (although mainly in the area of economics and landscape ecology. Special SEM modules are a bit missing).
  • In my opinion, the Environmental and Sustainability Policy module could be expanded.
  • Instructions and information on options could also be improved, preferably at the beginning of the Master's programme, so that students can plan better.

What is the relationship between teachers and students?

  • Good, since it is quite personal, with small groups

Would you recommend the SEM-Master to others?

  • Yes

Why would you recommend the Master?

  • Widening of the own horizon in different areas (of course, this makes it sometimes more difficult not to lose the "red thread").
  • By means of choices the Master offers the possibility to create your "own profile".

Why would you not recommend the Master?

  • There are certainly many economic components, especially in the first two semesters. That must be something you like or be interested in.

Report 2 - 2013

What did you study before the SEM Master?

  • B.A. Business administration with a legal focus

What experiences in the field of sustainability did you have before starting your studies?

  • I only had my first concrete experience (under the title Sustainability or CSR) in my Bachelor's thesis, because I wrote about CSR.

How demanding or time-consuming do you find the SEM programme?

  • The SEM programme was very time-intensive for me, especially at the beginning, because a lot of group work was on the agenda. But after the first semester at the latest, the workload was very relaxed and easy to organise.

What do you particularly like?

  • The students. The SEM community is a really great group of people, a small family is what you like to call them, they motivate and inspire you to work for more mindfulness in our society.
  • The flexible module plan. Everyone has the possibility to choose pretty much anything they like.

What do you not like so much?

  • I think the module catalogue lacks a little bit of Education for Sustainable Development. In my opinion, the teaching of sustainability aspects is very important and is neglected in SEM studies.

How is the relationship between teachers and students?

  • The relationship is really great. Because of the small courses, students and teachers have a personal relationship. You get a lot of motivation from both students and teachers in the courses.

Would you recommend the SEM Master to others?

  • yes

Why would you recommend the Master?

  • If you are interested in sustainable development, the SEM Master is a real alternative to other sustainability masters, as it is not only oriented towards the mainstream economy.
  • The large catalogue of modules is also a real asset.

Do you already have an idea what or in which area you would like to work after the Master's or how it could go on for you?

  • Foundations, SME consulting, ESD

What else would you like to comment on?

  • I think it's great that the master is always reflected and changed/improved! Thanks for this survey :)

Report 1 - 2012

What did you study before the SEM Master?

  • B.A. Economics

What experiences in the field of sustainability did you have before starting your studies?

  • Internship at the Wuppertal Institute
  • Study focus on environment and sustainability in the Bachelor's programme of economics

How demanding or time-consuming do you find the SEM programme?

  • As far as time is concerned: If you want to complete all your credits within the standard period of study, then studying is quite time-consuming. But it's up to you whether you want to reduce the number of credits per semester and then study longer.
  • About the requirement: Thanks to my Bachelor of Economics, I wasn't overburdened with the compulsory economic modules in the SEM Master's programme. But for those who had done something different in their Bachelor's, one or the other module can certainly pose a greater challenge. But if you're determined to get behind it, you'll be able to do it.

What do you particularly like?

  • What I particularly like about the SEM Master's is that there are not only compulsory modules, but also a range of options that allow you to shape your studies to a large extent according to your individual interests. For example, you can choose a course that focuses on economics or spatial planning.
  • Another thing I particularly like about the SEM Master's programme is that students come to Oldenburg from all over the German-speaking world, have completed a variety of Bachelor's programmes and can therefore contribute a variety of perspectives to the courses. Ultimately, they are all united by the topic of sustainability. What's more, the SEM students are simply nice people - even beyond the semester and the degree.

What don't you like so much?

  • The advantage that students from different backgrounds can use different skills and perspectives can also be seen as a disadvantage, because this means that most of the compulsory modules can only be designed as basic modules. But I think this is bearable, because you can actually always look for a way to deepen your knowledge of a topic if you've already heard the lecture material in a similar way during your Bachelor's programme.

What is the relationship between teachers and students?

  • Overall, the relationship to lecturers at Oldenburg University is very good, because you can always contact the lecturers quickly.
  • I mainly had to deal with competent, motivated and friendly lecturers.
  • As a rule, it's also no problem at all to speak to a teacher if you have questions or need advice.

Would you recommend the SEM Master to others?

  • Yes

Why would you recommend the Master?

  • If you want to do a Master's degree in sustainability (initially in economics) in the German-speaking world, there is not much choice. I can't say anything about programmes at other universities and colleges.
  • But I can recommend the programmes offered in Oldenburg with a clear conscience: The programme is interesting and mostly of good quality, the modules offer a relatively wide range of options to suit your own interests, the study conditions are pleasant, the people are nice and the city is not all wrong!

Why would you not recommend the Master's programme?

  • If you don't feel like taking economics modules at all, you're certainly not doing yourself any favours with the Master's.
  • There is also room for improvement at the University of Oldenburg in terms of access to journals (for some there are no licenses).

What else would you like to comment on?

  • Semesters abroad are possible and are often taken by individual SEM students. The university has a number of partner universities, but free-moving is also possible in principle.

Report 2 - 2012

What did you study before the SEM Master?

  • Business Management

What experiences in the field of sustainability did you have before starting your studies?

  • Actually only a personal interest through family, friends and internships.
  • In my Bachelor's programme, sustainability was only mentioned in one module (Sustainability in the Supply Chain).

How demanding or time-consuming is the SEM programme?

  • As the topics were all new to me at the beginning of the Master's, I found the first semester quite stressful and time-consuming.
  • Once you had gotten used to the way the programme worked and the assignments, it was still easy to work alongside your studies, despite commuting.

What do you particularly like?

  • The various options and the opportunity to set individual focus areas within the degree programme.
  • In addition, the fact that the students come from completely different study programmes and have a wide range of previous experience.

What do you not like so much?

  • Some information, e.g. on electives, exams, etc., can only be obtained gradually and often more easily by passing it on from higher semesters.

What is the relationship between teachers and students?

  • In my opinion, it's very good. I was used to much lower supervision rates from my Bachelor's programme.

Is there anything that surprised you?

  • I didn't realise before how much at least the compulsory modules required knowledge of economics.

Would you recommend the SEM Master to others?

  • Yes, definitely. For me, it was the ideal opportunity to study exactly what I was personally interested in after the very general Bachelor's degree.
(Changed: 2020-09-29)