WHU Bachelor Students on Learning from Home

The experiences of two international students during the digital shift.

Adapt and evolve – this has been the collective ethos at WHU as the school switched quickly from a physical to a digital classroom. As existing Bachelor students discover how this affects their usual routine and uncover new ways of studying, what does this mean for international students? How do they keep the WHU community spirit alive from a distance? We chat with two students to discover what the digital measures mean to them.

Mumbai to Vallendar

For students choosing to study in Germany and particularly at WHU, the common factor that many cite when deciding to complete their studies here is the personal, supportive atmosphere of a smaller campus and the close-knit community. “Coming to WHU was one of the best decisions I ever made”, says Bachelor student Vedant Gala. “When I began my studies, I quickly saw the true value of WHU especially with the huge alumni network – you meet someone from WHU wherever you go. When I was in Berlin for an internship, a stranger on the subway saw my WHU t-shirt and asked which cohort I belonged to. That connection, no matter how far apart in age you are, is so strong – people from the WHU community are always happy and excited to connect with you.”

Born and raised in Mumbai, India, Vedant Gala moved to Germany four years ago. He completed his IB Diploma in Erlangen near Nuremberg, before starting his Bachelor studies at WHU. “Now I’m part of a few student initiatives, including the Business Meets Tech helping to organize tech courses in the study programs and 3 Day Startup, which is known worldwide. You have an opportunity to network with a lot of great people and work with them; these initiatives are an experience I would recommend to any student.” 

“The program really helps you to discover which field you want to specialize in or which topic you want to pursue further. It helps you to see where your strengths and interests lie.”

Speaking to Vedant, he speaks highly of how easy it has been to shift to online learning. “It all works really well; I’ve had several lectures online. I would say the key to success is the communication from the professors,” he says. “I have professors who help remove some of the uncertainty around the situation by constantly updating us by emailing or chatting with us, even late at night.”

What is promising to hear is that the interaction between students has not slowed, despite the social distancing measures. “Of course it’s different to when you’re living a minute apart in Vallendar, but I don’t think the situation has affected how students engage with each other, especially within friendship circles.”

Zagreb to Vallendar

Another Bachelor student drawn to the personal atmosphere at WHU is Nikola Bojanovic. Born and raised in Zagreb, Croatia, and then moving to the US where he received his high school diploma. “Studying in the US was a great experience for me as I experienced a lot of different cultures which broadened my perspective. I knew I wanted to continue that when I moved back to Europe.” Discovering WHU through a family friend, Nikola was impressed by the individual approach to each applicant. “When I saw how much effort was put into each potential student during the admission day, so when I was given a study offer I accepted it immediately and never looked back.”

“WHU is way ahead of many other business schools where they have little or no lectures. I think as far as the response, WHU did an excellent job.”

Nikola explains that it has taken some students a little longer to adapt, with some unsure of how to interact during the online lectures or perhaps not always willing to turn on their camera. “Overall it works well – we had an all-day lecture which broke out into groups, we worked on a case, met with the professor and then back into groups. It all worked perfectly, which just proves that it’s possible to do it all online successfully.”

For group work, Nikola does see some difference in accountability when working on projects online, in comparison to sitting together as a group on campus. “It was a fast shift so there was no time for a transitional period – but now that we are familiar with the tools and the process, everyone seems more proactive. For my friends in Croatia, their universities had a very difficult time switching to digital but WHU made the shift easily and quickly.”