Originally from New Delhi, Master in Finance student Pritika Sood studied and worked in Bangalore before beginning her Master’s at WHU. Graduating in 2015 with a Bachelor degree in Commerce and a specialization in Finance from one of the country’s top institutions, she received an offer to work for Goldman Sachs in Bangalore with the Operations Division. A few years later, her drive to learn and improve brought her to Germany.
How did you discover WHU and the Master in Finance Program?
Back in 2013, a group of WHU students visited Titan Company in Bangalore as part of their international module. I was aware of this, as my father was the company representative who interacted with the students at the time. This stirred my interest and I started to research the school while I was applying for my Masters.
What features of WHU made it stand out against other business schools?
I did apply to a few other universities, but there were aspects of the program at WHU that really piqued my interest:
Ranking and curriculum: WHU is a well-ranked institution not only in Germany but also in Europe. The program focuses on courses and exams, but also requires you to write a master thesis thus allowing you to experiment with the field of research. The curriculum felt well focused for someone looking for a career in Finance.
Semester abroad: The option to study at another university for a semester was something that really stood out for me. International experience is gaining importance, and knowledge of different cultures and work styles has proven to be successful in the workplace. WHU also offers the option of a double degree program, providing students with another opportunity to improve their brand value.
Career placements: WHU has a strong placement record, with students working in top consulting firms and investment banks after graduation, and the school's Career Center has a great reputation.
Were you always interested in finance?
Yes, and this is due to personal experience. I learnt to manage personal finances at a very young age, and being an elder sibling, I did the same for my sister too. I always wanted to learn more as I felt that finance was a lot more than just spending wisely and saving money.
Were there other reasons you chose to apply for a school in Germany and did you learn any German before you arrived?
With events such as Donald Trump being in power and the possibility of Brexit making the US and UK unfavorable for many students going abroad, the European Union was an equally good option with a lot more opportunities. Germany has the largest national economy in Europe, and German brands are well known all over the world. In addition to its global positioning, Germany has a rich history and cultural heritage and is home to some of the top business schools in the world, including WHU. All of these factors influenced my decision to come to Germany.
I did learn a little German before I arrived; however, I was not able to complete an entire level, as the time between the admission process and arriving here was too short. Fortunately, there are German classes offered on campus, and the language teachers were extremely helpful in ensuring I was able to learn despite the workload of my other courses.
What were your initial interactions like with the Master Program?
I was in constant touch with the admissions team and our constant email conversations helped shape my decision in applying to WHU. Additionally, the opportunity to send in your CV for pre-screening and receive feedback prior helped me a lot. During the summer of 2018, I was in Europe on holiday and decided to add a day to my itinerary to visit WHU. I enjoyed a campus tour, followed by a Q&A over lunch with admissions staff and a student from the MSc 2018 cohort. The warm welcome that I received made me feel at home.
How did you approach the admissions process?
I applied well in advance of the final deadline. As I was applying as an international student, it became extremely important for me to stay organized during the admission process in order to give me enough time to apply for a visa. I ensured my application documents were second-checked to avoid the possibility of any problems later, and I was in constant touch with the admissions team to check for updates. As I was working during this time, I also took a few days off from work to be able to prepare well for the admissions test, which was via Skype interview. I also applied for scholarships and was very happy to be a recipient of the Deutschlandstipendium.
What was the hardest part of the process for you?
I believe the biggest challenge of the admissions process was mentally preparing myself for the admissions test. Unlike other schools that have a single interview for an hour, the admission test at WHU consisted of a presentation, an interview, and difficult brain teasers all in a couple of hours. The candidate would meet three different interviewers in one day, with a short break between each section. This is a unique format in the admissions process, and I am glad that I was able to be myself and do well.
What would be your three best pieces of advice for new applicants?
Apply early for scholarship consideration. I would suggest international students also need this time to ensure a smooth visa application process.
Keep in touch with the admissions committee throughout the process. It is always good to check in for updates and inform them about any changes in your situation.
Don't be stressed about the admissions test - the unusual format can be daunting, but it is a fun experience and an opportunity to be your best.