A Somewhat Different Start of Studies

Zoom lectures, online workshops and virtual evenings in the bar accompany the new students through their first semester at ESB

Laura Alice Petersen and Saskia Larissa Scherer, two first-semester students from the MSc International Business Development degree programme, report on their virtual first semester at ESB Business School.

You have started your first master’s semester under very special circumstances. How are you coping with the online start?

After the semester started unexpectedly late, we are glad that we have been able to start our Master’s programme. We have quickly got used to online lectures and seminars. Zoom and Microsoft Teams have definitely become our best friends in the last few weeks.

Were there any problems starting the online semester?

Initial doubts as to whether the technology would be able to handle everything vanished immediately after the first week. The team at ESB Business School – both teachers and staff – really prepared themselves well in the weeks leading up to it.

We can even laugh now about most of the pitfalls in the online semester. The latest craze is Zoom bingo: everyone has left the microphone on at some point or shared their screen without realising it. Even cats have been glimpsed wandering through the lecture.

Live encounters on campus are unfortunately cancelled for the time being. So how does communication with other students work? 

Although we only see and know each other from a screen, we have already established a good sense of togetherness using WhatsApp. In addition, the students from the second semester gave us a warm welcome via Zoom and so we had a direct line to them. We sincerely hope, however, that we will soon get to know each other personally and can return to normal life again next semester.

What about typical events for first-semester students?

Since freshers’ parties unfortunately had to be cancelled, we arranged virtual evenings in the bar to get to know each other better.

Practical experience and contact with renowned companies are an integral part of the study programmes at ESB. How can we imagine this in the online semester?

The Center for Entrepreneurship and StudierenPlus offer many virtual workshops and courses. In addition, the MoMa keeps us informed about other events. The Career Center also organises virtual workshops and training courses at various companies. So it will definitely not be boring during the online semester. The semester may not be what we had imagined but we are happy about what ESB makes possible for us.