Interview with student assistant Melisa Midžan

Melisa Midzan Copyright Daniel Waschnig

After completing her Bachelor’s degree at Vienna University of Economics and Business, Melisa Midzan decided to pursue her Master’s degree in Business Administration at the University of Klagenfurt. She is now entering her third semester and is simultaneously completing a Bachelor’s degree in Information and Communications Engineering. She is using the Klagenfurt scholarship to forge valuable contacts with Carinthian companies.

Tell us a little about yourself: where are you from, what are you studying?
I grew up in Klagenfurt, my parents are originally from Bosnia. When I completed my secondary education at HTL Mössingerstraße, I had no real clue of what I wanted to do next. All I knew for certain was this: I wanted to spread my wings and see and experience new things! Without much hesitation I decided to move to Vienna. That was the year 2015. Now I am back in Carinthia, studying Business Administration and Information and Communications Engineering. Quite a lot has happened in the meantime.

Why did you choose these particular degree programmes? Was it clear from the outset what you wanted to study? Why did you choose Klagenfurt for your Master’ s degree?
Initially I only knew that I could feel enthusiastic about many different things. I decided to study chemistry at the University of Vienna. Not long after that, in the spirit of self-discovery, I moved away from my original faculty to the Vienna University of Economics and Business. This was a time when I was able to explore all my varied interests – be it languages, clubs, trips abroad, or different jobs. This was the case until I was accepted into a project course at the Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation during the final semester of my Bachelor’s degree. In our team we identified customer needs and developed several product prototypes as a solution in a very short timeframe. Ultimately, we won the pitch competition of the E&I Touchdown, a major final event organised by the institute, and this was only because we shared a genuine passion for development. Almost as if a key had suddenly clicked in a lock, I knew that I wanted to go further into the R&D area. I moved back to Carinthia and was able to combine a Master’s degree in business administration with a technical degree and numerous innovative companies on the same campus in Klagenfurt. The Klagenfurt scholarship served as an additional incentive for me to switch universities.

Please share a funny AAU anecdote with us!
During my first week at AAU, I was genuinely surprised to see the same faces in every course. I had not realised how manageable the number of students enrolled in a degree programme is. Today I really appreciate this, because the team spirit is much stronger than at other universities where you are usually a stranger among strangers.

Has studying changed your view of the world?
Even though studying philosophy is one of the few things I haven’t tried (laughs), I have come to understand that I don’t really know anything. But that sparks my curiosity all the more.

You completed your Bachelor’s degree at Vienna University of Economics and Business. What do you like about Klagenfurt?
As I said, I think the combination of the campus and the large range of programmes together with the close links to the Lakeside Park are ideal. There is hardly any other place where business administration studies, technical studies and internship opportunities are all within walking distance of each other. What I really missed in Vienna and something I no longer want to do without is being close to nature. Swimming, cycling, hiking right on the doorstep is a priceless way to unwind from everyday life.

You are a scholarship holder with a Klagenfurt Scholarship. How is that going?
Great, as it allowed me to meet new people as soon as I returned. It is also very helpful that the organisers are always ready to help and advise us students. Otherwise a lot of red tape would have taken much longer. From a financial point of view, I am very fortunate to be able to focus more effectively on my studies thanks to the scholarship.

Are you in touch with your sponsors at DEIF?
Not at the moment, as I was lucky enough to land a job at the Institute for Networked and Embedded Systems. I am sure we will be in touch again when it comes to discussing our collaboration for my final theses.

Would you encourage other students to apply for the Klagenfurt Scholarship, too?
Absolutely, without a moment’s hesitation. It may take a little bit of courage to submit your documents, but it is definitely worth it.

How would you describe the application process? Did you find it straightforward?
Applications always involve a bit of excitement. Some documents such as my CV were ready and waiting. I spent some time working on the letter of motivation and the rest happened quite naturally. The interview was also a pleasant experience.

What are the things you look forward to when you come to the university?
Mostly it’s familiar faces, new subjects and the feeling of relief after an examination. These are the things that define everyday university life for me.

Where do you think you’ll be in ten years’ time? What area do you plan to work in?
My studies will be a few years behind me by then. I can see myself in a technical field in a team working in development and I can picture myself having responsibility for projects or for the team itself.

Word rap

My first day at the university was… thrilling.
My best experience of a course was… formative.
My university is… inviting.
I can’t envisage student life without… caffeine.
I’m inspired by… brain research.
My studies in 3 words… varied, intensive, unforgettable.