Current Role: IT Architect, Daimler Concern (Owner of Mercedes – Benz), Germany
Previous Role: Software Engineer, Nokia Location and Commerce
*Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka, Bangladesh
*Karlsruhe University of Applied Science, Karlsruhe, Germany
College: Notre Dame College, Dhaka, Bangladesh
High School: Govt. Laboratory High School, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Current Location: Stuttgart, Germany
GradInsights: How and why did you decide to study abroad?
RK: During my 4th year of Bachelors, I started planning for my future career. After analyzing many parameters, it occurred to me that a higher degree from outside of Bangladesh will be beneficial for my career.
GradInsights: Why did you select Germany? And how did you know which university to apply to?
RK: I was looking for a matching Masters course in many different countries and universities. At that time, American visa was literally barred for Bangladeshi students. Canada / Australia were two other options, but the tuition fees were extremely high, and so was (or still is!) the case in UK. This meant, that if had to study in one of the universities in these countries, I needed to carry a huge burden of paying my tuition fees on my own. At that time, I noticed some of the European countries provide tuition-free Masters course. Among these countries, I especially noticed that in Germany. It had matching courses that were offered in English. It was a perfect match. So I hopped into the plane to Düsseldorf!
GradInsights: What was the process for your admission?
RK: It was very easy. I started looking for options, and I realized one needs IELTS or TOEFL test scores. I immediately sat for IELTS. This score helped to get a place in Masters course, along with my transcripts and certificates. Actually, no other papers were required. The process was really fast and lean.
GradInsights: How did you select your course?
RK: I had studied Urban and Regional Planning for my Bachelor’s degree. There I had learned about GIS (basically the computer simulated mapping and geographic analysis tool). I particularly like GIS and then there was Remote Sensing, which is imaging earth surface with satellite sensors. This package was fascinating for me.
Personally I am particularly keen on computers, from the inside and out. At that time I was building my own machines and upgrading them frequently, installing drivers, messing up with the boot sequence etc. So I figured out, if I do proceed with my higher studies, it must be something IT-related. Fortunately, GIS and Remote Sensing was.
GradInsights: What was the main difference in the approach to academics compared to Bangladesh?
RK: State-of-the-Art technology in respective field, orientation on practical learning rather than theory, extraordinarily helpful teaching staff, and good IT infrastructure.
GradInsights: How did you adjust to learning German?
RK: The design of our course was that we had to attend some lectures in 3rd and 4th semester in German. That’s why, it was mandatory for us to attend German language course beforehand. We needed to pass DaF level 4 (from 1 – 6), otherwise there would be no certificate for us. Because of this indirect pressure, I had to attend German language courses in university.
Afterwards, in professional life, I spent most of my time with German colleagues. There I always tried to communicate in German rather than English. (however bad it might be). Slowly, one improves when one tries.
GradInsights: What advice would you give to any students from Bangladesh looking to study in Germany?
RK: Make good use of the DAAD website. This is loaded with helpful information. Just spend some time, you will find what you are looking for on this site (www.daad.de.) If you think you will be able to survive in Germany without learning German, then you cannot be more wrong. You have to give up prejudice against learning German to succeed. So buckle up your belt, and learn German.
In terms of career, Germany is good for engineers and IT people for those who make a career in Germany. However, I don’t recommend Germany if you are from sociology, philosophy or business background, because if you do, then there is 95% possibility that you are not going have a career in Germany. Finally, for studying only, Germany is wonderful.
Once you’re in Germany studying, make the most use of the university time that you have. Don’t waste a second on movies, bars, parties etc. Two years is a very short period and it will be over before you realize it. So make the best use of this time learning as much and as diversely as you possibly can.
GradInsights: Was it difficult getting a job in Germany after your graduation?
RK: In my case, it was really easy. I started to work in a company as an Intern Student, and then did my Masters thesis in the company, of course with collaboration from my university. After achieving good milestones, the company offered me a job contract. So the transition from student life to professional life was extremely smooth for me. I had hopped directly into the professional role, as a software developer.
GradInsights: How did you adjust to your workplace in Germany?
RK: In our team, we were 5 developers, all of the same age. We used to hang around a lot, inside and outside office. So workplace adjustment was not an issue for me.
GradInsights: How did you end up in your current role?
RK: My current role is the 3rd company in my career. After spending 3 and half successful years in Nokia, I thought I needed a job with more responsibility. I had my eyes open in the market, and this offer came along. Everything matched perfect, so I switched!
GradInsights: What role do you see yourself in over the next 5 – 10 years?
RK: As Technical Lead.
GradInsights: What advice would you give to any students from Bangladesh looking to work in Germany? Is it necessary to study there previously?
RK: Yes. One needs to be open to learning German language, embrace German culture. There are certain German things, that one really needs to stick to, for example, timeliness. Good technical know-how is a must because in job market, one needs to compete with German lads. And believe me, some of them are really good! So if you want to mark your place here, you need to be good at what you do.
GradInsights: What was the biggest adjustment you had to make once you moved there?
RK: ome German norms. Like being on time, doing things neatly, being open to criticism, listening and understanding properly before saying something, and being organized to the smallest detail.
GradInsights: Germany is relatively insular in comparison to the rest of Europe, how did you adjust to living there?
RK: Although it seems that way, but in reality it is really not like that. I would rather formulate it like Germany is the heartbeat of Europe. This is the center of economic activity in Europe. Don’t always believe in what the British say about Germans 🙂
GradInsights: Are there many Bangladeshis in Germany? What was your support network?
RK: There are some, but not handful like in the UK or Australia. There are some hubs, like Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt etc. In the other areas, it is very hard to find Bangladeshis. Networking is quite easy. There is a central Students and Alumni Association. There are also local networking groups, based on mail networking or facebook. So information sharing and getting in touch is very easy now a days.
GradInsights: Anything else you would like to discuss, please feel free to do so
RK: Visit Germany, there are many misconceptions outside about the Germans. Find out for yourself how much of these are true. Life in Germany is very secure, as we have a very strong social security net. Health system is top notch. If you are ready to learn German, Germany is one of the best places to immigrate. Check it out!