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Lars Speckemeier graduated from his bachelor's degree at the eufom Business School as the best in class. In the interview, he speaks about how his degree shaped him personally and professionally. Having previously had the career aspiration to become an investment banker, today he pursues a scientific path and is applying for a doctoral position in the United States.
There were only a few state universities that offered an interdisciplinary degree in the fields business and psychology. That’s why I orientated myself towards a private university. What specifically convinced me at the eufom was the curricula, as it mirrors my interests very well. The weighting is 50 percent on psychology and 50 percent on economics. What also convinced me was that work experience abroad was integrated into the degree schedule and lectures were offered bilingually.
Absolutely. It is a very good degree, through which I have acquired a broad overview of both study fields. In terms of the content, I was also given the freedom to focus on topics that personally interested me or that became important to me in the course of the degree. With assignments, for example, I always chose to go in the direction of psychology, while other students focused more on economic topics.
My parents never went to university, but are both entrepreneurs. That’s why I had a connection to business early on, went to trade shows in London and China and got to know the world of business at an early stage. Before the degree, I didn’t have access to the academic world. I developed a strong interest in scientific work through the assignments. To address questions intensively across a longer period and to find a solution to a complex topic was increasingly fun, and I found out that I am not the pure practitioner I had thought to be. This turning point came about around the fifth semester. Then I said to myself: »Look at the other side of it – the research.«
I applied for a research internship at the University of St. Gallen and for work experience abroad as a tutor in China. I got accepted to both and had to decide. That wasn’t easy. Through in-depth discussions with my lecturers, we weighed up together what would bring me further at that point. I chose China to lay the foundation for my bachelor’s thesis. The University of St. Gallen offered that I catch up on the internship after my degree, which I thankfully accepted.
I conducted interviews with students in China, which I evaluated through the framework of my bachelor’s thesis. In this, I compared the risk behaviour of groups with those of individuals in equity investments. Like in Germany, groups in China are also willing to take more risks than individuals – although the behaviour seems to be more pronounced. This means, Chinese students invest significantly more in a group than alone. And purely male or mixed-sex groups invest more than purely female ones. A possible explanation can be found in social hierarchy. According to this theory, the decisions of male group members seem to have more weight for arriving at a group consensus.
Having work experience integrated into the degree gives you the responsibility of gaining experience in a business. From fellow students, for whom this was their first work experience, I know that it posed a big challenge. It’s good when the degree makes you overcome this hurdle. This helps exercise sovereignty. For me, the six months in China helped me make a huge leap forward. Since then it’s become easier for me to overcome my fears. I also would never have thought that I would ever be able to communicate in China. But when you live in a city in which 50 foreigners are met with 3,5 million locals, then you aren’t left with a choice.
In the first semester, I was extremely nervous when I had to hold the first presentation in front of 20 listeners in English. That was nerve-wrecking. I had never imagined that I could ever hold a job in which I’m standing in front of people every day presenting. But through the ongoing degree training during my studies and the feedback for example on my speaking tempo, clarity and demeanour, I’ve developed. Suddenly, I felt more secure and could image doing the tutor work experience in which I would regularly be standing in front of 300 Chinese students to hold a three-hour lecture in English. Today, teaching is even my career aspiration. In terms of my self-confidence, my demeanour, external appearance and professionalism, I have made a big leap forward during my eufom degree. I’ve noticed an equally strong development in my fellow students. It was quite astonishing in some.
At least 50 percent of my fellow students went into the field of HR. Around a third have jobs in the fields of marketing and business consulting and the remaining are like myself going in the direction of psychology or are still undecided.