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My experience during the Master’s program “Spatial Information Management” at CUAS

Time flies by. One year ago, in summer 2019, I graduated from CUAS in the Master’s Program “Spatial Information Management”. One year later, I look back at my study time at CUAS, which brings me where I am right now: In California!

Last October, I started a graduate trainee program at the international company “Kapsch” with HQ in Vienna, with the focus on intelligent mobility solutions and digitalization. I was not really sure what specific job I should apply for, so I thought a traineeship is an excellent opportunity to start your career, because you can have a view in different departments within a company. The program at Kapsch lasts for 2 years and includes 4 different stations, including a station abroad. I can choose the departments individually depending on my interests. During my first station in region management I worked on market intelligence, where I applied GIS, and had not been used in that context before. I could contribute my knowledge that I gained during my studies by visualizing potential market segments and countries on maps. Right now I am working in project management in the Bay Area.

Back to the beginning of my studies. I was worried that the program would be too technical and too much focused on programming and in the beginning I was struggling a lot. But thanks to the motivation and support of my professors and colleagues, I learned that with a positive mindset and by seeing challenges as opportunities, everything is possible. Just never give up on your dreams! In the end it is all about learning and understanding the fundamentals of specific topics, but eventually you can focus on your personal interests and strengths! That is how it works in companies as well, every individual within a team has his own expertise and talents and together you can develop a successful project. You cannot be an expert in every field, but it is beneficial to have an holistic view to understand problems and find solutions. I started to focus on spatial analysis and eventually found my passion for crime analysis. I worked sometimes day and night on my research project, because it became my hobby.

Thanks to Marshall Plan foundation and connections to Louisiana State University, I got the chance to implement the field work and analysis of my research in Baton Rouge. The Louisianan diverse culture is fascinating, including Creole, Cajun, Spanish, French, African-American influences, the place were Jazz was born, the Cajun cuisine with their famous crawfish boils, and traditions like Mardi Gras. My experience in Louisiana gave me confidence and made me think in new ways. I think the unique chance of living and studying in the USA made me stand out when I applied for the graduate trainee program at Kapsch. I got to knew new cultures, people, different ways of living and working. It is one step closer to become a citizen of the world and to broaden your perspectives and I only can recommend to everyone to apply for a Marshall Plan scholarship to get this amazing opportunity as I got!

As I look back now within my position at Kapsch, I can say that I really benefit from the management skills we gained, such as applying different project management tools and developing business models. I also got the opportunity to attend various international conferences and to publish my work in a scientific book and a journal. In this way I could build an international network of professionals.

Finally, I would like to thank my professors who always supported me, also in difficult times. The Master’s program gave me the chance to develop myself in the best possible way and I hope we will stay in touch.