In April of this year, MBS Bachelor student Jana Sefzik was accepted into the Max Weber Program of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation and is now part of the Bavarian Elite Network. The program supports talented students at universities in Bavaria and assists their professional and personal development both financially and ideally with corresponding seminars. In the interview, Jana Sefzik tells how she became aware of the program, how the application process went and what she expects from participation.
MBS Marketing: Dear Jana, you were recently accepted into the Max Weber Program of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation. How did you become aware of the program and what is your interest in it?
Jana Sefzik: Mr. Schulten from the MBS Examination Office drew my attention to the Max Weber Program (MWP) in October 2019 and asked me whether I would agree to MBS nominating me for the scholarship. I was of course very pleased about this request and then took a closer look at the MWP. I find it particularly appealing that students from the most diverse disciplines come together to exchange ideas and discuss current topics with each other. I was also interested in the individual support offered, the many opportunities for early involvement in research, the promotion of internationality, as well as interdisciplinary, personality-building and career-related elements.
MBS Marketing: How did the application process go?
Jana Sefzik: There are different ways into the MWP: You can qualify as an applicant directly via the entrance qualification for higher education or via the university selection. It is possible to submit a qualified self-application, a proposal by a university lecturer, a proposal by an elite study program or a proposal by the examination office. After being nominated by MBS, I first had to submit a written application in January 2020. Based on the written documents, a pre-selection takes place. In the next step, the applicants are then invited to a two-day selection seminar, which should have taken place for me in Dachau in mid-March. Due to COVID-19 it had to be converted into an online format at very short notice. On this weekend I had two individual interviews, one professional and one general. Usually there are also different group rounds with short presentations of all applicants. Unfortunately, group discussions with other applicants could not take place because of the current restrictions. Therefore, I gave the presentation in front of a member of the selection committee with subsequent discussion on the topic. Within one week after the selection seminar I received a letter from the MWP with the news that I was accepted into the program.
MBS Marketing: What is the content and promotion of the program and what do you expect from participating?
Jana Sefzik: The Academic Foundation promotes young researchers in the fields of science, business, public administration and arts. Through its development programs, the Academic Foundation conveys scientific depth, interdisciplinary dialogue, openness to the world and international experience. Thus, the Max Weber Program offers scholarship holders not only financial support but also a very wide range of non-material support. There are spring and summer academies, language courses abroad, soft skills seminars, three Max Weber festivals, scientific excursions, conferences on various topics, the Business Contact Seminar and the active participation in the “Stipendiaten aktiv!” program is also possible. All scholarship holders have two contact persons at the MWP, who are available to answer questions about the scholarship and also offer consultation hours to support you during your studies. In addition, you can also register for a mentoring group, where you can talk to a university lecturer of your personal subject and students of the same subject and get tips for further study planning.
I’m really looking forward to taking advantage of the wide range of offers, hopefully soon in person and not just online. I think it’s great to have the opportunity to get to know new people and also to exchange ideas with students of other subjects. I would like to expand my language skills in Mandarin, which I acquired at MBS, in language courses. I also plan to use the soft skills seminars for personal development.
MBS Marketing: Networking among the scholarship holders is an important component of the Max Weber Program. How can this currently be implemented? Have you been able to get to know other participants despite the Corona restrictions?
Jana Sefzik: Due to the Corona restrictions it is of course more difficult to get to know the other fellows, but the Max Weber program has very quickly converted many offers into online formats. For example, there are online game evenings, regulars’ tables, soft skills seminars, language courses, conferences, photography meetings, a MWPub quiz, a writing workshop, and information events for the newly accepted students. There is no obligation to participate in the events, but I can already report from my experience that it is always very exciting to get to know your fellow scholarship holders in this way as well. At the first events it was a bit strange and unfamiliar, because you had never met the other participants personally before. But thanks to the online lectures and online events at MBS, it wasn’t such a big change anymore.
MBS Marketing: The program also provides financial support for projects abroad. Do you already know what you want to use it for?
Jana Sefzik: Once you have been accepted, you can also apply for funding abroad, because the Max Weber Program wants to enable students to broaden their horizons and gain experience abroad. This can take the form of study abroad, internships, research projects and elective periods in the final clinical year. In June, I received the confirmation that the MWP will also support my semester abroad in Ireland in fall 2020. There are grants for travel expenses, health insurance, tuition fees and costs of living.