Public vs. private university – or the effects of stereotypes on decision making

I had already made up my mind to study “something in media”. Then I noticed a course while surfing the internet: communication and marketing combined with business administration subjects, an integrated semester abroad, practice-related approach and, to top it all off, in my dream city of Munich – to my ears it sounded like the perfect degree course.
The only snag was: it was at a private university.

“Private? Don’t bother, full of snobs,” was the reply I received from many people I spoke to about my plans. Furthermore, it is not regarded very highly by future employers. It is better to study proper business administration at a public university than some “fast-track course”. I wasn’t sure what to do. Was it really the truth? I didn’t want to be shoved into some drawer just because I’d chosen to study at a private university. And after thirteen years at school, I wasn’t interested in compulsory attendance and a school-like environment.

In the end, I consciously decided against ISM and was overjoyed when I received an acceptance letter from LMU Munich in business administration.

I found my feet pretty quickly and was initially impressed with life at the university. My fellow students were friendly and I loved Munich – however, I slowly began to realise that everything I enjoyed had nothing to do with the actual course. Furthermore, I found out that business administration is a very dry topic for a creative mind. I suddenly felt a million miles from my original career plans.

Besides, not a lot was undertaken to help students find out about different opportunities: no active dialogue with professors, overcrowded rooms, you even had to arrive thirty minutes early at the largest lecture hall to be sure of a seat. After months at the university, I only knew about half the faces on my course; which could definitely not be put down to a lack of communication on my part. So it is only logical that the professors had no idea of the students’ names, but with over 600 students who could blame them for that?

I realised something had to change and I applied to ISM.

I’ve now been studying at ISM for almost one year and still feel my decision was the right one.
I think I’ve already learnt quite a lot. Interaction with the professors, the practical approach of the courses and the familiar atmosphere due to the small study groups help to facilitate learning. Students are supported and challenged at the same time, and I believe learning is targeted appropriately, making it enjoyable and beneficial. Every student at ISM has a face and a name, not just a matriculation number. Moreover, I can now say that I like going to university, because I really enjoy my course.

Author: Julia Hinrichs