Jie Zhou

A turning point: my time as an international student at ISM

I have been studying at ISM Frankfurt as an international student for almost three years now. From 0 to 100, during the past three years, I studied at three universities, finished two internships in different countries, and traveled to 15 cities of 5 countries.

Looking back to the year when I was 19, I left home alone and went to Germany, a country thousand miles away from home. I believed there isn’t a more exciting privilege in life than to be able to discover new places, meet new people, and just surround yourself with traditions and cultures that are entirely different from your own. The fact that Germany is a safe and economically stable location for international students was also one of the reasons why I chose to study here. After three years of living experiences in Frankfurt, now I am surely saying that studying in Germany is the right decision and I have no regret about it. There’s no doubt that the decision of studying abroad takes courage and character. I can still remember when I arrived at the Frankfurt airport, the feeling was just overwhelming as all the people surrounding me suddenly started to speak German.

Jioe ZhouLuckily, ISM provided its best to international students to make sure they go through the transition period in Germany. Each freshman will be arranged with a buddy, which is a junior or senior student of ISM who can help them to quickly adapt to their college life. Students could also apply for a mentor who is an ISM graduate as their career advisor. In the beginning, ISM’s International Office has thought about everything that needs to be considered. The detailed information about the recommended accommodation, restaurants nearby the campus and everything relating to our daily life were introduced. Besides, in the orientation week, I participated the Frankfurt city tour to break the ice and met my fellow students. With all the support that helped me settle in, I was able to focus well on my studies.

In my perspective, for a business school student, the most important thing is to have a clear goal towards your future career. I go to lectures to learn everything from financing to marketing and explore as much as possible to find the sector I am genuinely interested in. You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. Therefore, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. It is all about experiences. In my program, the study abroad semester and 20 weeks internship are mandatory for graduation. Therefore, I went to Fudan University in China in my fourth semester and did a five months internship at Siemens. Besides, I went to the University of Hong Kong to study political economy and did an extra internship in Frankfurt.

As I am about to graduate in the summer this year, several companies have already offered me positions. I have accepted the offer from a company in the fashion industry, and I will start to work as a management trainee in the field of project management this year. The company is headquartered in China and focuses on the American and European markets. ISM offers a variety of classes concerning business administration, which comes very helpful to me now. I think that for students who are pursuing a Bachelor’s degree, studying at ISM will be a great chance to broaden their horizons in the business world. It certainly helped me to change my perspective.

At the very beginning, I thought I would probably be working in the financing industry, however, after practice and confirmation, I have made up my mind to work as a marketer in the end. It is always worth trying.

College is what you make of it. Always remember there’s a big world out there.


Author: Jie Zhou