Sleep in, don't have to worry about anything, study a little and celebrate. This is how most people imagine life in disarray during their studies. But that is often not the case. In 2018, around 60% of German students worked alongside their university commitments. Because the cost of living - especially here in Munich - is hardly affordable for many without additional income.
What student life in Munich is really like, what it means to work as a working student and which clichés are actually true, we uncover today with Michelle and Adrian. They give us interesting insights into working student life at Mr Beam.
Clichés about (working) students
Let's start with the clichés that exist about students.
Do you have a lot of free time? At night, we celebrate & sleep at noon.
M: Well, that's not the case for me. You can manage your time quite well, but especially before exams you have to take it easy and learn. Even with the work on the side, you don't have that much free time. So I would say partly, partly. The practical thing about me is that I can schedule my working hours and days at Mr Beam completely freely and flexibly.
A: I would say it's pretty much the same for me. Of course, things tend to be more relaxed during the semester breaks. But if you work part-time and are otherwise active, you can go partying, but you always have to keep an eye on your tasks and get them done.
So both of them partly agree here, most courses demand a lot from you at times, but also give you a breather. So it's about managing your time wisely, especially if you're working extra. How about the other clichés:
Studying is the best time in life?
A: I hope not, because then everything that comes after that will be worse.
M: Because I've already worked for a few years, I already have an insight into working life and I have to say that studying life is cooler in itself, since I'm only employed for 3 days, so to speak, and feel better the rest of the time can divide and have more free time. This way I can connect with even more exciting people. Unfortunately, most of my studies fell during the Corona period - everything was online - which is why I can't really judge what student life "normally" would be like.
Children from non-academic households hardly have a chance to study?
A: Well, what's true is that with private universities, for example, you need money to get into them. Public universities are comparatively cheaper. But I would say that you have chances to study, especially in Germany, especially if you put your mind to it. And of course, it's harder when you weren't able to focus as much on your education when you were still at school. But I do think that in Germany, if you are motivated, you can do it comparatively well.
M: Yes, I also think that you don't have to come from an academic household. I think if you did well in school and want to do it yourself, anyone can do it. Of course, dealing with the family has an influence on this. It is definitely more difficult for people who have no previous knowledge or any contact points with studying.
It is therefore possible to start studying from non-academic households. You need the right motivation, and you may have to rummage through information and the Internet a little more at the beginning, for example to take advantage of suitable scholarships and offers from the universities. Tips for first-year students can be found below.
Is a degree a guarantee of a good job?
We've probably all heard the saying "with sociology you'll drive a taxi later", but is that true?
Both can deny this cliché.
A: If you can apply your knowledge to real-world subjects, then you can work with humanities in almost any industry.
In general, every course of study also depends on how well you pass it, but also how motivated you are to achieve something in your job. It's all a question of initiative, motivation and will.
Michelle also agrees and adds that a degree is the ticket to get into an industry. You have to do everything else yourself.
And one last cliché: “You can’t study without a master’s degree.”
M: I'm actually considering doing a master's because so many people now have a bachelor's that you can stand out a bit more with it. But I think it's also quite industry dependent. In marketing, for example, you can get very far with a bachelor's degree because marketing offers so many opportunities. And market behaviour also has an influence: how many jobs are there at the moment, how big is the competition, etc.
We at Mr Beam are also open to all fields of study and previous knowledge. Because we think it all depends on the right motivation, your values and skills. Have a look here on our careers page, there might be a suitable position for you, otherwise you can simply send us an unsolicited application!
Advantages and disadvantages of being a working student?
Can the theory be put into practice?
M: Luckily, my course is very practice-oriented. I can apply what I have learned directly in my work areas. In other courses, however, it is definitely different.
A: It's quite theoretical at my university. The knowledge that one has can be derived and then used. But it's rather rare that I've been able to apply things directly so far.
Why is it worth working as a working student?
A: You get to know the real working world directly and understand what is different about it. Studying, for example, is about learning things by heart. You learn differently at work, you have to move things forward, get things done and that really has to work in reality.
M: You also learn things like time management and task prioritization.
Advantages and disadvantages.
A: Disadvantage: less free time. Pros: You have more financial freedom. But more important is that you learn a lot. Especially when you're still so young. That's where you stand out in a certain way. And for me personally, it's also nice to see that I've created something.
M: I agree. Another disadvantage is that you are limited in some things. For example, you often cannot do another job or are only allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours during the semester as a working student, which sometimes makes it more cumbersome.
Being a working student at Mr Beam
How did you get to Mr Beam?
M: I posted on TikTok in 2020 that I was looking for a job again because I got bored with the many lockdowns. And Jessie, our Head of Marketing, followed me, saw it and asked me directly if I would like to work for Mr Beam in the Content & TikTok area. 3 days later I had the interview, and then I started.
A: I was recruited by Teja, our founder, at a career information night at my school. After his presentation, we got talking, and so the journey with Mr Beam started while we were still at school!
What are your responsibilities?
M: I overlook Mr Beam's TikTok account. For this, I laser different ideas, which are mostly seasonally oriented to holidays and festivals. I accompany this with the camera and create videos and pictures of it. But I also create content about funny everyday things that happen in the office.
A: I help senior management with business development tasks and various legal matters.
What makes it attractive to work at Mr Beam as a working student?
M: We are a young team, everyone is relaxed and nice. We have super flat hierarchies. The salary as a working student is also fair. You are very free in your work, but you also have responsibility. In the TikTok content area, for example, I decide for myself what I do and when I post something. So I can highly recommend working at Mr Beam.
A: I also see it as pleasant that you can work very freely and flexibly. Of course, you have a few deadlines or talk to your superiors about which tasks need to be prioritized. But when it comes to implementation, you can work very independently, and I can complete tasks that I know are important for the company. At Mr Beam, you also have the opportunity to work closely with experienced young people. We have a great working atmosphere, and you feel part of the team. This is rarely found in this form anywhere else.
Given your current experience, what tips would you give to new students?
Tips from Michelle: I would recommend not pushing exams too often. Eventually this will catch up with you! And in important subjects I would definitely attend the lectures ! e.g. in statistics and mathematics. When it comes to looking for a job, I find that recommendations work best, but LinkedIn is also great.
Advice from Adrian: Stay disciplined and study routinely throughout the semester, then the exam phase won't be as stressful. Regarding grants : If you identify politically with a party, political foundations make a lot of sense. There are also numerous scholarships with a wide variety of purposes, so you simply have to find out more on the Internet or find a contact person at the university. You often also need a letter of recommendation from a professor, so you have to establish contact early on.
Thank you, Michelle and Adrian for the interesting insights into your work at Mr Beam.