Felix Schmidt (Germany) - Control
'Coming from a Bachelor degree in business administration and flipping through all possible, specialized, Masters degrees was quite frustrating at the beginning as I had the feeling I would limit my career opportunities when specializing in only one area. However, when I came across the Accountancy & Control Master at UvA, I immediately knew that this was the perfect program for me.
The decision was not only triggered by academia, but also by practical experience I had gathered in the consulting and start-up fields during my bachelor degree at Mannheim University and Nottingham Business School, as well as my gap year. In consulting, controlling figures and numbers are the basis for any analysis conducted in order to improve efficiency or identify malfunctioning processes (or even to comply with regulation, at least in the financial services sector). For start-ups, on the other hand, controlling is the core engine delivering insights on growth, operations and every other information relevant to identify the relevant levers to become successful. Therefore, in my view, controlling is at the heart of every company – regardless of industry or size – and most relevant in strategy development, operational assessment, and success measurement.
Looking back at my year in Amsterdam, studying at UvA has had a profound impact on me - both personally and professionally. While other universities often tend to overemphasize either the practical or the academic side of teaching, the accountancy and control program has found the perfect balance between academia and practice (i.e., academic reading and writing in conjunction with practical case studies). In this sense, accountancy and control has been the perfect preparation for my current job in the Management Consulting Division of PwC where I need to balance both the publication of expert reports (e.g., on the German outsourcing market) and project work. Additionally, the program had a great deal of both career and leisure time events organized by different university bodies. Besides the content, I experienced that during courses, course works and the thesis, all professors and lecturers have always been available and were actually keen to help – a kind of support that I was not used to before when studying in Germany.
Studying in Amsterdam
Last but not least and probably obvious, Amsterdam is one of the most vibrant and innovative cities in Europe where one can discover new places every day. There is always some cultural event to attend, festival to go to, new fancy bar to visit or flea market to go to. Hence, I assume my time in Amsterdam has not been the last time I lived there!'