Arshiya Elias Sabaghi
Double Degree Rhine-Waal University of
Date of the interview
Congratulations Mr. Sabaghi, you are the first Rhine-Waal student who graduated with a Double Degree, meaning that you have studied in Germany at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences but also in the USA at Ferris State University. Can you tell us more about the process of completing the Double Degree?
The process of the Double Degree program is more or less straightforward, actually. You study at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences for two years, then complete one year at Ferris State University, and finally spend your last year, or senior year as it’s called in the States, again back at your home university, where you finish your studies with two degrees. There are a few differences regarding exams and courses required at each university, however. You don’t have to write two bachelor’s theses, for example, you only write one at your home university, and while at Ferris State you are required to attend a number of general education courses in the field of natural sciences, this is not a requirement at Rhine-Waal University. I had to take Marine Biology and Biological Concepts at Ferris State University, for example, which at first glance seemed to have nothing to do with my actual major subject, but these courses turned out to be surprisingly fascinating and you learn a lot more about interdisciplinary connections than expected.
Does a Double Degree also mean the double amount of work?
I wouldn’t say it’s the double amount of work but it still is a lot of work, of course. Most importantly, though, on balance, there is so much more value gained from the experience you gather as well as the problem solving skills and methodological training you acquire.
What were your best experiences during your stay in the USA?
My best experiences…well, in my view experiencing the American way of life was genuinely inspiring. It is characterized by an impressive “you can do everything”-mentality which I sometimes miss in German culture. For example, I will never forget the day my English teacher at my high school in Germany suddenly said: “The odds of any one of you ever becoming a millionaire one day are next to zero”. That day was very frustrating for me. Then a very similar thing happened during a class in the United States. It was the first day of class and the professor said: “The odds of all of you becoming millionaires are very high”. I truly enjoyed experiencing this attitude and perspective on life, the way people in the States perceive problems as opportunities and strive to accomplish their goals. It is the best experience I gained during my studies abroad.
Which advice can you give to prospective students who are considering to apply for a Double Degree study?
My biggest advice to students: be present, work hard and don’t forget to enjoy your student life. What I mean to say is this: it is, of course, important to study hard and achieve good grades, but it is equally important to engage in a certain amount of activities within the Faculty and University. It’s especially important to do this for yourself, because after graduation the networks you have built and friends you have made here, will be as valuable as your degree. It’s not only very interesting to keep in touch and know where all these people go from here but eventually might also turn out to be valuable in terms of future business collaborations. But, regardless of what happens next, in the end there really is no downside of having friends! So if you choose to do a Double Degree, as I said, work hard, be engaged, get involved with the Faculty Student Representatives, don’t forget to make friends and just enjoy one of the best times of your life. And of course, be pro-active with regard to the application and organization of the Double Degree, but also don’t hesitate to ask questions, the Universities will be glad to help.
You’ve earned your degree in International Business and Social Sciences. For which fields of work can you apply with this degree?
Well, in my experience a business degree offers an opportunity to work in various fields because every type of company or institution in some way or another relies on business management skills. That means, it is pretty much a matter of finding out what field you are most interested in and willing to strive for, like engineering for example. The bachelor’s degree in International Business serves as a good first pillar for you to understand the basic operations of business administration. By working in the field you are fascinated by, you will certainly gain lots of additional experience. Alternatively, you could also decide to refine your skills by earning a master’s degree.
What are your concrete plans for the future and why?
I am most interested in going into sales, which to me is the most fascinating field in business administration, international sales in particular. My career goal is to become a representative for companies in Germany and all over the world. And to answer the question of why: what drives me most are challenge, progress and responsibility. In my view there is no other field in which these three characteristics are more prominent. First of all and most importantly, my latest experiences tell me that the way to successfully managing today’s sales challenges is teamwork. I have learned that the individual team member’s responsibility and successful sales skills are crucial to effective teamwork and at the same time each member of the sales team benefits from collaborative group work. The fundamental challenge is to coordinate your own individual skills and efforts with that of the team. Secondly, every day you are bound to meet new customers with new demands challenging you to figure out how to satisfy their needs and finally progress is an integral part of commerce as, in the field of technology for instance, business continues to grow and develop. For me, engaging with these challenges head on and finding solutions is a very rewarding activity. A degree in Business opens up many possibilities, you can pursue a career in accounting, finance, marketing, whatever you like, and my “whatever you like” is sales. I am absolutely certain about this and I am pretty glad I am, because it took me long enough to figure it out.
Now that you are leaving Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences and the Campus in Kleve…What will you miss the most?
That’s a tough question…what will I miss most? I think, most of all I will miss the international atmosphere of the University. I am aware that this characteristic has been repeated so many times that it might sound hollow to some, but there truly is high value in being with people from all over the world, to learn about how they think and what they believe. The world is growing more and more connected every day and at Rhine-Waal Campus you can literally look outside and see it happening. In my opinion, people who study at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences are very fortunate, they have the opportunity to experience the highly valuable and growing connectedness of the world at an early stage in their lives.