Many MPE students are very active members of FS student initiatives. This last year, besides my other extracurricular activities, I was elected to Frankfurt School’s Student Council as a School Representative. The Student Council (StuCo) is primarily concerned with representing students’ interests towards the university as well as to various other stakeholders. I was delighted to have been given the opportunity to positively impact students’ lives as part of the StuCo’s events team but I was also amazed how much studying MPE shaped and helped with my StuCo work. Let me tell you more.
What does the StuCo’s events team do? Predominantly, my colleagues and I are involved in various activities such as the organisation of networking events, budget management to support our various student initiatives, and – I’m sure you’ll be glad to hear! – The organisation of semester parties. This work involves a lot of discussion and mediation between the university, students and external parties, with us trying our best not only to encourage student initiatives but also to forge a strong university spirit and ensure a good balance between students’ studies, work and social life.
We often face the test of working on projects with very short deadlines and combining StuCo work with our academic commitments. Arguably, though, the biggest and most exciting challenge is to determine the best responses to much bigger questions, such as: Should we support hybrid teaching or return to in-person classes? How can the StuCo ease the pressures of studying during a pandemic? How should we distribute our budget between different initiatives? Most generally, how can we implement good decision-making procedures?
Especially with regard to decision-making, the MPE has equipped me with some invaluable transferrable skills. In the MPE, we devote a lot of time to discussing, analysing and criticising philosophical positions and pressing issues, while always seeking to identify the most plausible and convincing solution to tricky problems. This has given me the ability to assess situations more incisively, while taking into account the different alternatives as well as their respective advantages and disadvantages. The ability to make quick but considered decisions, identify and assess different ways to achieve one’s objectives, negotiate with various parties and identify their respective interests to reach an agreement has greatly helped me in my work for the StuCo.
But, you may ask: do you, as an MPE student, have a specific perspective when making decisions? My short answer is: definitely yes! Studying MPE sharpened my argumentation skills and made me open to discussion, whilst teaching me to listen and take seriously different positions, even if these may sometimes be diametrically opposed to mine. This MPE mindset of being open and inclusive, yet critical and demanding, has proven to be extremely useful for my StuCo activities. I am sure it will be just as useful for my future projects!