Are you excited about having chosen the Bachelor in Management, Philosophy & Economics (MPE) as your undergraduate programme, but still not entirely sure what to expect? Fret not! Below I have put together some of my own insights and tips that will help you hit the ground running!
Let’s kick off with what many regard as the most ‘unusual’ aspect of the MPE: philosophy. As many of you will know, philosophy is an extremely interesting subject but also often quite complex. Indeed, some philosophical concepts and theories may feel rather abstract at the start of your studies, maybe even a little overwhelming. However, don’t lose faith in yourself: I can assure you that the more you read, write and discuss your ideas with others, the easier it will get – just keep working and it will all come together a little later.
Moreover, always remember that there is something to be gained in studying even abstract content. To give just one example, Management modules often feature assignments that are not about providing one right answer, but making a case for your own solution to a problem. Studying philosophy trains you in doing exactly that by teaching you how to develop convincing arguments and detect which information you need to include and emphasise in your work. Hence, try to take the feedback on your philosophical work actively on board and you will also derive cross-over benefits in other subjects.
Training your analytical skills is closely related to the MPE’s assessment structure: While management and economics courses are typically assessed using group projects, presentations and exams, the preferred mode of assessment in philosophy is essay writing. Note that essays are not about expressing your gut feelings, opinions or hunches; rather, they require you to present a stringent defence of a well-thought-through position.
When it comes to writing such essays, the best advice I can offer (apart from the good old ‘start early’) is to find classmates with whom you can discuss your ideas and counter-check each other’s work. This made studying not only more fun for me but also helped me enormously in presenting compelling arguments. After all, the MPE team spirit and supportive MPE community really shines brightest when you all come together to discuss ideas!
Assessments aside, you will also exchange and discuss your thoughts with your professors in class or so-called supervisions. Definitely try to engage actively in those discussions. This way, you will get by far the most out of your seminars and also practise your reasoning abilities most efficiently.
Apart from engaging a lot with your classmates – not only by sharing experiences and opinions but also by seeking inspiration from what they are doing or planning to do – you may also feel, like many other MPE students, to want to get involved in campus life. If so, I recommend that you join (or found!) a student initiative. Generally, I would advise you to first attend sessions featuring those initiatives that interest you the most, but then pick one or two favourites if you want to play a more active role. Otherwise, you may risk overreaching yourself and losing track of your studies.
I would suggest a similar approach to career events. Frankfurt School is very well connected to employers and you should certainly use this to your advantage. Early on, go to as many career events as you can just to get a feel for different professions and also try to stay on for the informal socials that frequently take place after such events. Not only will there often be food and drinks (always a plus), but it’s also a nice way of building networks and getting a feeling for what type of person works in what industry.
On a more general note, I’d advise you to stay open-minded about your career, at least early on. Many FS students seek to go into banking or consulting, but that doesn’t have to be your way. Indeed, MPE students usually choose very diverse walks of life, sometimes in banking and finance, but also in politics and academia. So, try to keep a cool head and don’t simply follow others; instead, find out what is right for you.
To sum up, you have made a great choice by picking MPE as your undergraduate degree! You will not only learn about management and economics at a top business school but also become a well-rounded, critical thinker. I wish you all the best for these coming years and sincerely hope that you’ll enjoy them as much as I did!