Sebastian Preuss (25, Germany), Financial Economics
I found the path that fits my personality and Maastricht played a big role in that

“At the moment I’m doing a semester abroad in Istanbul, at Sabancı University, one of the SBE partner universities. It’s impossible to do an exchange during the one-year master, but you can voluntarily go abroad in the third semester. Studying in Maastricht was my first experience with going abroad and I didn’t want that to end after one year. I always enjoyed seeing other cultures and I think that’s the most valuable part of this experience.

After my bachelor in Germany I worked for KPMG as an auditor for a year and a half, because I wasn’t sure what master’s programme appealed to me most. For me it was the right decision not to rush into a programme.

At the open day in Maastricht, programme coordinator Stefan Straetmans really convinced me to come here. One of the things he said was how this programme is designed for people who have some experience, but want to broaden their view. My fear was that I would be the oldest student, but that was definitely not the case. Everyone had a lot of experience in some sort of job. However, there also were students who started right after their bachelor, but a lot of them paused their study to do an internship. Straetmans became one of the supervisors for my master’s thesis. I learned a lot about academic conduct and how to really contribute to research, not just earn a degree as fast as possible.

It never occurred to me before that doing a PhD was a possibility. The original idea was to return to a big four company, but I was never too sure about it. The work was interesting, but it also became a bit of a blur. Working for a private organisation is mostly about profits. That was never the most important thing in my life. I also want to contribute to society in a way.

Doing research for my master’s thesis influenced my decision to apply for a grant. Possibly I’ll do my PhD at UM. I would like to work for the European Central Bank, or one of the other international organisations that deal with financial regulation. We visited the ECB in Frankfurt during the master’s programme. I always thought of it as a distant and ominous organisation that nobody really understands, and now I heard the actual employees talk about what it is like to work there. That was great. They usually only hire people with a PhD, so this dream job has come a little bit closer.

I never expected the huge personal development I underwent in this year. Virtually everyone I met had something interesting to tell and changed my point of view. I found the path that fits my personality and Maastricht played a big role in that.”