Philipp Burkhardt

Philipp Burkhardt

Can you talk a little bit about yourself and your background?

I´m a 28 year old, open minded, curious, active, outdoor German guy. Did an apprenticeship as mechatronic technician for refrigeration systems and graduated from the TU Munich with a B.Sc. in physics. I like to challenge myself, throw myself into new fields and expand my horizon. I didn´t see myself solving integrals on black- or whiteboards for the rest of my life and wanted to gain experience in the economy outside of university, so I´m currently employed as electrical engineer.

What prompted you to pursue an online program with Aston University? Specifically, why was online appealing to you?

Gaining first hand experience in the above mentioned vastly different areas in the working environment enabled me to see things from multiple viewpoints and recognize aspects that influence decisions that most of my colleagues don´t. I figured that I could use my skills to have a positive impact and decided to focus on a position that is more involved in the decision making.

I chose Aston University because of its international reputation and I decided to study in an online program because of the flexibility in time management. In my current position I also work on weekends/night shifts from time to time and I could not guarantee that I can study accordingly in a program with a mandatory physical attendance every Saturday like in so many courses in Germany.

What has the experience been like? Was it what you thought it would be like and has it met your expectations?

My experience so far is great. I couldn´t be happier about my decision to take part in the program. Each of the 7-week modules is available completely even if it is structured from week to week, so I can work ahead if I have the time for it which provides the most possible flexibility to combine studying, working and have a bit of a life in the time that is left.

The staff is really helpful and friendly and students are guided through “how things work here” so that you don´t feel overwhelmed. I ran into a few problems (technically and organizationally with my employer) and the stuff really made an supportive effort to make this happen for me and you could tell that they care about the students and the education and not just about another “paying for the program costumer”.

If you were giving someone who was considering an online course advice, what would it be?

I was used to a heavy workload from the TU Munich but got out of the learning after a while in the working environment. The degree is python, R, excel and math/statistics focused and it´s an M.Sc. from a renowned university after all:

  • Gear yourself up for what lies ahead of you. Take some Udemy courses on python and R if you have no programming background at all and set up your computer for it so that you can start learning from day 1 of the program so you won´t be busy doing that while your should learn the material already.
  • Make sure to prepare yourself mentally that you might be stressed from time to time.
  • Plan ahead the upcoming years. I decided to use my vacation for the program from time to time and not to use my off days for a fancy three week trip to Hawaii (metaphorically speaking).
  • Set up a distraction free working environment at home if possible. Don´t make it harder as necessary for yourself and work with your laptop at your kitchen table.

Would you recommend the Aston program and if so what aspects of the course do you find appealing?

I would definitely recommend the program. Staff and teachers are really friendly, helpful and experienced. The program is so well structured and perfectly designed for self-studying. The weekly assignments force you to continuously study and work for the program and make sure that your tasks for the program don´t pile up and you stay up to date. Weekly webinars and group assignments also let you stay in actual contact with the teacher and your peers and give you the assurance that you are not alone in this.

Is there anything you’d like to add or anything you’d like to talk about that we did not touch on?

Especially with the current situation regarding Brexit and Corona I´m really glad I chose this program because they don´t have an enormous impact on the studies itself. The program can´t equip you with the experience that comes with actual living in another country and studying abroad, which glad for I could also acquire, but I´m confident that this way of teaching is the future of studying and especial international studying.