Graduate School of Economic and Social Sciences (GESS) of the University of Mannheim

Graduate School of Economic and Social Sciences (GESS) of the University of Mannheim

October 9, 2019 2 By Stanley Isaacs


The University of Mannheim is a university specializing in the social science and economics. In 2005, we decided to build on
that reputation, that is to complete our mission for excellence in those fields. The world’s problems are clearly not broken into subfields, and what we wanna do in our Graduate School is to create and train excellence in the field, but we also want students to look beyond the confines of their fields and be able to tackle the broader problems over on. If you want to learn the cutting edge of your field, you have to be taught by people who are at the cutting edge of your field
with publications in the top journals on a regular basis. That’s what outstanding
about our faculty. During the first year you acquire the tools for doing research, so an understanding of the most common methodologies and after that, you’re set free to implement your own ideas. We are encouraged to do research across disciplines, and this is something I really value. The great thing about Mannheim is that they are really investing in their students. So at many universities, the line between students and teachers is very strict. Here it’s blurred, we’re all colleagues, which allows us to collaborate with
senior faculty members early in the program. All senior researchers are ready to provide
you with guidance on your own work. There’s always an open door, I can just
freely chat about my ideas and my research with them. My fellow PhD students are really
engaged and intelligent people. They show great commitment towards their research and that’s a really inspiring environment. Going through PhD studies can be fairly demanding. The great thing about my fellow students is that they’re very sociable, so whenever I need to escape, I can do it. What I also value is that the student body is very international, for example I am Russian and my best
friend is French. These are very smart, hardworking people, so they ask very good questions and it makes sure that I come well prepared to class. In a nutshell, PhD students keep me on my toes. Of course I have more experience than the PhD students, but this does not mean that when we have intense discussions, that I have the last word. We have lots of examples where PhD students developed their own research projects and got them published in top journals, while they were graduate students here. My advice for the perspective student is to be prepared to work hard, because the
program is tough. But if you can make it, it’s gonna be a great experience. Expect to work hard. At the same time, it will also be a lot of fun. So my advice would be: Be social. Talk to students, talk to faculty members to see whether you fit in. Stay open-minded and stay intellectually curious. Think about research as soon as possible and what really interests you. What I hear over and over from our students is: School makes a difference, they learn a lot and they can go out into the world to make a difference.