MS Success Story - Computer Science - Technical University of Munich (Germany)
Muhammad Arslan Ansari
CGPA: 3.42/4.00 (BE. Electrical Engineering)
GRE: 302 (Quantitative: 161)
One Research based Final Year Project and One Month Internship
5 Certifications from Coursera.
When we look at the employment rate of other countries’ fresh graduates like USA, Canada, Germany etc. We can observe that, they seem to have a higher figure than that of Pakistan’s. Unemployment is a biggest challenge among fresh graduates in Pakistan. After graduation, I had to move back to my home town due to some personal issue. After that I can’t even count how many companies (major plus minor) I applied at, but I didn’t get the job in any of them. I wandered around 5 to 6 months for the job but I got nowhere other than falling into a state of depression. Thanks to one of my seniors who told me that If I really wanted to pursue higher studies from abroad, I should stop being depressed and start preparing for my application and standardized tests required for it seriously. I took his advice and gave my all focus to GRE and IELTS. I found about Scholar Den platform and its WhatsApp group. In less than 2 months I prepared for both GRE & IELTS and scored more than what is required by the shortlisted. While exploring universities during my master’s course selection process in Germany, I found one common thing among all of them i.e., strong relation between industry and academia. However, I believe the biggest reason behind this unemployment issue is the weaker relationship of industry and academia in Pakistan. My prime objective for foreign studies is to learn about such systems so that tomorrow I can come back to Pakistan and grow this culture in our universities with other professors who are trying to do the same.
Some of you might not agree with me but I think to grab position in top research and development companies, besides a strong research background one should have a name of high ranked institutions to his credit. I knew that I couldn’t secure admission in prestigious universities like Harvard, Stanford or UIUC due to my low CGPA, even if I did, I didn’t have enough funding to pursue my education in these universities. So, I decided to go for Germany due to no tuition factor. Approximately I searched 20+ universities for the field I was interested in and shortlisted four. I applied in computational engineering in Technical University of Munich (TUM) and FAU Erlangen, Embedded systems in Saarland, Automation in Hochschule Darmstadt university of applied sciences and Biomedical Computing in TUM. I was more focused on CSE program of TUM that’s why I started preparing for it way before application starting date. This program requires only quant score of GRE so I prepared only for that for a month and got 161. As mentors at Scholar Den platform always emphasize on preparing a strong Letter of Motivation (LOM), so I put a lot of hard work in it. Also, thanks to one of the scholar den Mentor Dr. Ayaz Khan, who helped me with LOM, after 6 to 7 iterations and one month brainstorming I came up with something good. I believe one of the many good ways for preparing a strong LOM is to consult a person who is studying in a same program which you are applying for and take guidance from him/her. I found one person named: Hasnain Rehman (currently working on thesis) of CSE program at TUM. He was kind enough to guide me about what to include or exclude form motivation part. Literally throughout the application making process he guided me about everything and he still does about things relate to CSE. After 3 months wait I finally got my admit from TUM without having to give interview. It is the 1st ranked university of Germany and 36th all over the world in Informatics department. I can’t thank ALLAH enough for granting me admission in such prestigious institute. I have also secured admission in EIT digital master school in Embedded Systems (First year TU Berlin and Second year Turuku Finland) and University of Illinois Chicago (both without scholarship). Rest of the universities’ decisions are still pending. I received just one rejection from Darmstadt university of applied sciences and that too was my own fault because I applied at the last minute and didn’t prepare a strong LOM.
One thing that I want all of the future graduate studies aspirants to focus strongly on is Letter of Motivation. This is the foremost document of your application and can make a difference for you in your application evaluation process. Even if you are applying to a low ranked university, don’t take its LOM lightly, standards are the same. For those guys studying in their final years, I’ll urge all of you to start making a generic LOM for the field you want to pursue your higher studies in. It takes time for an applicant to come up with something good until and unless you have everything vividly planned out in your head then its ok. But even then, LOM should be personalized to every university and for that you need to go thoroughly through your concerned department of that university’s site and you’ll need time to polish that personalized part of LOM. The rejection I got was due to the fact that my LOM wasn’t personalized specifically to the university I was applying at and I wrote it at the last minute.
One more thing that made my application strong is that extra skill I acquired from online study. There are many sources available like Coursera, edx etc. one can utilize. My target master program requires a strong command in mathematics and programming languages so, I did online certification in different programming languages and machine learning. I also sent my LOM and CV to the course coordinator at TUM and he replied back specifically asking for the copies of those certifications along my application and I did send them. I think these online courses were the reason that Alhamdulillah I got direct admit without having to give interview. Remember these courses doesn’t offer you credits rather they just add value to skill section of your CV.
One thing that I learned in all this application process is that, handsome GRE score is your key to crack your way in into a prestigious institute. Mentors at Scholar Den are doing a marvelous work for helping out students in this regard in order to make Pakistani students better so we should also do everything from our part in our reach to chip in.
God Bless us all.