Alessia Piga – WU Vienna

 

When one door closes, another one opens

Alessia Piga was having an “amazing experience” studying in Russia – until COVID-19 hit. Sadly, the pandemic meant she had to cut her time in Russia short, but when one door closed, another one opened. Even though she had never visited Austria, Alessia subsequently accepted an offer from WU Vienna to study their Master in Marketing.

“I never went to Austria before the beginning of my master’s program. The only reason why I wanted to study there [more] than anywhere else was for the [Master in Marketing] program,” she explains. “I realized that I very much like the quantitative part [of marketing], and the majority of the other programs were more oriented towards the managerial part.” (03:57)

“You learn a lot of theory when it comes to management,” she clarifies. “But of course you don’t have a chance to [make] decisions as a student.” (04:34)

The emphasis on developing her practical skills in this program is evident throughout our interview: “The Master in Marketing program in Vienna had this orientation towards a practical approach where I’m actually learning a skill and not just pure knowledge. I guess the balance between these things is very important.” (05:41)

The difference between undergraduate and postgraduate study

A master’s degree presents different study challenges to a bachelor’s, and students need to adapt accordingly. For Alessia, she emphasizes the practical side of her program which attracted her to it in the first place.

“The main difference is that you are learning practical skills, you’re learning how to cooperate, you’re learning how to also be a better person,” she says. “The best thing is that what you learn you don’t forget it the day after, and this is what might happen with theoretical knowledge if it’s not promptly applied.” (15:30)

As well as the practical skills gained, Alessia also explained to us how doing regular group work not only gave her valuable teamwork skills, but also energized her.

She says, “When you start sharing group projects with the same people you really feel like you want to be the best teammate, you want to be the best player and everybody wants to give 100%. If you win, you win as a team.” (16:05)

A campus and city with a “wow factor”

Alessia hadn’t seen any pictures of the WU Vienna campus when she accepted their offer – she was in for quite a surprise. Designed by international teams of leading architects, the futuristic campus attracts just as many visitors interested in architecture as it does WU students.

“I even recorded a video of myself while entering [the campus] for the first time and I’m just saying ‘whoa’ a thousand times. Everything looks new, but it doesn’t look like a university. It’s like you’re already in a company which is a spaceship. This is the fourth university I’ve visited and I was absolutely amazed.” (17:36)

Vienna itself is a fitting setting for the campus. It’s difficult to think of a campus and city combination that holds such a wow factor for students.

“Vienna is absolutely perfect,” Alessia agrees. “Every building, every park, every garden. Everything looks absolutely perfect.” (19:20)

Gaining knowledge and becoming a better person for it

Learning practical skills, applying them straight away, working in groups, enjoying the city of Vienna… There’s clearly a lot to like about the WU experience. But ultimately, the most fulfilling part of Alessia’s WU experience was the awareness that she was gaining knowledge every day.

“By coming to Vienna you’re committing to becoming a better person [and] a better player for your team,” Alessia tells us. “You know that your next two years will be crazy, but at the end of the day you will feel like you know something more every night before going to sleep.” (25:10)

“It’s something that I do every night. I have a diary and I say ‘today I learned this.’ And slowly, I’m [getting] happier.” (25:44)