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Education Honours College

Meet Patrick!

Patrick Rieder
Patrick Rieder
  1. Tell us something about yourself. What are you passionate about?

I started my academic journey in Passau where I studied Management and Finance. I spent a semester in London and managed to survive for more than a month in post-revolution Cairo (an unbelievably valuable experience). At some point I realized I would have to choose a profession soon and did a few internships in the real estate industry as I always found our built environment fascinating.  I am a bit of an impatient person and wanted to finish my studies early. I also wanted to go abroad one more time and study at a great university, that's why I chose Groningen where I followed the one-year master’s programme in Real Estate Studies. During that time, I also followed the Master´s Honours Programme.

Today I work as a project manager in real estate development for a large asset management company based in Munich, mostly on international projects. I chose to work in the real estate industry as it combines many different areas. The range of topics and tasks you get involved in by working in this field is something which I enjoy a lot.

I would describe myself more as a generalist rather than a specialist, I'm passionate about diving into different topics and trying to combine them. Being in an international environment, learning about different cultures and trying new activities and food are some of the things that excite me.  

  1. How would you describe the Honours College?

The Honours College is a community where like-minded students from diverse backgrounds come together. Students, who are curious and enthusiastic and willing to look across the borders of their discipline. Everyone is wired in a way that they want a bit more from life than what is “normal”. And lecturers who are passionate about working with these students. Put all of them in one room and you will always leave it a little smarter or more inspired.

  1. How has your Honours College experience helped you be a better contributor to your current employer and society?

Firstly, it helped me a lot to reflect on my own actions, successes, and failures at work. In your regular study programme, you are often too caught up in memorizing facts and trying to understand pre-defined without exploring your inner self too much. The Honours Master Programme is a lot about self-reflection. During the entire year you are supposed to follow a personal development plan you create in coordination with your mentor. I used a diary in which I would write down my reflections. I still look at it from time to time and have never really stopped writing down my reflections and goals ever since.

Secondly, it taught me the importance of empathy. Following my personal development plan, I wanted to dive deeper into the psychology of leadership. In a Master Class focused on body language leadership was broken down to its fundamentals by us working with physical gestures only, trying to influence groups or individual people. You have to pay very close attention to the other person's behavior and reactions if you are not allowed to talk. Once you develop empathy and sense the atmosphere in a group, leading others can be easy and sometimes it is not even clear in the first place who the actual leader is. This influence can happen in a very quiet way as well. I think the biggest mistake you can make at work is not showing humanity. I'm convinced that being human and honest towards yourself and others is the right strategy to be successful in the long run.  

And last but not least it has made me more aware of working with a very diverse range of people. In the Honours College a lot of discussions about “big topics”, like the energy transition, take place. You are in a room of people with different academic and cultural backgrounds and the aspects every person brings to the table broaden your horizon. A group of business students might think very much alike, but if you mix them up with a group of natural or social science students you will get quite different answers to many questions, and often better ones. It shows you how limited your own view is sometimes and, in my opinion, how dangerous it can be to be caught up in the “expertise trap”. At the same time, it shows you how valuable the aspects can be that you bring to the table, no matter if you are a starter or a senior professional, an insider or an outsider. I try to incorporate this mindset in my daily work – I think there is something to learn from everyone.

4. How did the Honours College challenge you?

The Master´s Honours Programme is challenging, especially when you want to finish it in one year next to your regular studies. I learned a lot about time management and setting the right priorities.

Actively working on your personal development can be quite challenging as you put yourself out there and will expose your weaknesses in front of other people. However, being in a constant loop of self-reflection and giving and receiving feedback is extremely helpful. I remember a lesson in which we had to improvise speeches in front of the class and afterwards got feedback from the panel. It can reveal some of your strengths you were not even aware of and teach you not to be too hard on yourself. Your shortcomings are either not perceived as badly by other people as by yourself or you can easily resolve them with some easy tips and tricks you get from the audience or your coach.

5. Can you think of an example when you learned something in class and then had the opportunity to apply it directly in practice?

There were plenty of opportunities to apply my learnings about public speaking in presentations I gave in my regular study programme.

I also remember a task we were given in a workshop led by Eva Pantelakis, who is an amazing coach. We were grouped in pairs and were supposed to give each other tasks to leave our comfort zones (like going for a run every morning) and recorded them on video as proof so that we would feel some social pressure. Some of the challenges took place in public and of course we couldn't help but give each other the one or the other hilarious task, like singing our order to the barista at the completely packed Starbucks in the university library. If you are not a born entertainer this might make you a bit nervous but with every completed challenge my confidence grew and amazingly bystanders almost always took our stupid behavior very positively or – in the worst case – just didn´t pay attention.

This little exercise taught me: to grow you sometimes have to expose yourself to uncomfortable situations. Partly, that's also why I chose to run for the municipal elections in my hometown last year (fortunately I was not elected as I realized I would not make a good politician). It also taught me: you grow the most while you are having fun.

6. What advice would you give to others who are considering an Honours programme?

Go for it!

Last modified:30 November 2022 6.35 p.m.