People who complain the University Library in Maastricht is overcrowded are probably right but they have never been to the WU library.
My current university, Wirtschaftsuniversität (WU) Wien, is situated in a 1970’s building which was built to accommodate a student population of about 15.000 students, currently there are 35.000 students attending classes at the WU and the university is by Austrian law obliged to give every new applicant an equal chance of studying, a lottery such as in Maastricht for some studies is out of the question.
The dramatic consequences are uncountable. For example, the library has studying spots for only 500 students, which is one out of 70 students. Or to put it differently: every two months you’re allowed to study a day in the library. Also, classes are scheduled on crazy times: it is not extraordinary to have class until 9PM or on Saturdays. An even more unfortunate consequence is that the level of education is questionable, because of a shortage in regular professors and teachers the WU likes to hire freelance employees. As long as you’ve obtained an academic degree and have obtained some relevant in field experience you can get hired by the WU to teach some exchange students the absolute basics of, for example, the principles of management or finance.
Freelance professors can contribute to the academic staff. Principles of Strategic and Financial Controlling – which is mostly the beginnings of Management (SWOT analyses etc.) and of finance – is taught by an enthusiastic girl who has worked for Deloitte and as a freelance consultant, she uses her in field experience to provide a lot of examples. Not to mention that she is very attractive and I’m sure she likes me because I’m always in front row.
On the other hand, my teacher for International Finance (graduate level), does not even know the correct formula for the Net Present Value nor does he know how to calculate the exercise price of futures. A shame.
But hey, why would I complain? At least all my courses are easy enough to leave me with a huge amount of time to kill, a blessing for an exchange student wanting to spend as much time having fun as possible! For Austrian students it’s a different case. I heard of a story of a third year student getting kicked out of university for failing an accounting exam five times. This exam was, according to the people I spoke to, intended to be so difficult and the questions were formulated in a very confusing way so that the results would allow the university to send away some students, just in order to reduce the huge amount of them. Of course, the argument is highly questionable because somebody who fails an exam five times obviously wasn’t in front of the line when intelligence was dealt, but it is still remarkable that Austrian students seem to struggle a lot more with their studies. This might also explain the high ranking of WU in different international business school rankings.
The new campus is currently being built and will be ready for use in 2014. It’s located next to Prater, a 365 days per year entertainment park right in the city centre. I’m a bit jealous of future students: they will be able to go to the Schweizerhaus for lunch, grab a cotton candy during the breaks and go to Praterdome after their class is done. Sweet life!
I'm from Utrecht, 22 years old, I did a bachelor Econometrics and Operations Research in Maastricht and I am currently doing the masters Public Policy and International Economic Studies. I like to read, write and sail and I'm an active member of both M.S.V. Tragos and ESN Maastricht. If you want to read about my experiences during my semester abroad in Vienna, or read about Oktoberfest or the Ball I participated in, please have a look at my older posts.