How would you describe the cooperation with the MSE students you supervise?
«In general, very good. The exchange is based on a predefined schedule. Besides that, my door is always open. That means when problems or questions arise, they can always be addressed immediately to me. Many students are doing the MSE part time and are also working as an assistant in our Competence Center. This leads to a closer relationship. So, you don’t only see the person as a master student but also as a researcher within the Competence Center’s projects. This gives you new and additional perspectives as well as other impressions. I have also found that the students are more self-confident or have less inhibitions approaching me than supervised Bachelor students.»
Which Master thesis do you remember most and why?
«I remember two Master Theses most. First, the one when the student developed a complete multi-physics simulation model of the ski manufacturing process. In the aftermath of this work, a picture of this model has won the Ansys Hall of Fame competition in the category “Academia”. And the second thesis was dealing with the simulation of granular material for the purpose of damping. This work was awarded with the first place in the worldwide NAFEMS student competition. This success underlines the high level of our MSE and the projects that our students are performing.»
What are some lessons you've learned as an MSE advisor?
«I am doing this for more than 13 years now. What really stands out is the maturity and independence of the students who start an MSE degree. Normally there is no need telling them what to do. The range of projects the students are working on is so broad. As an advisor, you benefit enormously from this and learn a lot yourself. Also be flexible and be prepared for the unexpected. Sometimes students are changing their plans and their interests are going in another direction.»
How do you keep your students motivated?
«Normally there is not much work to do on my side and honestly, I don’t see this as my primary task. When a student decides to start the master, she or he is highly self-motivated. The motivation is a prerequisite to be successful. What I can do is, to find the right topics for the specialization projects and the Master Thesis. If those topics don’t fit to the interests of the student, then the motivation will suffer from this. And of course, meetings on a regular basis gives the opportunity to provide additional support in case of lacking motivation, e. g. when the student is walking through the “valley of resignation”. Which is a normal experience when executing a challenging project.»
What’s your main reason to recommend the MSE degree program?
«The MSE is THE engineering master for bachelor students coming from UAS in Switzerland. It is a cooperative master of all major UAS. Two third of the entire study is practical work in projects, which are related to the research activities of the host university and mostly in the context of real-life problems coming from industry. In my opinion this is unique. Besides that, visiting the central lectures with students from other UAS provides additional benefits. It is an excellent opportunity to share experiences, build-up connections and networks.»
Prof. Ralf Baumann, Advisor