UNH will always be home for this international student

Katharina Barta earned her undergraduate degree at Paul College and is studying to get her MBA

Katharina Barta '20, from Salzburg, Austria, chose UNH Paul College for her undergraduate degree and MBA because it is a "great business school, beautiful campus and location." In this Q&A she talks about her experience in the Full-Time MBA program and the challenges presented by the Covid pandemic.

Q. Tell us about yourself — Where are you from and what made you decide to further your education at UNH Peter T Paul College of Business? What was your first semester like?

A.  I am from Salzburg, Austria. I was born and raised in Austria and after being the biggest Gilmore Girls fan as a young girl I decided to attend college in the U.S. I always loved the way American universities were set up in terms of a campus, university spirit, and more. I chose UNH for my undergrad degree because of its great business school, beautiful campus and location. I love the wholesomeness around campus and being surrounded by trees but still being in close proximity to Boston. After finishing my undergraduate degree in marketing and international business and economics I decided to further my education at the Peter T. Paul College due to the pandemic. Most companies I was interested in had a hiring freeze and were especially not keen on hiring international candidates who may require sponsorship. To make myself more attractive in the job market and to learn more I enrolled into an MBA.

The first term was a good experience overall. I think all of our professors did their very best to accommodate the new COVID environment. I am also happy that the program can take place in the UNH alumni center.

Q. Why did you choose to specifically study accounting/finance/business administration at UNH?

A. I chose to study at UNH because the university has a good reputation for its business school and after my undergrad degree it made sense to continue with a fifth year at UNH. Due to my previous academic achievements UNH made sense economically, as well. I also truly appreciate all the resources UNH has provided me with in the past and believe we have some of the best faculty.

Q. How has the learning structure changed due to the pandemic? What are some ways that your professors keep you engaged?

A. The learning experience has changed in many ways. We all have to wear masks at all times which can be distracting and sometimes it is hard to understand each other. It especially makes it hard when meeting new people or interacting in a big classroom. Due to social distancing guidelines it is hard to work in groups. However, some professors have done a great job at still having us doing group work by letting us spread out within the building or one professor let us go on walks outside to discuss projects. 

Q. What are some clubs/organisations you have joined, if any? Tell us about your experience and what you have learned.

A. I joined the UNH Marketing and Advertising Club (MAC) and the fencing club as an undergrad. MAC has been a wonderful organization and I learned an incredible amount being on the board of directors. The biggest help was being a founding member of the UNH American Marketing Association (AMA) Chapter. Being an AMA member has exposed me to amazing networking opportunities and I learned a lot through participating in various competitions.

Q. What are some examples of practical learning opportunities outside the classroom (internships, industry projects etc) that are available to you?

A. I have done three internships in the past and hope to find one for my MBA program as well. I am also a research assistant and a teaching assistant through the university. Otherwise, I am planning on participating in the Holloway Prize Competition.

Q.  How is your academic experience unique from other business schools?

A. I think my experience is unique because of the great professors who work for UNH and the lasting relationships I have built. I don’t know where I would be without the influence and help of Diane Devine or other amazing professors.

Q. Who are some of the teachers or lecturers who have provided support and guidance to you so far? How have they inspired you?

A. In my undergrad degree some notable professors were Diane Devine, who I am a teaching assistant for now. Ludwig Bstieler, who is also from Austria and has been a great support. Goksel Yalcinkaya who I did research with my senior year and many more. In the MBA Michael Kukenberger has been a great inspiration and has shown me a lot of new perspectives. Dan Silverman was also a wonderful support and advocate for the FTMBA program.

Q. What are your favorite classes and why? Can you describe the curriculum and what types of assignments you’re expected to complete?

A. My favorite class was Managing Self and Leading Others with Professor Mike Kukenberger. The class was mainly based on cases which were all extremely interesting and relevant to the lectures. Furthermore, it included very interesting teamwork and by learning about leadership and different leadership styles we as a cohort got the chance to get to know each other well. Furthermore, by learning about these social concepts I learned a lot about myself and what kind of person and future leader I want to be. I appreciated that the course was very discussion heavy and that we were not just sticking to slides and a book. I learned an incredible amount about myself and how I was to lead my life. I hope to continue to stay in touch with Mike.

Q. What are your career goals after graduation and how has the college helped you with them so far?

A. My goal is to work in the marketing industry for a global CPG company. I would like to work either in brand management or new product development. I feel well prepared due to many real-life case studies and presentations. I feel prepared for interviews and feel as if I can confidently present myself to an employer. Furthermore, I am prepared to work and collaborate within a team and have learned my strengths and weaknesses. I also learned about my interests and where I would like to progress to in my career.

Q. What do you love most about studying at UNH?

A. What I love most about UNH are the people. No matter where you look you will find a smiling face, and everyone is willing to help each other out. I truly feel the Wildcat spirit and know that UNH will always be a home and family for me and I cannot wait to be an alumnus helping fellow Wildcats.

Q. What about New Hampshire? Why did you choose to study there?

A. As someone from Europe it was important to me to in New England. I think New England has the closet feeling to Europe in terms of culture and history. I also appreciate the fact that we have four seasons and have the best of all worlds. I love that we are close to the mountains, the ocean, and Boston as a larger city. Also, I have never met people who are more wholesome than here in New Hampshire, that to me is quite humbling. 

Q. What are some challenges you face as an international student and how do you overcome them?

A. I of course miss my family, however, I talk to them frequently and travel back to Austria as often as possible. As an international student it’s been challenging to find jobs at companies that are willing to sponsore me and hire me long term. I hope to overcome that by standing out as an excellent candidate.