András József Tobiás,
BMS Phase II Student,
BMS Qualifying Exam, MSc Technische Universität Berlin,
BSc Budapest University of Technology and Economics

For my bachelor's studies, I studied mathematics at home in Budapest. I first heard about the BMS in September 2013 when I was looking for a graduate school in Germany or Austria. I wanted to have some international study experience, and the possibility that one can get a scholarship in Berlin also sounded promising. Another reason why I wanted to move abroad was that many of my friends from my bachelor's courses intended to leave our university, and I thought it would be great to get to know new people from various parts of the world.

I was very happy to be invited to the BMS Days in February 2014, and also happy to receive many emails from the members of the BMS One-Stop Office with detailed information about what to do and who my interviewers would be. My first impression of the BMS was that here people are taking care of me and I can always ask somebody if I have questions, both academic and administrative. When I came to the BMS Days, I was really impressed by the international community of mathematicians here. I found the math students very friendly, and I liked both the talks and the social activities. During those days, I also had time to get around Berlin, and to see the most famous parts of the city. I couldn't have imagined a city that had been destroyed in the Second World War even more than Budapest, but Berlin is like that.

Just five days after I arrived home, I received an email that I was accepted to start Phase I from October 2014 with a BMS scholarship. I was really delighted, and I started planning my new life in Berlin. My BMS Buddy, who was the only Hungarian BMS student by that time, also helped me a lot. I asked her many questions about studying and living in Berlin. I moved to Berlin in the beginning of September 2014. It was also helpful that on the first weekday when I was in Berlin, my Phase I mentor met me and we discussed which courses to choose for the first semester. He also recommended that I attend a conference in stochastics at TU Berlin at the end of that week. The conference helped me find out what kind of research is going on in Berlin in probability. Later on, I attended similar workshops in Berlin and Potsdam every two to four months. In mid-September, I participated in the BMS German language course for two weeks. I had some knowledge of German before, but not too much, therefore those intensive two weeks were really important for me. Later on, I regularly visited the “Practising German” group meetings organized by BMS students, where we met in a bar every two weeks and spoke informally in German.

The BMS provided me with a desk in a shared office at TU Berlin. Such an office is not only a great workplace for doing homework and studying for exams, but one can also get to know other students there, also from different generations of the BMS. As a new Phase I student, my office mates helped me with coursework and preparing for exams, administration and also social activities. I also liked that during Phase I, we already had the opportunity to meet older PhD students regularly, visit conferences together with them, speak with them about their research and have fun together at various social events.

In November 2015, I became one of the BMS student representatives. Currently we are busy organizing social events until the end of this year and the BMS Student Conference in 2017. As a student rep., I also attend BMS Board meetings and Admissions Committee meetings, thus I can get an insight into how the BMS works, which I also find very interesting. A BMS student representative's mandate lasts for one year.

My fellow students and I spent the first semester of Phase I attending basic courses, doing homework together and going out at the weekends with many people, especially after the BMS Fridays. In the beginning of the second semester, I moved in together with two friends from the BMS, into a large apartment with good traffic connections and an affordable price. In that semester, we had the first chance to attend advanced courses and seminars. Quite randomly, I found a really interesting seminar and later on the professor who gave this seminar, Wolfgang König, agreed to become my supervisor, first for my Master's thesis and afterwards for my PhD studies. I finished my Master's thesis and the BMS Qualifying Exam at the end of May 2016, and officially started Phase II in July 2016.

Published in the end of July 2016