BMS Phase I student,
I chose to do my Ph.D. in Berlin for purely academic reasons. I wanted to specialize either in combinatorial optimization or in discrete mathematics, and Berlin was clearly the place where it was all happening. When I arrived over a year ago, I was expecting to find an array of fascinating classes as well as amazing faculty to work with along strong research groups, and I certainly did find those things.
However, what I was not expecting to find was such a wonderful community of people. I cannot emphasize enough what a sane environment the BMS is. The students here are smart, humble, helpful, friendly, and well-rounded all at once; in my experience, these are the qualities of only but a few. Studying alongside such rare gems makes the whole Ph.D. process much more pleasant as well as less scary. The professors are also very humane; they care about the students and want them to succeed. In short, I have found the BMS to be a fantastic place to grow, both as a mathematician and as a person. Thus, yet so far, my experience at the BMS has been nothing short of marvelous.
published in December 2010
Update 2015: Annie is working as an acting assistant professor at the University of Washington.