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Portrait Elin Baranyai-Ulvestat

Experience reports, Studying  ·  May 10 2022

Master’s degree program highlights: Interview with graduate Elin Baranyai-Ulvestad

Elin Baranyai-Ulvestad is proper Norwegian. She bubbles with energy when you talk to her and positively glows with enthusiasm when she talks about the highlights of her master’s studies. We asked her for an interview three months after she graduated and looked back on her time as a student.

In 2018, you started your studies in marketing communication with a specialization in cross-media marketing communication of UAS Burgenland at the eLearning Academy for Communication, and you also come from the industry professionally.

Can you give us a brief summary of your vita?

I worked for more than ten years at the Austrian Red Cross in the international field. After that, I was Head of Marketing in the private sector for a few years, including project management and event management, because this job left me more time for my family. When my husband received a job offer in Stockholm, I saw the opportunity to finally pursue a degree. However, it had to be a distance learning course and flexible to organize so that I could also do it abroad. The eLearning Academy’s offer was therefore just right and I started my studies.

What hast changed since then?

Very much! For various private reasons, my family and I stayed in Austria at the time, but that didn’t dampen my motivation for my studies! In the meantime, I have returned to the Red Cross and manage various international projects. I currently have a very broad spectrum of work, and in addition to project management, I am also involved in the planning of social media and communication campaigns, including the creation of a website and online library. It’s also exciting that I can now gain experience in the field of social business or social entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility. In addition, there is event management and much more. So no matter what comes my way, I can directly apply all the content and topics of my studies as well as all the best practice examples and even my own master’s thesis.

What is the topic of your master’s thesis?

“The Show must go ONLINE: Online communication as a crisis communication tool. Opportunities and challenges for companies and organizations in terms of stakeholder relations examined using the example of the 2020 Covid-19 crisis in Austria.”

That’s a very long title, but it could hardly have been more topical at the time.

Ein Highlight: Absolventin des Masterstudium Crossmediale Marketingkommunikation Elin Baranyai-Ulvestad mit ihren Söhnen am Sponsionstag

Absolventin Elin Baranyai-Ulvestad mit ihren stolzen Söhnen am Sponsionstag

Tell us about that time?! How did you experience Corona and the lockdowns with regard to your studies?

Especially during the lockdown, I was extremely happy to be studying online because I was able to continue completely unhindered. And not only that, Corona even helped me with my study progress, if you can put it that way. Anyway, I will never forget that time! It was a special atmosphere. I was fortunate at the time to be able to use the vacant apartment of friends living in Sweden as a “study place” and I went there almost every Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes just in the afternoon, but sometimes late into the night. A few times I didn’t get home until after midnight when I was in a good flow and just wanted to keep going.

We were all home at the time – as most people are – after all: my husband, my two teenage children, myself. So it was a real blessing to be offered a place where I could work and study in peace and not be disturbed.  Then there was the special topic of my master’s thesis…Yes, it was indeed a time I will never forget!

Looking back, what trait is essential for an online Master’s degree program?

I would say that self-discipline is the be-all and end-all. Because when everyone else is doing something or off, you just have to keep at it anyway. You do do without some things during this time, but I personally also always had in mind that this time will end – and that time has come now (laughs happily).

Absolventin des Masterstudiums Crossmediale Marketingkommunikation Elin Baranyai-Ulvestad mit ihrem Ehemann

Absolventin Elin Baranyai-Ulvestad mit ihrem Ehemann in ihrer Heimat Norwegen.

How did you experience the introductory phase?

I enjoyed my studies so much from the beginning and the desire to study had been there for so long before I found what suited me. So I went into the master’s program full of vigor and motivation and was thrilled from the start! The course is very well structured and clear and the team as well as the professors were always motivating and supportive. Since Corona, most people have had experience with online courses and the like, but that was not the case during my study start in early 2018. At that time I was looking for a course where I can study self-determined, flexible and location-independent – and that’s exactly what I found.

Only sometimes I thought that it might also be nice to sit together with other students, but actually I’m already at an age where I don’t need group work, classrooms and timetables anymore (laughs).

Can you name a highlight in the Master’s program?

In the early summer of 2020, shortly after the pandemic broke out, Prof. Dr. Michael Roither held a two-part webinar on “Communication Opportunities in the Corona Crisis.” Shortly before that, I had completed the module “Crisis Communication and Reputation Management” and was already considering writing my master’s thesis on this topic. And after the first webinar by Prof. Dr. Roither, I was really hooked. In retrospect, I would therefore say that this webinar, in conjunction with the module and my master’s thesis, was an absolute highlight of the master’s program.

Absolventin des Masterstudium Crossmediale Marketingkommunikation Elin Baranyai-Ulvestad in ihrer Heimat Norwegen

Elin Baranyai-Ulvestad - im Hintergrund ihre Heimatortschaft "Vatne" an der Westküste Norwegens.

You have an impressive talent for languages, speaking excellent German, English, Danish and Swedish in addition to your native Norwegian.

I actually first learned German as a young adult in Germany and then in Austria, but now German is a living foreign language for me because I live and work here with my family. Nevertheless, at first I had a lot of respect for the idea of studying in a language that is not my native tongue.  That’s probably why studying was a bit more work for me than for students with German as their mother tongue. And of course I also needed my proofreaders for the one or other module paper, but my vocabulary, vocabulary and the way of expressing myself have expanded extremely during the course of my studies. All in all, I am very proud of myself and my performance!

And rightly so, because your grades are exceptionally good to very good. How did you experience the moment of your Defensio (final exam)?

I was naturally excited and had looked at my presentation again at two o’clock in the morning. Of course I was well prepared, but an exam is always an exceptional mental situation. In addition, the exam had to be taken in German.

And, was it really that bad?!

No, not at all! The examination board was very keen to create a pleasant and nice atmosphere. Something that is perhaps not so easy online, but it worked! And especially the feedback afterwards was another highlight of my studies! To have my performance confirmed again orally by the professors and to receive the congratulations at the end of the exam is a very sublime feeling.

At the beginning of September, your graduation will take place at Esterházy Palace, where you can really celebrate. What are you planning for this day?

I’m coming with my two children, my husband and a friend who cheered me on tirelessly during my studies. I knew from the beginning that online graduation would not be an option for me and that I would wait a year if necessary to experience a real graduation ceremony and also complete my online Master’s degree on site in Eisenstadt.

Die zwei Absolventinnen des Masterlehrganges Crossmediale Marketingkommunikation Elin Baranyai-Ulvestad und Eva Händler bei - ihrem Highlight im Masterstudium - der Sponsionsfeier

Elin Baranyai-Ulvestad und Mitstudentin Eva Händler bei ihrer Sponsion im Schloss Esterházy in Burgenland.

You’ve devoted just over two years to your Master’s degree. What are you doing now with all your regained free time?

(laughs) Yes, that’s a good question. It’s almost funny now that it’s “over.” After all, the studies were with me for a long time. I guess I’ll have to get used to the fact that the weekends belong to me and my family again. I will definitely spend more time with family and friends, garden, house and sports. And I will go on vacation again without taking my study materials with me. And, of course, more time will go into my job as well, since I just recently accepted a new position and am currently working a lot.

You can look back on your study successes with pride. Finally, do you have any advice for students who are just starting out?

Make good use of intensive work periods and then take a targeted break again! I took a break in the summer and at the turn of the year, and gave myself some time off, but when I was in a good flow, I didn’t stop, I just kept going, no matter what was actually on the schedule or how late it was.

Last but not least, get the support of your family and friends! My kids and husband have always cheered me on and been very supportive, that’s very important and I’m incredibly grateful to them.


Interested in the Master’s degree program in Cross-media Marketing Communication?

Would you also like to experience unforgettable moments and unique highlights in a Master’s degree program in Marketing Communication? Then you’ve come to the right place! Find out more about our programs of UAS Burgenland and, best of all, visit one of our info-events. Here you will receive more detailed first-hand information about our courses, the online campus, as well as all examination modalities from our study advisor Anria Brandstätter.

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