Viktoria Oppenauer

  • Study program: MSc Human Resource Studies
  • Nationality: Austria

My name is Viktoria Oppenauer, I am 25 years and from Austria. I live in Tilburg since 2012. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Global Sales Management from the University of Applied Science in Steyr, Austria. In August 2012, I started the Pre-Master’s program in HRS. Currently, I am a Master student in the HRS program.  

Why did you choose Tilburg University? And can you describe your experiences with the University so far?

The main reason for choosing Tilburg University was its good reputation in the field of HR studies. The HRS master program offered in English was the optimal choice for me. Tilburg University offers an excellent education and a great infrastructure as it is easily reachable by car and public transportation. It is characterized by a cozy campus with all buildings located close to each other. Further, several amenities such as on-campus restaurants, study facilities and a state-of-the-art library with generous opening hours are provided by the University.

What was your first impression of Tilburg University?

The University’s green campus with great facilities to meet fellow students or to study, its welcoming and international flair, friendly and open-minded people made a highly positive impression on me.

Why did you choose this study program? And what have been your experiences so far?

I chose the HRS master program as I am interested in how to develop, motivate and manage people at their workplaces. Especially the program’s focus on the employee perspective of HRM and performance by taking into account aspects of employee well-being, fairness and commitment has aroused my interest. Further, this program offers a high-level academic education emphasizing interdisciplinarity (i.e., psychology, organizational behavior, strategic management) as well as analytical methods (statistics). In sum, this study program offers high quality, innovative and internationally oriented education and research.

How is this master related to you previous bachelor?

My previous education in the field of Sales and Marketing management is sparsely related to this master program.

Which courses are most interesting?

One of my favorite courses was the Seminar in Human Resource Studies. It was a highly intensive course, but also a very instructive one. The Seminar HRS taught us how to assess, discuss and apply research, theory and concepts in the field of HRM. Besides the weekly plenary lectures, seminars had to be prepared and chaired by small student teams. These seminars highly emphasized interactions and discussions. Not only preparing, chairing and attending seminars, but also the weekly essays which had to be written by small student teams contributed to gaining knowledge in the field of HR studies.

How is the contact between you, your lecturers and fellow students?

As far as I have experienced, the contact between lecturers and students is easy-going and less formal relative to Austrian Universities. For me it was a new experience to call lecturers by their first names, but that creates a pleasant and comfortable environment. Regarding fellow students, a lot of courses require group works where you will work together with your colleagues. As Tilburg University hosts an ample amount of international students, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with students from different cultures. Working together with people having a different background is very interesting and can be highly beneficial.

In what do I have to be interested when I want to study your master program?

If you consider studying HRS, you should definitely be interested in the employees working within organizations; how to lead, manage, develop and treat people so that they can perform at their best. Further, an ambition to acquire an in-depth understanding of research in the field of HRM is necessary, as research is an essential part of this program.

How is your student life?

Studying in Tilburg is much diversified as you will be provided with a great sports offer, plenty of amusement and leisure parks, parties and you can easily travel not only within the Netherlands but also to Germany, France or Belgium.

What do you think of Tilburg as a city?

Tilburg is a modern city with a large student population. It offers a great nightlife, plenty of restaurants but also quiet spots needed for studying. Further, Tilburg’s location provides a good starting point for a day trip as there are several big cities nearby (i.e., Breda, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Eindhoven). 

How do you experience living in Tilburg? And of the Netherlands as a country to live in?

Living in the Netherlands, in the heart of Europe, is very attractive for those who love traveling. Within short time it is possible to visit Belgium, Germany, France, Great Britain or Luxembourg. I highly appreciate the great location. Moreover, the Dutch are very friendly and helpful people and many Dutch speaks English or German, which makes living in the Netherlands easier for Internationals who are not familiar with the Dutch language.

What is your master thesis about?

My master thesis is about exploring the effect of HRM practices implemented by line-management on employee well-being. Thereby, I will investigate whether implemented HRM practices will lead to more responsibility on the job and work overload which, in turn, might affect the well-being of employees. Further, I will test whether supervisor’s and coworkers’ social support impact the HRM–employee well-being relation.

What are your plans after graduation?

So far I have not yet decided whether I would like to pursue a career in academics or rather in the private sector. Therefore, I am currently attending the ‘Extended Master Program – HR Analytics’ besides my regular HRS master program. The extended master program will offer me the chance to figure out whether enrollment into a PhD program and a subsequent career in academics would suit me.

What is the difference between Holland and your home country?

One of the most striking differences between Austria and the Netherlands is that the latter is bordering the North Sea, while my home country is landlocked. My favorite spot at the sea is Scheveningen, which can be reached from Tilburg within 70 minutes by car. Another very pleasant difference is the opening hours of supermarkets. In Tilburg supermarkets have longer opening hours (i.e., Albert Heijn XL is open till 22:00) compared to Austria.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential. (Winston Churchill)

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