An Interview with Salvatore Mancuso
"You stick out, you win."
Our alumnus Salvatore Mancuso (graduation year 2019) studied political science at the WiSo faculty of the University of Cologne.
He got to know his current employer (AEF-Spanische Weiterbildungsakademie e.V.) at the job fair for social sciences, organized by our WiSo-Career-Service, in 2019. So it came about that he was already an exhibitor this year on 15.02.20 at the aforementioned job fair.
Since August 2019 Salvatore Mancuso is now with the AEF - Spanish Academy of Continuing Education. (Academia Española de Formación) as project coordinator and site manager. In addition to general administrative tasks, he coordinates an integration project called "My New Life in Germany - New Home Bonn/Rhein-Sieg", which is funded by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.
Dear Mr. Mancuso, you are still quite new in the professional world. You got to know your employer at the job fair for social sciences. How exactly did this happen?
Basically, it was pure coincidence: I was accompanying my girlfriend on campus to the library when I passed the job fair - I looked in curiously. At that moment, I hadn't imagined that I would meet my future employer there, who presented me with a permanent contract almost 2 months after the job fair.
I was a passionate student and loved to immerse myself in various subjects for weeks, days and nights.
How did you experience your career start?
The career start presented itself to me with two faces:
I was passionate about being a student and loved to immerse myself in various subjects for weeks, days and nights. In addition, the diverse freedoms and benefits that one enjoys as a student are enormous. Closing this chapter of my life was not easy for me after all these years - that's why my career entry had a sad face on the one hand.
On the other hand, I was looking forward to the long-awaited career start, to a new chapter and above all to new challenges. In addition, thanks to the job fair, I was able to make a smooth transition to permanent employment. In July I handed in my master's thesis and in August I already got my first money. After all these years of study, this is a huge satisfaction.
For me it is a qualitative difference whether I have to work profit-oriented or whether my work influences the reality of people's lives directly and positively - I chose the latter.
What do you find particularly fascinating about your profession?
Within the framework of the integration project I supervise, I work with a wide variety of people: with refugees, with social workers*, with volunteers, etc. At the same time, networking with people in public life, politics and government agencies is particularly important, which is why it never gets boring. Above all, it motivates me to help other people with my work. For me it is a qualitative difference whether I have to work profit-oriented or whether my work has a direct and positive influence on the reality of people's lives - I chose the latter.
My classic working day is best (..) variable!
What does your classic working day look like?
My classic working day is best described with the following word: variable! Working with people constantly creates new fields of work and questions that need to be answered. Of course, there is a lot of paperwork and office work in places, but the focus of my job is primarily on the creative sense of design and the free development of one's own ideas.
A degree course can be no more than the qualification for lifelong learning - if you take this seriously, you will be successful in what you do.
What are the most important contents or insights from your studies for your current profession?
Most importantly, I feel that the different experiences I gained during my two stays abroad in Spain and Colombia have been very personal for me. No module or lecture in the world is able to convey this kind of experience.
The second most important thing is the structured way of working and dealing with questions and problems through scientific work, research and the appropriate handling of numbers, statistics and facts.
Looking back, I can say that in the course of my studies I was sometimes too focused on the individual teaching content of the respective courses and lost sight of the big picture. I think a study can't be more than the ability for lifelong learning - who takes this seriously will be successful in what he does.
Would you recommend employers and students to visit the Social Sciences Job Fair and why?
Definitely! The Job Fair for Social Sciences is the perfect place to make first contact with potential employers in a low-threshold setting and to get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere. In the end, this is exactly the place I owe my job to.
Please complete the sentence: Cologne is for me...
...Kölsch, culture and the epitome of the perfect student city. Cologne is not too big and offers almost everything your heart desires. Starting with an excellent university, the Cologne Carnival and the cathedral, which is admired all over the world for its fascinating architecture.
What would you give our students in general? And what are your three tips for our students?
1. forget the standard period of study!
You will only really learn if you look beyond the individual courses to the big picture. So far, no one has ever been interested in why I have exceeded the standard period of study.
2. go abroad!
You will probably never again have the opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture and another country for a year.
3. take advantage of the many different sponsorship offers of the university!
The University of Cologne in particular offers a wide range of sponsorship opportunities for students. If you take advantage of these, you will be one jump ahead of many!
What would you give to students of political science in particular?
I have found it particularly helpful if you make yourself unique among the mass of students of political science with an unusual profile - that makes the future job search much easier. Be it through internships, student jobs, language courses or stays abroad: whoever stands out wins.
Thank you very much for the interview!
The questions were asked by: Robin Hürckmans