Universität Bonn

Alumni stories

Maximilian Meyer

Nationality: German

Year of Graduation: 2017

MSc thesis
Smallholder palm oil production in Central Kalimantan: Assessing scope for improving environmental and economic performance

Max Meyer.jpg
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Please tell us about your AFECO experience  and its benefits to your development

I studied AFECO from 2015 to 2017. During this time, I focused on resource and environmental economics and was able to graduate with a Major Specification in this field. It is not only the master that helps you in your professional career. A major (or minor) is another tool to shape your profile, which proved to be helpful later on in my professional life. I also went a semester abroad, studying in Finland, which enabled me to gain experience in an international context with different teaching methods and a different vibe altogether, which was really enriching. During the field phase of my master thesis, I went to Indonesia to study the economics of palm oil farming. Field research is another valuable experience that increases your value as an employee on the job market.

What is your current occupation?

I work as a postdoctoral research at Agroscope, Switzerland, where I am conducting research on human-environment interactions and human-wildlife conflict in the context of alpine farming.  Through a newly established trial station (Versuchsstation Berg und Alplandwirtschaft), we analyse farm level data using econometric methods to identify the effects of human wildlife conflict and potential mitigation strategies on farm outcomes. Additionally, the trial station and its facility network across the whole of Switzerland’s mountainous cantons allows studying pasture and grazing management systems to find resilient solutions for climate change and livestock predators.

How did AFECO help you get where you are?

Studying with the AFECO program gave me an idea of where I wanted to go in my professional life. On the one hand, it is quite a broad study field, but it can be narrowed down when choosing specific, specialized courses in one of the major specifications. Through this and my master thesis, I was able to secure a position as a PhD student. During my PhD studies, I was able to dive much deeper into my field of interest and learn more hard skills to gain experience and expertise. I believe that studying the things that interest you most is how you become the best version of yourself in a professional sense. This may be a very privileged view but one that seems to have worked for me.   

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