Melanie Mendoza Jara

Hi everyone! I am Melanie Mendoza, a Peruvian Industrial Engineer and a student in Business Engineering at Ghent University. I am currently working on my Master’s Thesis in Operation Management.

In this newsletter, I will be talking about the challenges I faced while pursuing this program and how I overcame them, to hopefully help and inspire fellow students.

Group projects

Group projects can be challenging for a newcomer. Some professors make groups randomly, but even when you can choose your team, it can be tough because you don’t know anybody yet. Belgian students generally prefer working with friends they met during the bachelor, and it can be intimidating to join their group. It does not mean, however, that they will not be welcoming. If their group is not full, they will gladly add you if you ask them. You should not be afraid to do so! Of course, some teams will be full and they will not be able to add you, but do not take it personally. The culture shock can be tough, and it is challenging to learn about a completely new education system. Group projects can be intimidating, but they are also the perfect opportunity to learn more about the education system from the Belgian students. I really enjoyed the students’ commitment when working on the projects. They are serious, hard-working, and competitive. You can reach out to them via email or social media to keep in touch after the group project.


If you do not understand something taught in class, I encourage you to ask your professors questions. They are very helpful. If it is not possible to do so during the class, or you feel too shy to approach them, you can always send your questions via email. They will answer you for sure. There are also forums on Ufora where you can share your doubts and the rest of the class can read them, help you with them and learn from them. Try not to accumulate your doubts and questions until the exam period. Even if it is a small doubt, or you feel like it is a silly question, just swallow your pride. It is worth the trouble, because at the end of the day, you get clarifications and explanations that are beneficial to your progress. Some classes are recorded, you can also listen again to the chapters that were not crystal clear. Sometimes you will need to listen to the class more than once to understand it, and that’s okay. Do not miss the classes, they are super important, and if you miss one, check the notes of another student or listen to the recording again if there is one.


I recommend you to ask your fellow students to borrow their notes, they might have taken important notes that you did not think of including. Thus, it might already solve some of your doubts or will help you focus on what you need to focus on. You can also ask them if they have past exams questions and answers. Exams change every semester, but at least you will get familiar with the level of questions you might get on your exam. Try to organize your time in order to cover the theory and the practice parts equally, try to solve as many exercises as possible. Visit the library if you need to deepen your knowledge on chapters that were not fully clear to you. You may also need extra exercises to practice some more.

Resit exams

You might feel shy, or bad about your grades, but whatever they were, know that – in case you failed an exam – you can improve your results during the resit exams. It is not the end of the world. Those grades do not define you as a student, nor as a person. You are valuable for who you are. And if you failed, it is because you first tried. Thus, my first suggestion is to get feedback of your failed exam(s) from your professors. Learn from your mistakes, so you do not repeat them during the resit exams. Since you have already studied for the exams once, focus on the chapters where you face more difficulties, put more emphasis on solving all your doubts there by asking other students and your professors questions. Professors are very approachable and eager to help!

Taking a course for the second or the third time

This is a tricky one, I know. You might feel like you do not deserve to follow it again. It is a mixture of feelings. The temptation not to study hard for the final exam is big since you might feel that you know everything already,
however, you can fail again. Why? For various reasons: it is a new semester, you will get new study material, sometimes there is a new professor. My advice here is to give this course the importance it deserves, even if you are not taking it for the first time, study for it as if it were your first time there. Pay attention to every detail from the class. Use the fact that you have past material of the course in your advantage, solve the exercises from the previous year again and check if they are the same as the ones from the current semester. Sometimes some details are changed, so you will have more exercises seen from different perspectives, so in fact you will end up being more prepared for the final exam. So go for it until you pass it. Do not give up. If you study hard, and do the best you can, then you have no reason to feel bad about yourself.


I am personally grateful to Ghent University, I am a true believer that the only way to know how far I can get is by being challenged. Even if you might feel like you are a bit behind, try your best not to compare yourself to others. Be proud of yourself for pursuing your studies at one of the most prestigious universities in the world, namely #74 in the Shanghai ranking. Try to enjoy your journey too. And whenever you feel that you want to give up, ask yourself why you decided to pursue a master there in the first place and be aware of all the doors that will open with that diploma. Moreover, do not forget to look back and see how far you have come. Celebrate your small achievements because they are valuable too. Be patient, the best things in life take time.

To conclude, I would like to share one of the happiest trips of my life to one of the seven wonders of the world Machu Picchu in Cusco-Peru. If you did not have the chance to visit it yet, I encourage you to add it to your bucket list. It is worth the visit! Never forget your roots, stay true to yourself and keep moving forward!

If you want to ask me about something specific, feel free to contact me at (I will do my best to answer you quickly):