Second-year Global Bachelor of Business Administration (GBBA) student Matteo Keller from Switzerland shares how he went from believing that getting on the Dean’s List was an impossible dream to being able to say, “Achievement unlocked.”

What would you say is the biggest misconception people might have about getting onto the Dean’s List?

They might think of the Dean’s List as something off-limits to them because they are not good enough to be in the top 10 percent, but it’s actually doable and with dedication, a good learning technique and the right amount of motivation, you can achieve anything.

Was that your story as well—did you always plan to be on the Dean’s List?

Actually, yes. I went into my first year knowing about the Dean’s List, but I didn’t think I would be in the top 10 percent of the cohort. My class ranking at the end of the first semester was 65 out of around 600.

I was happy to achieve this with my “normal” efforts, and realized I could make it to the Dean’s List if I worked harder the next few semesters. I think you shouldn’t always think about the Dean’s List as something unreachable. You just have to be better than the rest, so work a bit harder than them, and you have a chance to be on it.

Do you think it’s all work and no play then?

No, not at all. I’m a very active person. I play the trumpet, bass guitar, golf, tennis and I cycle too. On top of that, I also go out with my friends! Of course, I only do these things on the weekends because I focus on schoolwork during the week.

Share a little about your routine. Any tips for other students?

The 45-minute bus ride to school is the perfect time for me to prepare and plan my day. I use this time to review slides and notes for the upcoming lecture. After each lecture, I also make sure to view my notes again. This small investment of time each day means I don’t have a whole mountain of lectures to go through before the final exams!

I think it’s important to be consistent across all of your subjects. It does not work if you are only very good in one subject—you have to do well in all of them, which can be challenging, since they are quite different from one another, especially the languages. Thankfully, I really like all my classes and enjoy studying each subject. I’m not just studying for the grades or the Dean’s List, but for myself, so I can learn more and gain from the enriching environment that I am in.

How do your parents feel about your accomplishment?

They are very proud! They’ve always believed in me and supported me as much as they can, so when they saw the Dean’s List letter, they were extremely happy to see that their support has paid off, and that I’m taking my classes seriously and working hard.

What about yourself? How do you think getting on the Dean’s List has benefited you?

Getting on the Dean’s List allowed me to be one of the first people to choose an exchange program, and I’m happy to say I’m going to UC Berkeley in the US for a year-long exchange! Beyond this, I think it has helped me overcome my own self-doubts, and taught me that as long as I put my mind toward something, I can achieve it.