I caught up with Hermann via a video call and, apart from his attendance at Western Sydney University, Australia, I knew nothing about him. By the end of our conversation, I was astonished at how much he has already managed to fit into his 22 years. I asked him about his current studies.
“I’m currently at the University of Applied Sciences in Ulm, southern Germany. I study International Energy Economics, which is an engineering study program and, as the name suggests, it’s basically a combination of three specific subject fields: Computer Science (data analytics, mostly), Energy Engineering and Business Studies related to the energy sector. I did my semester abroad during my sixth semester and now I’m in my seventh semester and writing my thesis, with graduation in my bachelor’s degree in March.”
Switching gears (to power them up)
Hermann’s enthusiasm for his chosen study field was striking and I wondered what took him in this direction and whether he had considered other routes? It was only towards the end of his high school studies that he chose the energy sector, making a big shift from his previous plans.
“At the very beginning I just wanted to become a banker; you could say I was just after the money! But then a visiting professor from The Biberach University of Applied Sciences delivered a presentation in my school about renewable energy sources, sustainability and how we can protect the environment and he took my home region as an example for that. It changed everything.
At the very beginning, I just wanted to become a banker. You could say I was just after the money! I think I was only two or three weeks from my final exams when I switched.
I’m from a town that’s really close to nature: five minutes by bike and you’re outside in the forest or you can go swimming in the lake. I realised that he was right: we have beautiful landscapes here, close to the Alps, close to Lake Constance. It’s really beautiful. It’s green. You have so much nature. And, because of that, I had a beautiful childhood. His presentation reinforced for me the importance of protecting all that rather than running off to chase the money – and, actually, doing something fulfilling as well. So his presentation had a huge influence on my subsequent choice and a last-minute influence. I think I was only two or three weeks from my final exams when I switched. I was about to enter a programme offered by Deutsche Bank but that persuasive and inspiring talk made me change my mind.”