QX: After joining Lufthansa for some years as Strategy Manager you decided to conduct your MBA at Stanford GSB, graduating at the age of only 25 (?) in 2015- what prompted you to take this step?
TIM: My time at Lufthansa was both challenging and rewarding. For two years I implemented the post-merger integration of Austrian, Swiss and Brussels Airlines into Lufthansa, crafted the sales strategy for 2020 and was involved in deepening joint ventures in the US and Japan. During my time with the “Kranich” I had the chance to work closely with senior management and found tremendous mentors that I am still in touch with today.
Nevertheless, given that Lufthansa was shrinking rather than growing and does not have a purely meritocratic culture I decided that it was time to take the next step in my career and to engage myself in an environment where I can learn from and with the most promising future business leaders. Yes, I am fairly young compared to some of my classmates, but I personally see that as an asset much rather than a burden.
QX: You recently participated in the MBA World Summit, being one of the event’s highlights by winning a prize named after you for presenting the most attractive presentation. What do you think made it so attractive?
TIM: I think my workshop focused on topics that many MBA students have on their minds: How can I make the most out of my resources? Which industries and which type of companies provide the best fit? And how can I impact society positively?
Using a rather interactive format stimulated discussion amongst the participants and was a great way to get to know one another on a deeper level. I think the workshop kicked off a lot of fruitful exchanges during the summit. Nevertheless I was surprised that it generated so much interest and positive feedback. Being awarded the prize for the most attractive presentation then of course created a memory that will remain with me for a while.
QX: In Stanford there is a lot of talk about impact- Considering your presentation at the summit had a great emphasis on “impact”, how do you define this term for yourself?
TIM: For me impact is increasing the livelihood of both individuals as well as society at large. What I mean with that is that we are all constantly making decision with some being more important and some less. The result of all those decisions will create relationships, organisations, financial implications and thoughts that either increase or decrease value and utility. I want my set of decisions to lead to outcomes that I can look back to and say: “Yes, you have empowered individuals, you have created organisations that are sustainable and you have overall generated value.”
QX: What were your personal highlights of the MBA World Summit 2014?
TIM: First of all, the MBA World Summit 2014 was a highlight by itself and it is difficult to single out a specific piece. I would say though that the community that formed amongst the participants was tremendous. Even now we are in constant contact, talk about summer internship plans and try to meet up around the globe. That sense of international connectedness is truly exceptional and something I had not envisioned to this degree.
QX: We know that you are an active blogger sharing your reflections on going to Business School, projects you conduct and travelling the world- what is your mission?
TIM: My blog (http://frompatotheworld.blogspot.com) was created to keep family and friends informed about my life at business school and during my travels. It has now developed into an information hub where potential students get unbiased and first hand information about Stanford, where people interested in business and international development share their thoughts and get inspirations and where I can reflect on what is happening in the world around me. I think my mission is, and that seems to be a recurring theme, to impact individuals by sharing the influences and thoughts that I am exposed to.
QX: Considering the title of our interview series „Vanity of the Month“, please allow me to ask: What is your vanity?
TIM: Sport stadiums. It is sort of a strange thing, but I enjoy the architecture of stadiums. One could say that what for others is classical music or paintings is for me the symmetry of stadium seats, precisely trimmed grass and extravagant stadium roof constructions. Whenever I am in a new city I have to go and visit the stadium to snatch some pictures for my private collection. My favourite stadiums are the Estádio Municipal de Braga and the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund.