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Hi, I am Hannah!

Until the age of twenty I lived in Münster, Germany, with my parents and younger sister. Besides going to school, I have always been an active person who enjoyed doing sports (mostly volleyball and handball), meet friends, engaged in the local community, played games, cooked and baked. After I graduated from high school, I had difficulties to decide what my next steps should be. Besides loving to work with people, especially children, I have always enjoyed systematic problem solving and had a strong interest in studying medicine. I finally decided to start my studies in Aachen in mechanical engineering.

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As soon as possible I wanted to get some insights into medical engineering so in my second semester I started to work part-time at the Helmholtz institute of cardiovascular technology. I enjoyed five very exciting and eventful semesters in Aachen where I acquired basic mechanical engineering knowledge through my studies which I was able to apply in my job. Besides, I gained some additional insights in medical research and development. During covid times I decided to do an internship in Berlin at Berlin Heart which focused on the development of artificial hearts. I enjoyed the city as well as working at the company so I did my bachelor thesis there as well. Research and development is a very interesting and important field for engineers and I enjoy it as well. However, with the worldwide problem of the climate crisis becoming more present and important I decided to change my track:  I developed a strong interest in how we will be able to solve global problems. Over the years I realised that politics done in the right way is such a strong driver for regional and global directions. So, with my technological background I am now aiming to go into the direction of politics, how? I don’t really know. For now, I am eager to gain some experiences in a big company and trying to understand the complexity, how the change management works, how are sustainability topics tackled, and so much more. I am therefore currently doing my internship at the Hilti Group in Schaan, Lichtenstein, in the Procurement Indirect Materials department. It is challenging as well as very insightful! I am amazed by the company spirit as well as the bundled skills of the people working in my team. Looking forward to the months to come.

What attracted you to apply to the UNITECH programme?

After I finished my bachelors I was thinking about reorientation from medical engineering to another field. Due to this I was and still am very curious about other people’s passion, what drives them and what their motivation in life and work wise is - I was looking for inspiration and exchange with people who have drive. Unitech offers this great network of exactly those people - this is what attracted me most.

What did you enjoy most about your experience in the UNITECH programme, and how has the programme helped prepare you for the next steps in your career?

People, inspiration and spirit: this engaged community in all matters I have enjoyed the most by far!

Career wise there are two main things that helped me: being able to consult the coaches has really helped me. Secondly, during my studies I was a little “trapped” in the mechanical engineering bubble. Unitech reminded me again of all the possibilities I have, encouraged me to think bigger and the impact I can have.

What are some of the biggest lessons you've learned in your career so far?

- Communication is key

- Relax, do not plan to far ahead, life is going to lead you in another direction anyway..

- And it’s ok and necessary to “fail” sometimes.

What are some of the biggest trends you see in your industry, and how are you preparing for them?

To clarify I see my field currently as engineering. One trend I see is that the companies feel the pressure triggered by customers as well as politics to become more sustainable. One can see various kinds of sustainability related advertisements companies come up with. I find the trend on the one hand important as well as needed. But this being a trend one has to be very careful of greenwashing and ineffective measures. It is really hard to tell if sustainability is a marketing strategy or really starting to become a core value as well as goal. I am preparing by informing myself about effective measures as well as trying to understand what impact different company approaches sustainability wise have.

The trend I would much rather like to see also in combination with sustainability would be an economic transformation away from the era of mass production and consumption. The economic approach of continuous and extensive growth needs to stop in order to manage the current most relevant topics. Easier said than done but I believe that a less egocentric approach would be a lot more effective than all a lot of trends we can currently see in the industry.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in your field?

Do not let the complexity of everything scare you, you will manage step by step.

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