What is my role in this life and who am I? Or maybe rather – who do I want to be? Let’s be honest. That sounds quite philosophical. And not everyone might be able to give a concrete answer. You don’t have to. Or do you? Let me take you on my journey and give you insights into how I constantly discover and develop my personal “why” to things in life, and why I believe it is important.
The first “real” decision
Once you finish high school in your late teen-years, you must decide how to continue. While I did not have a concrete answer to the rather philosophical questions above, I thought business studies would be appropriate. Frankfurt School was a good university already at that time, and so I joined their Bachelor program with focus on auditing. During my years at FS I had many valuable insights. I eventually left the auditing industry towards the end of my Bachelor Studies at FS and interned with two banks in Frankfurt and London. After having focused more on finance than management at FS, I then started a Master in Management at ESCP Europe in fall 2011.
Learning by doing
While in the beginning of my Master Studies I thought I might stay in banking and finance, I soon switched to something of which I thought would be more impactful. To me having an impact meant improving peoples’ lives and taking care of environmental issues. Thus, to promote sustainable development. There are certainly different ways of doing so. I thought to be contributing by working for the United Nations and the Foreign Ministries of Germany. Despite having an incredibly insightful time during my stays with the UN in Bangkok and the foreign ministries in New York, I learned that these organizations would not be the right place for a me as a young graduate.
After finishing my master, I thus started my first full-time job in consulting. While I was convinced that the insights from my time in this industry would be valuable, I always had an interest in sustainable development. Since the latter was not part of my every-day work, I started my PhD during my second year in consulting.
The next step
After three years I left the consulting industry to focus on my PhD in corporate social and resource responsibility. My professor, entrepreneurial himself, knew I always wanted to start my own business. Thus, only a few months after leaving the consulting firm, I started working on a first venture. I still focused on my PhD, yet, the entrepreneurial activity steadily increased.
A friend joined the undertaking, and together we started conceptualizing and working on what keeps us busy today – Jambo Kilimanjaro! Jambo Kilimanjaro is a firm created from our own travel experience and specializes in organizing travel across Tanzania. Our mission: to provide unique travel across Tanzania and Zanzibar – authentic, personal, fair & sustainable! Our goal: to be the global number one when you think of traveling Tanzania, creating a positive impact for local communities.
By now I have finished my PhD and focus full-time on Jambo Kilimanjaro. We have already had our first clients traveling with us and have bookings for this summer, which is great. And I realize at the same time – we basically need anything! Know-how, a network and partnerships, money, and helping hands. If you feel there is anything you can and would like to bring in: let me know. Your contribution is more than appreciated!
So, what’s my perspective on “why”? While everyone has his/her own personal “why” to things in life, I believe it is important to discover it. If you understand your “why”, you have a powerful instrument to give direction and meaning to your life, and to create positive impacts. While I am still finding and reinventing my “why”, what I found helpful along the way was to keep notes of my thoughts, and to exchange thoughts with the people I trust. Because after all, there is often no right or wrong but rather perspective. And once you have it, to the best of your knowledge, you simply take action!