Looking back, I realise that living on my own in Nottingham gave me a lot of self confidence.
More about Tobias
Erasmus Scheme graduate Tobias studied Politics at Nottingham Trent University. Tobias talked to us about his experience of being an Erasmus student, how he found living in Nottingham and his work life in Germany.
Why did you choose to study at NTU?
I came to NTU via the Erasmus-scheme. I applied for Erasmus in Nottingham because the UK’s university system is well-known for its high-class academic education and Nottingham seemed great. Language skills came on top for me, so I was excited to be a part of the University.
What did you learn at NTU – both inside and outside of lectures?
Since it was an Erasmus-scheme, I do remember the multi-national character of the Erasmus-program. I enjoyed meeting students from many European countries. I also remember living at Meridian court. Indeed, I may have been a bit older than everyone else there, but it was fun.
At lectures I enjoyed small-group learning and direct communication with the lecturer. It’s far more anonymous in Germany. Looking back, I realise that living on my own in Nottingham gave me a lot of self-confidence.
What does your current working day involve?
There is no typical day as such. As a General Manager my days are filled with tasks in leadership and strategic work. For our own sister-company we set ourselves operational goals and it’s my job to make sure we achieve them together with my team. As a member of the Retail Board we also discuss the mid and long-term development whilst setting a strategic agenda.
What attracted you to this field of work?
Studying Political Science and Public Administration (this is what I studied prior to my stay in Nottingham) made me a become a Generalist. My current job gives me a very wide field of tasks, that is what makes it interesting for me.
What are some of your challenges and achievements that you have you faced?
When I got the chance to become General Manager with being just 30 years old it was quite an achievement. I really like the mixture of strategic and operational work combined with leadership. Within the last five years I learned a lot. I discovered being responsible during economical tense times and how to deal with it. Consolidating your company is tough but necessary. To see what you can achieve by setting the right agenda, good leadership and a motivated team is awesome.
Retail businesses are affected by constant changes. Our customers behaviour and their needs vary a lot from what they preferred 5 or 10 years ago. That is something I like at working in a retail company. In Germany we say `Handel ist Wandel` meaning trade is change. It will be really interesting and challenging at the same time to transform our business model into a true omni-channel retailer.
What are your plans for the future?
I am working at a diverse company group. Let’s see what kind of chances there are…
If you had a time machine, what would you go back and tell yourself at uni?
Make more use of the spare time you have at university to discover the world or learn something apart from solely studying (e.g. internships, social entrepreneurship). There won’t be that much spare time until you retire.