My career in the German Armed Forces called Bundeswehr began in 1994 with officer training, initially in Düsseldorf. After the usual practical assignments at that time and the successful officer’s examination, I then studied civil engineering and environmental technology at the Bundeswehr University in Munich.
My first years in the military thus consisted of many theory lessons and studying, but also of practical troop exercises and first experiences in leadership responsibility. I have never regretted the decision to join the Bundeswehr. On the contrary – I soon realized that it was exactly the right thing to do.
After my studies I was employed as a Platoon Commander and gained my first operational experience in the Balkans. Only a short time later I reached the next career level and was appointed company commander in the field of satellite communications – a real stroke of luck! I kept my dream job until the end of my service, twelve years in total. Because I knew right from the start: I didn’t want to stay in the military my entire professional life. I had always seen the transition to the civilian economy as my next stage in life for personal development.
Tip for your civilian career: Prepare early!
I prepared for my civilian career after the enlistment period at an early stage. For example, I exchanged ideas with the Berufsförderungsdienst (BFD: meaning vocational training service). Together with the BFD consultant, I discussed my personal goals and wishes and developed a vocational training and career plan. I would also like to advise all comrades who are thinking about their career after the Bundeswehr: take the initiative, approach the BFD actively and work out an individual professional and career path together.
My goal was clear: a management role in business, preferably in a technical environment. The next step in this direction consisted of a part-time study of economics and some seminars of the BFD. Equipped with the appropriate qualifications and a rather large wealth of experience, I wanted to tackle my transition into the business world and my career after the Bundeswehr.
Having the career goal well in view
After leaving the Bundeswehr, I was employed for a short time as an interim project manager with HOCHTIEF in Luxembourg. This was an important experience for me to find out that I wanted to develop further, not so much in terms of specialist knowledge, but rather on a broader and more differentiated basis. The opportunity to do so arose when I – now an economist and graduate engineer in civil engineering and environmental technology – joined TÜV Rheinland as a personal assistant to the Chairman of the Executive Board. At TÜV Rheinland, I then had great experiences, learned a lot, and was able to develop myself successively.
In 2011 I was then appointed to the management board of TÜV Rheinland Akademie in Germany. For several years, I have been responsible for the global Academy & Life Care business unit there as Executive Vice President. So I followed my career plan and today I have a leading position in the business world. It was and still is not possible to plan the exact path and the individual steps of development towards this goal – so it is all the more important to think about the basic direction in which you want to develop and then act accordingly. So far, it has worked out great for me. A civilian career as a former temporary soldier and TÜV Rheinland as an employer complement each other uniquely in many respects.
TÜV Rheinland + your civilian career = Perfect Match
TÜV Rheinland, just like the Bundeswehr, has a more technical orientation. In addition, it is virtually part of the DNA of both organizations to work in a structured manner when dealing with rules, specifications and technical standards. Aspects such as the ability to work in a team, target-oriented work, and leadership competence in stressful situations are of great importance to every company and are being taught in a special way in the Bundeswehr. These skills combined with technical and, increasingly, medical or educational expertise are a very good basis for a successful specialist or management career at TÜV Rheinland.
If you are interested in the topic, please have a look at our website. There you will find more information about a civilian career after the Bundeswehr: