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From auditorium to practice

Aline Hendrich studied Resource Efficiency Management at Pforzheim University of Applied Sciences and is now working for a consulting firm near Stuttgart after completing her master's degree in Vienna.

Young career starters who had taken environmental courses in Baden-Wuerttemberg and are now working in companies showed commitment and enthusiasm for the practice. In their own forum at this year's Baden-Württemberg Resource Efficiency and Recycling Congress last week in Karlsruhe, they talked about their experiences. The congress is with approx. 700 participants and large participation of the economy the largest of its kind in Germany. The Pforzheim-based company was strongly represented with the bachelor's programme "Resource Efficiency Management" (REM) and the master's programme "Life Cycle & Sustainability" (MLICS).

They have landed everywhere: at large car manufacturers in Baden-Wuerttemberg, at small - but no less exciting - medium-sized companies on the Alb, at consulting companies, in public administration or even in large amusement parks - just to work, mind you. And they all do a good job and are well integrated into the companies. Some are still working in their traditional fields, which have to do with environmental protection or sustainability. But some have been able to use their knowledge to advance into neighbouring areas such as lean production or production engineering. Environmental protection and resource efficiency have also become a springboard for a career in business.

"No fear of technology" was the credo of an alumnus. It helps small and medium-sized manufacturing companies if they are familiar with these things. Because often the alumni had their misery with the technical subjects during their studies; but in the operational practice suddenly the sense shows up to have learned something also in addition. "I never needed differential equations again," said a graduate of the environmental technology course at the University of Stuttgart. But the way to learn, to open up new contents and to know where to look up something was decisive.

A Pforzheim REM student is afraid to ask: "Are we at a disadvantage with our demanding and interdisciplinary subjects compared to other courses? Or is it only the final grade that counts for the companies in the end? The alumni were able to answer this question clearly: Nobody later paid attention exclusively to the grades, even if they were important. In practice, it depends on personality, commitment and actual ability. Recommendation to the young colleagues: Be active during your studies, take part in internships and excursions and attend congresses and conferences where possible.

So the Pforzheim alumni took the opportunity and met after the congress with their former course leaders and colleagues from the Institute for Industrial Ecology for a beer in downtown Karlsruhe and raved about their studies.