Daniel Sommer, FOM StuttgartI have been interested in technology for the last 25 years. At the age of 11, I assembled my first computer. After leaving school, I trained as an IT systems technician, having briefly done some public sector work as a trainee assistant in the office that manages local state-owned properties. Well, we all make mistakes…

I did my IT training at Bechtle, which is one of MANN+HUMMEL’s long-standing suppliers. The move to my current employer MANN+HUMMEL  in 2004 was therefore the next logical step. I worked for MANN+HUMMEL in the USA for three years and, since 2008, I have been working in the Telecommunications and User Support team in Ludwigsburg.

More than bits and bytes – a career in IT

Despite all the different roles I have had during my career and after all the time focussing on bits and bytes, interfaces and memory, I always wanted to develop further and one day assume managerial and leadership responsibilities. It was clear that I would have to undergo extensive training and fundamentally broaden my horizons in order to make this step. In 2010 – the year in which my eldest daughter was born – I looked to find the the best way to expand my knowledge. I decided to attend the FOM University of Applied Sciences, Germany’s largest private college, which also has a campus in Stuttgart. I wanted to have face-to-face learning, as opposed to distance learning, and also wanted to keep my weekends as free of lectures as possible. Both these preferences are possible at the FOM.

The FOM’s study program gave me just what I needed.  I have been attending lectures in Rotebühlstraße in Stuttgart three times a week. That might sound stressful but it is the best option for me as a family man, since it has allowed me to focus on both my job and my studies during the week. On the weekends, I have been free to look after my wife and our two daughters. Nonetheless, such a workload is always going to cause some ‘collateral damage’: my sport activities, hobbies, and contact with friends and family have suffered over the past few years. I have, however, been regularly meeting up with fellow FOM students for study sessions, and I wouldn’t want to lose contact with them in future. The experience has brought new friendships.

I have really appreciated the support of my superiors; they have trained me well and given me many insights into their work. I have also been greatly helped by the flexible working hours in my department.

The right choice

To sum it up, I would say that the ‘Bachelor of Arts in Business Information Systems’ course offers me the perfect mix of IT and business studies. I can focus on the development and programming of information and communication systems, and also learn how to apply my knowledge in real work situations. Key skills such as conflict management, self-organisation, discussion management and presentations round off this programme of study. For my bachelor’s thesis, I am developing a sample mobile device strategy – it could hardly be more relevant to my area of work. My lectures and exams will soon be over and I will then have six months to complete this thesis. Hopefully, my bachelor’s degree will then finally be finished. I have no doubts about successfully completing my course, nor do I doubt that my studies will be beneficial to my professional development. I’m already reaping the benefits now.

First of all, however, I’m looking forward to completing my studies and enjoying the unusually large amount of free time that I’ll soon have, even though I still have to work on the thesis.