Name, First Name: Bluemner, Michael Nationality: German, Seychellois City, Country: Glacis, Mahé, Seychelles Study Program/Degree: HWI/Dipl.-Ing. oec. (Industrial Engineering) Year of Degree: 1988 Employer/Position: Self-Employed
You live in the Seychelles, what brought you there?
I have lived in the Seychelles for over 10 years. My wife comes from here, so it was foreseeable that we would end up here at some point to spend our afternoon and evening in peace.
As an industrial engineer, you are predestined for a career in management consulting, which is why I initially took this path. It is an extremely challenging job, but compared to other careers you learn a lot more in a very short time and you work with the management of the company right from the start. However, you travel a lot and often for longer periods of time, especially with global consulting firms like Price Waterhouse. But I wanted to have a “permanent residence”, so I left Price Waterhouse in Hamburg for SAP in Walldorf. Within SAP, I performed various tasks and roles in consulting, sales and management. Now it wasn’t the project work that sent you around the world, but the regional or global role itself. I lived in Dubai for several years as Managing Director of SAP for the Middle East. I then moved to Bahrain for almost two years as Vice President for SAP. In this role I also spent a lot of time in Palo Alto and Philadelphia. So much for the “permanent residence”.
My wife and I left SAP and Germany in 2009 and moved to London for half a year, from where we migrated to the Seychelles. There we built a house, adopted 6 dogs, founded an NGO that supports a local rehabilitation clinic and a hospice, and trained ourselves in financial services at the University of Seychelles. As independent management consultants, we are now active in the financial services sector and hire ourselves as “Fit-and-Proper” directors for several investment companies (my wife is an economist).
By chance I got to know the Namibian ambassador for the SADC countries at an event, which resulted in my being appointed Honorary Consul for Namibia in the Seychelles in 2018. In this position one meets many servants, up to the President of the Republic. He then appointed me to the board of directors of the largest bank in the Seychelles, in which the Seychelles government is the main shareholder. Let’s see what the future will bring .. So much for the quiet evening of life.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
There is no typical working day except that I am responsible for breakfast in the morning for my wife and me, our housekeeper and our dogs. Then I sit down at my computer and go through my emails. I mainly work from home when there are no meetings at the bank or anywhere else in town. In the afternoons, if time permits, I allow myself an hour or two to study online. I signed up for a couple of astrophysics courses at the Australian National University in March of this year.
What is the best thing about your current job?
I meet interesting people and can make a lot of things happen that are economically and ecologically relevant for both Seychelles and Namibia. As a freelance management consultant, essentially as a fit-and-proper director for several investment companies, you learn a lot about asset management, financial products, and business ethics, and of course you get to supplement your pension because living in Seychelles is quite expensive. As a member of the bank’s supervisory board, I can use my experience as a consultant in the financial services industry to help establish processes to reduce, for example, the anticipated risks of the Covid-19 crisis. This is an enriching and fulfilling task.
Why did you choose the TUHH back then and was that good from today’s perspective?
I didn’t opt for the TUHH directly, but rather for the inter-university course in industrial engineering (HWI), in which the TUHH was one of the sponsoring institutions. It was the best decision of my life after my wife. (Naval engineering would have been my alternative as I am also a qualified shipbuilder)
What was your motivation to choose this field of study and this profession? As an industrial engineer, you are prepared for economic, legal as well as technical tasks. This seemed more interesting to me than thinking only in one particular direction, such as law, economics, business administration or engineering. However, it was also a very challenging course of study, but through which you get a good multidisciplinary education for a career in management consulting, as mentioned above. If you come from a top international management consulting firm, you can transfer almost anywhere. My recommendation: Also for an engineering student at TUHH, based on my current experience, I would recommend to attend parallel lectures in Finance at the University of Hamburg, or to get an international Master in Finance, Economics or Business Administration following a TUHH Bachelor degree, absolutely in English. Alternatively, if you want to go the purely technical route and have a successful career, I would not leave TUHH without a PhD. This is almost a requirement for global high-tech companies. Here, semesters abroad at partner universities as part of the doctoral studies would be advantageous.
What did you take away from the TUHH degree beyond your technical knowledge?
At the time, I took my exam in automation with Professor Cremer (RIP) from TUHH. During my studies, I worked at his institute and led the lab experiments (Technical System Simulation, Robotics) there. I also held “tutoring lectures” in mathematics for my fellow students. I learned that the best way to understand a subject is to teach it yourself. This experience has been with me all my life and has often given me the necessary courage to raise my hand when it came to finding someone who could quickly and thoroughly familiarize himself with complex new topics in order to pass on what he had learned to colleagues/peers and, of course, to coach employees.
As an industrial engineer, one can solve interdisciplinary tasks well and is therefore well prepared to lead companies from various services and industries, including consulting companies. As a consul, I help to negotiate a double taxation agreement and various technical cooperation agreements as well as to validate bilateral investments. The Wi-Ing degree provides a good foundation even for a diplomatic career.
Where did you prefer to spend your time in Hamburg / Harburg while studying?
I lived in Winterhude, so I could often be found in the city park and in the observatory. But I also liked the Eppendorf scene, the plays of light in Planten un Blomen, the banks of the Alster in the summer after university, Pöseldorfer pubs, the ferry ride to Blankenese and of course the passages on Jungfernstieg. I have visited and lived in many cities, but Hamburg is still by far the most beautiful and livable city in the world.
What would you ask an omniscient researcher from the future?
How did we solve the scientific challenges of warp propulsion and nuclear fusion and how did we explain the Big Bang.
If you were President of the TUHH …
… I would try to become part of an inter-university degree in industrial engineering again!