Meinrad Höfferer is Divisional Manager for Foreign Trade and International Relations at the Carinthian Chamber of Commerce. Listening skills, a solution-oriented approach, communication skills and the ability to transfer knowledge are among the key attributes needed for his career. A portrait of a busy man.
He knew at an early stage that he wanted to work in the business world. So enrolling at the Handelsakademie Althofen business college was a logical first step. Then, in 2006, Meinrad Höfferer completed a bespoke programme of study in Media and Communications Science and Applied Business Administration at AAU. “Business was a clear choice for me, and as I’m very communicative and very interested in media, especially the ‘new media’, these were the only programmes of study for me. So the two subjects together were a fantastic combination,” recalls Mr Höfferer. Today, his passion is international relations, and he works as a Divisional Manager for Foreign Trade and International Relations at the Carinthian Chamber of Commerce.
A global outlook is in demand
Meinrad Höfferer spent half of his programme of study abroad. In addition to numerous semesters studying in Italy, China, Shanghai and the USA, he also gained his first work experience abroad. The 35-year old completed his compulsory work placement at BMW Group in Munich and, during an EU project for planning and implementing a marketing plan for food and handicraft products, was responsible for the Grebenzen nature park. In Mr Höfferer’s view, travelling widely abroad gives you an extra edge that will always benefit your CV. Improving your language skills is not the only criterion involved in a decision to spend a semester abroad: delving into other cultures gives you a more global outlook too, Mr Höfferer believes. Alpen-Adria-Universität was a retreat he was always happy to return to. “Klagenfurt was a great place to study. Compared with the places I studied abroad, life on campus is fantastic at Klagenfurt. That’s not often the case in Austria.”
Originally, Meinrad Höfferer wanted to go abroad after completing his studies, but things turned out differently: in 2006, he joined the Carinthian Chamber of Commerce as Team Leader for Foreign Trade and the EU. He now leads a team in the Department of Foreign Trade and International Relations. This serves around 2500 Carinthian businesses that are active internationally. When asked what skills are particularly important for his profession, the Klagenfurt native answered: excellent listening skills, a solution-oriented approach to work, communication skills and the ability to transfer knowledge. Foreign travel and business trips are just as much a part of Mr Höfferer’s everyday working life as negotiations within Austria and abroad.
He still has intensive contact with his university today. For example, students can hear him speak as a guest lecturer, and specific projects are even being developed jointly with the Carinthian Chamber of Commerce as part of the Business Administration programme of study. “The theory is very important, but students must learn how to apply it practically too,” stresses Mr Höfferer. His recipe for successful studies and entry into the world of work: “Keep strictly to your goals, focus on your education but also keep abreast of current affairs, and combine the theory with practical experience at an early stage.”
International in his private life too
Meinrad Höfferer can’t keep away from the subject of internationalisation, even in his private life. For example, he is Chair of the ‘Kärnten Grenzenlos’ [Carinthia Without Borders] association, an initiative promoting an internationally-oriented Carinthia with a global outlook that aims to leverage the potential of cross-border collaboration with neighbouring countries. As a counterbalance to his work and to recharge his batteries, Mr Höfferer spends his free time in Carinthia’s nature, where you may come across him mountain climbing, running, cycling, swimming or playing tennis in summer or on the Carinthian ski slopes in winter.