“I define myself in terms of contentment.”

Andreas Koppensteiner studied Applied Business Administration at the University of Klagenfurt. At first, he did not consider leaving Carinthia. Now, he has been living in France since 2001. In our interview, he explains why he decided to go abroad, why he changed his career after 20 years and what this new vocation means to him.

What did you study?

Applied Business Administration with a focus on Controlling and Strategic Management as well as Marketing and International Management.

Why did you choose the University of Klagenfurt?

For purely practical reasons, actually. At that time I was a committed Carinthian and did not want to move to Vienna or Graz. Besides, a move would also have meant missing out on my hobby, show jumping. My horse was stabled with my trainer in Sankt Veit. I only learned to appreciate the advantages of my alma mater minimunda during my time at university.

One memorable experience during my time as a student was … life in the student village, revising for exams at the lido, the university parties and joining the theatre group as well as the excursions of the Department of Romance Studies.

When I think of the University of Klagenfurt, I immediately think of … the university cafeteria, the centre of social life during my time at university. That’s where I understood how to network.

Is there anything that still connects you to the University of Klagenfurt today?

Yes, the wonderful memories.

Did you spend time abroad?

Yes, and I have been living in France since January 2001.

How did those experiences shape you?

I completed my compulsory internship in Kassel (Germany) as part of my studies. Over the course of these six months, I became aware that it is also possible to live outside of Carinthia. When I returned to Carinthia, I was ready for a new experience abroad. It was clear that I wanted to go “somewhere else” after finishing my studies.

The start was the Tyrolean lowlands, but the mountains limited my horizons too much. And so, after 15 months, I said goodbye and headed for France. This was originally for a two-year internal “secondment” to a newly acquired production site of my employer at the time. The rest is history…

Do you have any tips for todays students wishing to go abroad?

Make sure to take advantage of all the offers, there are many programmes for trips within Europe or even beyond. And most of the time, as a student, you are still unattached and flexible. Everyone knows the saying about looking beyond the garden fence, I can only confirm that. The longer you stay abroad, the better, because you will “immerse” yourself in a new culture after a certain point. And usually there’s a language barrier at the beginning, which you have to overcome first. But once you start thinking in another language, swearing, expressing your feelings and dreaming, then you’ve mastered it.

How did you end up in your current job/activity? How did your career develop?

After graduating in Applied Business Administration, I worked in various positions in industry for almost 20 years (Head of Operational Controlling, Commercial Manager, etc.).Somewhere along the line, however, it wasn’t fun any more, the motivation dropped by the wayside. So I decided to refocus professionally, invested a year in a university course and have recently graduated. Fortunately, I was also able to find a job in my new field right away. I recently took over the management of a retirement and nursing home in the centre of Strasbourg.

What are your duties at work? What does your daily professional life look like?

I am responsible for 60 residents and 60 staff members. I am entrusted with the relations with the families or the persons responsible for my residents, I take care of compliance with the regulations prescribed by law, I pay attention to hygiene, etc. I am also in charge of the care of the residents. A very versatile field of work, extremely exciting and varied. It never gets boring.

What is it about your job that you particularly appreciate?

It is precisely this variety, but above all the feeling of being able to contribute to the well-being of the residents. At last I have a reason to get up early in the morning again.

Did your studies prepare you for your current job?

Of course, I brought a lot of knowledge with me from my education. And I acquired others during my first career.

How do you define success?

Nowadays, I tend to define myself in terms of contentment.

Do you have a (life) motto?

Treat everyone as you would like to be treated.

What advice would you give to today’s students?

Gain practical experience as soon as possible. Complete internships.

What do you do to balance your professional life?

I cycle a lot, explore the surroundings and I still ride.

What challenges do you find most appealing?

Those with realistic goals and respectful interactions.

A few words with Andreas Koppensteiner

A happy moment at the University of Klagenfurt was… my graduation.

From my student days I still have… lots of memories and my best friend.

Who inspired you? The environment around me.

If I were to study again, I would… I completed a second degree in January 2022, this time in France. I wanted to change professionally.

My university experience in 4 words: Student village, lido, Mensa building and the internet.

Andreas Koppensteiner is a Carinthian of the world.

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