The daily commute to work is always something special for Holger Kliesch. Before taking the Path Train in Hoboken in New Jersey, he looks out over the magnificent New York skyline dominated by One World Trade Center. “I have run up this tower twice in the last few years, 417 meters in 23 minutes,” says the business administration graduate of the Harz University of Applied Sciences.
The commute leads the Lüneburg, Germany native under the Hudson River directly to downtown Manhattan. This is also where he works at Deutsche Bank as Program & Change manager in the Chief Security Office. The path to his current role was long, but exciting. After a successful banking apprenticeship, his subject of choice was business administration. Holger started to study at Hochschule Harz in 1997 as the college has a reputation for being closely aligned to the practicalities of business. “It was a nice, international community with the other students,” Holger recalls, smiling: “We were less than 30 people, so the professors took good care of us.” Today, Holger still applies the contents of the seminars like negotiation techniques and project management in his daily job; and he liked the global perspective of the “International Business Studies” course. Holger sharpened his intercultural competence with several semesters abroad in Charlotte, North Carolina, followed by numerous study trips, among others to Gothenburg. “On our way, we had an electric grill on the ferry for barbeque and accidentally triggered the smoke detector,” Holger laughs heartily when remembering his college years. In particular, he fondly recalls the International Evening and the prom nights; events that have since become a tradition.
Around 2001, Holger had finished his studies and had begun attending numerous job fairs – eventually getting in touch with Deutsche Bank. It started with an internship in Frankfurt followed by his thesis. “Once the internship was finished I stayed in Frankfurt as I liked the international spirit of the bank”, Holger summarizes his earlier career days. Three years later, he received an offer to participate in an International Staff Exchange and move to Baltimore, MD. The projects Holger managed got bigger, and 1 year turned into 15 in the USA – including a move to New York City. Holger now works in the Chief Operating Office (COO) area of the Chief Security Office managing vendor relations. In his spare time, Holger takes advantage of the many opportunities New York City has to offer, networking in the field of new technologies and offering mentoring to startups.
Holger’s future advice for students is to never stop learning and to keep training after graduation. “Continuing education and certificates are becoming more and more important on the job, and technologies are changing faster and faster. So, it is always important to be one step ahead”, Holger summarizes his philosophy. Students should also consider where their dream role today will be in 10 years and whether it will still exist in the future in light of new technologies. However, most important are soft skills, networking and team work. “That’s what I learned while sailing. If the communication is good and everyone pulls together, you can be successful,” says Holger, looking at the New York skyline and the boats that sail across the glittering Hudson.