DA alumnus Daniel Reinhardt on his career since graduating from MAIS 18 in 2015
My name is Daniel Reinhardt and I am a native German who has spent most of his life abroad. After completing my Bachelor’s programme in Political Science & Economics, and doing internships with the German Embassy in Ghana and the German Chamber of Commerce in Dubai, I joined the 18th MAIS Programme in 2013. As my goal was to apply for the German diplomatic service after my studies, I took advantage of the wide and interdisciplinary selection of courses at the DA, and greatly benefited from studying in an international environment with students from different countries and different perspectives.
In my second year at the DA, I managed to secure a part-time position at the Representation of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in Vienna through a fellow DA student who was already working there. After I completed MAIS in 2015, I was offered a full time position at the Representation and stayed there for another year. During my second year in this position, my ties with the DA remained strong as we hired new colleagues from the DA and organised, with Professor Row, a study trip to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq for a group of 15 DA students. After two years of supporting the Representation in enhancing the Kurdistan Region’s ties with Austria, and gaining support for the Region amid the severe crisis that spilled over from Syria to Iraq in 2014, I decided that it was time to try something new.
I was offered a one year position as a Projects and Communications Manager at the Club of Rome’s headquarters in Switzerland, an organisation which has been framing the global environmental discourse for several decades. In applying for and working in this position, the broad set of knowledge and skills I had obtained at the DA helped me substantially. Even during my time at the Club of Rome, I remained in close contact with the DA staff, and organised talks with Club of Rome representatives at DA events.
While both previous jobs have been extremely interesting and beneficial for my professional and personal development, I was again looking for something completely new and different – a job which is more hands-on, where things move forward faster, and where I have the feeling that my work really has a direct impact. I finally found this satisfaction at Swimsol, a young solar energy start-up that focuses on small island nations where the main source of power is currently diesel energy. Swimsol has developed the world’s first offshore floating solar system - SolarSea - to solve the challenge of land-scarcity when it comes to large solar installations in island regions. At Swimsol, I’m in charge of sales, business development, securing financing for our solar projects, as well as marketing and public relations. The solar projects that Swimsol developed and installed since I started working have saved more than five million litres of diesel per year.
Although working for a start-up isn’t a typical path DA students usually take, much of the knowledge, language skills and intercultural competences I gained at the DA are essential for my job. On a daily basis I am in contact with customers, partners and investors from all around the world; and being in charge of public sector projects means I regularly interact with government stakeholders, staff of multilateral organisations and development banks. The ability to deal with a wide range of subjects, regardless of whether their nature is technical, legal or economic, is of great importance in my job; and to a large extent, I owe this ability to the interdisciplinary MAIS programme.
To end on a personal note, the most important aspect of the DA is without a doubt the numerous friendships I have gained which last to this day. The DA was a fantastic experience and I recommend it to anyone who wants to work in an international environment, regardless of what the precise context may be.
More information on Swimsol is available at https://swimsol.com.