Interview with Achim Braunsteffer Global Business & Trade, Fall 2015

What was your background prior to Graduate Professional Studies?
I was enrolled as graduate student in European Economic Studies at University of Bamberg, Germany. Moreover, I did internships in the consulting realm and at a technology start-up company in Germany during my studies.

Why did you choose to participate in Graduate Professional Studies?
The combination of internship and seminars is unique. My aim was to challenge myself and experience the best of both worlds during my semester abroad because I would like to work in the US some day. In my view, the city, the support of the staff and various internship opportunities make the program particularly attractive.
AU is a partner university of my home university and I heard about it first when applying for a semester abroad. The GPS was my first and favorite choice.

Where did you intern? What were some daily tasks at your internship? Favorite part?
I interned at Laurel Strategies Inc., a global business advisory and strategic communications firm. Daily tasks included research, drafting notes and tracking news. However, there was no such thing as a typical day, as the work is very fast-paced and you never know what is on the agenda the next day. These were among the things I loved, besides the location in the heart of the city. I met and chatted with interesting people every day in our kitchen. Furthermore, the team was superb in a professional as well as personal way.

Did you know what your career/academic path looked like before you joined the program?
First of all, I wanted to find out how it is like to work in the US. Furthermore, working at a business advisory solidified my interest in this sector.

What was your #1 takeaway from the Program? WHat would you tell others considering GPS?
There are chances and opportunities around every corner! Seize them when they come along. Also relax and be yourself, the business people are persons like you and me.

What did you do after completing your GPS semester?
I went back to finish my studies in Bamberg, Germany, but seized the chance to stay in contact with Laurel Strategies. I am happy to continue working with Laurel for several hours a week in addition to my master thesis. For example, I went to a conference in Berlin with my CEO.

Did your time with GPS directly affect your professional success?
It did affect my professional success as well as my personal development. I feel more comfortable communicating on a professional basis and, of course, I was able to expand my network as well as continued working with Laurel Strategies.