Name, First Name: Biermann, Jan
Nationality: German
City, Country: München, Deutschland
Study program, Degree: Electrical Engineering - Computer Engineering / Diploma
Year of graduation: 1999
Employer, Position: BMW Group, Spezialist Developement (acoustics and vibrations)

What was an unforgettable experience for you during your time at TUHH?
Certainly the greatest and most beautiful personal experience was the year at the University of Waterloo in Canada, which was made possible for me through the exchange program at TUHH. But I will also never forget studying for my very first exam at TUHH (Math 1). Until then, it was always enough for me to listen to the teacher and then somehow understood and retained it. At TU, I realized that this no longer worked and I had to learn to learn. That was a hard experience at first, but in retrospect a nice personal experience.

What do you use from your studies for your job?
I would answer that with a trained "engineering mindset". In your studies, you think that the concrete contents are important. What is most important, however, and where the studies have certainly helped, is the ability to quickly familiarize oneself with new and quite complex issues and to use an engineering approach to problem solving, which in some cases differs massively from other disciplines.

What's the greatest thing about your job?
For one thing, I work on a beautiful and emotionalizing product. That helps with motivation. On the other hand, I move around in a large and very international company. That also has its drawbacks, but the complexity of the organization, the processes, and ultimately the technical aspects of the resulting products means that you really do learn something new and understand more every day. In fact, no two days look the same and you have what feels like endless opportunities to contribute and expand your skills. That's exciting.

What does a typical working day look like for you and what skills do you need for it?
You actually work on different projects at the same time, which are all at different stages in the development process and therefore require different activities. This means that on one day you work in the test bench and analyze measurement data, which can be an analysis of a competitor's vehicle or you do principle tests to understand basic physical relationships. On the same day, you think about simulation methods or interpret simulation data from vehicle projects at a very early stage. You are constantly preparing presentations, giving them and representing them in various meetings in different areas. This requires a great deal of multitasking skills and fast switching. Every day, you have to work on your own technical depth, but also on your broad understanding, because the final product is the result of a long struggle for an overall optimal solution, which is usually a compromise of a multitude of competing features and aspects, i.e. technical, business or legislative. One must always have the "big picture" in mind, and this is only possible with perseverance and persuasion.

I would like to swap a day with ...
... Angela Merkel

What would you ask an omniscient researcher from the future?
Will evolution manage to produce a "Man 2.0" who, free of selfish and destructive drives, is inherently capable of a more mindful approach to both his physical livelihood and his social environment.

If you were president of the TUHH ...
... I would suggest to critically rethink the curricula. I was allowed to experience the German system, but also the North American one. Both are different and each has its individual advantages and disadvantages, but neither represents the "end of the line" in my view. I would try to combine the best of both worlds.