Campus IRC

Stefan Rustler

Stefan Rustler
Stefan Rustler

BSc Physics | 2012

Nationality: German, Thai
Graduate School: MSc Physics, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
Current Position: Analytics Strategy Consultant at Accenture, Zurich, Switzerland. Currently on a sabbatical to build the “Data Science Beach Camp” in Thailand.

Stefan Rustler
Stefan Rustler
Jacobs is a great place to explore yourself and ultimately grow as a person.
Stefan Rustler

Where did life take you after Jacobs?

After graduating in Physics in 2012 from Jacobs University, I moved to Switzerland to obtain a master’s degree in Physics at ETH in Zurich. After that, I joined Accenture, a large technology and management consultancy, working as an Analytics Strategy Consultant. Since recently I have embarked on a sabbatical to discover my cultural roots in Thailand and start an educational business in the field of data science.

How come you are doing something very different from physics?

Though I am extremely interested in physics, having done both a bachelor and a master, I knew, the options with this background were vast. Jacobs with its transdisciplinary approach facilitated my openness to careers outside of physics. Working as an Analytics Strategy Consultant, I can combine different passions and skills of mine; technological understanding, ability of analytical and abstract thinking, working in diverse teams on complex problems. Now being on a sabbatical gives me time to dive deeper into the exciting field of data science (which a lot of physicists move into, by the way) while setting up a business and exploring Thailand.

What advice do you have for current students at Jacobs?

Dare to detour and explore different paths, opinions, and disciplines. Coming to Jacobs everybody is under great pressure to perform, and know exactly, where they are going. However, the truth is, careers and life paths are rarely linear or well-defined. There is no such thing as a grand masterplan, that you have to define and follow through. Instead, it is much more important to shape and follow your own core values and passions - and have faith, that this will guide you through life well. Jacobs is a great place to explore yourself and ultimately grow as a person.

How does it feel to be back on campus for the Alumni Homecoming and how do you stay involved in the Jacobs Community?

I graduated in 2012, but I came back to Jacobs for almost every homecoming. Moreover, I am strongly involved with the Alumni Association. Thus, I am still well-connected to its alumni, its students, the campus and what is happening with the university. And it always feels amazing to come back to see the “Bremen” sign, the trams and trains that are typical for Bremen and the campus of course. Seeing the flag outside that says “Alumni Homecoming” is a big warm welcome. It is literally like coming home: somebody is expecting you; you are not a foreigner, even though a year has passed. It is, indeed, very great to be back!

What was most rewarding about participating in the Alumni Board?

Contributing and giving back to the place that gave me so much. Knowing, that this in turn will benefit future Jacobs generations is a very rewarding experience in itself. Highlights were for example setting up a mentoring program, awarding scholarships to exciting profiles and witnessing, how students thrive from this. Doing all of this with a great team of alumni, who are enthusiastic about the idea, that Jacobs stands for, namely a place where diverse people live and learn together, is simply fun and motivating.

What do you miss the most about Jacobs?

The fact that everything on campus is so close to each other. I can still recall getting out of the bed 15 minutes before class started, getting ready very quickly and then running to the classroom and still being on time. More seriously, the fact that the study area, the meeting spots for your extracurricular activities and your dorm were in such close proximity, allowed us to be so active and involved with many things. Jacobs certainly was one of the most intense and fun times in my life.

What was the largest benefit your Jacobs education provided you with?

Academically, Jacobs provided me with a solid education and the confidence to continue my studies at one of the best universities worldwide for my master’s program at ETH Zurich. Moreover, the density of diversity, in terms of disciplines, backgrounds and cultures at Jacobs, was unparalleled and makes you critically reflect on your own ways of thinking and working. There were many moments, where we were able to dig deeper and see things from different perspectives because of this diversity - not only academically.
On a more personal note, Jacobs taught me how to embrace multiculturalism, also in myself; I am German-Thai biologically. Culturally, though, I was 100% German, prior to my time at Jacobs. There, I realized that being half-Thai is actually an asset. At Jacobs, I really began to discover and cherish also the Thai part in me. Last year, I donated to the Alumni Association. And as a little sign of gratitude, you get a brick with your name and country, that is put in a path right in front of the university. Mine says German-Thai. So, Jacobs very much put me on that multicultural path - literally and figuratively.