M.Sc. Student receives National Scholarship

Interview with Benedikt Tostmann

The Invia Group, a pan-European market leader in online travel sales, has been supporting Benedikt Tostmann since September 2018. Benedikt Tostmann, 24, studies full-time M.Sc. in Management at HHL. The business economist and outdoor enthusiast joined HHL in 2017 and is now looking for new challenges in the start-up environment. The National Scholarship enabled him to complete an intensive Spanish course in Latin America during a semester abroad, in addition to being fully immersed in the culture.

“The Invia Group overcomes borders as a pan-European travel agency, working cross-functional across teams at 17 locations in five countries and with an agile mindset,” says Tobias Walther-Merkwitz. “This is the only way to create the innovative strength we need to develop [Invia Group] ambitiously and quickly and to put our ideas into practice. Our commitment to the National Scholarship, which promotes highly talented students on their career path and enables them to gain a wide range of experience, precisely reflects these topics for us.”
[Tobias Walther-Merkwitz, Chief Financial Officer of the Invia Group and himself a HHL graduate]

What was your motivation to apply for the National Scholarship?

I am particularly enthusiastic about the concept of the National Scholarship, in which private sponsors assume social responsibility to promote the performance and commitment of talented young people in cooperation with the Federal Government. I was also convinced by the political and religious independence of the scholarship because apart from outstanding academic achievements the only requirement is matriculation in a university.

The National Scholarship offers me a lot of freedom to develop personally and professionally. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Invia Group for their support, especially my contact person Manuela Becker (HR director), with whom I have been in close contact since day one. Due to my absence (semester abroad, internship) we haven’t met personally yet, but a meeting is already planned for this spring, and I am already very excited. Also, Manuela Becker is a coach in the New Leipzig Talents Program, so I’m sure I can also receive some inspiring, thought-provoking impulses.

Which internships have helped you on a professional level?

So far I have completed internships in the automotive industry at Porsche in Singapore and in management consulting at Simon-Kucher & Partners in Munich. During my time at Porsche, I learned about the positive influence a multinational team has on project work, as we planned to set up a regional Driving Experience Center in Malaysia with colleagues from all over the world. During my time at Simon-Kucher & Partners, I learned to take even more responsibility for my tasks by analyzing complex transaction and price data for various customers in the Technology & Industrials sector in order to identify sustainable revenue levers and ultimately strengthen the (international) competitiveness of the companies.

What are your future plans and goals for your career?

This is a difficult question (laughs). I can imagine starting out in management consulting, because the development opportunities are really great and the many different projects offer a good change in everyday working life. In addition, it’s simply fun to solve tomorrow’s complex problems together with committed colleagues.

But as a management consultant you are, as the name suggests, “only” active as a consultant at first; which is why I would like to take a look at the work in a start-up company this summer in order to implement my ideas in reality in addition to learning about this career path. I am curious to see what working in the start-up environment is like. Interdisciplinary tasks will definitely be a new challenge for me, but I’m already looking forward to it! Let’s make things happen!

How has your experience at HHL supported your career?

HHL has shown me that (almost) all professional goals are achievable, but they require hard work to achieve. The preparation through HHL for the professional challenges to solve the economic and social problems of today and tomorrow couldn’t have been better. We have learnt to structure complex problems and to develop and communicate different solutions with a combination of proven and innovative methods.

However, we always have the “big picture” in mind, because HHL’s mission is to train effective, responsible and entrepreneurial business leaders. As a team of several students, we develop solutions for different case study scenarios, and each individual makes a valuable contribution. The group work is sometimes very time-consuming, but we got to know each other very well and created a great team spirit in our class.

I am sure that I will be friends with many of my fellow students for a long time after completing my studies at HHL. But also the engagement in a student initiative at HHL is a great way to look beyond the academic teaching. For me personally, the Accelerate@HHL Entrepreneurship Conference is the best student initiative, and so I’ve been a member of Accelerate@HHL from day one because I was fascinated by the idea of providing a platform for students, start-ups, investors and established companies to discuss new business models.

What do you particularly like about HHL?

First and foremost it is the HHL Family Spirit that I like. Also I am enthusiastic about the academic brilliance of HHL’s practice-oriented teaching and its strong corporate partnerships. Accelerate@HHL is, as described above, a highlight for me.

If you would like to learn more about the Full-time M.Sc. please follow this link.

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Photo by © Daniel Hermann