Discovering talents, recognising opportunities – a portrait of former ISM student Jara Horstmann

When she was ten years old, Jara Horstmann wanted to study medicine, like everyone else in her family. But chemistry and physics were never her strongest subjects at school. It was not until she moved all the way from Hamburg to the other side of the Atlantic that she discovered what suited her best and inspired her most. A year-long stay in the USA revealed her passion for US business and her mind was made up; she would study business administration.

Out into the big wide world

The school year in the USA was the initial spark for Jara. She was more motivated than ever before and developed a real interest in economics, educational science and English. One of her main strengths was communication, and after leaving school, she spent two months in Spain completing a language course. From there, she travelled to Guatemala, where she was involved in a social project. In the mornings she gave English lessons and in the afternoons she helped reconstruct homes destroyed by a landslide and distributed food. “I learned just how important good project management is in order to solve problems in a structured manner. I can highly recommend participating in social projects and seeing how happy people can be with so little.”

The small difference

Project management would also play a major role during her time at ISM, as Jara initially enrolled on an undergraduate course in tourism and event management. Right from the start, she decided to keep all her options open and additionally studied international business administration, which she then focussed on during the advanced stage of her course. Jara was faced with a stringent schedule of business administration lectures, practical projects, workshops and periods spent in Spain and Australia. “When I was looking for work after graduating and taking part in a number of assessment centres, I felt I had a significant advantage over other candidates due to the practical experience gained at ISM during internships and consultancy projects, my international track record resulting from two semesters abroad and the soft skills training received at the university.”

Jara Horstmann joining the ALumni EXchange Day at ISM Dortmund

Building a career step by step

After leaving ISM, Jara joined Philips as a trainee. This involved moving back to Hamburg and learning the ins and outs of B2B marketing. Part of her training was spent at the Philips headquarters in Eindhoven, where she was employed as a segment marketing manager for the LED sector. After a brief stopover in the sales force, she was offered a key account position. She has now been with Philips for five years and particularly appreciates the relaxed and friendly working atmosphere and the diverse tasks. “The most exciting thing about business development is that every project is different – different topics, target groups and business areas.” As a Strategy & Business Development Manager Personal Health she obviously focuses on the health care market. She is currently involved in a project with the Allianz and is busy developing two products for corporate health care management within the company. “What I like about my job is that it is linked to a vision; in this case helping people enjoy a long and healthy life through clever innovations. That is a powerful driving force which motivates me.”

Author: Simone Gebel (ISM)