The 'eureka' moment suddenly came while spending a semester abroad at the University of Queensland. A professor piqued Anica Zeyen's interest in the topic of sustainability, an interest which has continued to the present day. An academic career followed – full of passion, curiosity and the willingness to make sacrifices.
Secondary school graduation overseas, degree course at ISM, master's in Australia – although cutting a winding international trail, Anica's pathway could not have been more linear: Since she has followed her passion for science from the very start. "It's fantastic when you not only absorb knowledge, but also start to reflect upon myths," explains Anica euphorically. It is also this ability to captivate others, which has provided her with an exceptional academic career.
After graduating from ISM, she taught and researched sustainability, social entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility for more than six years at Leuphana University of Lüneburg and Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg. Inevitably, it was hard not to compare life there with the time she spent at ISM. "I acquired a hands-on mentality at ISM, which still allows me to juggle a number of balls effectively," says Anica. She really appreciated the high practical content of the courses and has integrated corporate student projects into her own teaching methods. "For me personally, it's important that we don't destroy our own planet. I therefore try to make companies aware of and implement sustainability strategies.
As a lecturer, the 30-year-old often meets young people who are unclear about the career path they wish to pursue. Taking the easiest route was never an option for Anica. She turned down lucrative consultancy jobs and put all her eggs in one basket – although an academic career is not for the faint of heart. "I enjoy a high level of freedom, visit lots of international conferences and have the opportunity to make things happen," explains Anica. One of the former ISM student's biggest dreams was fulfilled in the spring of 2015. She received a permanent contract at the Royal Holloway University of London and moved to the UK with her husband. "I've always had a soft spot for English-speaking countries, as I value the friendly and uncomplicated way of teaching and learning there. I'm sure I will gain more than I will lose by deciding to take up this new challenge.;
"The international focus was the reason why I decided to study at ISM. The initial spark for my academic career was prompted overseas. Today, I always advise my students to pursue their own personal curiosity and to find their own pathway."