A man is doing a handstand on a rock.

Picture: Pexels/Sam Kolder.

Alumni commitment
Alumni Survey January 2022
Do You like Challenges?
11. Apr 2022
Reading time Min.
What do you do when you are confronted with new projects and tasks? What has been the biggest challenge in your life so far, and what have you always wanted to do that you haven’t dared to do yet?

Life is full of challenges and opportunities. TUM alumni revealed to us in a survey* how they deal with them.


What do you consider a challenge? (Multiple answers possible)

65,1 %   When I have to do something that I have never done before.

56,8%    When I have to do someting I think I can’t do (well).

44%       When I have to do something I don’t want to do.

37,8%    When I am in an unfamiliar environment or among people I don’t know.

26,3%    When processes change so that I suddenly have to do something differently than before.



When TUM Alumni are asked to take on a task they’ve never done before, they…

47,3%    … try not to think of everything that can happen, but start calmly and take one step at a time.

42,2%    … first need a well thought out plan. This makes them feel confident.

39,5%    … look for allies who encourage them or who help them.



Anything new is exciting

31,9%   of the TUM Alumni* consider any challenge to be a new opportunity.



Logbooks and Chronicles – This is how TUM Alumni record their projects

47,3%    of the TUM alumni keep a record of new projects on their computer or tablet.

44,2%    use their notebook for this purpose.

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.

John F. Kennedy

Which pioneering achievement in history have impressed you the most? (Selection)
American astronaut in space.

Picture: Pexels/Pixabay.

The first moon landing in 1969. An unimaginable achievement without the computers available today.

Albert Einstein. Conceived groundbreaking things and did not let himself be swayed.

Madame Curie with her strength of will, high physical commitment, dedication and belief in her goal.

Alexander von Humboldt, because he explored foreign territories with very simple equipment and was one of the first to recognize that everything in nature is interdependent and also endangered by human activity.

Mahatma Gandhi, because he asserted himself without violence and was incredibly strong in leadership.

The seafarers of the 15th century. Unimaginable to set sail and not know where you will arrive.

The Biggest Challenge of My Life has been…
  • Holding an important lecture before a large, distinguished audience.
  • Pushing through a high school education for my autistic son.
  • Overcoming personal character traits that had been in the way.
  • Learning German.
  • Marriage.
  • Managing a 750 million US project.
  • Moving from working at university to working in an industry job.
  • Finding a job after graduating.
  • Leadership in times of the pandemic.
  • Renovating my own home.
  • Taking care of my father when he was dying.
  • Living in South Korea for six months.
  • Giving emergency medical care to a severely injured person in a road accident.
  • A conversation concerning a very long festering conflict.
  • Bringing my never-ending doctoral dissertation to a close.
  • Succeeding as a father and grandfather.
  • Establishing myself professionally and being successful.
  • My mother’s death.
  • Taking on and managing a new department with twelve employees.
  • Studying at TUM.
  • Career change from electronics developer to IT manager.
  • Remaining faithful to my really great wife.
  • Coming to terms with my own chronic illness and accepting it, yet remaining positive and not losing the zest for life.
  • The birth and surgery of my first son, who had a heart defect.
  • Divorce.
  • Running a planning office on my own.
  • Earning a doctorate while working full time and having a family.
  • Caring for my grandchild.
  • Leaving a good job.
  • First business trip abroad, alone, as a young professional.
  • Losing blind trust in supervisors, and instead carving out my own paths, thereby achieving goals more effectively than before.
  • Birth of the first child.
  • When my business partner suddenly passed away.
  • Despite being shy, I stood at the counter as an intern at a branch bank and served complete strangers.
  • My bachelor thesis.
  • Building a house while taking care of three small children.
  • Advancing innovations in a government-like organization without killing anyone.
  • Deciding to go to university despite my parents wanting me to do an apprenticeship.
  • Confronting a person who means a lot to me.
  • Restarting my career after losing my job and being sick for over six months.
  • Crossing the Alps on the North Sea / Black Sea watershed.
  • Choosing the right time to retire.
  • Basically, always the last one. All previous ones then seem smaller in comparison, because you have already overcome them.
When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.

Henry Ford

What I Have Always Wanted To Do:


  • Change jobs.
  • Leave Europe.
  • Cross the Alps from Vienna to Nice.
  • Implement inventions that are floating around in my head.
  • Start my own company.
  • Take a chance on a new career.
  • Buy real estate.
  • Drive a car with several 100 HP.
  • Take singing lessons.
  • Visit Cuba.
  • Do home improvement or get a glider pilot’s license.
  • Climb the Alpspitze.
  • Ride a bike across the Alps to Italy. Without an electric motor.
  • Vacation in Scotland and the Baltic States.
  • Get a PPL pilot’s license.
  • Learn how to program mini-computers and build complex circuits.
  • Go on a bike tour by myself.
  • Build up a business of my own.
  • Heliskiing in the Rocky Mountains.
  • Climb the Matterhorn.
  • Work abroad for a while.
  • Rally driving with a professional.
  • Play the piano.
  • Climb Mont Blanc.
  • Invent a game.
  • Live in New York for a while.
  • Become a paramedic.
  • Laser eye surgery.
  • Contact relatives who are at odds with close relatives.
  • Make a long-term plan for my finances.
  • Travel north and experience the midnight sun, together with my wife in a VW van.
  • Learn to fly an airplane.
  • Clean up my desk.
  • Build a sustainable wooden house.
  • Just do nothing for a change.
  • Travel from Vladivostok to Moscow on the Transsib.
  • Reunite family that is scattered around.
  • A pilgrimage to Jerusalem by way of Rome.
  • Move back to my hometown.
  • Become politically active and initiate change.
  • Acquire a time management system that really works for me.
  • Travel to Kailash in Tibet and visit the sources of the four giant rivers.
  • Plan my own home and contribute decisively to the construction.
  • A trip to Antarctica.
  • Play in an orchestra.
  • I did everything I wanted to do
*The Alumni Survey on the topic of challenges was sent to all subscribers of the newsletter ‘Die TUM informiert’ in January 2022. 385 alumni completed the survey. We would like to express our sincere gratitude.