Alumni Spotlight: Shining a light on female leaders who thrive in science and business


Female leadership is a topic that is close to our hearts for a variety of reasons. In addition to the fact that more diversity in management, teaching and research opens up new, important perspectives in business and science, we strongly believe in empowerment through networking and guidance. That’s why today we are hosting our second TUM Management Alumni Spotlight Event, which takes place in a virtual setting. In keeping with the theme of empowerment and inspiration for young, ambitious women, we invited four exciting speakers for the panel discussion who are pursuing big plans and visions in their professional lives – two of them are TUM Alumni, one is leading and developing a research center at our campus in Heilbronn. Get to know them and their careers in our short profile!

Fabiola Munguia has already gained experience all over the world. After graduating from a school in San Salvador, she first studied in Hanover, Germany, before completing her Master’s degree in Management and Technology at the TUM Campus in Munich. Munguia then spent the first years of her professional career at VW, MAN, BMW and Siemens, living and working first in Braunschweig, then in Barcelona, before finally moving back to Munich. Always seeking new challenges, she continued to develop her technical and entrepreneurial skills. At the same time Munguia has always had her big personal goal in mind since her time at TUM: “The TUM SOM was one of the reasons why I wanted to start my own company. The day I won my first hackathon was the day I decided to become an entrepreneur,” says the sports enthusiast from Salvador. In March 2020, she realized her plans and launched Requestee – a platform to help companies find trustworthy ethical hacking service providers. As she will tell us today during our event, that was just the beginning. Because the young businesswoman still has a lot more in store.

Dr. Anke Sax, can point to even more professional experience. Having held various positions in different companies for 30 years, she has already taken on responsibility within the scope of numerous projects, training courses and company mergers. Today, she is COO and CTO at the Grünwalder asset management company KGAL GmbH & Co. KG. Courage to change and self-confidence are things Sax, who earned her doctorate in IT strategy at TUM, wants to embody. Her advice to young entrepreneurs is this: “Listen to your heart. Ask yourself: What is important for me and why?” and further: “Listen to your network. Ask others: What is significant to me in this area that I want to be successful in and why?”

Prof. Dr. Miriam Bird, the third speaker at our Alumni Spotlight Event, works and researches in the field of family business – currently as director and professor at the Global Center for Family Enterprise (GCFE) at the TUM Campus in Heilbronn. Like her fellow panelists, she, too, has already had an impressive academic career, including time spent abroad in Canada, Sweden and Switzerland. At the University of Jönköping, Bird still works as a visiting scholar. She is convinced of the importance of female leaders: “Women have shaped enterprises substantially in recent years by broadening the goals of enterprises to include also non-financial goals and therefore have a vast and meaningful impact on a company’s culture and leadership. For instance, females are more likely than men to embrace employee-friendly policies, or exhibit socially responsible behavior,” Prof. Bird emphasizes. Having worked closely with innovative family businesses in the Heilbronn region, she brings a deep understanding of the dynamics and change processes in future-oriented companies. This allows her to provide valuable insights into why diversity in management is so important – and will be even more so in the future. Be sure to hear more about it during our session!

Erica Burett, our fourth speaker, came to Germany from Kenya nine years ago. When she started working, she had a massive culture shock. “The work style in Kenya is completely different from that in Germany. I was not prepared for the work culture and the many unwritten company rules that no one ever talks about,” Burett says today. Nevertheless, the IT specialist demonstrated willpower and stamina – and quickly earned high positions at Deutsche Bank AG and Accenture. Later on, she realized she wasn’t the only one who had to overcome these challenges and founded The Career Lounge, a career network designed to help international students launch their careers. The idea was a result of Burett’s own difficult experiences, for which she is grateful in retrospect. Her project, says the Business Administration graduate, has only just begun: “Recently, we launched a six-month program to help international students transition from college to work by matching them with professionals who offer professional guidance. This was our biggest breakthrough so far, and this is just the first step.

Are you intrigued yet? Then this Alumni Spotlight Event is made for you! With the goal of inspiring and providing real value to young women with ambitious career goals, we are combining what is sure to be a lively, exciting and enriching discussion with some networking workshops designed to help you make valuable business contacts and advance your career. Register now so you don’t miss it!

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