December 11, 2013

Career Spotlight MSc Program "Renewable Energy in Central & Eastern Europe"

Today in converstaion with DI (FH) Franz Mühlbacher, MSc (Frequentis AG) Renewable Energy in Central & Eastern Europe Class 2008-2010

1) Why did you choose for the master course at the Vienna University of Technology?

A very intensive and stressful phase in my professional life was the crucial factor which induced me to reconsider my lifestyle and my dealing with resources (also personal resources). One can say safely, that I have asked myself a kind of question of meaning. At the time I was already interested in the topic of renewable energy and besides it was in the media often, which is still the case. Then I discovered the master course about a newspaper advertisement and I did not think it over for a long time. Even though there were hardly overlaps with my immediate professional tasks which has not changed up till now in fact. But I thought it was an appropriate perspective to advance myself. So I started in autumn 2008.

2) How was the REN master course crucial for your professional development?

As said, I cannot really use the acquired knowledge in my professional life. At least I have the possibility to bring in some ideas in a consulting function, because I am member of the internal environmental board, to influence my company to act resource-conserving as possible. My direct professional environment reacted also positively to my further education. However it is definitely my aim to work in the field of renewable energy in the medium term. This September I successfully completed the “energy efficiency consultant course”. It was a good possibility to refresh and advance my knowledge.

3) What advices would you want to give to new prospective students for the master course - what you should they know?

My main message: If you are interested in renewable energy – SUBSCRIBE, APPLY, DO IT.

The study has a broad spectrum of subjects and covers nearly all issues of renewable energies. But it is clear that you cannot convey each topic up to the last details. If you like to drill into certain details then just get in contact with the lectors and ask, ask, ask…there is an open culture of discussion in the master course.  Students are welcome if they are looking for special information. In general you will meet very interesting lectors as well as students / colleagues. In addition, working with like-minded persons makes the study very recommendable.

4) How has the REN master course changed your lifestyle?

Well, I try if possible to get by avoiding the use of a car. In town, I usually use public transport or use my bike. Currently, I am actually wondering if I really need that much living space (which also means energy). A book which I am currently reading motivates me to think this way. The energy efficiency consultant course induced me to observe my electricity consumption with a measurement device. That way I tried to identify the main energy consuming appliances in my apartment. “Self – awareness” is an important step to optimize or cut down your own energy consumption. Regarding consumer products I am looking for regional goods to lower the share of products from Far East which is sometimes very difficult – especially with textiles.

5) What was your funniest experience during your REN study time?

After a visitation of a ship–mill in Mureck (Styria) the claim “Welcome to Mureck” became a running gag in our course. The owner of the ship-mill – a down to earth Styrian in his 80es – welcomed our group verbosely. Because he did not speak English one of our colleagues translated simultaneously. The wordy welcome was condensed to a short “Welcome to Mureck”. In addition, the guy´s wording was not always “political correct”, which was also filtered very skilfully by our colleague.

Another experience is also still in my mind. During one of the intensive week modules in Bruck /Leitha I had an inspiring talk with Prof. Hofbauer of TU Vienna. My colleagues left me somehow alone for lunch and so I got the chance to discuss informally with Prof. Hofbauer about combustion engineering and cockle stoves.

6) Which book do you read currently?

Niko Paech: „Liberation from Excess“ and „Sustainable economic activities beyond innovation and growth“

(This is the scientific basis for the theory of post-growth economy).

Date: October 31, 2013


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