Helen Gasche (Germany/USA) – University of St.Gallen SIM


Why Helen chose the SIM

The journey from your first day at school to your first day at work is a long and complicated one. As interests develop and priorities shift, the things you study at high school or college won’t necessarily translate into a future career. That’s why it’s so important to always explore new areas, to see which ones pique your interest.

German and American student Helen Gasche is using her time studying a Master’s in Strategy and International Management (SIM) at the University of St.Gallen to do just that. Having found some topics of interest during her undergraduate years, she’s exploring them further at St.Gallen. She even took a year off to gain more experience and really crystallize what she wanted from her studies, before joining the SIM.

“During my bachelor’s, I noticed that I definitely wanted to do a master’s to get additional insights on the topics that I’m interested in, and also more international exposure before starting a job and really knowing what I want to work on,” she explains. “I did a so-called gap year with two internships, to, again, get further experience and explore what my professional interests are and then try to substantiate that with further education.” (00:46)

How the SIM helps you both professionally and personally

St.Gallen turned out to be the perfect place at the perfect time for Helen. The SIM team hasn’t just helped her to identify career goals, but they’ve also supported her in developing as a person.

“It’s definitely an intense journey for each individual…our career [coach] – and not just career, but really life coach – helps us individually in one hour or 90-minute sessions to develop an idea of what I want from life,” she says. (02:32)

“And not just ‘I want to work in consulting, I want you to make an impact,’ which everyone wants in the end, right?” she continues. “But the question is, how does my personal way with my personal strengths, weaknesses, interests, and abilities lead to that being fulfilled?” (03:02)

Stepping outside of your comfort zone

With a diverse class and foreign exchange opportunities, the top-ranked SIM program is giving Helen the international exposure that she was looking for.

“You can either do an exchange for one semester or you can choose to apply for a double degree,” she explains. “And there is SIM-IP, which is more of an internship that is abroad. It’s something that the students organize themselves, and they do it within the SIM time.” 

Yet more important than the internship or exchange itself is the opportunity to leave your comfort zone. The SIM stipulates that your internship must be outside of Switzerland or your home country, making it ideal preparation for the world of work – and for the rest of your life: “It’s, I think, a five to six weeks minimum internship in a country that is not Switzerland, and not your home country, to just engage in a different work setting that is beyond your comfort zone.” (08:38)

An incredible journey that broadens your horizons

For Helen, the SIM program has helped her to grow as a person, study the topics that interest her, and identify new career opportunities. But just as importantly, she has been able to find the things that she doesn’t enjoy doing.

“I can say, even now, I’m still not 100% certain what I want to do after SIM,” she reflects. “But SIM has definitely given me a broader picture of the opportunities that helped me to find what I don’t like that much.” (02:01)

The SIM has given Helen time to think and the tools to achieve her goals – whenever they may come into focus. She’s ready to grow into who she wants to be.

“The SIM is an incredible journey on the professional side but also on the personal side – of growing into who you want to be and achieving that with everything SIM offers to you.” (12:26)