Vita.

My life so far has been shaped by different cultures and viewpoints, as I love to travel to foreign countries and getting to know new people. During my travels and stays abroad I always try to find out how perspectives differ and what one can learn from this. “Change the way you look at things and the things you see will change”, a quote from the American psychologist and author Wayne Dyer, perfectly describes the attitude I believe in.

My name is Alexander Maxelon, I am 20 years old and am currently studying International Business Administration and Management at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. Since my childhood I have grown up in an international environment: Already during kindergarten and primary school I visited together with my parents our relatives in Australia and traveled to other, mostly European countries. These early experiences shaped me, but it was not until my year abroad in the USA and most recently in China that I became aware of what really sets me apart and how I envision my future.

The Beginning of High School – And my Discovery of Photography

From 2009 to 2017 I studied at Leonardo-da-Vinci High School in Cologne. Since I am by nature a very curious and open-minded person, I participated already during lower grades in various working groups and engaged myself particularly as a junior and senior in different projects. During 6th grade, I participated in the photography group, which allowed me to expand my knowledge of photography, one of my greatest passions. During a four-week internship in a Cologne-based specialized photo shop I not only learned more about photography but also came into contact with the retail business for the first time. The extracurricular activity and the internship also laid the basis for a later photo exhibition in the gallery Smend and in 2017 also in a large Chinese bookstore.

My American Dream – A year abroad in the USA

After 9th grade, I spent my first year abroad and attended Culpeper County High School in Virginia. I made this conscious decision to spend a year living outside Europe because I wanted to get to know a new culture far away from home. I also deliberately chose the USA because, apart from the advantage of the English language, the USA is a country that we believe to know very well, yet most of the time we don’t. In order to get to know the American school system better, I did not only choose unusual courses such as agriculture, sports marketing and technical drawing, but also took part in a number of extracurricular activities. For example, I got involved in Blue Crew, an event management program, took part in the musical Grease as a stage assistant, played tennis during Spring and tried baseball during the winter season. But one of the focal points of my year abroad was also voluntary work. Among other things, I was involved in a local food distribution, helped in my spare time at sports events and supported a blood donation campaign. During the ten months, I volunteered in total for more than 100 hours. This first year abroad taught a lot about how different cultures can be and that stereotypes are often nothing more than premature conclusions. To understand this, however, one has to leave the comfort zone and engage in such an adventure, because this is the only way to carry out a change of perspective and ultimately contribute as an ambassador towards international understanding.

Mentor, Tutor, Interviewer – My Engagement at Partnership International e.V.

Since my return from the USA, I have been involved with my former exchange organization Partnership International with great dedication and enthusiasm. Meanwhile, I am active in almost every area in which one can volunteer in the association. My main focus is the support of foreign exchange students in Germany, the selection of scholarship holders for the CBYX scholarship program (a cooperation between the American Congress and the German Bundestag) as well as the organization of seminars to prepare students for their first stay abroad.  For two years now, I have also been responsible for coordinating the so-called PI Meeting Days, where we recruit new students and encourage them to take part in our programmes. For me, team planning and instruction are just as important as the conception of new seminar contents and the constant revision of existing topics. Through this extensive and varied commitment, I get to know a lot of young, internationally oriented people, learn all kinds of new skills and abilities and have somehow the possibility to continue my own exchange.

Junior and Senior Year – Between Exams and Engagement

The positive experiences I was able to gain during my voluntary work in the USA also motivated me during my Junior and Senior year of high school in Germany to volunteer not only for Partnership International but also within school. My commitment was divided into two core areas: From 2015 to 2017, I was involved in setting up the Buntes Herz charity project. With this project, I actively engaged myself in helping refugees and visited a nearby school once a week, where I taught German to young refugees and above all tried to make German culture more tangible. The second area of my involvement within the school included my function as a class representative and as head of the graduation committee and editor of the yearbook. Since organization and planning are two of my strengths, these tasks were tailor-made for me. When we created the yearbook, I benefited from my basic journalistic knowledge, which I was able to gather during various previous seminars and workshops. The courses of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, the SK Stiftung Jugend und Medien as well as the JugendMedienEvent of the Junge Presse deserve special mention in this context.

First work experiences at Peek & Cloppenburg

Since fashion is a great passion of mine and I enjoy working with people, I initially did a voluntary internship in retail management at Peek & Cloppenburg in Cologne in October 2016. Because I really liked my work, I decided to join the fashion house as a permanent shop assistant. From December 2016 to August 2017, I worked in the men’s premium and men’s shirts department, but at the same time gained insights into areas like visual merchandising. I loved my work because I was on the one side able to work with customers and advise them throughout their purchase process and on the other side to gain my first insights into various business areas. Last but not least, the team spirit was what made me thrilled about the company and what was the key to success for our department and potentially the entire company.

The time after Graduation – A combination of University studies and Voluntary service in China

Due to the constant contact with foreign countries and cultures, there was no question that I would go abroad again after graduating from high school. Nevertheless, I thought about what I wanted to do for quite some time. Because of my interest in the Chinese language, my curiosity about a completely unfamiliar Asian culture, and the increasing economic importance, I decided on China. The combination of studying and volunteering was the perfect mix for me. At the Xi’an International Studies University, I learned Chinese four hours a day. After class, I worked at the Goethe Language Centre Xi’an, a branch of the well-known German cultural institute Goethe Institute. My main task was to teach the Chinese students about the German culture. Among other things, I did this by designing a three-day seminar and giving various smaller presentations. I also created one of the first “German Corners” of Xi’an and supported my boss in organizational tasks. In addition to these areas, I was in charge of social media marketing and published regularly blog articles about the events I organized. This wide-ranging work gave me the opportunity to carry on the German culture and at the same time understand Chinese culture in a better way. Especially in China, a country where only a small fraction of the population speaks English, it was incredibly helpful to combine work with language learning. Looking back, however, I realized that I not only learned the Chinese language but also noticed that I am a European and that the values that are so fundamental to us are not to be taken for granted. Parallel to my work at the Goethe Language Centre and daily Chinese learning, I also practiced two of my greatest passions besides fashion: journalism and photography. As a correspondent for China, I wrote articles for Orange by Handelsblatt, the student magazine of the Handelsblatt publishing group, and for Youthreporter, an online magazine sponsored by the European Union. I started building my own MyChinaAdventure blog, which has received over 10,000 hits to date. On this blog, I could not only publish photographs but also inform about China and hopefully destroy some of the common prejudices. I also exhibited the photographs I took during the year in a large bookstore for two weeks. The opening of the exhibition was accompanied by a camera team, to whom I was able to give an interview about my photographs for a local TV station.

Homelike – An Internship at a Start-up in the PropTech sector

Already in the week after my return from China, I started an internship at the PropTech-Startup Homelike. Homelike is an online platform where business travellers and companies can book furnished business apartments. Founded in 2015, the start-up has already listed over 40,000 apartments in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the UK and now has almost 100 employees. During the three months, I was employed in the Booking Management department and was temporarily responsible for bookings for the whole state North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany with high-turnover cities such as Dusseldorf and Cologne. To put it in simple words, my job was to accompany private and business customers during their booking process and ultimately convince them to rent one of our apartments. As at Peek & Cloppenburg, I was trained in customer contact, but this time via e-mail and telephone. Not only did I learn various sales and closing strategies, but also experienced the differences between a large corporation and a young, dynamic start-up.

My studies at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management

Since September 2018 I am enrolled as a student at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. My three-year Bachelor of Science degree in International Business Administration and Management gives me the opportunity to build up a sound basic knowledge of business while continuing to work with foreign cultures. In addition to my full-time studies, I not only continue to learn Chinese but also work as a student assistant for the University’s Public Relations Office, where I write articles on campus events and other student-related topics. In addition, I am involved in the pro-bono consultancy Saidia since the beginning of my studies. In a long-term project, I support the Filippas Engel Foundation, where I am responsible for marketing and the modification of various operational processes. During the first and second semesters, I was also part of be.boosted, a German association that promotes leadership among bachelor, master and doctoral students. After several months of weekly training, we took part in LIMUN, the most prestigious Model United Nations conference in Europe and received as recognition for our teamwork the diplomacy award for the best large delegation.

The long-term view – This is how I envision my Future

Even though WHU is internationally known for entrepreneurship and enterprises like Rocket Internet and Zalando were founded here, I don’t necessarily want to start my own business (but I don’t rule this out either). At the moment, a career in a large management consultancy is particularly appealing to me. Without having done an internship in this field yet, I believe that consulting is the perfect combination of internationality, exciting and diversified projects, customer contact and solution-oriented work. Since I consider the world to be my home already now and don’t want to be bound to national borders later either, I cannot only imagine working in a multinational company but also living completely abroad. This should not sound like a dream though but is rather my plan.

VITA

EDUCATION

09/2018-08/2021

WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management – Vallendar, GER
Degree Course: BSc International Business Administration/Management
Participation in the Management Abroad Course India (May 2019)

09/2017-05/2018

Xi’an International Studies University (XISU) – Xi’an, China
Degree Course: Chinese as a foreign language

08/2009-08/2017

Leonardo-da-Vinci Gymnasium Koeln-Nippes – Cologne, GER
Qualification: Abitur (university entrance requirement), GPA: 1.1

08/2014-06/2015

Culpeper County High School (CCHS) – Culpeper, USA
Tenth school year abroad

WORK EXPERIENCE

Since 01/2019

WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management – Vallendar, GER
Student Assistant, Public Relations Department

Researching and writing articles about student-related topics
Conducting interviews at campus events

06/2018-08/2018

Homelike Internet Ltd – Cologne, GER
Intern, Booking Management Department

Increased sales and turnover figures through customer acquisition
Supported existing private and business customers
Assisted customers with the booking process via telephone

09/2016-08/2017

Goethe-Institute – Xi’an, China
Volunteer, Culture and Language Department

Organized intercultural events about Germany
Designed and created advertisements and merchandise items
Implemented presentations and training courses for students
Created and published content on the Goethe-website and WeChat
Assisted the directorate with organizational activities

12/2016-08/2017

Peek & Cloppenburg KG – Cologne, GER
Temporary Assistant, Business-Shirt Department

Assisted and advised customers
Acquired new customer-card owners
Supported the visual merchandising department
Handled customer orders and reservations

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Since 10/2018

Saidia Consulting, student pro-bono consulting at WHU

Advising the board of the Filippas Angel Foundation
Creating marketing content for Instagram and Facebook

Since 07/2015

Partnership International, student exchange organization 

Coordinating monthly meeting days with an average of 40 participants
Preparing students on three-day seminars for their exchange year
Supporting host families and students throughout exchange year
Conducting selection interviews for the CBYX-Scholarship-Program

08/2015-07/2017

Student representation and graduation committee

Represented the students at numerous school conferences
Planned and hosted the graduation ceremony with 400 participants

OTHER QUALIFICATIONS & INTERESTS

Languages

German (native speaker), English (advanced), Chinese (fluent), Spanish (basic)

IT Skills

MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook), Salesforce, WordPress

Interests

Tennis, Travelling, Photography, Journalism (articles for the German Handelsblatt publishing house)

#GetInTouch!

Do you find similarities with my profile or are you looking for an intern with experience and interests like mine? In either case, I would be happy to hear from you!