Konstantin Ratai studied civil engineering at Magdeburg-Stendal university of applied Sciences and completed a master's degree with the same name, specializing in structural engineering. He is now a division manager in precisely this field.

"I've been incredibly lucky in life"

33-year-old Konstantin Ratai has never been particularly interested in cosmopolitan cities like Berlin. Why not stay at home? His interest in mathematics led him to what is now the Department of Water, Environment, Construction and Safety at Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences. During his studies from 2011 to 2016, he completed a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and went on to complete a master's degree of the same name, specializing in structural engineering. During his studies, the Magdeburg native took a special break, a four-week trip to Chile. "This trip is one of the transformative highlights of my life."

Career entry: too easy to be true?

His Master's degree: it fits like a glove. He is now a division manager in this very field. His employer "PTB" is a family-run engineering company with more than 250 employees at several locations, focusing on transport infrastructure.

Getting there seems like a simple coincidence, if you want to believe it. If you don't, it seems to be fate that his first employer after graduating may well be his last before the young man wants to retire at some point.

He was hired on the spot even before completing his master's degree. The hub: the company contact fair, where he "just wanted to have a look around" as a curious trade fair visitor. This turned into a career from engineer to division manager.

Access: company contact fair

Today, he is on the other side and is recruiting new employees himself at the company contact fair on May 15, 2024 on the campus in Magdeburg. "This fair is a good place to show what we do. The direct contact is fruitful because it allows us to present our niche 'rail infrastructure' in an appropriate way." He himself still knows what it's like to be a student and can reassure people: "Especially in civil engineering, nothing works without practical experience. And what you couldn't learn during your studies, you learn in practice."

Time travel to the campus

His studies provided him with a solid knowledge base and were broadly based in terms of subjects. "I felt well prepared." Only in some specializations there was still room for improvement. At least in his regular studies, he had no contact with fields such as railroad infrastructure.

A mental journey back in time to the green campus: "Pictures? There are lots of images. I can see myself playing soccer in the student league, even with my own jersey. It was a great atmosphere, friendships were made for life. Some of my fellow students were at my wedding".

Off the pitch, the group work helped him learn to get along with different characters. In his current role as a manager, he benefits from this knowledge of human nature.

Anything else?

"What's on my mind right now?" The young family man explains that he doesn't just want to understand work-life balance as a buzzword, but really wants to live it - beyond empty words. The flexibility that his employer gives him within a healthy framework of tasks and deadlines helps him to juggle everything at home too. He always wants to do his work in such a way that he can go home at the end of the day feeling good. "And I want my family to be happy."

Photo: Matthias Piekacz