“The key to a future after sport”
Patrick Zwicker, former 800-metre runner and 2013 U20 European champion, talks to us about his programme at the IUBH and his future plans.
IUBH: You called a halt to your running career in mid-December 2017. Why was that?
Patrick Zwicker: I’d been mulling over the decision for a long time. I’d had a lot of injuries in the years leading up to it – all sorts of things, from torn ligaments to metatarsal fractures. Over time, I realised that my sporting career was finite; and the constant feeling of being thwarted took its toll on me. Although I always bounced back, and was always able to start training again after my injuries, that didn’t change the fact that I’d fallen behind with my training schedule. When you can’t meet your own expectations, it does start to play on your mind.
IUBH: Is that why you decided to study for a bachelor’s degree alongside your professional sporting career?
Zwicker: No. For me it was always the perfect balance, being able to read through my lecture notes or complete my written assignments at times when I wasn’t training. But I was under no illusions: you can make a good living as a successful runner while you’re still competing, but what then? You’re still not financially secure for life, and as a young person you have other goals and ambitions you want to achieve. My studies were always important to me because I knew they were the key to a life after sport. And that’s turned out to be very true.
IUBH: What are you doing now?
Zwicker: I ended up moving to Frankfurt to work in the financial sector. I work for Grüner Fisher Investments, an asset management firm, in sales for private clients. Here, too, I’m in a very performance-oriented environment, but I know from my former sporting career that this is exactly the right thing for me. I’ve been there a few months now, and I’m enjoying it more every day. The work is challenging and stimulating, and I’m learning a lot too. Definitely the right decision.
IUBH: Is what you learned on your programme useful for your job?
Zwicker: Absolutely. There are often subconscious situations where you can apply your knowledge. The soft skills I learned are particularly helpful, whether it’s with organisation, discipline or time management.
IUBH: Why did you choose IUBH?
Zwicker: I initially opted for a traditional classroom-based course. But it soon became clear that I’d need to find a different solution if I wanted to pursue my career in sport. After a bit of research, a good tip and conversations with various people, IUBH emerged as the obvious choice.
For starters, the modules on the business administration progranmme really appealed to me. It wasn’t as dry as at other universities. But the key advantage is, and was, the flexibility it offered. At other universities you have to fit your entire schedule around exams or classroom activities. But what if you’re due to attend a training camp at the same time? It sets you back even further. With the IUBH it was completely different. I was always my own boss, and I was able to organise my learning and study time however I wanted – thanks in part to the recorded lectures and tutorials that were available round the clock. And I was able to take the subsequent tests every month, either online or at one of many available test centres. This meant I could use my time effectively throughout the course, and study when it suited me best.
IUBH: And what do you want to do now? What are your plans for the future?
Zwicker: In terms of my career, I definitely see my future with Grüner Fisher Investments. We’re a young, dynamic team and we have lots of projects we want to achieve together.
But I’d also like to do a part-time master’s programme alongside my job. I really like the look of the personnel management programme at the IUBH. So I’m hoping to stay with the IUBH a little while longer.
IUBH: We’d be delighted to have you! All the best for your future.
This interview was conducted by Jennifer E. Muhr.