This story is part of Arcada’s Alumni Week 2020. In a series of portraits, we want to highlight some of our amazing Arcada alumni and showcase their career paths, insights and experiences.
Arcada alumnus Michael Ringlein, originally from Germany, is the founder of a company in Estonia which he now runs full remote, doing web-development for clients from all over the world.
– This gives me the freedom to travel the world or settle down wherever I want. I can also quite freely choose to work when I want, with whom I want and on what I want, says Ringlein.
Ringlein’s main motivation is freedom. Back in 2011, he picked up the book The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss, a book which also was part of the Arcada 360 course some years later when Ringlein studied international business.
– I immediately liked the idea of the book, and I wanted to live as a digital nomad and work alone as a freelancer with a location-independent income.
In 2017, Ringlein graduated with his bachelor’s from Arcada. Through his business studies at Arcada, he gained knowledge he needed for setting up a company, paying taxes, doing marketing and sales and other necessary skills needed to run a small company.
Don’t drop out
– I know from my own experience it is tempting to cancel your studies when you have a side gig or a promising job offer already waiting. Especially when the first money is rolling in it’s hard to stay on track and write assignments or learn for exams. But I think it is important to resist this urge, put in the time for your studies and get your degree finished anyway.
Even though he has not chosen a traditional career path, Ringlein still recommends today’s students to finish their studies regardless of what they plan to do in life.
– Even if you already feel that you don’t want to work in the field your degree is leading to, finish your degree first! You can modify or extend it with other complementary studies. Having a valid degree in your pocket is still a good back up plan. Especially if things go wrong or if your interests turn out to be different later.
And if you feel that the normal nine-to-five job might not be the right thing for you, Ringlein says not to worry: there are alternatives.
– Today, thanks to the internet, globalization and outsourcing, it is even more easy than ever before to be your own boss. I know from my own experience that it is possible.
Networks and additional knowledge can boost your career
Looking back, Ringlein is also happy he did some courses at Arcada that were not relevant for his major degree, but where he still learned a lot.
– Learn whatever core skill you need for your profession, but don’t forget that in today’s world you often need some more complementary knowledge on top of your core skill set.
Besides the skills you gain trough your studies, you should also not underestimate the network you have while studying, Ringlein reminds.
– Like-minded and motivated people with a deep knowledge in different fields, concentrated together in one place, is something that you don’t find easily outside of university.