Gudrun Sander is a lecturer for business administration and diversity management at the University of St Gallen, Switzerland. Having always enjoyed her education, she studied business administration at Johannes Kepler University of Linz, Austria, before continuing her studies at St Gallen.

As well as lecturing, Prof Sander also manages an executive education programme called Women Back to Business. The programme targets female university graduates eager to re-enter the workforce and pursue their professional career after taking a break to start a family.

1. When did you know you wanted to be a professor?

When I watched a famous professor at university and had the feeling I could explain it more clearly.

2. What is the best piece of advice ever given to you?

There is always a way out, a solution.

3. What is your biggest lesson learnt?

You always have to point out your achievements. Do not expect that others already know about your past performance.

4. What is the worst job you have ever had?

An internship at a real estate company. They had nothing for me to do and it was horrible to sit there and do nothing. The time did not pass.

5. What advice would you give to women in business?

Do not be impressed by men in business. Usually, they are not better than you.

6. How do you deal with male-dominated environments?

Most of the time with humour, sometimes with provocative questions that force them to reflect on their opinion.

7. If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?

I would not do my PhD at the same time as having my first child. It took me too long to finish it.

8. What is the strangest thing you have ever done when teaching?

Forcing feminist women to play the role of male chief executive officers in a role-play setting. This was a real eye-opener for the women.

9. How do you deal with pressure?

Delegate as much as possible, set priorities and slightly lower my aspirations for perfection.

10. What is your life philosophy?

They only thing that is certain is the certainty of change. Nothing ever remains the same.

Charlotte Clarke

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