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From Würzburg into the world


A non-stop party occasionally interrupted by study: This is how Krischan Lehmann remembers his time at the University of Würzburg. Today, he is in charge of the digital section of multimedia company Condé Nast in Munich.

Krischan Lehmann
Krischan Lehmann studied at the philosophy building on Hubland; today he works in Munich. (Photo: private / montage: Gunnar Bartsch) (Image: Universität Würzburg Pressestelle)

Which jobs do graduates from the University of Würzburg work in? To present different perspectives to students, Michaela Thiel, the director of the central alumni network, interviews selected alumni. This time, it is Krischan Lehmann's turn.

Lehmann is Digital Director at Condé Nast in Munich, a prestigious publishing company. He studied German and English linguistics at the University of Würzburg. He is also a talented musician. Many will remember the song "Hastemanemark" composed and performed by Lehmann.

Krischan, you have success with your band. You studied English. And now you are responsible for the digital strategy of a multimedia company. How does this fit together? Well, I seem to have one of those non-linear career paths which are typical of a humanities degree. And I like variety and trying new things and I already had a computer as a child, which I used to make music. So one thing led to another.

Which future issues and challenges are especially important in the field of digitization at Condé Nast? The publishing business is undergoing very rapid transformation. So the biggest challenge is to be flexible and determined at the same time. You have to focus on what's important and experiment with the new things – and this requires agile structures which publishers are not so used to.

What do you enjoy most about your job? That everything changes all the time and that most things are actually getting better and better. Sometimes it feels as though you are in the middle of shooting a science fiction film. Recently, I have repeatedly come across the phrase "What a time to be alive!" on the internet. I totally subscribe to that.

Do you still make music? Yes, for myself on the iPad and silly stuff with my kids.

You have two children. How difficult do you find it to establish a work-life balance? It is a balancing act. I start work quite early and go home in time for dinner. But later in the evening, I often sit at the computer again. And at the moment, I am taking a half sabbatical leave and work only two days a week.

What would you recommend to students who want to work in your business? Most jobs in the media industry didn't even exist a few years ago. So you should have courage and dive right into it, try out lots of things and make your own experiences. Earning a university degree is only secondary in this context, I'm afraid. Moreover, I would recommend specializing in a field. Everything that's not special enough will probably be done by machines in the future.

And the last question: What is your best memory of your time as a student in Würzburg? The whole experience. After all, I didn't do 20 semesters for nothing. Looking back, it was a crazy time: An ivory tower with eccentric staff and an overly intellectual curriculum that briefly interrupted the parties now and then. I wouldn't want to miss a minute, but I am still glad it's over.

Thank you for the interview.

By Michaela Thiel / Gunnar Bartsch