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Alumni Arne Barwinski

Program: Master's program in Business Development and Internationalization
Title: Director
Nationality: German/Finnish
Current company and country of residence: Fjelljo AS, Kabelvåg Norway

A few words about my current responsibilities:

I founded Fjelljo AS in the beginning of 2019 together with a friend in Lofoten, Northern Norway. We bought an old building from the 50's, here on the island and renovated it into a 60-bed hostel.

Within the company I'm mainly responsible for Finance, Marketing and Project management but we share the operational responsibilities on a day to day basis.

Why I chose the Master's Program in Business Development?

I always knew that I would like to work for a start-up or run my own business at one point in my life. Therefore, the content of the studies fitted my ambitions very well and I felt it was the perfect base for my future career. I've now worked in a few big corporations as well as in a start-up, and I can see the benefits of my studies revealing itself no matter the size of the company. I frequently go back to my old study books and freshen up my knowledge, especially now when running my own business.

My career path towards my own business

At the beginning of my career I didn't really know what I wanted to work with or what role could fit me, but I believed then and still do that it's always a great idea to act like a sponge and learn everything there is to learn about a certain topic or industry you feel interested or passionate about. Curiosity was always my main driver in my career and still pushes me forward in learning new things every day.

I always was quite fascinated about the retail business and apparel industry in specific and focused my career on that path. After working in Retail Management at Bestseller A/S where I had commercial responsibilities over several stores in different regions, I switched to work in Business Development within the same company and later as well at Zebra A/S (Flying Tiger Copenhagen). When working within Business Development, you get the chance to work with many different aspects of the business and touch various departments and processes.

These experiences lead me then as well to work for a larger start-up company in Wanaka, New Zealand, where I was working for the outdoor brand Mons Royale as Operations Manager for the APAC and North American region. Working in a smaller company is incredible rewarding but has always a slight chaotic touch to it. You need to master lots of various tasks and the learning by doing approach is especially important.

After New Zealand, I took on a new challenge at Helly Hansen A/S in Oslo, Norway, where I as well worked as Operations Manager but with a more analytical and financial touch to it. Another great experience that combined with the knowledge and experiences I gained in the years before, made me feel that I'm prepared to start my own entrepreneurial adventure.

Some advice to current students

That I ended up now working in hospitality and running my own hostel, is more by chance and I could have easily opened another business as well. But I think that's how life is in general, you can't plan your future into detail, as life just happens and it doesn't always goes the way you thought it should go. It happened to me and it will for sure happen to you as well. While studying and at the beginning of your work, you are super eager to make a certain career plan for yourself but when you believe in yourself that the path you choose will define the career for yourself, you will do the right things automatically. Take a leap of faith now and then and listen to your instinct when you are facing decisions. Whatever you will decide, there are no wrong decisions, only decisions you can stand fully behind and make the best out of it.

We all have different paths and none is wrong. But in one thing we are all the same, we are all very impatient when we start working and we want to know everything as fast as possible and be the best from the beginning. But that unfortunately is not going to happen. You have to learn a lot and stay hungry over the years in order to proceed in your career and get better. It's comparable to sports, the more training hours you put in, the better you will be and others will recognize your progress.

Stay hungry and don't forget to have fun!