RUB » Alumni » Im Gespräch » Young Entrepreneurs » Johannes Wamser


Dr. Johannes Wamser

Director Dr. Wamser + Batra GmbH

Dr Johannes Wamser studied economic geography in Bochum from 1996 to 2001. After completing his Ph.D at the RUB Doctoral College in 2005 he was awarded the Ruth Massenberg Prize and founded "India Consult", a business consultancy specialising in India, whose business concept was awarded the Pfau Advancement Award of the State of NRW. In 2007, the company was renamed, becoming "Dr. Wamser + Batra GmbH". The company, based in Bochum and New Delhi, supports companies and concerns in all kinds of India-related matters, from looking for a location to setting up a company there.

But when you get off at the university tram stop for the first time or drive into the car park it is quite an impressive experience.

RUB Alumni: Why did you choose Bochum to study at?

Dr. Wamser: It was not a conscious decision to go to Bochum. I didn't know what to study and a good friend who wanted to enrol at Bochum took me along to the RUB with him. There were tables in front of the place where you enrolled with members of the various faculties sitting at them. I looked around to see which table the most agreeable-looking people were sitting at, and they were the geographers. It was my luck to be enrolled at Bochum and notice relatively quickly that geography was the thing I had wanted to do all my life. So it was a combination of luck and fate that led me to Bochum.

RUB Alumni: Can you remember your enrolment?

Dr. Wamser: Enrolment was still taking place in the Audimax at that time. I still remember being extremely disappointed that all I got was a yellow Studienbuch with a stamp in it. I thought to myself: "OK, I'm a student. Now what?"

RUB Alumni: How did this compare to the ceremony where you were handed your diploma certificate?

Dr. Wamser: The presentation took place without any ceremony at all at the Dean’s office. I just went and asked for my certificate. Then I had to go to the examination office and sign to acknowledge I had received it. And the awarding of my Ph.D was no nicer either. During my oral exam I had a lot of people waiting for me outside the examination room. Then, of course, we did celebrate afterwards. But then I had to get the certificate from the examination office again. I think a graduation party really would have been nice.

RUB Alumni: Today, when degrees and doctorates are awarded, the faculties hold official, modest celebrations.

Dr. Wamser: I've heard about those. A modest celebration you can take parents and relatives to and receive your certificate. That's all you need. At the time I was lucky to get a Ph.D grant from the university via the RUB Doctoral College. But there wasn't even a graduation party there and that really annoyed me at the time.

RUB Alumni: What was your first impression of the campus architecture when you started?

Dr. Wamser: The sheer size of the university was a bit overpowering at first. I had seen other universities beforehand, but having said that, I don't think universities such as Wuppertal are exactly famed for their beauty either. But when you get off at the university tram stop for the first time or drive into the car park it is quite an impressive experience. I have to say I didn't find the architecture of the buildings as anonymous as most of the others did. But I think part of the reason for that was that the Faculty of Geography is a relatively small institute at which people know each other well and emphasis is placed on personal contacts.

RUB Alumni: Did you take advantage of the other things the RUB has to offer?

Dr. Wamser: I did a lot of sports at the RUB, trying all kinds of things from football and hockey to rowing. Whenever I didn't have anything to do one evening, I went and did sport. There was a lot on offer. Later, I also took several continuing education courses at the university, choosing them carefully, such as rhetoric or mediation.

RUB Alumni: Do you still visit the campus today from time to time?

Dr. Wamser: Pretty rarely, although I do occasionally take part in series of lectures about what graduates can do in practice-related terms after they finish studying. I like to use my own career as an example for students. I always think that what separates me from other geographers is that I already knew at a very early stage what I wanted to do as a career - what I am doing today. And for this reason I concentrated my studies on what would prepare me best for this career.

RUB Alumni: How did this idea of what you wanted to do come about?

Dr. Wamser: During my studies I did an essay about India and discovered there was no literature on this topic whatsoever. I think a lot of students would have been angry about something like this. I kept quiet and in this, my fourth semester, knew that I had found a gap in the market.

RUB Alumni: And then opened up your own business after doing your Ph.D …

Dr. Wamser: In the mid-nineties, India was an undiscovered land in business terms. There were no jobs on the market that could offer me anything in this respect. But I had always been convinced that knowledge about India was necessary in the world of business. And if nobody wanted to buy from me in terms of giving me a permanent position, then I thought I may as well sell it myself. During my dissertation some companies then actually started to contact me. I started to build up my business in 2005 along with a colleague. Since 2007 we have been a plc and today we have about 11 employees in Germany and 15 in India.

RUB Alumni: How well did your studies prepare you for your professional activities?

Dr. Wamser: I can use the methodical abilities and methodological knowledge I learned during my Geography degree in particular in my job today. In retrospect I must say I benefited from some really outstanding methodology. I may have forgotten quite a lot of the subject material I learned, such as volcanoes, meteorology, economic structures in Southern Europe, spatial structures in the Ruhr or sub-centres in Bochum-Riemke, but I really use the methods of empirical research day after day, now as then.

And through my studies I learned that you can definitely be successful by staying true to yourself. You can make your mark by being authentic, which is why Bochum is a much better location for me than, say, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt or Munich. Bochum is just extremely livable in. I feel comfortable in Hamburg or Munich as well, but here in the Ruhr it’s just nicer. And I think people should have the courage to say that more often.

RUB Alumni: Would you decide to study geosciences again today?

Dr. Wamser: Definitely, and I would also recommend it to anyone. But you must study in a very structured manner. I’m firmly convinced that a geographer has a very good chance in professional life.

RUB Alumni: Thank you for talking to us.