For our ID Weekly Spotlight series, Student Media Ambassador Saddi Basnet talked to Development Management student Julian Buschmaas. Read more about his background and what motivates him in life here.

Photo credit: Saddi Basnet

I grew up in a small university town in Germany called Würzburg. After high school, I took a gap year and spent 7 months working with an NGO in Bolivia where I taught a kindergarten class sports activities. I also spent time travelling to other parts of Latin America and so far I have spent time in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Mexico. After my gap year, I started my undergrad studying International Business but it didn’t quite feel right at the time. Luckily, my university had a new Bachelor’s program which was introduced to students during their second year. It was a pilot program called Emerging Markets and I was one of 50 students who got accepted. The program was more focused on politics, economics, and on top of that, you could specialize in a region so I chose Latin America because of my previous travel there.

After I finished my undergrad, I took another gap year. I came back to Berlin and started a 6-month internship at a startup company in business development. I have always thought of myself as an entrepreneur and thought the startup environment could provide valuable knowledge. After my internship, I spent some time in consulting where I loved the fast-paced environment, the competitiveness, and the travelling. However, I felt that my purpose was missing and I wasn’t feeling as motivated as I knew I could be.

Around this time, I started listening to the LSE podcast series and one of the guests was Kate Raworth to discuss her book Doughnut Economics. I was very inspired by her talk so I bought her book and really started to become interested in development and economics. Another guest on the podcast was Muhammad Yunus talking about his book A World of Three Zeros which I also bought. I remember thinking, “wow, this place has all these influential individuals coming to talk and I need to be there”. This led me to join the MSc Development Management program here at LSE. Quite serendipitously, Kate Raworth was one of the first speakers we had for our DV445 lectures and I got her autograph in the same book I had bought which inspired me to come here. It was quite cool!

I’ve really enjoyed my time here at LSE. Like I said earlier, I’ve always seen myself as an entrepreneur and being here has really amplified my motivations to start a business. I’ve thought through several business ideas but the current one I’m pursing is quite promising. Broadly, it’s a venture capital and employee benefit program focusing on social impact. I am currently putting together a group of LSE students who can provide cross-disciplinary experience. We are in the early stages of trying to find investors to initiate a pilot for this program so eventually we can scale up. I’m excited to see where this goes!

If I had one thing to share about my journey and experience, it’s going to sound pretty cliché, but really pursue what makes you happy. If it doesn’t make you happy then it’s not the right thing to do. For me, what makes me happy is also what motivates me and I’m very happy to have joined this program. I always had the entrepreneurial spirit but this program has given me the tools to utilize it in a developmentally and socially conscious way…I’ve found my motivation!


The views expressed in this post are those of the author and in no way reflect those of the International Development LSE blog or the London School of Economics and Political Science.