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June 9, 2023

Fabian's sabbatical: Traveling the world and rediscovering home

Hi! My name is Fabian and I am a Senior Consultant in the Munich office. After finishing my Master's degree in Strategic Management in Vienna, I joined Roland Berger in October 2018. Since then, I've been fortunate enough to work in several industries, like steelmaking, chemicals, mechanical engineering and automotive, covering manifold functional topics such as decarbonization and ESG projects, carve-outs, performance improvement programs, as well as different M&A-related assignments.

So far, my time at Roland Berger has been shaped by exciting projects in the industrials field, interesting clients, fantastic business trips, great internal and external events and exceptional colleagues. However, after such an exciting but also challenging time, I wanted to make use of one of Roland Berger's fantastic B&me initiatives and take some months off to refocus and to spend time on things that I genuinely enjoy but that I hadn't been able to do in recent years.

So, I decided to take five months' leave to travel the world and to rediscover home. That's why I applied for the sabbatical program, which gives employees the opportunity to take unpaid time off for up to six months. Without any debate, the management team granted me this opportunity, for which I am very thankful.

Step 1 – A journey to Central and South America

My first journey took me to Central America – one of my favorite regions on this planet. For two months, I made my way through Panama, Costa Rica and Guatemala and finished the journey in the south of Brazil for the world-famous week of carnival. My time in Panama and Costa Rica was characterized by great hikes through the jungle, exhilarating wildlife encounters with baby sloths, monkey families, reef sharks and dinosaur-like reptiles, along with some tranquil days spent on picturesque beaches equipped with a surfboard, snorkeling gear or just a good book.

Hiking the almost 4,000-meter inactive volcano Acatenango was my highlight in Guatemala. From the peak of Acatenango, I had a perfect view of the frequent eruptions of the neighboring active volcano Fuego. An incredible natural spectacle.

The first step of my journey climaxed in Rio de Janeiro where I participated in the carnival celebrations that were taking place all around the city and visited the famous parade in the Sambódromo. Surely a unique and unparalleled event.

After some more relaxing days on the beaches and islands of Brazil, as well as a short trip to the impressive Iguazú waterfalls, it was time to prepare for the next step of my journey.

Step 2 – Exploring the wildlife and culture of Kenya

The next journey on my sabbatical led to Kenya, a completely different experience from Central and South America. Of course, it was exciting to self-drive through the famous national parks looking for Africa's big five and having close encounters with cheetahs, elephants, rhinos, lions and other majestic animals. However, there is also the other side of the coin. I was lucky enough to meet some locals who gave me a glimpse into the life of Kenyan people by letting me stay in a Masai village and by guiding me through the Kibera slum in Nairobi, one of the largest in the world. Dipping into these worlds was a truly humbling experience.

Step 3 – Island hopping in Indonesia

The last step of my journey led me to the island paradise of Indonesia, enabling me to experience another completely different part of the world. After visiting the orangutans of Sumatra, I explored the hidden beaches and waterfalls of Lombok on a scooter. In Lombok I hopped on a little boat traveling to Komodo, where I was looking for the world's largest lizard – the 3.5-meter Komodo dragon. On the four-day boat journey, I was accompanied by whale sharks, schools of dolphins, large sea turtles and sharks. Indonesia was not only interesting from a nature perspective but also from a cultural one with such a religious and ethnic diversity.

Step 4 – Enjoying home

After returning home, my sabbatical is not yet coming to an end. Over the next few weeks, I will use the time to rediscover home by exploring new restaurants and bars, going on hikes that have been on my bucket list for too long and checking out new sports and gym facilities.

Several awesome months are coming to an end for me, with the sabbatical exceeding all my expectations. I am grateful that Roland Berger provided me with such a great opportunity. In my opinion, this also proves that working in consulting is not just about exciting, time-consuming project work but also offers the flexibility to take some time off that you can dedicate to other topics that are close to your heart. I would argue there are not many jobs where it is possible to just step out for such a long time and have the experiences that I was able to have this year.

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