Jeannine Pilloud
CEO
Ascom Holding AG

Jeannine Pilloud
CEO
Ascom Holding AG

I grew up in Zurich. At that time, if you wanted to continue your studies here, you could go to the University of Zurich, or to ETH Zurich. I began at the Uni studying journalism, but in the end, I found out it was not my thing – so I changed to architecture at ETH. After an early stint in this field, I moved to the IT sector. There I deal with a lot of technical aspects, but digitalisation also requires creativity – we need to surface the best ideas and solutions to address challenges. In fact, creative people are needed everywhere as I noticed throughout my career, which included jobs worldwide in different businesses before coming back to Zurich.

Today, I always feel very proud when the rankings are published and ETH does well. For me, it’s an emotional connection: ETH is where I learned how to think, how to be creative, and how much you have to do in order to get results. I find that those people I meet who also came from ETH always stand out – they can thrive in stressful situations and make success out of that.

With the ETH Circle, we can connect with students and inspire brilliant young minds to be successful in whatever they do because they believe in it, with the added value of having the solid skills base that ETH gives them. In this context, I’d be happy to share my experiences, in particular that you cannot predict what you end up doing later on. Your studies should be the preparation for whatever comes, and my career is a good example of where you can land.

To remain agile and current, the ETH Circle should also connect with other top universities to learn from how they manage alumni relationships and special groups that compare to ours. I think bringing different viewpoints into the discussion is important, which is why I appreciate the diversity of the members of the ETH Circle. This is how we can improve the visibility of ETH globally. All these members help tell the story of ETH through their own lens, and showcase the institution beyond its excellence in research and teaching.