Q: Who is Philipp Sauter?
My name is Philipp, I am 24, I come from Switzerland and I joined in December 2018. I am very interested in computers, programming and everything related to that. I studied Computational Science and Engineering at ETH Zürich. That field of study is about making the connection between math, computers and natural science: you take a model and find the most efficient way to compute predictions from it, using very powerful computers.
Q: What motivated you to choose your degree?
Before I went to college I did what is very common in Switzerland, which is an apprenticeship as a software engineer, which I found very fulfilling, but I always had an interest in science, specially Physics, so I wanted to move in that direction without leaving computer science.
Q: So Operations Research comes as a natural evolution for the career path you had in mind.
Yes, Operations Research is in that direction, very related to what I learned at college. I am using a lot of things that I learned there and during my apprenticeship.
Q: Why did you choose baobab?
After three years in college I started looking for opportunities. I wanted to do something where I could apply what I learned, not just study to pass my exams. I signed up at IAESTE.org, which organizes internships in different countries. I didn’t apply directly to baobab, but I was assigned to it by the organization. Baobab sent me some optimization exercises for which I sent solutions. They apparently liked them and I was invited to an interview here.
What convinced me mostly to come to Madrid – it is not an easy decision to change country -, was that process, which I really liked. I got replies to my emails the next day – when I have to wait for weeks for an answer, that makes me think they are not really interested, so I don’t put effort into it; then the exercises I received seemed the kind of challenge that I really enjoy solving and that made me think that if that was the method baobab used to hire people, then they must have the smart people that I will enjoy working with. That convinced me. Usually hiring is about an employee convincing an employer, but in my case it has to be a win-win.
What convinced me mostly to come to Madrid – it is not an easy decision to change country -, was that process, which I really liked. I got replies to my emails the next day.
Q: What kind of projects have you been involved in at baobab?
I have mainly laid the groundwork on heuristics for routing problems that may be used in the future. I also worked on some web applications.
Q: Although you have been in baobab for less than a year, do you think you have evolved in baobab?
I do feel like I have evolved. If you have been in a place for a year and have not evolved, then you may be in the wrong place. I have learned some things that were completely new to me, like heuristics and Go. I also learned how to work in longer projects from start to finish for several months, which is very different from what I did in university
Q: How do you picture yourself in 10 years?
I do not have a plan. I like writing code all day, I can work with someone with good ideas and be in charge of putting that into the machine. My skills are very technical. I am a quiet person and my natural tendencies lean towards working with machines. In 10 years I would like to be the guy that makes sure that everything works smoothly, efficiently and fast. The world needs people with grand visions but also people that can make them happen.
Q: Would you recommend baobab?
Definitely. I cannot compare it to many other workplaces, but my experience is that working here is very relaxed and I have the space to make the technical decisions in my projects. I enjoy eating cachopo and drinking cerveza, and learning how to dance salsa, although I am still terrible at it.
Q: It is all about enjoying the journey, isn’t it?
Yes, I do have fun, but I am terrible. That’s all I can say about it ☺