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Jonathan Khotso Majingo: Student, Entrepreneur and Global Citizen
November 11, 2021 Today, Jonathan has to laugh when he thinks back to this time last November: "I had a real problem." He had run out of money, bills needed to be paid, and support from home was not an option; but difficult circumstances never deterred Jonathan. What to do? Start a business! The then 19-year-old stocked up on milk at Kaufland and founded "Wake N’Shake” together with a friend. They offer milkshakes and smoothies to fellow students on the Jacobs University campus. "That," he says, looking back, "was one of the most important experiences of my life so far.”
Using WhatsApp, they offered their drinks every day from 8 p.m. to midnight, weekends included. The idea caught on with up to 40 orders coming in every night. "Purchasing, manufacturing, distribution - that was extremely difficult to manage alongside my studies," Jonathan recalls. To be faster, the duo delivered on the sprawling campus by skateboard and eventually hired a helper to assist. They even designed their own branded packaging and loyalty cards. Wake N’Shake got Jonathan through his first winter in Bremen.
"Just do it!" -the Nike slogan- is one he likes to live by. Not letting yourself down, taking the initiative, actively seeking, seizing, and creating opportunities and possibilities instead of waiting for them to cross your path: this is what is most important to him. "There's a good chance that it won't happen anyway," he says. Jonathan wants to encourage his fellow students to take advantage of the opportunities that come their way. "It comes down to just yourself. Jacobs University opens so many doors for you. You just have to step through them."
It is no wonder that he didn't hesitate for long when he was asked if he would like to apply to be an ambassador for his home country of Botswana for One Young World, a global forum for young leaders. At its annual international conferences, the organization brings together young talents from all over the world who want to actively shape the future and seek solutions to global problems. Prominent guest speakers such as Bob Geldorf and Lewis Hamilton spoke at the meeting in Munich this summer. Participants from more than 190 countries attended, one of them being Jonathan Khotso Majingo. The exchange with them, the workshops and panel discussions was “a great experience," he says. What impressed him the most? ”The anecdotal approach to highlighting challenges faced by some of the delegate speakers stuck with me.”
The soccer fan, who plays defense on the Jacobs University team, is himself a citizen of the world, with roots in Botswana. His mother works for the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Jonathan has lived in Zimbabwe, the U.S., Japan, England and South Africa and has always attended international schools, most recently the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg.
When he was looking for a university, internationality played an important role. But that was not the only selection criterion. It had to be English-speaking and provide him with a high-quality education. And he wanted to study in Germany, which for him is a country of many opportunities. "The kind of job and personal development opportunities you get here after you finish your studies are not available anywhere else in Europe."
The decision for Jacobs University was easy for him. Not only did it meet all the criteria, he also knew graduates who had warmly recommended the Bremen university to him. In late summer 2020, Jonathan began his studies in Industrial Engineering and Management, an interdisciplinary program that combines technical and scientific aspects of engineering with subfields of economics. "The great thing about it is that it's so application-oriented. I learn things every day that I can use on the job," explained Jonathan.
Jonathan no longer produces milkshakes and smoothies. He has looked for jobs that are closer to his studies, first at Statista, a German online statistics portal, then at Patrizia AG. For the provider of real estate investments in Europe, he deals with innovative start-ups, and among other things, scouting and evaluating them: "That's already very close to what I want to do one day after I finish my studies."
It's still a little way off until then. Jonathan will graduate in the summer of 2023- after which he would like to gain professional experience, preferably in Germany. Before that, however, there are other things on the agenda. The internship that is mandatory for Jacobs University students, for example, which he will complete in the spring at a consulting firm in Hamburg. Or the next annual meeting of One Young World next summer. It will take place in Tokyo, a country that Jonathan got to know as a student and that he appreciates very much. Of course he wants to be there. After all, you have to make the most of your opportunities.