For business@school Alumni, Paths Cross Again

In 2009, Niklas Guggenberger and his team from Gymnasium Ottobrunn won the business@school Munich Finals. Eight years later, Nathalie Tuzolana stood on the same stage. Their paths crossed again—and now, both work at the start-up RECUP.

The whole REBOWL team came together in Austria for the strategy kickoff—including Nathalie (top row, far right) and Niklas (bottom row, center).

"At the business@school Finals, we didn't make it past the preliminary round with our idea 'Clip ’n Zip,' unfortunately," recalls Nathalie, who at the time was attending St. Ursula Gymnasium in Aachen. Still, participating in business@school gave her a head start on her career. "Niklas was one of the judges, and when I was looking for someone to interview for a project for my international business studies in Maastricht after I graduated from school, I thought of him." It turned out to be more than just an interview, though: Nathalie was invited to do an internship at styleGREEN, Niklas's start-up for moss and plant pictures and products. For him, the decision was easy: "I had already been lucky enough to have a few business@school alumni on the team as interns. All of them really had a lot of drive and definitely knew what they were talking about."

But things changed faster than anyone thought. "When Nathalie approached me in the spring, I was just on the way from styleGREEN to RECUP in order to develop REBOWL. But my offer still stood, of course, and in summer Nathalie started her internship on the REBOWL team," said Niklas. With a deposit system for reusable takeaway bowls, REBOWL offers a sustainable, environmentally friendly alternative to disposable containers. "REBOWL is basically a start-up within the start-up RECUP. There are advantages to that, of course: A financial buffer and existing infrastructure," explains Niklas. That's why REBOWL got off the ground quickly: The start-up was launched in July 2020, and by October, seven people were working on the team. In the meantime, the REBOWL team is fully integrated in the RECUP GmbH team of over 40 people.

"Already during my internship, I felt I was making a difference and learning a lot. I like 'learning by doing,' and working in a team is fantastic—less hierarchy and more peers. Niklas has been a mentor to me right from the start," says Nathalie. After completing her internship, she decided to move to Munich and take a permanent position as Junior Sales Manager at RECUP—parallel to her studies. It's a challenge in terms of time management, but Nathalie knows that with clear communication, she can make it work. "I saw that I'm good at handling pressure already during business@school," she says with a chuckle.