Where in the World? Alumni Spotlight: Aaron Welker

Image: Aaron Welker sitting in front of a sunset

Aaron Welker graduated from the Trulaske College of Business in May 2017 with a BS in economics and a minor in political science and multicultural studies.

Hometown: Perryville, MO

MU background: Aaron Welker served as an MU ITC student intern in Prague, Czech Republic, during the Summer 2016 and then worked as the Prague project manager the following year. He graduated from the Trulaske College of Business in May 2017 with a BS in economics and a minor in political science and multicultural studies.

Post-MU graduation: In February 2018, Aaron packed everything he could fit into a suitcase and boarded a one-way flight from “small town USA” to Berlin, Germany. He left behind his family and friends behind to move to a place where he knew no one and no one knew him.  And, over the last 5+ years he’s seen and done more than he ever thought was possible.

Current status: Aaron was lucky that within 3 months of arriving in Berlin, he was able to secure a job as an assistant merchandise planner within Zalando. Zalando is Europe’s largest e-commerce clothing platform, present in 25 markets and reaching 50 million customers (about Zalando). He was recently promoted to senior merchandise planner supporting the men’s luxury clothing line. In this role, he is responsible for portfolio brand management, strategic pricing alignment and oversight of a budget that totals EUR 50 million annually.

Favorite feature about living abroad: Aaron noted that when moving abroad, the differences fade quickly.  He shared that moving to Berlin meant a complete change of lifestyle and a re-evaluation of what is important.  The ease of travel, and the benefits of being part of a multinational, multicultural cosmopolitan city and the making to new friends are all current favorite features.

Something he misses from (or about) home: Aaron says, "Simple pleasures like easy access to 'good American food', and a little midwestern 'over-polite' hospitality are things I miss among the hustle and bustle that a big city like Berlin provides."

Words of advice for MU ITC interns or students about to graduate: "Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, or let your fears limit you."  Aaron shared that the fear of “what will happen if this doesn’t work?” very nearly stopped him from taking action in moving to Germany.  Today, in hindsight, he has no regrets about moving. He knows, however, that if he had let his fears intervene, he likely would always have regretted not taking the chance. Aaron also noted that as a student you put a lot of pressure on yourself to get good grades, secure the right internships, etc., and while those items all have value, ultimately it is aptitude and internal motivation that likely are the great predictors of future success.

A favored quote: When things do not go your way, remember that every challenge — every adversity — contains within it the seeds of opportunity and growth. - Roy T. Bennett