Mathematician Rebecca Bürkle

“This is where I learned to think big”

As a student, TUM Alumna Rebecca Bürkle realized that there is much more than just thinking guided by rationality. Ever since then, she has been combining her level headedness with her gut feeling. As a coach, she shows female STEM students how important it is to connect the heart and the mind.

From an early age, Rebecca Bürkle was a thoroughly rational thinker. To her, numbers, Mathematics and logic were fascinating. Even in elementary school, she would have loved to work out Deutsche Bahn’s timetables with mathematical precision so that there would be no more delays.

After graduating from high school, Rebecca Bürkle devoted herself to studying her favorite subject, Mathematics – initially to be a teacher. But she quickly realized that she wanted to apply Mathematics in real life, in business. So she continued with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics at Freie Universität Berlin and then added a master’s degree in Mathematics in Operational Research from TUM. “At the time, TUM was the only university I knew of that offered a maths program that focused on real-life applications,” she recalls. “So I put everything I had into getting in. Making complex things tangible, that was and is 100% my cup of tea.”

Formative Experience

With a fast pace and a high level the early days at TUM were challenging. At the same time, Rebecca Bürkle felt supported and educated in multiple directions. With TUM, she connects a very specific attitude and atmosphere. Persevering, always getting back up and believing in yourself – that’s what characterizes studying at TUM for Rebecca Bürkle. “TUM is literally my Alma Mater, a nurturing, caring mother,” she says. “This is where I learned to think big and that I can achieve anything I want.”

Primal feminine qualities should be reactivated and embodied in our everyday professional life.

There is another way of life that Rebecca Bürkle adopted during her time as a student. In 2015, she came to Paris on a TUM student exchange. It was precisely the time when the Islamist terrorist attacks occurred in the French capital. Rebecca Bürkle experienced them firsthand. “This is what prompted me to look into mindfulness, self-care and the power of my thoughts,” she explains. “Previously, I had relied a lot on my mind and on performance. Through my experience in Paris, I realized how important it is to listen to your gut feeling and your own needs.”

TUM Alumna Rebecca Bürkle after crossing the Alps.

Rebecca Bürkle knows how important a good work-life balance is. For her, road cycling is a great way to clear her head. This picture shows the TUM Alumna after successfully crossing the Alps (Photo: Private).

With Heart and Mind

In 2016, Rebecca Bürkle successfully graduated from TUM. Since then, her life’s creed of combining heart and mind has guided her in her everyday professional life as an IT consultant and as a coach for women in the STEM and tech sectors. Rebecca Bürkle wants to shape the digital transformation with both heart and mind. “For me, this means making economically sound decisions while keeping people, our society and nature in mind, treating them kindly and thus initiating meaningful change,” she explains. “Primal feminine qualities such as connection, acknowledging feelings, intuition and dedication are crucial here and should be reactivated and embodied in our everyday professional lives.”

Rebecca Bürkle has been passing on her knowledge and experience in the TUM Mentoring Program for Students by Alumni since 2021. As a student, she was part of the mentoring program herself and frequently looks back on it. She is currently mentoring Informatics student Sanmithra Mudigonda. In addition to technical topics such as Artificial Intelligence, also the importance of finding a balance between analytical, rational, structured and soft, intuition and feeling on the other hand, is on the agenda.

The Women of TUM have a lot to look forward to on September 14, 2021. This is when Rebecca Bürkle will hold her interactive workshop “Ease and Performance – Female (Self-)Leadership in Employment”. “My aim is to show the Women of TUM how to navigate their work lives with ease and sustainability,” she says. “An internal attitude of openness and dialogue in each individual is what it takes. And this in turn requires us to connect with ourselves.”