Entrepreneur Victor Sandoval

“My doctorate from TUM was a door opener wherever I went”

In order to be able to do his doctorate at TUM, Victor Sandoval received a scholarship. The doctoral title made it easier for him to set up five companies in the Philippines. Today, it is him who supports the young scientists of his country.

Even as a teenager, Manila-born Dr. Victor Sandoval was interested in electronics. He built a radio station himself and as a radio amateur had discussions on technology with other radio operators from around the world. “Nothing but Electrical Engineering was an option for my studies”, he says. In 1955 he earned his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of the Philippines, in 1960 he added a master’s from the Syracuse University in the USA.

On his journey home from the USA to the Philippines Victor Sandoval had scheduled a merely short stay in Germany. But the stop-over turned into eight years. He learnt German at the Goethe Institute, worked as a design engineer, first in Stuttgart, then at Siemens in Munich. Together with a small team he developed a machine for optical character recognition for Deutsche Post there. The thus possible automatic scanning of zip codes  allowed for the sorting of letters and parcels by machine.

Interdisciplinary exchange

TUM Professor Dr. Ludwig Merz heard about the talented scientist dealing with machine optical character recognition and invited Victor Sandoval to TUM for further research. Even though he had also received offers from institutes in Stuttgart and Bonn he wanted to stay in Munich for his doctorate . “From a financial point of view I would not have been able to do research at TUM without the Friedrich Ebert Foundation scholarship”, Victor Sandoval says.

TUM strongly fostered the exchange of ideas between the various institutes.

He is also grateful for the international cooperation at TUM, which allowed him to take his ambitious research that far in the first place. “I found it very useful to being able to discuss modern mathematical tools with colleagues from various institutes. TUM strongly fostered the exchange of ideas between the various institutes.” And also Victor Sandoval was continuously urged to work independently. “This way of working paid of later on as an entrepreneur and founder of a company”, he stresses.

Pragmatic entrepreneur

Right after his doctorate, Victor Sandoval returned to his home in the Philippines in 1968 – and started one business after the other. He purposefully filled a market niche with his company, profitably met the current demand and strategically sold the company on, in order to establish a new one shortly after. As an acknowledged specialist for computer technology and electronic security, Victor Sandoval digitalised the business workflows of the biggest banks in the Philippines, executed contracts for the Singaporean Ministry of Defense and governmental energy producers, and accompanied the then president Cory Aquino on state visits as a team member of the trade delegation. “In the economic arena a doctorate from TUM lends strong recognition and great prestige to its holder”, Victor Sandoval comments on his high-profile clients. “The title underlines the immense technological competence of its bearer and helped me secure such contracts – despite fierce competition.”

Charitable retirement

In 1998 Victor Sandoval sold his last company and, with this transaction, was able to retire. Yet, the energetic entrepreneur is not resting on his wealth. Instead he is using it to promote his country’s research and young scientists. As a board member he is committed to a foundation of the University of the Philippines and is also financing the chair at the College of Engineering there. He enables young people from financially underprivileged families to study at the university by offering them private scholarships without further ado. “I want to give something back”, Victor Sandoval says humbly. “With my story, I hope to motivate the alumni of this generation to enter the fascinating world of entrepreneurship.”

He is also grateful for the international cooperation at TUM, which allowed him to take his ambitious research that far in the first place. “I found it very useful to being able to discuss modern mathematical tools with colleagues from various institutes. TUM strongly fostered the exchange of ideas between the various institutes.” And also Victor Sandoval was continuously urged to work independently. “This way of working paid of later on as an entrepreneur and founder of a company”, he stresses.