Campus - 15.04.2011 - 00:00 

Studying with experience of life

After a successful career, Klaus Stadler embarked on student life for a second time. The electrical engineer with a doctor’s degree from the ETH became acquainted with the HSG as a Bachelor of Law.
Source: HSG Newsroom


14 April 2011. Gardening, looking after grandchildren and travelling – actually, Klaus Stadler could have led a leisurely life after retirement. He had had a fulfilling career at the ETH and with Sulzer. In his professional life, he had dealt with technical questions. But he found that a life of leisure was not for him. “I wanted to use my head and explore new intellectual territories”, says Klaus Stadler.

Exploring new fields of knowledge

Now he wanted to know how law influences a society. Evening courses about law and sociology did not go into sufficient depth for him. So the 67-year-old from the Grisons joined about 200 much younger people in an HSG orientation test. This was the beginning of his studies for a second degree in St.Gallen. As an undergraduate, he devoted his time to legal science. Early in the degree course, he looked into issues of fundamental rights; later, he dealt with the Code of Obligations. Learning new vocabulary and grammar was also again the order of the day: after all, he additionally had to complete courses in Italian, French and English. The separation between the Bachelor’s and Master’s programme was not always ideal for the focal points of his studies: what provided his 20-year-old fellow students with bearings tended to restrict the interests of the professionally experienced Bachelor too much at times: “Sometimes I wished I had more freedom in the configuration of my timetable”, says Klaus Stadler.

Mastering examinations with the pressure to succeed
The man from Davos found discussions with other students enriching. Conversely, they very much appreciated this exchange with their professionally experienced fellow student. Klaus Stadler regarded it as a privilege and challenge to sit examinations lasting several hours on a voluntary basis. “My young fellow students were not always able to understand that I did all that voluntarily”, he says with a smile. Besides the examination pressure, Klaus Stadler was also spurred on by generational rivalry: his youngest son was about to obtain a doctor’s degree at the same time as his father became an undergraduate for the second time. The fact that his son won the race pleases Klaus Stadler. “As always, my family provided me with a great deal of support in this challenge”, he says.

Mediator for legal issues

After completing his studies at the HSG, he will now allow himself a bit more peace and quiet: no Master’s programme, no further specialisation in the field. Commuter journeys from Winterthur to St.Gallen will now only serve to pursue his private research in more depth in the library. His knowledge is already being put to good use: his family, friends and neighbours often ask Klaus Stadler for advice with regard to legal issues. “In our society, too many frictional losses occur between people”, he says. There is a great deal to do – he is unlikely to start gardening very soon after his graduation ceremony.