A coffee with Manuel Hückel

Today, we want to introduce you to Manuel Hückel. Manuel is 23 years old and a StGIS Alumnus. After six years at StGIS, he successfully completed his International Baccalaureate in 2017. Manuel is about to start a Master of Science in Marketing and Branding at the University of Innsbruck. Last year, Manuel founded a start-up for online marketing and content production together with his friends. In his spare time, Manuel focusses on his greatest passion: Triathlon.

After your time at StGIS, how well did you feel prepared for your studies?
Personally, I felt that I can do whatever I want once I left the school. My teachers always supported the path I chose, which was to focus on both, finishing an Ironman, as well as being as best prepared for the IB examinations. After having started my studies, I quickly recognized that especially the advanced level of English (as an Austrian with German as my mother tongue), but in particular presentations skills, which we learned at StGIS gave me a competitive advantage. It allowed me to be confident whilst speaking in front of people, in my second language, as well as working together in teams, which makes me feel positive about my future in the world of business.

Being a triathlete, the sport has always played an important role in your life. How could you follow your passion during your time here?
StGIS allowed me to make training to an integral part of my daily routine. Thanks to the flexible schedule and the physical activities offered in the afternoons, I could train two to three times per day. What really motivated me was the support of the staff members of StGIS. They showed genuine interest in my progress and always asked how I am doing. Especially my teacher John Patton helped me a lot, in particular, when he realized that things were not going as expected for me.

In 2017, shortly after your graduation at StGIS, you completed an ironman, a long-distance triathlon race, in Klagenfurt as the youngest participant ever. What does it feel like to master such a challenge?
First of all, this eleven-hour race taught me that everything is possible with sufficient grid, efforts, and an amazing team behind the vision we created together – to finish an Ironman at the age of 18. I learned that swimming 3.8 km, cycling 180 km, and running 42 km is not a race against others but rather against myself. I remember one particular moment during the last stages of the race, where I just wanted to throw everything away, and accept my failure. Yet, my team was able to drag me out of my “dark place” and across the finish line with words of encouragement.
When I finished the race, I was extremely relieved and happy. This experience was truly character-building, proving to me that there is so much more than me, myself, and I – but rather that there is nothing better than to celebrate such victories as a team.

Do you have a life motto?
“A winner is just a loser who tried one more time.” – George M. Moore Jr.

What is your favorite place at StGIS and why?
Definitely the basketball court! I really enjoy remembering the countless breaks I spent there playing the “knockout” basketball game with people from all grades. Sometimes, even teachers joined to play with us!

What makes StGIS special for you?
For me, StGIS is more than a school – it is a family. It is a place that I really like to go back to, where I made wonderful, long-lasting friendships, and where everyone is staying connected while being spread out all over the world.