Graduate profile: Project Manager for Communication and Quality
Visibly shaping public transportation
Christoph Zurflüh studied Transport Systems at the ZHAW School of Engineering. Today, he is employed as Project Manager for Communication and Quality at Verkehrsverbund Luzern (Lucerne Transport Authority). There, among other things, the graduate provided support for the introduction of a new public transportation app.
It almost seems as if Christoph Zurflüh completed not just one study program but rather a whole series of them. «Technology and politics, spatial planning and development, law and marketing, economics and ecology – these all play a role in the various mobility issues.» His fascination with the diversity and social relevance of the subject matter motivated him to study Transport Systems at the ZHAW School of Engineering. «I understand the Transport Systems study programme as a generalised education: The study programme provided me with a 360-degree view of mobility and clearly taught me that interdisciplinary approaches are essential in such a complex system – 'inside-the-box thinking' is definitely obsolete here!»
«Technology and politics, spatial planning and development, law and marketing, economics and ecology – these all play a role in the various mobility issues.»
Traffic under surveillance
Christoph Zurflüh is currently employed as Project Manager for Communication and Quality at Verkehrsverbund Luzern. Verkehrsverbund Luzern plans and finances public transportation in the Canton of Lucerne and heads the branch office of the Passe-Partout Tariff Authority «As a public institution, we are under surveillance by politics, the media and society. Communication naturally plays a central role in this: We must provide our stakeholder groups with the information relevant to them – from passenger information to press releases». The quality of public transportation is investigated in routine surveys. One of Christoph Zurflüh’s additional tasks is the conduct and evaluation of satisfaction surveys and the taking of necessary action.
The range of tasks assigned to Transport Systems graduates is multi-faceted. «The broad support base of the study programme benefits me time and time again. I have a solid basis to fall back on.» Christoph Zurflüh completed an internship as a surveyor – training which he indeed liked, but which left out the holistic approach. In order to see the big picture, he chose the Transport Systems study programme. «I did not start my studies with a concrete career goal, but rather wanted to discover which aspects of mobility particularly interest me. I noticed during my studies that these are the social and political components. I was then also able to use my project work and Bachelor thesis to steer my studies in this direction.»
«The broad support base of the study programme benefits me time and time again. I have a solid basis to fall back on.»
Recognising and classifying problems
Even though Christoph Zurflüh currently works in a communicative environment and doesn't see himself as a «typical engineer», he encounters the technical aspects of his studies again and again in his everyday working life. «Thanks to my education, I speak the same language as the quote planners or those in charge of infrastructures – this improves the teamwork immensely. I can speak my mind, participate in the tasks at hand, and recognise and classify problems.» The fact that his career allows him to concretely and visibly shape public transportation is what makes the job particularly appealing to Christoph Zurflüh. This is the case, for example, with an app launched by Verkehrsverbund Luzern under the project management of Christoph Zurflüh. It informs customers in real time about the traffic situation of public transportation in all of Central Switzerland and it is also planned to enable mobile ticket purchases in the future.
Smooth transition from the university to the working world
Christoph Zurflüh easily succeeded in making the transition from the university to the working world. He had already gained valuable professional experience before and during his studies. «Before starting my studies, I provided maternity cover in the Transport and Infrastructure branch office of the Canton of Lucerne. After my first year of studies, I had already completed an internship with my current employer.» In order to gain insight into the areas of planning and infrastructure along with the political-social aspects, he accepted an additional traineeship with a logistics company during the summer holiday. He ultimately received the offer for his current position a whole semester before his university graduation.