In her first life, Irene studied business administration, economics, and Chinese in Berlin and in Chengdu (China), complete with a couple of internships in China and Malaysia. Upon graduation in 2001 she joined AUDI (Volkswagen Group) in the Sales Asia-Pacific Division. After one year on the job, and faced with the prospect of selling cars in China for the rest of her career, she quickly accepted that Fulbright grant and went to the United States to study for a Master’s Degree in East Asian Studies at Washington University in St. Louis and in the Princeton-in-Beijing Program. With a newly acquired taste for history she embarked on a Ph.D. project about early Chinese communists in Moscow during the 1920s which she completed in 2008 at Humboldt UniversityBerlin. Since June 2008 Irene has been an assistant to the management of Hasso-Plattner-Institute and the coordinator of the HPI-Stanford Design Thinking Research Program. In her spare time she is active in the Berlin Fulbright Alumni Association and indulges her passion for Chinese and Russian history, literature, and film.