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Interview with Brand Ambassador Sebastian Magenheim at the IAA 2015.

Juggling takes practice.

It’s the first trade day at the IAA 2015 and the Mercedes-Benz Hall is packed with excitement. Between the hustle and bustle, we had a chance to speak with Sebastian Magenheim — wheelchair basketball star and brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz ex-factory driving aids. We’ll be sharing some highlights from our conversation and find out how he strikes a balance between professional sport and studies.

Above all, the 27-year-old athlete and aspiring master’s student has one thing locked down: discipline. If you’re in need of inspiration, you’ll find it when you hear what a typical day looks like for him. The alarm clock goes off around 5 or 6 a.m., followed by a 45-minute training session. Then it’s off to college, followed by a few odd chores until the evening when again another training session starts. Juggling both university and a professional career in sports requires self-control and organization, especially when trying to make time for friends and family.

As a wheelchair basketball player in the premiere German National League and as a member of the national team, Magenheim has already achieved great success — both at the 2012 Paralympics in London and at the European Championships just a few weeks ago where he took home the bronze. But even on a national level, he and his team have always been — especially in recent years — in the playoffs for the German championship.

With so many competitive successes, the challenge of balancing sport with his studies and future career is ever-present. One thing’s for sure though: his studies and university degree are of utmost importance. Although his athletic career is noteworthy, he stressed that focusing only on sports is not enough to secure a good livelihood into the future. Now, after the successful completion of his undergraduate studies, he is beginning a master's degree in business psychology. His hope is for a smooth transition from professional sports into working life.

Brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz ex-factory driving aids.

Today he has taken the time to visit the IAA because there’s an E-Class station wagon fitted with Mercedes-Benz ex-factory driving aids. The project, launched by Daimler Business Innovation, allows customers with limited mobility the ability to order factory direct driving aids, curbing the cost of refitting their car after purchase. The driving aids are chosen based on the individual needs of each customer to ensure maximum mobility.

In addition to the control and steering systems, hand control units and pedal changes, also included is a swivel seat for more comfort upon entry and exit of the vehicle. Another important consideration is that the vehicle remains usable by the whole family. You can check out the entire exhibit that was presented at the IAA here.

In 2012, Magenheim entered the Stiftung Deutsche Sporthilfe (“German Sports Aid Foundation“) mentoring program and got in contact with Philip Wex, who is working on voice and gesture-controlled operation of vehicles at Daimler AG. Philipp became Sebastian’s mentor and introduced him to Mercedes-Benz ex-factory driving aids, which he is now the brand ambassador for. He acts as a brand ambassador for the driving aids as believes that mobility is an issue of ever-increasing importance. As we live in an aging society, there need to be options not only for those people in wheelchairs but also for all customers who are restricted in their mobility, but still want to remain mobile. The basketball player sees mobility innovation as an increasingly important trend in which he sees Mercedes-Benz as a pioneer.

And what does this professional sportsman drive privately? As a Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador, it is of course understood that his car should not go without the iconic 3-pointed star up front. Magenheim drives the sporty and compact GLA 250 4MATIC*, a partner that takes him to his daily sports training, university studies and training camps with the national team. There isn’t a lot of time to drive for pleasure — but when there is, he’s very happy with his fully equipped GLA.

Looking into the future.

What comes next? Perhaps a sit-ski career? The idea leaves the likeable young man with an open grin. Even a career at Daimler AG has crossed his mind but not until he completes his degree, which will still take some time. During this time his mentor Philipp Wex will offer advice, practical knowledge and other helpful insight into life at Daimler.

We wish Sebastian great success in preparing for qualifications at the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro 2016 — he is very much looking forward to being part of the big sports event again.

*GLA 250 4MATIC Fuel consumption combined: 6.5-6.4 l/100km; CO₂ emission combined: 153-150 g/km.

This article was published by Business Innovation, Daimler’s lab for innovative business solutions. Please find us on Twitter as well as Instagram and join the discussion in the Business Innovation Forum.

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