“Our freedom and health can be taken from us, but not the knowledge we’ve acquired.”
ETH alumnus Fabian Unteregger is a comedian, entrepreneur, co-founder of Swiss Healthcare Startups and founding member of the ETH Circle. At ETH Zurich he supports exceptional talents and promotes entrepreneurship.
Can you describe the first hour of a normal day for you?
FABIAN UNTEREGGER – I try to get both halves of my brain up and running.
What in particular has stuck with you from your time at ETH?
That Menu 1 in the cafeteria used to cost 5.30 francs.
Is there anything from your time as a student that you’d prefer to forget?
Yeah, the fact that exams always took place in September. That ruined each and every summer (laughs).
Your tip for ETH students today?
Think about what fires you up. What are your passions? You’ll earn well with your ETH Master’s regardless. But it makes sense to do so with something that’s fun for you. Life is far too long for you not to pursue your passion.
What lessons did you learn at ETH that still stick with you today?
In high school I spent most of math class chatting with the classmate who sat next to me. We had a lot of fun. During the lessons, we integrated and derived humor instead of functions. This stupidly led to gaps in our knowledge. At ETH I really had fun with math because the material was presented in a condensed fashion and at a brisk pace.
I know that sounds crazy, but that’s how it was.
Where did you prefer spending your lunch breaks at ETH?
At the foosball table under the Polyterrasse, and afterwards playing the “Arsehole” card game (nothing to do with my affinity for medicine at the time) while eating a delicious rum ball.
What’s an ETH secret that only few are aware of?
We don’t all wear checkered shirts.
What are you particularly proud of in your life?
The fact that I took a lot of risks and it paid off. In my opinion, in Switzerland there are too few people who follow their real passions. The result: the long faces that you see while taking public transportation, tension and stress at home, endless coaching sessions. I now try to help people turn those grumpy faces into happy ones.
What personally motivates you to support ETH?
ETH is a top university. And for us as Swiss people, it’s just on our doorstep. You can get a world-class education here for an unbeatably low price. Our freedom and health can be taken from us, but not the knowledge we’ve acquired.
About Fabian Unteregger
He has an ETH Master’s degree in Food Sciences & ETH Executive Master in Secondary and Higher Education. He completed doctoral studies in Human Medicine at the University of Basel. As an advisor and board member for numerous start-ups and a hospital, he has extensive experience in particular in the healthcare industry. He is also a Prix Walo-winning personality known from various TV and stage shows, including the weekly “Zum Glück ist Freitag” (Thank God It’s Friday) on SRF3.