In September 2020, I started my Executive MBA journey at Frankfurt School with a far-fetched idea, at that time, to dive into the unfamiliar-to-me world of business management. My aim was to procure a new skillset, expand my network, and gain valuable insights to bring back to my usual field of performing arts and education. Entering a business school while coming from a 20 plus-year career as a dancer and choreographer was no small shift of focus. However, the faculty and my colleagues embraced my different viewpoints and the qualities that I brought to the diverse processes, debates, and negotiations.
One inspiring highlight of the Executive MBA programme for me was the New Venture Creation elective. This elective focuses on the tools one needs to launch a StartUp. Usually, students attend on location in Herzliya, Israel at the Interdisciplinary Center of the Adelson School of Entrepreneurship. Due to the current pandemic, I was able to experience Prof. Yossi Maaravi in the flesh right in my hometown of Frankfurt.
I entered the five-day course with a vague idea for a business venture. By the end of the week, I had found a committed collaborator, formed a solid business concept, collected relevant data supporting our hypotheses, and even won a bottle of wine with our final pitch presentation! It was a dynamic process, and though we often worked until 1:00 am finalizing our presentation for the next day, it was fun. Prof. Maaravi puts so much energy, paired with a clear learning structure that the course never really felt like work for my team.
During the elective, we were making phone calls and interviewing potential customers by the second day. Following our daily presentations, we received constructive, challenging and supportive feedback from our classmates, Prof. Maaravi, and our programme director. Additionally, the course introduced me to frameworks for how to build a team, identify problems, brainstorm solutions, analyze market competition and raise funds. I became familiar with the ideology behind the Business Model, Lean, and Value Proposition canvases. Together this helped me to map out a strategy for my business idea.
On the final day, we pitched our ideas to a panel of Israeli entrepreneurial experts. When the week was over, I had the feeling that even if my idea didn’t succeed, I had tapped into a practice, a way of seeing potential and actively pursuing it in a methodical and exciting new way. The tempo, information and encouragement generated the creative atmosphere needed to initiate something innovative. Prof. Maedler, the former programme director, equates Maaravi’s elective to “learning to ride a bike,” and I agree. Now that I’ve gained this mindset, I know how to make the next move.
My Executive MBA journey was a rich and inspiring one, despite certain pandemic-related issues and restrictions on in-person meetings. For me the Executive MBA provided a lightning-speed deep dive into a mid-life learning process, resulting in several very tangible, value-adding aspects to my professional and personal life. If this sounds like something you are interested in, sign up and join the ride.
I stuck with the idea born out of the New Ventures Elective. In February 2022, together with my heroic team, I presented and submitted my final thesis project, an Entrepreneurial Business Plan titled DanceBreak: A Mission to Motivate Movement. It’s a dance-based well-being service to help people who suffer low energy and lack of motivation from sitting jobs. Check it out at dancebreak.de!