My fellow Executive MBA classmates and I were in a brainstorming session one weekend when we got to talking about all the innovative companies that are currently in Berlin. The majority of EMBA cohorts are working within enterprises and often don’t have many touchpoints with the very latest innovations and start-ups. More importantly, they were curious about the Berlin start-up and tech scene. They wanted to see and hear from these exciting companies, so they could broaden their perspectives.
Once I knew there was enough interest and with a little help from my friends in Berlin, I took the initiative to make it happen. I wanted my classmates to see the world I worked in, so that inspired me to create the Berlin Trek. Having the support of the EMBA programme director made this an easy decision for me.
The goal of the Berlin Trek was to look underneath the hood at some of Berlin’s most exciting start-ups and famous tech companies. The intention is not only listening to the companies but to have a free and deep exchange of thoughts. To make this interesting for our diverse group of EMBA cohorts, I covered a broad range of sectors, ranging from Fintech, AI & Technology, mobility and venture capital. The key questions, which we addressed were:
At Solaris Bank, we gained insights on what it meant to be a technology company with a banking license. Solaris explained how they can solve the problems of a consumer with contextual banking and how their Banking-as-a-Service (BAAS) platform can help launch products for banks in a matter of weeks.
Showcased their work methodologies to build end to end digital businesses by using design thinking to ideate, incubate and commercialize.
They explained how they help start-ups by proving free credits for their cloud computing and demonstrated Sagemaker, their Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a platform, which democratizes AI so that it allows non-technical people to utilize AI.
Explained their investment model to help fund start-ups and how they focus on Software-as-a-Service (SAAS) and marketplace business models.
So what can we take back into the office? First of all, we can take away the inspiration and courage of some of these companies, which took a huge leap of faith to start up a business from nothing.
I was inspired by the companies, which we visited, and this led to many thoughts around entrepreneurship and how can the EMBA transform business plans and bring them to life. The EMBA is not only about learning from some of the best professors from around the world, but also from your EMBA colleagues. The program provides a springboard for continuous learning by building on your existing skills, whilst also learning new skills and learning new concepts from around the world. EMBA cohorts stretch themselves and take them out of their comfort zones to become better versions of themselves to ultimately become better business leaders.
The Berlin trek was not a one-off as we plan to host this annually for our entrepreneurial minded participants at Frankfurt School. Planning is already underway, so stay tuned for more news.