Refreshed and energised after the Christmas break, I was ready to experience Berlin and all the culture and business learning it could offer. I had been looking forward to the Business Insights in Europe trip to Berlin since starting my Full-Time MBA at Imperial College Business School.
The trip started with a company visit to Scholz & Friends Berlin GmbH where we listened to Philipp Mehne, Head of the Brussels Office, talk about disruptive technology in marketing and advertising, and how digital media is continuously changing the landscape of mass communication. Afterwards, we networked with Scholz employees and toured the firm’s offices.
The next day we heard from Berlin based entrepreneurs on the role of entrepreneurialism in today’s society and Berlin’s position as “Europe’s hottest startup capital”. Anthony Barba, founder of HeyRide, shared his experience of building a startup from scratch in Berlin, describing it as affordable and “a great startup ecosystem”. Val Racheeva, founder of the Wefound Community, encouraged female entrepreneurs to found and grow their businesses in Berlin, acknowledging the great support system and interactions with existing female founders in the city.
There was a really lively debate with the panel and Berlin was highlighted as one of the most promising startup communities in Europe. The business culture and opportunities there were the talk of the day!
I asked the panel for the unique “Berlin approach” on scaling up an existing business (many of the Full-Time MBA students are also business owners). Peter Lennartz, Partner Assurance at Ernst & Young, said it was important to gain first adopters of your products to leverage word of mouth marketing which can have a significant impact on a product’s growth and development. Inga Schwarting, Co-founder and Managing Director at Key Partners Capital, emphasised the importance of raising early rounds of capital to substantially grow the business.
As a cohort, we loved the time that we spent in Berlin – both at the panel events and touring the city together. The trip really broadened our perspectives on business and the startup environment. I learnt a lot that will definitely impact my professional future.
Andreas Eisingerich, Programme Director of the Full-Time MBA, said, “It was freezing cold. At the same time we had blue skies, falling snow, and engagement with the international members of the startup community in Berlin which offered opportunities for gaining fresh perspectives and some fascinating insights”.