Max Fortmueller, MSc IEM 2021-22
MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management

BA Communication Design & Photography, Design Akademie Berlin

About you

What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?

As a person with very broad interests, I have always tried to get insights into different fields and sectors. During my undergraduate degree, for example, I did an internship with a Dutch artist in the Netherlands. This taught me a lot about creative processes and the importance of strong content. After that, I started to work part-time for a design thinking agency, which allowed me to really get to know the method behind design, in theory as well as in practice. Lastly, before coming to Imperial, I was working full-time as an innovation manager for the Austrian Lotteries. This incredible experience introduced me to the corporate world and how innovations are managed in complex environments.

Why did you decide to study MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management at Imperial College Business School?

I have always wanted to actively shape the future. I decided to study MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management because I was certain that it would allow me to acquire the competence to effectively make decisions that turn the odds in my favour in times of uncertainty. Besides that, the programme should expand my “toolbox” with innovative skills that can help me transform ideas into viable ventures. Furthermore, I wanted to explore essential aspects of innovative entrepreneurship, from methods businesses use to identify and exploit markets, as well as technological potential, to strategies they utilise in order to grow and secure funding. I was convinced that Imperial College Business School would provide me with the best environment to learn about each of these areas.

Did you receive a scholarship? What advice would you give to future scholarship applicants?

I was absolutely delighted to receive the Bright Network Scholarship for academic merit and leadership potential. This scholarship was very helpful in a financial way, of course, but it also connected me to other scholarship recipients and a broader network, where I was able to find like-minded people to talk to. Regarding the application, I would advise to not only to showcase your past experiences but also to highlight your potential to grow as a result of the programme.


Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

Since I have only completed the first term so far, it is hard to give an overall picture of the entire programme. From the modules I have had so far, my favourite was Design Thinking for Innovation. As part of this module, we were working on the issue of sexual harassment on public transport, using various creative techniques to develop innovative solutions for the problem.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

For me personally, the most rewarding part of the programme so far was completing the first term and reflecting on all the things I have learned. Oftentimes, it can be hard to recognise progress in the short run. However, looking back at the first term really showed me the immense progress I had made in only four months.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

In my opinion, one of the best parts about the programme is the fact that we are a bunch of people with incredibly different cultural as well as professional backgrounds. However, in some ways, this can also be very challenging. Working in randomly assigned teams, for example, forces everyone to leave their comfort zone and work with people you might not have chosen. Even though this was a big challenge, in the beginning, it brought together very different experiences and opinions which strengthened the overall team output.


How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

Our cohort is a bunch of fun, curious, diverse, and passionate personalities. Everyone is driven to grow beyond themselves and try to make a change. At the same time, everyone has their own area of knowledge and expertise that they are willing to share. This has allowed us to become much more than a simple group of different individuals; it has allowed us to become a team.

Do you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

Even though almost every lecturer has been great, Dr Sankalp Chaturvedi is particularly worth mentioning. His passionate, caring, and interactive approach towards teaching was not only incredibly motivating but allowed everyone to take away great learnings from his module.


Which workshops, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?

Imperial offers a great variety of different workshops that help to practice different skills or prepare for job applications. Especially during the first weeks of the term, I tried to take part in as many as possible. These taught me how to create a targeted job search, how to tailor my CV and cover letter to a specific company, or how to present with more impact.

What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial?

I am a member of the Social Impact & Responsible Business Club, the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Club, and the Technology, Media and Telecommunications Club. These memberships have been very helpful to meet students from other programmes and work with them on topics you are passionate about.


What are your future career goals?

As a purpose-driven enthusiast for innovation and human-centred design, I am passionate about strategically driving and managing innovation in complex environments. Therefore, I strive to work for a company that creates meaningful products or services which have a positive impact on people’s lives.

How did the services from Careers help in your professional development?

Imperial’s Career services have helped me in various workshops as well as one-on-one coaching sessions to explore my career aspirations and develop the skills I need to apply for jobs. All career consultants I have met were immensely helpful and had great expertise in their fields. Most career events are voluntary, which has led to some of my classmates prioritising other matters and letting career services slip by them. I would advise everyone not to do this and to really make the most of the amazing opportunities Careers provide.


Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities?

Absolutely! London is a great city that offers unlimited possibilities. Almost every global company has an office in London. Besides that, London is home to thousands of promising startups. This allows you to meet and network with some truly amazing people.

If you had to move to London for the programme, where did you decide to live? What advice would you give to someone in a similar position?

I chose to live in Whitechapel. Even though it is quite far away from campus, it only takes a little over half an hour to get there. Whitechapel is an immensely culturally diverse area that is well connected. One of my personal highlights is the Whitechapel Market, where you can buy all kinds of vegetables for amazing prices. Additionally, Whitechapel is right next to one of the city’s hotspots for young people, Shoreditch. There you can enjoy wonderful food, drinks, shops, and nightlife.


Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online webinars or on-campus information sessions?

Since I decided very early that I wanted to apply for the programme, I had a lot of time to take part in many different online information sessions. They were really helpful to understand the application process and prepare for it. Some of them contained very similar information, but I definitely feel the time was well spent in helping me prepare for the application.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?

Do not be afraid. Before I applied to Imperial, I had been anxious that I would not be smart or good enough. However, when I started my studies, I learned that even though people are clearly very intelligent, they are still human beings, and everybody has their strengths and weaknesses. Try not to worry about what you are not good at. Be honest about it and explain how you plan to improve at Imperial. Be specific and show what makes you unique as a person.

Want to learn more about MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management?

MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management

BA Communication Design & Photography, Design Akademie Berlin