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Welcome to the WHU Women in Business Club!

About us

We are a WHU student-led club providing a platform to accelerate the leadership journey of women in business and to contribute to Germany’s top management female pipeline in the long-term. We are looking for female and male MBA students who want to connect with female entrepreneurs, founders, leaders, alumni, and supporters of promoting gender diversity and women leadership in business.

Our Mission

To achieve gender parity, we believe in addressing the greatest obstacle for women in the workplace – the “broken rung,” the first step into management from entry-level.

Events

Our next events:

From Whistleblowers to Creative Minds:
Thinking out of the Box in Corporate Innovation Management

Wednesday | October 27th , 2021 | 18:30 – 19:30
Hybrid Event: Join us via Zoom 
and in Lecture Hall 4.2.05 of WHU Campus Düsseldorf

About the event:
Creative minds and employees who raise concerns often face the same set of systemic challenges in a firm. Corporate leaders who are willing to forge new paths in Innovation Management under these circumstances are best positioned to unlock their employees’ full innovative potential.
About our speaker:
Marieke Otto is Vice President at AlixPartners, a global management consulting firm. Marieke’s focus lies on organizational effectiveness measures in large-scale turnarounds and organizational transformation programs, where she has built a unique set of expertise in coaching individuals and client organizations on personal and group effectiveness, workplace behavior and the maximization of employee potential.
Prior to joining AlixPartners, Marieke was a shareholding manager and entrepreneur. She is a Birkman Certified Professional, holding a Bachelor of Laws degree from Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, as well as an MBA from WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management.
 

TBD October   Speaker Series online

Past events:

"Intellectually stimulating, fast-paced and continuous learning” – that’s how Lea Lemberg, a young and self-motivated Business Analyst and Team Lead from PICNIC, summarised her journey to a full-house of WHU WIB members.

Founded in 2015, PICNIC has revolutionised the way people do grocery shopping – less hassle, less commuting time, less waste. She shared that the Business Analysts in PICNIC play important roles in ensuring that PICNIC continues delivering groceries to their customers’ homes in a simple, fast, best-price-guarantee and sustainable way possible.

A few tips she shared for all aspiring Business Analysts: (1) sharpen your analytical thinking, (2) have the right mindset, (3) expose yourself to extracurricular experiences, (4) be yourself and embrace your strengths, and lastly (5) you don’t have to know how to code before joining PICNIC, you’ll learn it on-the-job!

PICNIC continues growing rapidly and invites you to join them for future internship or career opportunities. Explore your opportunity through picnic.app/careers or get in touch with PICNIC recruiters Cristina Ciorici cristina.ciorici(at)teampicnic.com (Business Analyst job roles) or Eva Zehentleitner eva.zehentleitner(at)teampicnic.com (Category Management, Marketing roles) via email or on LinkedIn!

Co-hosted by: Simona Shenbakar & Irina Crisan
Written by: Julia Losieva

On the 26th of July 2021, Atena Rabou-Degenkolbe, Team Head Digital Sales/Technology/Marketing at Robert Walters, shared some insightful dos and don'ts tips when preparing for an interview. Here are just some of them:

--> Do your homework. Give you a proper thought on why you want a career change. Do not come up with week answers such as I want a career change to try something new... Write down the pros and cons of the discovered role. Read the job description carefully. Is there a bridge between the job description and your CV? If yes, check the company's expectations and build up a connection between your CV and your future job. 

--> Check your CV and social media profile. "Fill your CV with life!" emphasizes Atena. "Do not innovate, though – a PowerPoint CV with multiple images is overengineered. Practice your CV. Explain and give examples."

-->Prepare questions. Check the world wide web on standard questions a candidate should ask the company and not forget to ask about the new role. Is it a new hire or a replacement? What are your expectations if I start tomorrow? what systems or agencies are you working with?

There is a concern from our community members: does being honest work against me? Atena believes that honesty is the best policy. You have already gone that far by deciding to change job, and now sitting in front of the recruiter, you might also give sincere reasons why you are looking for a change. Another burning question comes from the audience: Is a one-page CV too little and two pages are already too much? Atena says a one-pager is never too little as long as you bring your story and experiences to the point.

Personal pieces of advice from Atena: Try to meet the decision-makers (e.g., company events, job fairs). Make yourself present. Getting in touch with future employers shows your proactivity.
And the final three magic words from Atena: networking, networking, networking. 

A two-hour talk with Atena cannot be squeezed in one paragraph. So please do not be shy to subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch the #StartTheConversation recordings. More pieces of advice, passionate discussions, clarified concerns are in the recorded video with Atena: https://lnkd.in/edi6f3sW

Hosted by: Irina Crisan
Written by: Julia Losieva
Nr of participants: 42

14th of July. Tracy Castle-Newman, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley gives Wall Street Lessons on Leadership and Empowerment
It was a different kind of event – without a single ppt slide, Tracy Castle-Newman told us about her career and how she came to where she is now. A story from the humblest person – that is how Tracy is talking about herself - and we cannot agree more on that. In 1990, when Tracy started her career in a New York bank, the words embedded risk and hedging were utterly new to a young 25-year-old female working in a treasury. "I had no idea about these financial terms, but I was never shy to ask explain it to me; what is happening here?" And here comes the first lesson from Tracy – "You do not need to know everything. You need to know people who know". Sounds familiar? Well, Tracy is talking about networking.

Women in Business (WiB) showered Tracy Castle-Newman (TCN) with various questions. Here are some excerpts from our talk with Tracy. Watch an entire conversation with Tracy on our YouTube channel.

WiB: As students or as we re-enter the workforce, what should we practice or do to prepare us for future leadership roles? 
TCN: Managing people is one thing, but a leader should also give her people reasons why we are doing XYZ by getting people to believe in her vision and strategy.

WiB: What was your concept at the start of your career? Did you change your vision or ideas in moving forward?
TCN: The idea of what I want to be and the plan of what I want to do were changing over time. Of course, in the beginning, I did not have a clear vision of my career. But it shaped over time.

WiB: Have you been in a situation when your team's motivation is in decline? How do you empower them for a change?
TCN: Do not show fear; otherwise, you will bring down the ship. You can cry at home, but at the workplace, you should keep the troops (=team) calm. 

WiB: How to maintain a long-term relationship?
TCN: Constantly reaching out. Take time to have a 2-minute conversation with a person. Never not answer the phone. Never not answer the email. Try to answer the call even if you know you cannot help. It will pay off later.

Tracy's passion is promoting women into new jobs and that they are paid fairly. She would like to see more women be interested in the world of finance. To sum up, an event with Tracy Castle-Newman was no ordinary event. She was candid, bold, inspiring, and sincere in HERstory. She was like an auntie or fairy godmother you have not seen for a while, and now she came with a short visit to give you some tips.

Hosted by: Irina Crisan
Written by: Julia Losieva
Nr of participants offline: 18
Nr of participants online: 29

What a night! First hybrid event of the year hosted by WHU Women in Business. We were longing for an event during which we could and meet our speakers personally. 

What a topic! Diversity and inclusion in a workplace. Indeed, this is a topic where #StartTheConversation takes place. As Axel mentions during his speech, "I am fighting for everyone's rights. And I expect everyone to do so!" 

We kick off with How to approach the topic of pride topic at the workplace? and How long do I have to hide in my business environment? Axel responds that launching the pride chapter is not easy. Prepare yourself for challenging discussions, but you raise those discussions because only via speaking up you can broaden the horizon of your co-workers and management. The isolation is broken once you are talking about yourself. Diversity should become an everyday topic and not the topic that is only whispered about.

During the Pride Month 2021, nearly every company swapped out their usual logo for a pride logo. We asked Axel whether it was pinkwashing or the first step to inclusion? What was the primary motivation behind changing the logo? Axel is optimistic that the pride logo is not only pinkwashing but companies' first step to inclusion philosophy. Axel refuses to believe that pride marketing campaigns were only showing offs because, once a company carries its position on diversity and inclusion, this is the take-off to opening minds - they cannot go back to not be inclusive anymore. 

Shall pride quotas change into targets? Axel told us that pride quota is a tricky topic. Axel is not a fan of quota since he wants to be seen as a professional and not only an LGBTQIA+ community member who is only being hired on the LGBTQIA+ quota.

We were afraid we would not make it through all the slides Axel brought with him. From the very first minutes, we showered Axel with questions we were longing to ask.

We discussed these and many other topics with Axel Freund, Head of Food Safety, Security & Infrastructure at LSG Group. If you missed our event, catch up by watching the event's recording on our YouTube channel. Subscribe and stay tuned for more event recordings.

Thank you to our sponsors Immobilientreuhand Westfalen GmbH & Co. KG and Prodware!

On June 30th, as part of the #StarttheConversation series, the Women in Business hosted a session titled “The key to unlocking your potential” with the inspiring Karin Heinzl. Karin is the founder of MentorMe, the largest mentoring community in DACH, and she spoke with us about the power of mentorship. 

Karin shared her story and unique background, including having lived in Vienna, New York, Washington D.C., and India before settling in Berlin. When Karin wanted to start working in Berlin, she began to ask herself, what could she put into the world with her own hands and her own skills? And this is how MentorMe was born in 2015. MentorMe is an organization focused on providing women with the opportunity to connect with mentors and gain support during their job development journey. If you are interested in learning more about the MentorMe program, please check out the website here! 

The insights provided by Karin were both helpful and memorable. She began with three questions to ask yourself while thinking about finding a mentor. Why do I need a mentor? What do you need to move on/decide? What is your goal for mentoring? While mentoring may be a trendy topic right now, it is crucial to thinking about exactly why you are looking for a mentor before you can have a meaningful mentorship experience. She advised us that only after you have answered these questions can you move on to finding the right mentor. Karin suggested starting your mentor search with family and friends. Then you can expand your search to your current workplace, online communities, and programs, like MentorMe! The perfect mentor does not need to be your friend, but it should be someone you respect and that can help you grow professionally and reach your goals. 

One last suggestion from Karin: “Just start!” This was the best advice she ever received from her own mentor. And it is something we can all keep in mind as we continue our MBA and career journeys. You have nothing to lose, start your search for the right mentor today. Please join the Women in Business for our future #StarttheConversation discussions! 

Hosted by: Helen Wiehe
Written by: Helen Wiehe
Nr of participants: 38

Another successful #Starttheconversation event with Svenja Gossing. 

Have you ever wondered if you are pursuing the right job? Did you ever think: “My job is okay, but do I really want to keep on doing that?” Or “How can I switch my CV to start turning a hobby into a job?” These were the questions we were tackling last night together with Svenja Gossing, who took us on a journey about "Finding Your Why" and how important a changed mindset is in order to successfully switch careers and find jobs we really care about. 

Svenja highlighted: “A career is not linear. In fact, it is very uneven with many sideways and it doesn’t have to be planned out until the end. Indeed, it is a test and learning journey!” She adds: “The jobs that were not the most prestigious ones, I loved and enjoyed doing!”

She gave us some useful tips on how to prototype your career:

Step 1: Understand yourself. What do I really want? What are my skills? Ask people you trust

Step 2: Discover possible job roles. Out of the box thinking and research are important.

Step 3: Start prototyping. Start a side business, educate yourself, do networking.

Step 4: Evolve in your career.

In the end, a career change is a personal transition, and it takes time. Therefore, take time to continuously educate yourself, connect with inspiring people and most importantly, make sure that your finances
are secured in order to start something new. Otherwise, it kills #creativity! Furthermore, work on limiting beliefs and maybe ask yourself: “What is holding you back?” 

Hosted by: Irina Crisan
Written by: Julia Losieva
Nr of participants: 97

Members of the WHU Women in Business community have a remarkable talent for inviting exciting speakers. The #StartTheConversation event on the 9th of June with Europe’s leading communications and personal branding expert Oliver Aust was no exception. Oliver’s book "How to Speak Like a CEO" was initially meant to be one book, but turned out to only be the beginning of a tremendous how-to series. Three books and 100+ podcast episodes later, Oliver is sharing with us insights on CEO communications from founders, CEOs, and executives from all over the world.

We started our conversation with Oliver by answering a question: What is strategy? It is a line from point A to point B. Like a CEO, you must communicate and persuade your team of that strategy. 

How do I #communicate during the process of strategy, you ask? Oliver shared with us the nine steps of communicating like a CEO. 

Step 1: Define your #strategy - your master plan. Here you answer why you are on this journey and define your audience and positioning. 

Step 2: Develop a #narrative. Prepare and present your story. Everyone has seen your CV; now it is time for something personal. What is your slogan? Share it with your audience. 

Steps 3 & 4: Do digital makeover and choose your (social media) #platform. 

Step 5: Prepare your #signature talk, which is NOT your PowerPoint presentation. It is more than that. Never be the same, be different. It is time for your personal 15-minutes TED Talk. (This step I personally found inspiring, since I am not a ppt fan.)  

Step 6: Gain #visibility and be active. It is not only about social media - you have to be visible. Traditional forms of visibility have not been canceled, so pursue them: lead a group, build your network, organize alumni evenings, etc. 

Step 7: #Inspire internally. You want to inspire your people. Once again – the Intranet email is good; personal coffee talk is a better alternative. 

Step 8: #Protect yourself. Promotion is excellent; protection is not less essential. Possible crises have to be prepared for and thought through. Because the question is not if the #crisis will occur, but when. A CEO must be prepared to bring people together when challenging times come. One always thinks a crisis would not happen to a small company. Last year showed us the opposite: every type of business, small to multinational, can be struck. So be prepared! 

Step 9: #Show people what you (can) do. Do things and talk about them. For example, go on podcasts, be a LinkedIn Top Voice. Keep in mind, however, that your voice is not measured by the number of Instagram followers!

This event was, without a doubt, one of those that you did not want to end. Find more great ideas from Oliver, and his co-host, Lena Carlson, on their podcast Speak like a CEO with Oliver Aust & Lena Carlson.

Hosted by: Abby Barber
Writte by: Abby Barber

We had a wonderful time hosting our first networking event of 2021 among WIB members. The event started off with a quick, fun exercise, where all participants selected a photo of a place they’d like to travel, setting a very scenic background across Zoom. Participants were then placed into breakout sessions, where they met new individuals and discussed specific themes relating to personal growth, peer advice, as well as personal interests. In between rounds, participants shared the biggest learnings from their group discussions. Some feedback from our members about the event were:

Jasmeet Singh (FTMBA2022): “I attended the WIB networking event and met participants from diverse professional backgrounds and nationalities. We were assigned random groups multiple times in order to meet each participant at least once. We were given a few topics that we discussed after our short introduction. I was excited to see the enthusiasm in everyone. I gained new information, ideas and contacts. I look forward to meeting new participants more and extend my network.”

Julia Losieva (FTMBA2022): “There are networking events and THE networking events. The one held by WIB was one of those networking experiences you do not want to end. Due to our online classes and other MBA meetings, we see fewer and fewer unfamiliar faces during our gatherings. It is not unexciting, though, to see recognizable ladies and gentlemen. The organizers of the socializing event came up with non-trivial questions and tasks for the networking rounds, which made the conversations so deep, philosophical, eye-opening, and inspirational!”

Co-hosted by: Dr. Irene Skuballa, Irina Crisan and Sofia Trojanowska
When: 4th May 2021, online event
Co-Written by: Cynthia Oldehaver & Dr. Irene Skuballa

Our event began with a keynote address by Professor Rosabeth M. Kanter, who introduced us to the three “I's” that are the ingredients for a successful leadership career. The first “I” stood for Inclusion, which references the technical skills that get you in the door for leadership positions. According to Kanter, women tend to be highly skilled, yet men hold higher positions in business, as solid credentials and work ethic don't necessarily lead to a leadership position. This is where the second “I” comes in, which relates to Influence, or in simpler terms, developing relationship skills and ensuring your presence at the table. Kanter emphasized that true power comes from supportive networks with people who are different and can complement your skills – strengthening any weak ties. She also noted that inequality in the household can keep women from building strong networks. Finally, the last “I” is Impact. It is the most difficult challenge and requires us to leave old structures and embrace new innovations, visions, and big ideas. It takes courage to step up and proclaim your dream!

After Kanter's inspiring keynote, a lively and inspiring discussion followed with our panel experts. Eva Michel explained that she believes we need more diversity in the innovation business. Women are able to bring a fresh perspective and challenge the status quo of a common group thinking practiced by established male groups in companies. Petra von Strombeck confirmed that it’s possible to lose up to 50% of any company if we neglect women in innovation teams. When asked about the skills needed in the future for the innovation business, Ulrike Müller identified data literacy and empathy as bottleneck skills for leadership; they enable us to step into the shoes of customers to develop products that serve them best. Finally, Julia Doll referred to Kanter's last “I,” emphasizing the importance of vision balanced with patience, as innovation means having many doors in front of you that close because people tend to resist change.

Hosted by: Irina Crisan
Written by: Irina Crisan
Nr of participants: 29

At our latest #StarttheConversation event on 29th April, Flora Isabelle Luginsland took us along on her professional path - from Corporate Consultant to #Mompreneur. Flora runs her own business as a management consultant and business coach, and comes with a versatile track record in corporations across the globe. Flora invited us to a candid and lively discussion granting us access to challenges, failures and learnings throughout her career. Without much effort, she created a safe space, where participants felt comfortable and confident to share their own personal experiences and ask for advice. 

Overall, Flora initiated a genuine and thought-provoking exchange on intercultural differences, gender equity and female empowerment. Undoubtedly, she sets an example of integrating personal and professional choices and encourages others to do exactly that.  

Thank you, Flora, for being with us! Thank you everyone for participating at our WHU Women in Business event! Thank you Women in Business Team

Hosted by: Irina Crisan
Written by: Flore Patrat-Delon
Nr of participants: 36

Our latest event, featuring Laetitia Vitaud, was one filled with lessons learned and invaluable insights! Thanks to her many years of experience, both as Director of Cadre Noir Ltd and Author and Speaker for the Future of Work and HR, she kindly shared those insights with us at WHU Women in Business.

During our discussion, she outlined how the pandemic is affecting businesses and private life, along with the unhealthy mingling of both, which is impacting peoples’ well-being. She also spoke of a second pandemic on the horizon -the health crisis -which has brought new battles along with it, like depression, lack of motivation, decreased libido (yes, this is very common), or even unhealthy eating habits.

Furthermore,she touched on the crisis around gender disparities in work-life, especially those brought on by the pandemic, as women and men have not been equally affected. Before the pandemic, women were already more likely to step away from work to take care of their children, but the pandemic has accelerated this. 

The pandemic has shed additional light on these subjects. Laetitia believes that this should allow for new opportunities and norms to emerge, and options like hybrid formats will provide employees with new possibilities, positively influencing work-life for everyone.

Hosted by: Irina Crisan
Written by: Helen Wiehe
Nr of participants: 52

On March 15, we hosted a very interesting event with Martina Cleven, who is a founder of her own brand strategy consultancy. Martina Cleven talked about her route to self-employment in the field of consultancy and gave us very interesting insights into her work and ideas. She was so kind to share the things she has learned throughout her journey:

  1. Motivation is important – you will spend a lot of energy on your idea, so you better choose something you are passionate about.
  2. Do research beforehand - you need to analyze who your competitors are and what products or services they offer. Moreover, you need to identify your customer’s needs.
  3. Practice presenting – you should start presenting your business idea to family members or friends so that you are a “Pro” once you start presenting to potential investors, the bank or potential customers.
  4. Start networking early – It is all about being respected and recommended. You must start building a network before you actually need it. Invest, before expecting a return.
  5. We learn that networking is an attitude and a long-term project; “it doesn’t happen by coincidence, and not overnight” Martina Cleven points out.

Hosted by: Karim Oumran
Written by: Dr. Irene Skuballa
Nr of participants: 35

Last week we had an amazing event with Dr. Jannika Bock talking open about overcoming stereotypes in tech industries, but also sharing her unique career path with us. 
She emphasized with us the importance of having a balanced life-work, taking care of oneself to succeed professionally: “Never treat personal obligations less important than business obligations”.

Three important key take-aways for us are:
1.    Know your strength and cultivate it
2.    You have to know your priorities, but don’t compromise on them!
3.    Frustration is part of the game!

Thank you Jannika for being so open with us, for bringing with you all your lessons learned and telling us “fight for things that matter and let go of other things”!

Hosted by: Ashley Black
Nr of participants: 31

We had a 30-minute discussion on opportunities, challenges, and suggestions on pursuing a leadership career in the technology industry in Germany, Europe, and worldwide, followed by Q&A from the audience. 
 
Itinerary:
18:00 - Introduction of Andrea's career and Infosys company background
18:10 - ~30 Minute discussion with Andrea lead by WHUWIB host
18:45 - Audience Q&A wrap-up

Hosted by: Irina Crisan
Written by: Beatriz Ania
Nr of participants: 25

“Diversity is a fact, Inclusion is a choice, Belonging for me is the proof of good inclusion. That is why we should talk about: Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB)” (Erik Lüngen)

Eye-opening topic and brilliant discussion we had on Friday with Erik Luengen and Irina Crisan. Erik gave us insights on how important it is for a company to have a DIB culture and how this translates into a successful business. Many international corporations struggle to have a good share of diverse leaders, which is why ensuring a #diverse #talent pipeline is of utmost importance. Diverse mentors and #rolemodels that take on #inclusiveness as a duty are required. "Everybody has something special to bring to the table. I love to work at SAP because we have established a culture to respectfully learn from each other. That perfectly fits the culture I share with my partner." (Erik Lüngen) We need black CEO’s and more female executives in DAX companies. We need to change our #mindsets and be aware of our #biases, and we need to educate future generations to be accepting of these differences. Thank you, Erik, for gifting us your time and sharing your insights and experience on this important topic with us! And a big thank you to our participants for being engaged in the discussion!

Nov 3, 2020: "Mentoring Impact on Leader Efficacy Development" with Sabine Hansen and Prof. Dr. Fabiola H. Gerpott

Hosted by: Irina Crisan
Written by: Cynthia Oldehaver
Nr of participants: 28

When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” 

We finished another insightful #StartTheConversation Personal Growth event regarding "Mentoring Impact on Leader Efficacy Development". 

Our key take aways:

  • All good leaders have great followers
  • Finding the right mentor can make a substantial impact on not only your career, but your physiological well-being as well.
  • Stay engaged with your network to find mentors or a protégé! 

Special thank you to our speakers Sabine Hansen and Fabiola H. Gerpott. It is pleasure to work with you both, as always!

Hosted by: Irina Crisan
Written by: Cynthia Oldehaver
Nr of participants online: 130 
Nr of participants offline: 20

Early last week, we successfully launched our personal growth series #StarttheConversation, where we tackle challenging topics in a safe and open space. With over 150 participants (wow!) joining us in-campus and virtually, our first talk entitled "Self-Marketing: Design Your Own Strategy" was hosted by Dr. Fabiola H. Gerpott, Chair of Leadership at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management and Ina Konrad-Röntgen, WHU alumna (D '99).

We learned that #selfmarketing is all about personal branding - the story of what makes us special and unique, what values do we stand for, and how we are perceived by the others. Our personal brand is how we as individuals respectfully bring our message to our target audience. There are different ways we can present ourselves, but it all comes down to choosing a strategy: think about ways to self-promote, choose the right audience and take advantage of techniques to better showcase who you are!

Once again, we would like to thank our speakers for launching the #StarttheConversation series on a high note. Shoutout as well to our generous sponsors, Jackie Leuer-Hingsen, MBA of #CaliEats and Prodware! We are looking forward to hosting our next talk - stay tuned for more information!

Three ways to get involved with WWIB:

Participate

Attend our talks, moderate a discussion or contribute to the conversion.

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Volunteer

Support a functional team, setup an event or be a jack-of-all-trades.

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Lead

Plan an event, define our thought leadership strategy or run a fundraiser.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions –
To WHU Women in Business.

Yes, you need to be a current student of any WHU program to join the club, alumni or partner of the club.

If you want to participate in any of the events or join as an organizer, please visit the website and follow us on our social media for more information. You can also contact us by email.

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