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04/30/2024

Elevating Entrepreneurial Acumen and Network Through the EMBA

Alum Christian Hartmann on becoming a founder and scaling up

“Being an entrepreneur full-time is very fulfilling. I love what I do every day. While there was pressure and deadlines in my corporate life, this is a new kind of pressure,” laughs Christian. “I am fully invested in my company and have no plan B; I’m responsible for its success. But I love every minute of it.” Christian Hartmann is a recent alum of the Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA program with a background in digitalization and automation with Bosch, Germany. He is now the co-founder and managing director of beyondbots, an ‘intelligent automation start-up.’ 

“Entrepreneurship is a topic that is not new to me, but it has always interested me,” he explains. “It’s what initially drew me to the Kellogg-WHU EMBA. The program’s entrepreneurial focus and mix of USA and European studies felt unique compared to other European programs. Much of the focus in other countries seemed heavily on their regional ecosystems. I was ready to build a new network with more global connections.”

These international connections left the most significant mark on Christian, as he recounts his experience in India and the USA as part of the integrated field trips and electives. “During the trip to India, we met the Dalai Lama. It was an incredible yet unexpected experience. But my time in San Francisco sticks out the most in my mind. The focus was on business development through a boot camp, developing an idea from scratch, piloting it, validating it, and pitching it within five days. We met Steve Blank, a superstar in the entrepreneurial field, who talked to us about innovation and agile methodologies. He invited us to his house by the sea in California, where he spent hours with us for a fireside chat. It was very inspiring to me as an entrepreneur.”

However, Christian confesses that an EMBA was only on his radar once it was presented to him by accident. “It was only by coincidence that I saw an advertisement online for the Kellogg-WHU EMBA, which sparked an idea in my head. I knew I wanted more regarding my professional and personal development. After some investigation, I found an EMBA was the perfect fit for my needs. I hoped to gain a new network and expand my knowledge, and the Kellogg-WHU EMBA has exceeded those expectations. Those personal relationships and connections I have gained helped build my start-up. As for the teaching content, the professors from both schools are of an exceptionally high standard.”

For beyondbots, founded in 2021, Christian expresses a more altruistic vision for the company. “We want to enable all companies to automate their processes with AI. With intuitive software based on No Code / Low Code, you don’t need to be a programmer or hire experts. Companies can finally scale their automation initiatives by effectively integrating these two technologies. Our goal is to become one of Europe's most relevant companies, helping companies be more competitive.”

For those considering an EMBA, Christian suggests closely examining your goals and what you want to gain from such a program. “I broke it down into what content I wanted to learn. What kind of brand do I want to be connected to. Suppose you want to develop personally, not just professionally, and improve as a leader. In that case, an EMBA is the best choice.” 

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