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WHU-Studierende und Experten diskutieren über generative KI

WHU Students and Experts Unite to Discuss Generative AI

The WHU Entrepreneurship Roundtable gathers students, experts, and the public to tackle burning AI questions

Henkel, Microsoft, Google—these were just some of the prominent companies represented at this year’s sold-out WHU Entrepreneurship Roundtable, an annual, student-led event held at the Düsseldorf campus of WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. Dubbed this year the “Generative AI Conference – Pioneering the Generative AI Generation,” the event brought together 130 guests to tackle what has become one of today’s most salient topics. The lively discussions that took place on campus that day, during workshops and even at the technology showcase, proved one thing for certain: The AI revolution has only just begun.

But with all the recent buzz surrounding AI, many of the guests in attendance had a plethora of questions on their minds, from the more obvious—“How will AI affect me and my job?” and “Is this just a passing trend?”—to the more nuanced—“Is generative AI sustainable?” and “What are the legal implications?” The panel of invited experts was ready to cut through the noise and provide clear answers. Among others, Professor Dries Faems of WHU’s Chair of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Technological Transformation (and the developer behind the AI-based LeanStartupAgent); Hamidreza Hosseini of Ecodynamics; Emily J. Ryan of Google; Edip Saliba of Microsoft-Open AI; and Frank Tepper-Sawicki of global law firm Dentons offered their unique insights into how AI will continue to affect the corporate world.

And they were not there to merely extol the virtues of this new technology. In delving into the topic, many also noted the importance of practical, responsible, and sustainable usage. During one of the event’s workshops, for example, participants got a crash course in what generative AI is and how it can be used to help prepare a business for the future ahead. And that, according to venture capitalists Matias Concha Bidegain (Henkel Venture Capital) and Jan Leicht (Simon Capital), is crucial. They noted that merely jumping on the AI bandwagon won’t help start-ups much in the long run. Rather, they claimed, it is more important that start-ups be able to justify their usage of or interest in AI—and be able to prove to potential investors that AI will be of benefit to the business.

Generally speaking, there was consensus that generative AI is here to stay and is, indeed, no bubble. And for many of today’s young professionals and business leaders, that means learning how to tame the tiger. Viswanadh Arigela (MBA, 2023), Chairperson of the WHU Entrepreneurship Roundtable, noted how important it is to keep one’s finger on the pulse. “It’s so easy to become irrelevant in your current function if you don’t keep your skills sharp,” he said. “Take the time now, if not to learn, then at least to know.” By the end of the conference, many guests, some of whom had had only minor contact with AI, walked away with a greater understanding of the technology and how it can be applied.

Since its inception in 2016, the WHU Entrepreneurship Roundtable, supported in its efforts by the school’s alumni association In Praxi and its sponsor Dentons, has worked to bring topics to the forefront that matter most to today’s entrepreneurship scene. In addition to their annual flagship event, the group also offers open workshops, including one recently held in conjunction with the City of Düsseldorf’s Start-Up Woche.

WHU’s many student clubs are a core component of life on its two campuses. They offer a chance for students to connect to the business world around them and put their own skills to the test. “Running the Roundtable this year was akin to running a start-up!” noted Arigela. “It was a massive undertaking, and none of us would have been able to do it alone and so successfully. We have a great team.”

Learn more about the club and their efforts by visiting their LinkedIn page or official website.

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