Over the past few weeks, we have had the privilege of starting the Entrepreneurship stream with Professor Benoit Leleux. While all of our classes have been impressive thus far, this was one I was especially eager to get stuck into.

Another Case Study? Really?

Coming from a consulting background, I must admit that my heart sank a little when I opened the course outline to see a very long list of case studies that needed to be prepared before each class. I was really looking forward to getting a break from applying framework after framework to the same type of problem. And from feeling so far removed from the scenarios laid out and even further from the characters in them. The experience that followed our first class, however, has significantly altered my perspective.

I am mildly embarrassed to admit that it took an entrepreneur from our most recent case study to get me to realise that the organisations we read about are real. Furthermore, the people who start and grow them are just like us – human. Bastian Nominacher joined our classroom in real time. He took us through the basics of Celonis, the process mining business that he started with two co-founders out of a tiny flat in 2011. But it was the more personal insights that made this interaction a truly exceptional learning experience.

Tech Unicorns are Real

Bastian described how Celonis recruits the right talent to fit its rapidly growing team and their commitment to growing and developing these individuals. He also shared a few anecdotes on how the three co-founders have managed to maintain their relationship in the midst of it all. For those of us who previously envisioned a tech startup as a bunch of guys behind a computer screen, plugged into reams of code, barely stopping to eat let alone shoot the breeze for a few minutes, Bastian somehow managed to make tech seem incredibly human.

What an honor it is to be here. I’ll never read another IMD case study the same way again!


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