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EBS Success stories

Since its foundation in 1971, EBS University has produced great graduates whose aspiration is to make a difference in the world.

People are not born strong leaders. But when given the right environment, strong leaders grow.
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Career paths of our alumni

Leadership Personalities. Made by EBS.

Leadership at EBS does not just mean getting to the top, it also means making a difference. We asked our graduates how studying at EBS has shaped their careers. Each of them has taken a unique path and yet they are all united by the ambition to make a lasting impact in the world.

Alumni stories
Forbes 30 under 30

Success stories, awarded by Forbes Magazine

Each year, the renowned US business magazine Forbes awards the 30 Under 30 in a total of 20 categories. What they all have in common: Their actions change the world.

By now, Forbes Magazine awarded 13 EBS Alumni with this honour!

EBS Universität is proud to have taught such top-class personalities and made a significant contribution to their successful careers.

We interviewed our alumni and asked them about the motives, motivations and challenges that all company founders experienced when founding their first company. At the same time, they provide helpful insider tips for all those interested in starting their own business. In a nutshell: curiosity, courage and zest for action are the fundamental driving forces.


Forbes 30 under 30 FINANCE

Constantin and David met each other during their Bachelor in General Management studies at EBS. They graduated in 2017, and in 2019, together with Mike Tobias Mahlkow, they founded Blair. The startup finances education through income share agreements. By doing so, people who can’t afford the tuition fees when applying to a university can pay them back once they have a job.

 

What has been the biggest challenge in your business career so far?

Constantin: Building a scalable payment routing system that can handle millions of dollars in transactions without human interaction with my Blair team.

David: Dealing with times of doubt about both personal and company performance. Building an external social support network has been beneficial in dealing with difficult times. However, creating solid relationships inside the company has always been the key for me. Everyone in our team is a real hero to me, both personally and professionally.
 

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?

Constantin: Be bold! Life is short, and you likely will regret not going for it in hindsight.

David: Be fast! In the early days, your most significant advantage over established companies is that you can make decisions quickly and iterate at lightspeed. Also, try to remove the ego from the equation. It does not matter if your idea wins. It only matters that the best idea for the company wins.
 

Which mistake would you have liked to avoid?

Constantin: You don’t think much about many administrative tasks in the early days, and you constantly tell yourself that you will fix them later. While that’s often the right strategy, it can sometimes come back to bite you. I would have liked to put slightly more effort into some of these areas in the early days.

David: We underpaid ourselves heavily for a long time. We should have paid us a bit more since it sometimes affected the company’s productivity.
 

To what extent did your studies at EBS provide you with added value for your work?

Constantin: The most important value I got out of EBS was the personal relationships I formed while I was there. I met some of the most influential people in my life at EBS, most prominently my co-founder David and my girlfriend, Katharina.

David: Two things come to mind immediately. Number one was organising the EBSpreneurship Forum with my Co-Founder Constantin and learning how to lead a team to create something young. Number two was the opportunity to do my exchange semester at USC in L.A., where I met Mike’s other Co-Founder. For me, it is all about the many great relationships I have made during my time at EBS.
 

Your best memory of EBS Universität?

Constantin: The final speech of the EBSpreneurship Forum I organised. It was incredible how the whole event involved over the days, and this was the first time I fully grasped what we had created over the past year.

David: Talking to the EBSpreneurship team before concluding a fantastic event and starting the afterparty.
 

What does the alumni network offer you?

Constantin: There’s a cohesiveness beyond the studies, and you immediately have a common ground. In addition, many good friendships have developed that still exist today.

David: Deep expertise in every industry out there and a friendly face welcoming you to almost every city globally.
 

Do you have a (daily) routine you always keep to?

Constantin: I am very vigorous about my routine. I track the most important parts of my life, like sleep, biomarkers, and habits. Since I am training for an Ironman, the workout schedule and accompanying diet determine a big part of my routine outside of work.

David: I wish I were better at keeping routines, but lately, I started drinking tea before bed for better sleep.
 

Who is your great role model?

Constantin: I do not have one specific role model but try to gain insights from different people for different areas of my life.

David: My mother.
 

What are your goals for the upcoming time?

Constantin: Grow Blair both in terms of users and revenue and the team while keeping up the great culture. In addition, I want to finish my first Ironman by the end of the year.

David: Professionally, I want to hit the goals we set for Blair and hope that I will play a significant role in making them happen. After completing the vaccination campaign, I want to have some semblance of normality again and spend more time in the office with our team in the U.S. and Germany.



Forbes 30 under 30 DACH

The train was supposed to leave at 2:15… Five minutes before, however, the announcement: The expected departure will have a delay of 60 minutes! Probably everyone has experienced the effects. Submit an indemnity? For many people, this is a long and nerve-racking process. Benedikt Quarch has recognised this problem and founded the LegalTech start-up RightNow together with Phillip Eischet and Dr Torben Antretter. The company aims to acquire the legal claims arising from flight cancellations, ancillary rental costs, package tour cancellations or rail delays from its customers, and to repay them proportionally within 24 hours.

What has been the biggest challenge in your business career so far?

Every business career has a great number of challenges. I especially remember the insolvency of the airline AirBerlin, which hit us hard in the first months of our newly founded LegalTech company in 2017. Similarly, a decision by the Federal Supreme Court in 2018 changed our product range significantly. Those were enormous challenges, which we could only master with a great team. I am very grateful for that.
 

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?

My most important perception is: to have the courage to think outside the box! Try things for yourself and be willing to take chances, even at the risk of falling flat on your face. After all, being an entrepreneur means undertaking something - as an old acquaintance taught me while still at school.
 

Which mistake would you have liked to avoid?

I think it is often difficult to deal with that everything takes longer than you expect. In this respect, I was sometimes impatient.
 

What brought you to EBS Universität back then?

I was in the first intake year of EBS Law School - I enjoyed that very much. The pioneer spirit and the combination of the “classic” law studies with many innovative aspects - above all, the integrated business studies - attracted me to Wiesbaden at the time. And that was the right decision. I then went on to do my doctorate at EBS.
 

To what extent did your studies at EBS Universität provide you with added value for your work?

The interconnection between theory and practice, the close exchange with the professors, the integrated studies abroad and, above all, the additional business knowledge - all this has given me excellent insights into law and business, which helps me every day. Above all, I have fond memories of the entrepreneurial spirit at EBS and live it every day.
 

Your best memory of EBS Universität?

The pioneering spirit in the first year of EBS Law School 2011 has had a formative influence on me to this day.
 

What does the alumni network offer you?

I am in close contact and enjoy a good exchange with many alumni from Law and Business School. This is true for both business and personal issues. I am involved in the branch of the Alumni Association in Düsseldorf and as cash auditor of the association. I enjoy that very much. I find it especially important that the Law School also plays a significant role in the life of the Alumni.
 

Do you have a (daily) routine you always keep to?

My days are never the same - but coffee and the FAZ in the morning are always a must.
 

Who is your big role model?

That’s a good question but difficult to answer. Let me name three people from whom you can learn a lot: Angela Merkel (her style of leadership has always impressed me), Jeff Bezos (always putting the customer first) and Rutger Bregman (his book “Utopias for Realists” has impressed me most lately).
 

What are your goals for 2021?

We want to drive RightNow’s growth forward at top speed. I want to catch up on the Kenya safari cancelled this year because of Corona.
 

How do you deal with the requirements created by the coronavirus?

This is a broad topic, as old Briest would say. We have generally come through the crisis well at RightNow and have even launched new products. I have learned that both working from home and everyday life, without being constantly on the move, function very well. Nevertheless, if there is such a thing, I am looking forward to a time “after Corona”.



Forbes 30 under 30 FOOD & DRINK

Niccolò Lapini is the Co-Founder and CEO of the delivery service Bella&Bona. Bella&Bona believes in healthy and balanced dishes from the Mediterranean cuisine.

What has been the biggest challenge in your business career so far?

One of the most significant challenges has been dealing with the unknown. Developing ideas had been a keen interest of mine from an early age. My third and current venture, a B2B food delivery project called Bella&Bona, resulted from my desire to take positive risks and grow ideas. When working on a new project, you are forced to make hundreds of decisions a day. Sometimes I have to make decisions without any experience but with a personal assurance that I have done my best to better the company. Dealing with uncertainty is one of the most challenging and most exciting parts for me.
 

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?

Surround yourself with top people! Already in school, it is paramount to create a network of “A” players. The people you spend time with will affect your attitudes and behaviour. Stay closely surrounded by positive, supportive people who contribute to your mental toughness.
 

Which mistake would you have liked to avoid?

We cannot change the past, but we can learn from it. There are tons of mistakes that I have made in my personal and professional career. What is essential is to understand the reason behind the mistake. It is important to learn fast and ensure mistakes will not reoccur. It is okay to fail, but it is an invaluable characteristic to grow from those failures. My main mistake was my management style: when I started my first venture – may be given to my at a very early age – I often micromanaged my direct reports. Micromanagement led to a lack of trust and good colleagues leaving the company. Through a structured feedback process, I learned why competent professionals were going, and I could change my management style.
 

What brought you to EBS Universität back then?

According to Financial Times, my decision to study at EBS was driven by its unparalleled reputation as one of the top 20 business schools. I was also drawn to the semester abroad programme, internship opportunities, and the international context.
 

To what extent did your studies at EBS Universität provide you with added value for your work?

The focus of the EBS programme is on applying lectures to real work life. Almost every course incorporated a project with a company. I remember the fantastic L’Oréal competition where, with a team of three students, we had to design the go-to-market approach to launch a new product. Besides, during the summer break, I did my first internship at Unicredit in the finance department. Last but not least, the EBS Alumni have a commanding presence in Europe; one of the earliest Bella&Bona investors is a former EBS student!
 

Your best memory of EBS Universität?

There are many. One of the best is the EBS Symposium. I still find it remarkable that a group of students could organise a three-day congress with such attention to detail, from the companies invited (Facebook, Mckinsey, Google and so forth) to the fantastic workshops. The event connected global business leaders with students and created a tremendous networking opportunity.
 

What does the alumni network offer you?

As mentioned before, the alumni network has a strong presence in Europe. I try to participate once a quarter at a gathering of EBS alumni in Berlin: it is always an excellent opportunity to see leaders from different industries coming from EBS.
 

Do you have a (daily) routine you always keep to?

I don’t have a rigorous routine, honestly. What I always try to have is enough sleep. I force myself to sleep at least seven hours a day which helps me prepare for the following day with a fresh mind. Good sleep helps in concentration, productivity, and overall performance.
 

Who is your great role model?

It is tough to answer this question. I would say that one of my role models is my grandfather. At 85, he still overlooks a construction company he established when he was 20. Although he doesn’t cover a specific position in the company, he never misses a single day when he visits his former company, from Monday to Sunday. He has been an active role model for me because I could understand the importance of finding a passion for driving your work. Only by loving what we do we can overcome stress and the many hours in the office. I am lucky enough to have found my passion in company development and connecting strong teams.
 

What are your goals for 2020?

I’m a planner by nature. I need to have everything organised and scheduled. There is no exception when it comes to setting goals. Of course, with the current COVID-19 situation, goal setting can be challenging. In terms of private life, I plan to stay closer to my family – especially since my sister is due to give birth in August. I am so excited to meet my future nephew Gaia! From a professional standpoint, I want to work hard to validate our new fully recurring model and accrue the same monthly revenue gained before the pandemic by the end of the year.
 

What role does the corona crisis have in the start-up phase?

It’s a paradigm shift from growth at all costs towards a more profitably driven business. The idea that you can grow at any cost and only once reach a particular business size focus on profitability works well in a “winner takes all” market, but not in any other market, as seen in the ridesharing failures and the works of the world. Our strong focus on unit economics has let us quickly make changes to our business to adapt to the new standard, lowering costs with the ability to scale up at a moment’s notice.
 

How do you deal with the requirements created by the coronavirus?

When working in the food industry, hygiene regulations are the #1 priority. We ensure minimal exposure through secure and contactless bulk deliveries. Our individually packaged dishes are the best way to distribute and reduce cash exchanges and numerous contact points during the lunch break. Besides, we apply strict controls during the food preparation and portioning and delivery.
 

What positive things did you learn/take away from the crisis?

We have always had a very lean approach that allows us to readjust our business model in less than two weeks. This approach has allowed us to launch two pilots (a grocery box and a B2C delivery), reduce all high costs and take this time to review and develop sides of the business that were not yet at total capacity. In the same way, we saw that our strategy of maximising the runway without incurring unnecessary costs was successful and allowed us to continue to operate.



Forbes 30 under 30 FINANCE

Easy and fast banking as well as flexible financing solutions for start-ups and small to medium-sized companies, that is what Penta offers. Founded in 2016 by Jessica Holzbach, Luka Ivicevic and Lukas Zörner, Penta today supports over 15,000 companies and currently employs more than 95 people in Germany and Italy.

What has been the biggest challenge in your business career so far?

Each day is a new challenge. Every problem seems huge and deadly difficult when it emerges, but with the time you learn to deal with it and take things a little more calmly. For example, the decision back then to give up my secure job in management consulting to start my own business was extremely difficult. Today, I’m glad I took that risk although the first attempt was not so successful.
 

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?

Especially at the beginning, it is important not to complicate everything and to just get on with the task in hand. It is okay not to have all the answers to every question. You can still solve these as you go along. If I had known then just how complicated it is to set up a bank, I probably would have abandoned the idea. A healthy mix of naivety and courage is needed for this.
 

Which mistake would you have liked to avoid?

I would have liked to have realised earlier that the only person who should make important decisions about your life is you yourself. Don’t get me wrong - there is plenty of well-intentioned advice and certainly the one or other good mentor and advisor. But any advice must be carefully weighed and one needs to remember that it is always seen from the perspective of the person giving that advice. So, particularly during the set-up phase, there are many people who will advise you against it. But that’s absolutely normal.
 

What brought you to EBS Universität back then?

I had been to a commercial high school and was certain that I wanted to study economics. An acquaintance of mine, Benedikt Kalteier, was at EBS and after hearing all the positive things he had to say and after my visit to the Open Day, I decided to apply for the study programme.
 

To what extent did your studies at EBS Universität provide you with added value for your work?

I learned all-important specialist principles at EBS. Also how to deal with stress and high levels of pressure and demands. Working in student initiatives and organising congresses is the perfect way to learn how to organise and conduct events in a short period of time.
 

Your best memory of EBS Universität?

The best time was my semester abroad in South Africa, the time between the 5th and 6th semesters spent writing my bachelor thesis and the final weekend after graduation. We all felt the world is our oyster and that come what may, we could cope with anything. :)
 

What does the alumni network offer you?

Always the right contact person you are looking for, also good events and information.
 

Do you have a (daily) routine you always keep to?

The only routine is that I have no routine. I get up at a different time every day. I know that some might find that strange but every evening I think about what I want to do the next morning and day and plan accordingly.
 

Who is your great role model?

I hope, myself in 20 years’ time ;). Apart from that, there is no particular person but there have been many people who have really helped me a lot and who encouraged me in the past.
 

What are your goals for 2020?

That everyone in Germany knows that Penta is the best alternative to traditional banks.



Forbes 30 under 30 SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS

EBS Alumni Marco Feelisch founded Buckle and Seam in 2016, together with Jena Bautmans and Georg Wolff. Handmade, high-quality leather bags from Pakistan, which not only convince by their design and their fair price but above all by the concept behind them: The founder’s design each bag themselves, are in direct contact with the manufacturers and regularly travel to Pakistan to personally assess and control working conditions. In addition, with every bag he buys, the customer supports the education of a little girl in Pakistan and provides her with hygienic conditions.

What has been the biggest challenge in your entrepreneurial career so far?

The biggest challenge in my entrepreneurial career was managing expectations. On the one hand, there are my expectations - of myself as a person and my company. On the other hand, my employees’ expectations in Pakistan and Germany, which we naturally want to meet.

Also, ethics are at the forefront of our company. It will remain challenging to weigh up ethical and business issues and assess their importance in the future. Here it helps me keep the Code of Conduct of EBS Universität in mind. At EBS Universität, in addition to our practical, scientifically sound and internationally oriented education, we learned to take on social responsibility.
 

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?

Founders should constantly ask for feedback and take a critical look at it. In addition to feedback from friends, I regularly ask partners and people I have no personal relationships. You must listen to people and customers to understand what you need to improve and what you need to build on. And entrepreneurs should take time to reflect. What went well in the past? What went badly? What’s my present target? The start-up world is very hectic and in a constant state of fluctuation, and you can get carried away by this. However, a business can only grow as big as the managing director himself.
 

Which mistake would you have liked to avoid?

In the beginning, I expected my company to grow as quickly as possible. I did not value our successes enough. As a start-up, however, one should not only have the financial side in mind.
 

What brought you to EBS Universität back then?

I wanted to go to a top university that was geared to internationality. The ethics concept entirely convinced me of EBS Universität. The many inspiring personalities on campus, whether professors and lecturers, fellow students or alumni, were also a highlight.
 

To what extent did your studies at EBS Universität provide you with added value for your work?

The teaching at EBS Universität formed the basis on which I work. In the extra-curricular activities - I co-organised the EBSpreneurship Forum during my studies - you learn for life. The university’s size also means that you are very close to your fellow students. I made lasting friendships. In addition, the university has a broad network of first-class companies that all students can and should use.
 

Your best memory of EBS Universität?

The Rheingau region offers many possibilities and is scenically very beautiful. Sitting with friends on the banks of the Rhine in summer - that’s something I like looking back on.
 

What does the alumni network offer you?

The alumni of EBS Universität are very well connected. Starting during your studies, you get to know many alumni who have all gone their own way - founded their own company, gone abroad or worked in a top company. Now I am always thrilled by the numerous events that take place worldwide, hosting inspiring speakers. I’m happy to meet my fellow students regularly - and I have already had one or two meetings with investors at these events.
 

Do you have a (daily) routine you always keep to?

I always cycle the 20 minutes to my office every morning, no matter what the weather’s like. That helps me to clear my head. I also try to be the first one in the office. This gives me time to answer my e-mails and start the day well sorted.
 

Who is your big role model?

At the EBSpreneurship Forum, I met the Indian businessman Suhas Gopinath. He founded his own company at the age of 13. Later I did an internship in his company.
 

What are your goals for 2019?

In 2019 I would like to establish independent management in our company. More importantly: we are committed to donating 3% of our sales per bag sold to Anum School in Pakistan. Currently, we are using this sum to support 120 female pupils. We want to increase this to 150.



Forbes 30 under 30 RETAIL & E-COMMERCE

A mattress doesn’t have to cost a fortune: this is what Max Laarmann wanted to prove when he founded his start-up Emma Matratzen in 2015. Laarmann and his team developed a high-quality, pressure-relieving mattress that is suitable for different body types and sleeping habits. Special feature: customers can test the mattress risk-free for 100 days at home before buying. Within a very short time, he and his team built the company into one of the fastest growing tech start-ups in Europe and in 2018 he was selected among the 30 Under 30 in the Retail & E-Commerce section of the renowned US magazine Forbes. On 1 December 2018, Max Laarmann joined the Advisory Board of the parent company Bettzeit GmbH.

What has been the biggest challenge in your entrepreneurial career so far?

One of the biggest challenges was undoubtedly to take the first step into starting a business. Back then, in the last semester at university, we already had a very concrete idea with a business plan and investors, but in the end, we were too scared to take that step. Looking back, however, it became increasingly clear that fear was unnecessary and that the risk was manageable, especially here in Germany.
 

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?

Instead of raising a lot of money right from the start, I would recommend testing your product as intensively as possible on the market to understand your customers as well as possible. At Emma, we have had an excellent experience starting small, testing a lot and growing organically. This probably takes a little longer but is often more sustainable.
 

Which mistake would you have liked to avoid?

There are a lot of them every day. It is essential to have a very positive attitude toward mistakes and reflect on them to avoid them in the future. It helps immensely to surround oneself with people who have already made many mistakes and to learn from them.
 

What brought you to EBS Universität back then?

Coincidence, to be honest. I enjoyed my time in the Rheingau region very much.
 

To what extent did your studies at EBS Universität provide you with added value for your work?

Especially the high percentage of practical and international work and the internships were beneficial in subsequent years.

Your best memory of EBS Universität?

I found a great many friends for life. But the parties were always great, too.
 

What does the alumni network offer you?

I am constantly meeting other EBS alumni in the most diverse situations, and we are happy to help each other out.
 

Do you have a (daily) routine you always keep to?

Nothing regular, unfortunately, but I try to walk to and from my office every day now. It takes more time, but it gives me the chance to structure my thoughts for the day a little bit.

 

Who is your big role model?

Jeff Bezos, I have half a book of questions I would like to ask him.
 

What are your goals for 2019?

Having left Emma at the operational level at the end of last year, there are many new things on the agenda in 2019…



Forbes 30 under 30 TECHNOLOGY

Benjamin Bilski is a former German professional swimmer and Internet entrepreneur. Back in 2015, he set up the social trading app SwipeStox, a social network for stock exchange traders with several hundred thousand users. At the same time, Bilski founded the FinTech company The Naga Group AG together with Yasin Sebastian Qureshi and Christoph Brück. The listed company has over 100 full-time employees and the value of the Naga Group is estimated at more than 280 million US dollars.

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?

It is essential to work with the right people. Many people say the team is everything and I agree wholeheartedly after years in high-growth start-ups (where you have so much hiring and firing). In the beginning, you often do not know who are the right ones, but I have two recommendations here: KPIs and personality profile. On the one hand, it is extremely important to measure employees’/colleagues’ performance from the very beginning. How much is achieved, how transparent the work is, and how much is documented. If someone resists this transparency and review, this is wrong and an important sign. On the other hand, you have to know close colleagues, co-founders or key people better than just from the office. This is all about working with people who have their personality profiles. The more one knows about a person’s background, the more beneficial working together becomes. Therefore: communication, offsite meetings, team building. These basics can be essential later when things are going up or downhill.
 

Which mistake would you have liked to avoid?

Delivering or developing too much for investors or externals rather than for clients.
 

What brought you to EBS Universität back then?

From the age of 16, it was my dream to make it to EBS Universität. I had heard about and had a lot of respect for this university and knew that this would be an essential step in my business career.

To what extent did your studies at EBS Universität provide you with added value for your work?

I have built a great network, got to know good people, set up start-ups together, and won another good edge to my master’s degree.

Your best memory of EBS Universität?

I met my best friend at EBS Universität. The best was the consulting field studies, the Star Club and Vinea visits together. The one or other funny story originated there…
 

What does the alumni network offer you?

I am always in contact with alumni and have been able to find talents for NAGA there.
 

Do you have a (daily) routine you always keep to?

I have been living in sunny Limassol (Cyprus) for some time now. In the morning, I usually go swimming or jogging along the seafront before working. Otherwise, every day is different from the last - and for that reason, I love what I do very much.

Who is your big role model?

For me, no one name or person comes to mind. I see all successful entrepreneurs who have set up and run a company valued at over one billion dollars as role models.
 

What are your goals for 2019?

I will be focusing very strongly on growth and quality from this year onwards. We had a rapid growth phase with an IPO and, with NAGA, have built a strong trading brand. Now we have to focus on exploiting new markets and ongoing improvement.



Forbes 30 under 30 BUSINESS

Alexander Knieps is the founder and CEO of Printulu, an online printing company that offers offline marketing materials such as flyers and business cards for companies of all sizes. Alexander founded Printulu in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2016.

What has been the biggest challenge in your entrepreneurial career so far?

After a 1 million US Dollar investment pledge, I flew to South Africa, founded the company, and set up the company and website with all my savings. Unfortunately, the investment contracts were so disadvantageous that I could not sign them with the investors and had to bootstrap the company. This was probably the most difficult time as it was neither planned nor budgeted.
 

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?

Look for strategic partnerships, especially at the beginning - the value of this for the company is often, many times, a purely financial investment. You should always be on the lookout for new solutions and should not even in difficult times!
 

Which mistake would you have liked to avoid?

I made some mistakes when hiring employees. The important thing at the beginning is to document and communicate the core values in the company and then to hire and pay them accordingly. I did this too late.
 

What brought you to EBS Universität back then?

In particular the practical relevance, the international orientation and the extra-curricular activities were decisive criteria for me. These factors show that the university develops personalities rather than just imparting knowledge.
 

To what extent did your studies at EBS Universität provide you with added value for your work?

The approach of EBS Universität is that of a very tight curriculum, intensive examination phases and extra-curricular activities to test the limits of students. This is exactly what is expected of you in your job and especially as an entrepreneur.
 

Your best memory of EBS Universität?

The flat share in Schillerstraße with my colleagues Dominik Bong and Armin Burckhardt.
 

What does the alumni network offer you?

The mentoring programme with EBS alumni helped me a lot. One of these alumni, or rather mentors, is meanwhile an investor in Printulu. Apart from that, the EBS alumni network is very strong, especially in German-speaking countries, and therefore not so relevant for me at present.
 

Do you have a (daily) routine you always keep to?

I get up very early every morning…

  • to meditate for 10 minutes
  • to run 5 - 10 km
  • to read for half an hour (to learn something new)
  • and to prioritise the day’s tasks (one to three things that need to be done).
     

Who is your big role model?

My father, because he built his own company without a university degree, just with hard work in the post-war period.
 

What are your goals for 2019?

With Printulu I would like…

  • to become the true mass customisation platform in 2019. This means that we want to work with various producers in at least three product categories.
  • and to spread internationalisation into another African country.


Forbes 30 under 30 MEDIEN UND MARKETING

Christoph Kastenholz, together with Lara Daniel, founded Pulse Advertising, an agency for influencer marketing, in 2014. The company now has over 100 employees in five locations: Hamburg, Milan, New York, Los Angeles and London. The agency represents international bloggers and works with brands such as H&M and PUMA. Pulse Advertising & Management is thus one of the few international companies to cover both sides of the value chain: demand as an advertising agency and supply as talent management.

What has been the biggest challenge in your entrepreneurial career so far?

Cold calls. There are tens of thousands of emails and calls to potential customers over the years and after every no to call back. That was and is a long way, but it gives me my greatest strength.
 

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?

Doing is more important than planning! I used to think you needed that one great idea to reinvent the wheel. In the end, however, everything turned out quite differently than was originally planned. The first idea led to the next. If we had deliberated too long, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Many successful entrepreneurs say the same. So, get going!
 

Which mistake would you have liked to avoid?

Being thrown out of the university. Failing can give you strength if you make something of it. So that mistake turned out to be important!
 

What brought you to EBS Universität back then?

I was thrilled by the idea of learning from professors with practical experience.

 

To what extent did your studies at EBS Universität provide you with added value for your work?

More the human than the academic part - I failed the latter. The competitiveness among the students is a good experience!
 

Your best memory of EBS Universität?

The community feeling. We went through so much together, and that creates a bond.
 

What does the alumni network offer you?

Some of my closest friendships stem from my time at EBS Universität, and I want to keep them. In terms of business, the alumni are always a strong resource and thus a point of contact for new topics!

 

Do you have a (daily) routine you always keep to?

Sport in the morning, and almost everything I do is on the schedule or to-do lists.
 

Who is your big role model?

I read a lot of autobiographies and try to learn from them. I think Muhammad Ali was strong. He had a will of iron.




CAPITAL 40 UNTER 40

Outstanding personalities in the spotlight

Every year, the business magazine Capital selects 40 outstanding personalities under the age of 40 who have a lasting influence on and changed the German economy.

For more than 50 years, EBS University has pursued providing its students with practical education and motivating them to make a difference in business. We are incredibly proud that the magazine included three EBS alumni in the Top 40 under 40 ranking in 2021.


Capital 40 under 40: Business

For the 14th time, the editors of the business magazine Capital select the “Young Elite - the Top 40 under 40” in 2021. Among them are the most important talents from business, science, politics and society – selected by politicians, managers, entrepreneurs, consultants and those who have already received the award. This year, EBS alumna Gloria Seibert is among them.

You are looking for solutions to the problems of our time - that’s why you were chosen by “Capital” as one of the “Top 40 under 40” for the year 2021. Congratulations! Please tell us briefly about your company and what makes it so unique?

Our vision at Temedica is “Crafting the Future of Personal Health” because we are convinced that every person has a fundamental right to individualised treatment and therapy. With Temedica, we ensure that chronically ill patients have a digital companion between their visits to the doctor. These “patient companions” are apps that we develop specifically for various chronic and serious illnesses: Our apps are in continuous exchange with patients outside of their doctor’s visits and support them with advice and reminders. At the same time, patients can regularly record their health status and thus better understand their disease progression and various influencing factors, such as changes in the weather.

Through direct and long-term interaction with hundreds of thousands of patients, we also generate unique and previously unknown insights into various disease courses and the individual effectiveness of therapies in the real world.

 

How did the idea for Temedica develop?

After studying business law at EBS, I joined McKinsey in management consulting. After a few years, however, I realised that this classic career path didn’t suit me. In 2016, I decided to found Temedica: My idea was to use the advantages of digitalisation to improve patient care. Personal experience also played a role in this: I have witnessed how patients with severe chronic diseases go about their daily lives and have to cope with their symptoms in my family. My grandfather suffered from a severe form of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the 1970s. MS is a neurological autoimmune disease and, to this day, has no cure. The effects occur in relapses and lead to different symptoms and very severe courses. Suppose you compare the care of my grandfather with the situation of MS patients today. In that case, there are fortunately several innovative therapies - the general conditions, i.e., everything outside the treatment, have changed little. Even today, chronically severely ill patients see their doctor only eight times a year on average, leaving 357 days in the end when patients are on their own. The search for ways to support and facilitate the patient’s daily life takes a lot of time and occasionally a different view. Influences such as a change in the weather or altered daily routines can have a decisive impact on the symptomatology, i.e., how the patient feels daily. This experience gave rise to developing digital companions for chronically ill patients. With our interactive apps, patients understand their illness better and can thus manage their daily lives more quickly. We are convinced that this will improve adherence to therapy and, ultimately, therapy outcomes. In addition, patients can share their health and disease progression data with their treating physicians via an export function in the apps. This precise overview of the long-term course of the disease enables doctors to monitor their patients’ therapy better and adjust it if necessary.

 

What is your vision? What drives you?

I want my work to contribute to society. At Temedica, we believe that everyone deserves an individualised therapy tailored to them - that’s what we stand for with our version of “Crafting the Future of Personal Health”. How can it be that today we can personalise our shoes and t-shirts, but hundreds of thousands of MS patients receive the same therapy? Personalised medicine is the key to change, and this is the development we want to support with Temedica. To enable therapies tailored to individual patients, we need personalised patient support (we achieve this through our Temedica apps) and extensive and specific knowledge about individual patients to receive personalised therapies. We make a significant contribution to this with the insights we generate in our Permea platform.

 

The Corona pandemic has challenged us all and continues to do so. How did you get your company through the crisis?

Corona has changed an insane amount - among other things. Digitisation has experienced an enormous upswing. An impressive example from our industry is that before Corona, telemedicine services were hardly used - within a few months, every second doctor’s visit suddenly took place virtually. We have also seen significant demand for our Temedica apps, and last year we launched two more apps for MS (“Brisa”) and ankylosing spondylitis (“Ilio”). We are also currently developing an app for patients with psoriasis, which will be launched in the middle of this year.

 

The virus has forced us to rethink in many areas. Have you broken new ground, and have you also been able to see opportunities in the challenges?

Back in 2016, we started as a small team of a handful of people - our goal was to rethink the healthcare industry and put the patient at the center. For this, we courageously broke new ground and constantly questioned ourselves and our environment, tried new things and looked for opportunities behind seemingly closed doors. This mindset, which we have lived by since the beginning of Temedica, has also enabled us to adapt quickly to the changing conditions brought about by Corona. In the meantime, we have grown to over 100 employees, and along the way, we have had to reinvent ourselves again and again.

 

How or in what do you find a balance?

Of course, my everyday life as a founder is strongly influenced by Temedica and takes up a lot of time. But I also see this as a great privilege because there are probably few other opportunities in this world I can personally learn so much. To compensate, I regularly try to spend a few hours in the gym, and a great source of energy is the walks with my dog. Thereby I sort out my thoughts and can leave the everyday stress behind.

 

What is your favourite memory of EBS Universität?

Back then, I had launched the EBSpreneurship Forum. To this day, I have fond memories of the “big day” when renowned entrepreneurs such as Arndt Kwiatkowski (founder of ImmobilienScout24) or Rainer Schaller (founder of McFit) spoke about their experiences in founding their companies on our beautiful EBS campus. That was a special moment for me and has undoubtedly influenced my entrepreneurial life.

 

In what way did EBS prepare you for your career path?

Even back then, EBS stood for a place for people who wanted to make a difference. Anyone who wanted to become an entrepreneur or take on leadership responsibilities studied here. When Temedica was founded, this mindset naturally played a role. During my two internships and my semester abroad in Hong Kong, I learned many facets and ways of working and how to “just grit my teeth”. Of course, the tools and knowledge I acquired at EBS were also necessary. The spirit and teamwork, but also the competition, set the course for me to become a responsible leader: Agility, enthusiasm, empathy and courage are essential when founding, especially the courage to make mistakes. Mistakes help you recognise how something is not working and offer the best opportunity to learn and grow.



Capital Top 40 under 40: Society

For the 14th time, the editors of the business magazine Capital select the “Young Elite - the Top 40 under 40” in 2021. Among them are the most important talents from business, science, politics and society - selected by politicians, managers, entrepreneurs, consultants and those who have already received the award. This year, EBS alumnus Dr Johann Daniel Harnoss is among them.

You are looking for solutions to the problems of our time - that’s why you were chosen by “Capital” as one of the “Top 40 under 40” for the year 2021. Congratulations!

Thank you!

 

Please tell us briefly about your organisation and what makes it so unique?

We are Imagine. We are the first non-profit association in Germany that facilitates legal and safe immigration of qualified people from Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt and other countries to Europe. We do this through continuing education and a personalised coaching program.

 

How did the idea for the Imagine Foundation come about?

For my wedding in 2014, I had also invited some friends from our time together abroad at the T-Bird. They were happy about the invitation but sadly said, “I hope we get a visa.” That affected me at the time. We live in a world where it is not self-evident even for super qualified people from countries like Peru or India to get a tourist visa for Europe. This shows: Where you are born determines what opportunities you have in life to a considerable extent. We want to change that.

 

You’re also an Associate Director & BCG Fellow - how do you reconcile the two worlds?

On the one hand, challenging, on the other hand: Some of my colleagues run Ironman, which I find completely crazy - I wouldn’t have the time or stamina for that. Imagine is my hobby. Ultimately, it gives me more energy, joy and inspiration than it costs in time. At BCG, I am now also more involved with the topic of immigration. “BCG Fellow” means that 30% of my time is freed up to lead my research program at our think tank, the BCG Henderson Institute. We call it “Innovation without Borders.” BCG recognises that this is one of the future issues of the 21st century, with close links to issues like talent/HR, diversity, innovation, and culture change.

 

What is your vision? What drives you?

Our dream is to help 1000 people to a new life in Europe by 2025. We all know how crucial some decisions are for us in life. Of course, where to study (EBS), do internships, and start a career. It would be great to accompany such a decision for many people. For this, something must also be done on the company side. I still know many big companies whose execs tell me, “I’m open to people from abroad as long as they speak C1 German.” Companies like Douglas, N26 or Zalando are more open, and I can only strongly recommend this openness.

 

The Corona pandemic has challenged us all and continues to do so. How did you get your company through the crisis?

At Imagine, even before COVID-19, we were already working completely “remote-first.” I used to explain that we work digitally and remotely with our target audience. That always surprised everyone and maybe amazed them a bit.

 

The virus has forced us to rethink in many areas. Did you break new ground, and did you also see opportunities in the challenges?

Of course, we were a bit perplexed at the beginning and full of worries about how things would go on. What surprised us was how quickly companies started hiring people again, including from abroad, in Q3/20. In addition, we are unique with our mission and are also perceived as such - so even without much advertising, many people come forward who want to join. Maybe also one of you!

 

To what extent did EBS prepare you for your career?

EBS was decisive for me. It was also through EBS that I started my career at BCG. At the time, I did an internship at BCG after my 6th semester. But more importantly: Through the people, the content, and the culture at EBS, I learned to think bigger and made friends for life.

 

What is your fondest memory of EBS Universität?

So much happening: Parties in the Cafta, calling Alexander Dibelius an “extreme guy” without realising he was standing right next to me (he heard, yes), watching World Cup 2006 on the Rhine… Are the turned-up collars on polo shirts still a thing?


Success stories

Different career paths of EBS graduates

We have arranged some of the most interesting stories of our alumni for you in a booklet.

Read more
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