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SMI Masterclass series

For better or worse, COVID-19 has completely transformed the way we do business, how we use technology and how we interact with each other.  

In September 2020, Steinbeis SMI launched a series of online classes to help our students gain direct industry knowledge about what is needed to better equip the leaders of tomorrow with the skills required to build more resilient business ecosystem in the face of COVID-19. We designed this special masterclass to provide students with key insights and strategies for a new work order. 

From September 9-28, students accessed live webinars from Steinbeis’ network of international speakers and thinkers who addressed three key topic areas across technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, and new work and new leadership. More than 60 students took part in various live webinars and interactive discussions led by global industry experts and leading professors, all of whom shared their insights and tactics with our students.

Some speakers’ highlights include:  

  • Rita McGrath (US): 10x change in business strategy with coronavirus
  • Rise Group (US): Innovation in times of crisis 
  • Plan A (Germany): What does climate change have to do with COVID-19? 
  • Jovana Karanovic (Netherlands): Disrupted business models

One of the participants was Florian Mueller, a Steinbeis SMI MBA alumnus who successfully completed his degree in June this year. He is passionate about wind and solar energy and collaborating in global virtual teams. Currently, he is working toward a sustainable energy future in his role as a CFO at SWEB Development USA, LLC and SWEB Development LP.

“In times of change, some call for proven toolkits. In times of unprecedented change, however, that doesn’t cut it. The masterclass was targeted at developing tool-makers, not mere tool-users,” says Florian.

To close our SMI Masterclass, Rita McGrath, who is a professor at Columbia Business School, spoke about the most important findings of her new book “Seeing Around Corners: How to Spot Inflection Points in Business Before They Happen.” In her session (“Seeing Around Corners: Identifying Early Warnings”), Rita shared the exact idea of strategic inflection points and how to adequately build up an early warning system.

Rita is regarded as one of the world’s top experts on strategy and innovation, with particular emphasis on developing sound strategy in uncertain and volatile environments. Her book, which was published in 2019, offered the first prescriptive, innovative guide to seeing inflection points before they happen — and understanding how to harness these disruptive influences to give companies a strategic advantage. Her ideas are widely used by leading organizations throughout the world, who describe her thinking as sometimes provocative but unfailingly stimulating.

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