Learning from Entrepreneurs: MDBA Students visit Berlin-based Startups

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Berlin calling! 26 students from cohorts 3 and 4 of the MDBA program at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg had the chance to explore Berlin’s dynamic start-up scene. The “Digital Field Trip” took place from November 16th to 18th, led by Professor Voigt, Dr. Oscar Pakos, Lars Friedrich, Michael Mertel, and Anna-Lisa Schaal (WFA). The students visited three successful Berlin-based startups, gaining valuable insights into their digital business models, agile working methods, and inspiring culture. Selected company representatives, including Benjamin Molzahn (CFO | IVY OAK), Christian Hafner (Director Learning & Development | Enpal), Luise Schuler (Internal Communication Manager | Enpal), and Sebastian Schleicher (CTO | Blinkist), shared their expertise and experiences with the students.

IVY Oak (founded in 2016), a modern and progressive Occasionwear brand is on a mission to change the textile industry, work towards more conscious choices and create a meaningful, long-lasting wardrobe for today’s society and generations to come. To this aim, IVY OAK cultivates a 360-degree vision, that stands for a holistic approach and thoughtful choices. It symbolizes moving away from a linear, disposable model towards creating long-lasting fashion. With its Direct-2-Consumer approach, IVY OAK holds a strong digital core integrated deeply in their business model and challenges existing fashion brands in the luxury segment.

Enpal (founded in 2017) aims to create a sustainable energy ecosystem based on renting solar systems, wall boxes, and batteries to customers for a period of 20 years. At the end of the term, customers possess the option to purchasing the systems for a small fee. With this approach, Enpal is providing an important contribution to the energy transition in Germany and is currently the fastest growing start-up in Europe. Despite its young age, Enpal already grew to more than 6,000 employees and is among the fastest growing startups in Europe (and one of the few unicorns in Germany).

Blinkist (founded in 2012), offers a fee-based service that summarizes non-fiction books and educational talks in English and German to the most important core messages. With over 20 million users worldwide, individuals can access content in the form of text and audio files, each lasting between 15 to 25 minutes. This enables users to efficiently enhance their professional development and gain new perspectives for their personal lives.

In addition to these fantastic start-up experiences, we enjoyed delicious food, a strong sense of community, and the breath-taking atmosphere of Berlin! We would like to thank Benjamin, Christian, Luise, and Sebastian for their warm hospitality and valuable insights. We are already looking forward to coming back to Berlin in the near future!