Before coming to ESMT, I ran a small SEO firm and worked at a restaurant analytics startup before realizing I was missing some of the tools I would need to be more successful at running a business. Unfortunately with my business CostBrain, while I was able to attract customers, I had trouble securing funding. So I decided to attend ESMT to gain the skills I would need to raise capital, become a better leader, and network with other startup founders to gain insight and explore new ideas.
I was given plenty of opportunities to lead. In fact, I was the Vice President of the Entrepreneurship Club at ESMT. Being VP gave me plenty of chances to network with the local startup community of Berlin and I even ended up with quite a few contacts with whom I am still in touch with, even after the events I held within the club.
There is a range of other clubs to take leadership roles such as the Tech Club and Net Impact. Even if you are not elected in one club’s elections, there are plenty of other clubs to gain leadership opportunities in. As well as club elections, students pick two class representatives twice during the program. Students also lead their own events such as a Brazilian BBQ, potluck, and various sports arranged by student clubs. With a smaller class size, everyone who wanted to had plenty of leadership opportunities available.
Plenty of networking with local startups
Being in the heart of Berlin makes it easy to get to know and network with local startups. The school not only hosted events such as the first day of Lean Startup. They also gave out free tickets to other startup events which otherwise would have been unaffordable for a lot of the students at ESMT. With Berlin being one of the top startup hubs, if not the top place to start a business, many events had plenty of high profile speakers such as Alexander Osterwalder.
I also attended the event Berlin Welcome Day which brought startups well funded and small to allow plenty of networking opportunities with founders and investors. They’re honestly were too many opportunities to take advantage of and despite one’s best efforts it would be impossible to attend all of the multitudes of events held in Berlin all year long.
Working with a startup
Toward the end of the year, everyone works on their own consulting project in a group which they either self-sourced or are given by the school. This year most groups were able to actually source their own project.
I was fortunate enough to source my project with a local startup called DiscoEat. Along with 4 other students, we worked directly at the company’s office and reported directly to the CEO, CMO, as well as worked with other departments to devise ways to improve the startup. While I can’t get into too many specifics, we ended up building a strong relationship with DiscoEat which has given us additional networking opportunities.
This project was also a great way to put into place all the principles, skills, and theories we had learned over the year. By the end of the project not only did it strengthen these concepts, but it helped me learn how I can be a better entrepreneur in the future.
Choosing ESMT as an Entrepreneur
If you are an aspiring founder or looking to become a founder, I do recommend ESMT. The school is well situated in Europe’s startup capital and besides networking within ESMT, having the ability to build a network in the local community was a valuable experience as well. Now that the program is coming to an end, I feel like I have the tools I need to start my next successful business and that I have the network in place to make it happen.