“I wanted a top-tier global business school with the best possible Blended program, and a program that builds on international exchange at its heart.”
Joachim von Goetz
- Schooling in: Mannheim, Bristol, Hong Kong, São Paulo, Madrid
- Worked in: San Francisco, New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, Singapore, São Paulo, Berlin, Walldorf
- Fluent in: English, German, French, Brazilian Portuguese, and with a little refreshing, also Spanish
- Expertise in: Digital transformation, venture scaling, entrepreneurship, business model innovation
Joachim von Goetz, Germany
Global Vice President, Head of Experience Center Strategy at SAP & Adjunct Professor at IE Business School
- Program studied
Define your experience in the Executive MBA using one word.
In what ways do you think the Executive MBA has changed your life, professionally and personally?
In hindsight, the Executive MBA experience truly ingrained itself into my life. My most treasured takeaway is the capacity to effectively take on any challenge thrown at me. Imagine the Executive MBA throwing itself on top of your personal life, your intense work schedule and any unpredictable life events you might face, and then having to deliver final group work, an operations case deliverable and a weekly finance assignment on the same day simply because every other day is equally packed. You manage, you survive and you even start to enjoy success in this environment. You really get stuff done, you learn how to organize yourself, how to prioritize, and most importantly how to work with your peers. Today, any challenge coming my way, regardless of magnitude, complexity or timeline is just another challenge. That levels your perspective on everything.
What advice would you give to students who are about to begin the program?
You are in for the ride of your life… so best be ready! Be very transparent with your family and friends upfront—you will become a partial ghost during the program, and you need their buy-in to support you in this. This is not about daunting, but about being realistic. The program demands a lot of time and energy, so you better come prepared and with the right mindset—not just yours, but that of your family and friends as well.
What is networking like in the Executive MBA?
In short, you get a family everywhere in the world. Networking sounds very “businessy,” but at IE Business School it feels more like making friends. You meet a vast array of like-minded, smart and fun people who got to the same place for different reasons, but who all want to go on a similar path in the future. And that’s why we all came to this school. IE Business School has a gravitational pull that attracts a specific type of persona: global, open-minded, and curious. My class still touches base with each other, spends vacations together, connects regularly and tries to visit each other when possible. I didn’t just network at the Executive MBA, I made friends for life.
Why did you choose to study the IE Business School Executive MBA?
The choice was really straightforward. I wanted a top-tier global business school with the best possible Blended program, and a program that builds on international exchange at its heart. When I then learned that IE Business School has a focus on entrepreneurship at its core, it was the cherry on top.
What has been your favorite memory of the Executive MBA so far?
Honestly, there are too many to choose from! Let me pick one feeling that resonates with many IE MBA participants. It’s that feeling within the MBA of yearning for the end with the illusion of then going back to normal. Those feelings are contrasted by sensing a void immediately after the MBA, and not knowing how to fill it. Hobbies? What were those? Then you realize that normal is gone and is replaced by a new normal—whatever every individual’s interpretation of it is. Mine was coming back to IE Business School in a new capacity.
On top of being an alum of the Executive MBA, you are an adjunct professor at IE Business School. How does it feel to become a professor of a program in which you were not so long ago a student?
First and foremost, it filled me with immense gratitude to get invited to teach at IE Business School. Being part of such an amazing faculty team is truly a great honor, and I am trying my best to do justice to the level of quality my established and acclaimed peers are delivering. It’s not an easy goal, but a great one to chase.
Becoming a professor gave me the chance to look behind the curtain and get a much deeper appreciation of how much work many professors put into creating their best possible teaching experience—something that as students we often don’t even realize and that we take for granted. Teaching takes an immense amount of time, preparation and patience. So as with all things, seeing both sides gives you perspective. Also, having been an IE University student helps me become a better professor. I have been in their shoes, and know what I liked and disliked. I try to build on learning experiences and continuous student feedback to help students.
What courses are you currently teaching?
I am associated with the Entrepreneurship and the Information Systems and Technology departments. Since becoming a professor, I’ve taught Entrepreneurial Venturing, Corporate Entrepreneurship and Digital Transformation (formerly Technology and Innovation Management).
So far, I’ve had the true privilege of teaching MBA students from over 60 countries,
who all bring their cultural, economic and political background into class—enriching the experience. I often think that even as a professor, I am at heart still a student, since I learn something new from each individual’s experience, and from each class.
What has been your favorite memory as a professor so far?
My personal highlight was the nomination for Best Professor at the 2018 graduation ceremony, especially as that was my first academic year as a professor. It was less about the nomination itself (the tip of the iceberg), and more about what it represented: the accumulated hours put into preparing and teaching, the great support received by IE University and IE University colleagues, and naturally the appreciation from students. Things came together and I truly felt honored, especially as IE University has so many distinguished professors.
How would you describe your teaching style?
Demanding, diverse and fun, I hope. It’s always hard to judge from the teacher’s perspective.
I’m demanding in the sense that students can expect a lot from me, but I also expect a lot from them. My classes are fast paced as I expect the class to not only be prepared, but also ready to dive deep, dissect, re-assemble and abstract the content of the sessions. Students can also expect me to ask them to connect content from different classes and current world events with each other.
My style is also diverse. Every class has a particular design for me, where I mix cases, theories, workshops, deliverables, guest speakers and simulations into a continuously engaging narrative that creates multiple “aha” moments. Every class is also— as much as I can make it—a trip around the world, as I select examples from all regions of the globe.
My classes are also fun. Life is already serious enough, so adding a little bit of fun into the class strengthens the learning experience for me. I am also building up my own best practices on how to get students engaged, especially considering the online teaching format.
Having the perspective of both the student and the professor, what makes an ideal IE Business School student?
For me the ideal IE Business School student has a good life story to tell when coming to IE Business School. Like how he or she grew up, started exploring the world, went through different life experiences, tried out different jobs or really embraced their passion. Most importantly, they should stay open to new things, humble to the world, and thirsty for knowledge.