After a few semesters, when students at CDTM have successfully completed both MPD and Trend Seminar and some electives, it is time for each Centerling to tackle the last of the three core courses: The Entrepreneurship Laboratory (eLab). The eLab is a twelve-week long project-based course Thus, the contents and project questions vary between the individual teams. Yet, the projects have in common that the students consult their project partners on strategic business questions, often related to founding, growing, and scaling young companies. As such, the course combines insights and challenges from the field of strategy consulting and entrepreneurship, and all of us were beyond excited to face a steep learning curve.
“Advise your clients thoroughly and help them to make the right, strategic decisions” was the mission that each of the Centerlings embarked on in April. With seven teams and 27 students, the biggest eLab class ever was set together. Still for a mostly virtual journey, that, however, also included some highlights for in-person meetings. And, after two semesters of remote learning and COVID-19 pandemic, Centerlings had long figured out how to get the most out of a virtual or hybrid course format. Among them were participants who were visiting their families all across Europe, studying abroad, or who dialed in from vacation destinations or even from a boat for the input sessions. The locations were diverse – just like the participants themselves. With attendees from the classes Spring 19 to Fall 20, it was a mixed group and made entirely new friendships. As the summer approached, it was all the better that Covid-cases abated and slowly in-person meetings were possible again. It was not only possible to meet within teams, but the final presentation could also take place at the Center itself—a real highlight for many students who had spent most of their CDTM experience remotely. So, they were able to talk face-to-face about the projects and individual experiences.
But- let’s fast-forward a bit to how we got to the crisp data-driven final presentation results. Initially, Centerlings were able to choose from a broad array of projects, i.e. client problems. Projects ranged from calculating fair prices for the energy market to a market entry strategy of federated machine learning technology. Now, those problems most certainly weren’t a piece of cake, and students haven’t frequently dealt with similar cases before during their many studies or internships. However, that’s where the elab course structure provided the necessary guidance and the possibility to shake it up in one of the many dance breaks. Thus, the class had a lot of fun and showed drive and energy throughout the period and the willingness to learn and develop.
Elab courses and input sessions shed light from different angles on the topic of entrepreneurship and show the different parts of it: from the beginning of finding a team and having the will of doing it to the stage of growing, selling, winning, or failing. A diverse set of speakers not only shared their expertise but also reflected on their learnings. Accordingly, every speaker’s effort was rewarded by active participation and intriguing questions from the class.
On-top students were frequently coached by project management coaches and coaches from top strategy consultancies McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Company. Certainly, the experiences and knowledge gained will guide and influence the Centerlings well beyond their journey here at the CDTM.
We wish all Elabians all the best on their future endeavours, and thank you for an amazing eLab Term 2021!