Published On: May 2nd, 2024|4 min read|

Our next guest for the interview series Women at CDTM is Celine Perrot, Class of Spring 2020, who works in the Innovation and Emerging Technologies department at the BMW Group. In our interview, Celine shares how she helps the BMW Group to navigate the ever-changing technology landscape and how the CDTM helped her to thrive at the intersection of tech research and strategy development while embracing diversity as an opportunity for growth.

Celine’s professional journey began with a passion for blending business with technology. More than fitting, she holds a master’s degree in Media, Management, and Digital Technologies from LMU Munich. “Ambidexterity and digital transformation in incumbent industries were already a major topic during my studies. Joining BMW in a corporate innovation role allowed me to explore my passion for emerging technologies and drive meaningful change within an industry that is changing like no other.”

The CDTM played a crucial role in discovering and pursuing this passion. After completing her Bachelor’s degree in Mannheim, she was interested in pursuing a Master’s at LMU Munich. Therefore, she attended an event about the respective program, where she met a student participating in the CDTM program. They instantly clicked, and she decided to participate in the Inspire & Dine event a week later. Although she had the idea of applying to CDTM since then, she
hesitated initially. “I was pushing back my application as I wanted to gain more experience, especially from the technical courses of my Master’s degree.” However, looking back, she would encourage everyone to apply as soon as they are interested. “The earlier you get involved, the more you can take away and grow. And if it doesn’t work out, you can try again.”

Becoming part of the Class of Spring โ€™20, Celine started at the beginning of Covid, making her and her classmates realize that the biggest part of the program would be conducted online. Looking back, she remembers that they formed a close community determined to cut through the obstacles with high motivation and a can-do attitude. โ€œThis is definitely something I have profited from in my jobs since. The CDTM classes during Covid taught me to keep going even when things get rough and to drive creative output in circumstances where youโ€™re not working on-siteโ€, she recalls.

Celine is now a stream lead for AI innovation, a role which has many facets. It encompasses everything from trend research to rapid prototyping and strategic planning. “We’re constantly scanning the horizon for technologies that have the potential to revolutionize our industry,” she says. This dynamic environment, combined with the opportunities of a robust enterprise like the BMW Group, offers enormous creative freedom.

However, one of the team’s key challenges is navigating the ever-changing landscape of technology. “Adaptability is key,” Celine emphasizes. “Innovation moves at lightning speed, and we need to stay one step ahead to remain competitive.” Therefore, she must constantly familiarize herself with new topics and foster a culture of experimentation and collaboration โ€“ within the organization and beyond. She adds that the team continually engages with startups, universities, and other industry partners to stay at the forefront of innovation and get fast access to the latest trends and

Reflecting on the journey over the last few years, Celine shares her insights into the transformative power of embracing uncertainty. “Innovation thrives in the unknown,” she remarks. “It’s about confronting ambiguity head-on and forging new pathways where none existed before. Whatever it is, embrace curiosity and never stop learning. This has also been one of my key learnings from CDTM and the courses there, especially during MPD where we were quickly working on as many ideas as possible.โ€

When diversity emerges as a central theme in our discussion, Celine emphasizes its pivotal role in fostering innovation. “By embracing diverse perspectives and experiences, we enrich our collective creativity and propel to new heights of ingenuity,” she asserts.

However, our conversation also delves into the challenges of navigating traditionally male-dominated industries like automotive and IT. “While strides have been made, there’s still work to be done in cultivating gender parity everywhere,” she acknowledges. “That’s why I’m always grateful when I meet managers or mentors who push diversity in a very individual way and are, therefore a role model for everyone.” In her working environment itself, there is a high level of diversity at various levels, which has a positive impact on the innovative spirit.

As we conclude the interview, Celine tells us about the most critical piece of advice she has received. She passes it along: “Being a generalist among experts is not a limitation, but a privilege and opportunity. Embrace challenges, chase your passions, and you’ll unlock the ability to learn and grow in ways you never imagined.”

Celine, thank you so much for the interview; it was great to talk to you!