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Interview with Rieka Wienke, Head of People & Culture at KRONGAARD

People make up organizations. Strategies, innovations, and competitive advantage are all created by people. Therefore, a corporation's growth and advancement depend greatly on the development of its people resources.

WHU’s Open Programs are a perfect starting point for your HR development activities. In this brief interview with Rieka Wienke, Head of People & Culture at KRONGAARD, you will learn about the ways HRD professionals receive support throughout the entire WHU Executive Education journey and what they gained from this enriching experience.

- Ms. Wienke, what goal did you have in mind regarding HR development when coming to WHU?

We want to expand the knowledge within the organization in the long term while continuing to build and expand our own successes through knowledge. As a premium service provider, it is, of course, also important for us to develop premium employees. We believe in the continuous and constant development of everyone and want to promote this from within. For us, knowledge is one of the most important assets for the company's success.

- Why did you choose WHU?

It is important to us that our employees receive a high-quality qualification opportunity. Thinking outside the box is particularly crucial here in order to facilitate lifelong learning. Above all, the networking aspect and the interaction between business and science is very special for us. Insights into existing scientific findings and exchanges with professors and the teaching staff stimulate important starting points, which build up knowledge in the long term.

- Beyond the content WHU offers, what makes it special as an executive education learning provider?

For us, the idea of networking was particularly important. The opportunity to exchange ideas with decision-makers from other companies is a big plus here. Furthermore, because the communication with the WHU staff during the consultation process as well as during the programs is at eye level, we feel understood and receive various formats with different target groups.

- How would you sum up the experience with WHU Executive Education?

As a company, we feel very well looked after here. Here you will find good communication and the possibility to expand our own knowledge. In addition, we get external stimuli that help us internally.

Returning to the daily work routine with new and fresh knowledge provides enormous added value for our managers and executives and increases the long-term motivation of each individual.

At WHU Executive Education, we are aware of the value of human resource development as well as the difficulties faced by managers in this field. As a result, we have created special offers – exclusively for HRD professionals and leaders. Visit our HRD Offerings Website for more information or contact us at and one of our program experts will schedule a call/meeting with you.


WHU opens Executive Education Learning Center at Campus Düsseldorf

On October 31, 2022, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management celebrated the opening of its new industrial building at the Schwanenhöfe complex in Düsseldorf with Dr. Stephan Keller, Mayor of the City of Düsseldorf, in attendance. The new Executive Education Learning Center and so-called “Bogenhalle” now offers managers and executives that are seeking shorter educational formats instead of a full study program at WHU an even more attractive learning atmosphere with 1,600 m2 tailored to their needs. Both Customized Programs, tailor-made for companies, and Open Programs for individual participants, will use the new Executive Education Learning Center to host their programs.

The building, made of steel, concrete, and glass, which was originally a factory floor for Henkel before being used by the fashion brand G-Star RAW, completes the grounds of the Schwanenhöfe on the northwest side. After a complete renovation, it now boasts two lecture halls, eight group workrooms, a meeting space on the upper floor, a catering and bistro area downstairs, and a glass courtyard for a little relaxation. Behind the spacious and open reception area, the wall of green moss creates a modern, feel-good ambiance and brings a bit of nature into the studio-like building. On the steel girder above the reception area stands a piece of art by Stefanie Welk: a human figure constructed of sheet metal strips reflecting courage and dynamism. Visitors will also catch sight of some colorful and powerful paintings on the upper floor. On loan from the artist Bernd Schwarzer, these pieces focus on Europe and the war playing out in Ukraine.

The WHU Foundation financed the acquisition and renovation of the building. In his speech, Dr. Toni Calabretti, Chairman of the Foundation, took the audience back to 2009, when the decision was first made to open a second location for the school and to do so in Düsseldorf. He showed his joy at how quickly the Bogenhalle, with construction work starting only in March of this year, was able to be converted.

“I’m thrilled that our Executive Education Program has found a new home in this radiant building and its inspiring atmosphere,” said Professor Markus Rudolf, Dean of WHU. “WHU has always committed to excellence and must expand its offerings in order to compete with other top business schools around the world. The addition of this modern academic space for continued managerial education will help us achieve our goal.”


New Online Course on Transformational Technologies

In October 2022, WHU and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, USA, will launch a new Executive Education program offered as a fully asynchronous online course on MIT xPRO’s global platform. The new course will teach participants how to navigate game-changing technologies in the 21st century in both their private and professional lives, and how these technologies will change existing business models and customer behavior in their respective industry. In the following interview, Professor Sascha Schmidt, Director of the WHU Center for Sports and Management & Faculty Director of the online course ‘Transformational Technologies: Applied Lessons from Sports’, gives insights on the new course.

Dear Professor Schmidt, why is the sports business industry so exciting?

Sport is far more than pure competition of athletes; it is a global industry that accounts for 1% of global GDP. But even more important, sport – whether played professionally or on an amateur level – creates emotions and engagement like no other industry. Just think about the Olympic Games or the annual NFL Superbowl with more than one billion spectators worldwide! In addition, the sports industry is experiencing rapid growth, mainly driven by new opportunities emerging through groundbreaking technologies and data.

Why can anyone interested in strategy and innovation learn something from this business?

Unlike other industries, the core product of the sports industry is fair competition. However, sports were and always will be a fight between two teams or athletes with distinct capabilities. Especially small teams with less budget therefore need to find innovative ways to improve their performance and gain competitive advantage. In the end, the sports industry is the perfect playground for game-changing innovations which might be applicable to any other industry.

What is special about the upcoming ‘Transformational Technologies – Applied Lessons from Sports’ online program?

In our course, we combine world-class faculty in their respective fields of technology with insights from the sports industry to explain game-changing technologies in a digestible and entertaining way. This is a ‘tech for the non-tech’ course where tech knowledge is not required to attend the course. It is the first course of its kind and the first co-branded MIT xPRO program in this field.

Who should consider participating in the course?

The course is designed for participants with various backgrounds. It targets business professionals looking to better understand artificial intelligence, blockchain, internet of things (IoT), robotics, and web 3.0. for their own benefit. Examples from the sports industry should inspire participants to identify new opportunities within their own industry.

What are the key benefits for participants of the course?

There are so many emerging technologies out there, that it is hard to stay on top of all recent developments in the field. The course, therefore, aims to enable participants to navigate the technology revolution. Participants will be able to identify industry-specific opportunities and threats associated with technological changes. Finally, we prepare them to identify relevant technology trends and effective responses to stay ahead of their competitors.

Professor Schmidt, thank you for the interview!


Transformational Technologies for Managers

Executive Education at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, with a variety of cooperative open programs already globally recognized by the Financial Times (#15 in the 2022 Ranking), continues to diversify its portfolio. WHU knows that it is more important than ever for any executive to take a 360° view of their field of practice to prepare themselves for the future. A core part of that is paying mind to how an industry can and ultimately does evolve—and understanding the potential strategic changes that new technology may bring. To date, the world of sports has secured itself a connected future and earned the reputation of being an industry well ahead of the curve. On October 3, WHU Executive Education will debut the new Transformational Technologies: Applied Lessons from Sports course running as a part of the MIT xPRO series. This brand-new curriculum uses the sports industry as an example of where the world of business is headed.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA (USA) started offering their xPRO series of courses in 2016, seeking to combine a student’s business acumen with the technical expertise necessary for the future. In line with this approach, this new asynchronous course, developed together with WHU, is the first of its kind to center around the sports industry and how it has adopted new technology—including virtual reality, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and Web 3.0. Designed for business professionals across all industries, the program will show how technological breakthroughs could forever change the way business is conducted and enable participants to apply this freshly gained knowledge to their own professional lives.

Professor Sascha L. Schmidt, holder of the Sports and Management Chair at WHU, is spearheading the course and explained, “This is a chance for business professionals to learn more about today’s technology revolution—and how it affects both their private and professional environment.” Upon successfully completing the course, participants will receive an official certification from WHU and MIT xPRO.

Those interested in enrolling in the program can find more information on the official course website.


Business and Leadership Skills for Experienced Physicians

In recent years, there have been substantial shifts in the medical profession, and today’s practicing physicians increasingly need to consider aspects of business, financial planning, and leadership in their daily routines. Typically, such topics are not a part of their medical training, neither while studying nor while interning. As such, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, in conjunction with MLP School of Financial Education, has conceived a specialized Executive Education program for physicians scheduled to start on October 1, 2022.

The Advanced Management Programm für Aerztinnen/Aerzte [Advanced Management Program for Medical Doctors] is a compact, intensive course that combines interactive online trainings and in-class sessions, the latter of which will be hosted first on WHU’s Duesseldorf campus and then later on MLP’s campus in Heidelberg. The program has been tailored to fit a medical professional’s often tight schedule. The modules, which are held exclusively in German, will enhance a participant’s ability to make managerial decisions within the context of the medical profession.

Over the course of two in-person modules, reinforced by a series of shorter online workshops, participants will take a comprehensive view on a wide range of topics that touch upon everything from practical matters (e.g., taxation, finance, and the sale of practice) to more recondite subjects (e.g., leadership skills and coping mechanisms). “WHU and MLP SoFE are confident that these highly specialized experts will benefit from all that is on offer. We want to ensure that we address their specific needs with this new curriculum,” says Executive Education Director Rebecca Winkelmann. “With a mix of face-to-face and online sessions, we offer physicians a distinctly flexible format with the latest insights from health economics and leadership.” Those interested in enrolling in the program should submit their applications through the program website by mid-September at the latest.

WHU is one of Germany’s top business schools, specializing in all topics relevant to finance, entrepreneurship, leadership, marketing, and much more. With a series of open enrollment programs already globally recognized by the Financial Times, as well as numerous partnerships with institutions both inside and outside of Europe, Executive Education at WHU continues to expand its course selection. From programs in advanced management skills and specialized coaching to branding and negotiations, WHU’s catalog has been designed with today’s leaders and managers in mind.

Prospective participants can find out more information here.


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WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management

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