Interview with our EMBA graduate Philipp Koller

Interview with our EMBA graduate Philipp Koller

“The deciding factor for the Executive MBA was the holistic teaching of core entrepreneurial topics as well as the reputation as an internationally renowned management education program.”

Philipp Koller is a business developer and owner of the STRATS Company on Grossmünsterplatz in Zurich. Together with specialists from various disciplines, he helps SMEs and start-ups develop and implement new business ideas. From strategy (Strats) to marketing and communication to visuals, STRATS covers all relevant aspects to (re)position companies in creative and innovative ways; flexible, pragmatic, personal. Before becoming self-employed, he worked in larger communications and marketing agencies, where the cumbersome overhead bothered him.

Philipp studied journalism, constitutional law and history at the University of Zurich and graduated with a Master of Arts (lic. phil.). He is married and lives in Zurich with his wife and four sons.

When did you first encounter the topic of “further education” or think about the topic?
I first thought about further education in the spring of 2014. At that time, I was already self-employed as a communications consultant. Since I was increasingly providing strategy and marketing services for my clients, it was time to gain new qualifications.

Why did you choose an Executive MBA?
To be able to set new impulses, I needed entrepreneurial expertise. It should also be training at management level.


The decisive factor for the Executive MBA was the holistic teaching of core entrepreneurial topics as well as the reputation as the best management training.

What reasons motivated you to complete your Executive MBA studies at the University of Zurich? Motivation?
I already knew the University of Zurich from my journalism studies. However, I also looked at other courses for the Executive MBA. I compared the lecturers, the image of the institution and finally the backgrounds of my fellow students. The EMBA ranking in the Financial Times also played a role. In addition to the University of Zurich, there were three other institutions to choose from at the end. Ultimately, the structure of the modules, the proximity to the office and family and the attractive Learning Expeditions spoke in favor of the UZH.

What were your impressions during the training? Have your expectations of the EMBA been fulfilled? What do you see critically?
The EMBA offered me a comprehensive insight into all areas of corporate management and placed the right focus for me as a management consultant in strategic management, corporate finance, and marketing. The insights into foreign markets such as Brazil, Africa and China were also instructive. My expectations were clearly fulfilled in that I now had the relevant tools for sustainable business strategies in my hand. However, I hoped for a little more from an interdisciplinary placement. A concrete “business plan” module in which several company specific aspects would have been considered at the same time would have been helpful.

Can you already use the knowledge and experience imparted in your everyday professional life? What do you see as the benefit of your Executive MBA degree when you think about your day-to-day business?
The EMBA program was crucial for me to develop from a communications consultant to a holistically thinking business consultant. The knowledge imparted is now a basic requirement for my work, which involves analyzing our clients’ problems, deriving measures from them, and implementing them.

What was a particularly nice/special experience? What did you like especially?
The stays abroad in Yale University and Fudan University Shanghai remain unforgettable. While the focus at Yale was on education with “edutaining” speakers, Shanghai impressed with the dynamism of the city. The gala evening on the occasion of the annual briefing by the Swiss Ambassador to China, which took place in Shanghai in 2016, was, along with some very cool events with the class, the highlight of the entire EMBA supporting program.

Who would you recommend the EMBA UZH to?
The Executive MBA at the University of Zurich is management training at the highest level. I recommend it to managers who have a lot of initiative and can contribute the knowledge to their companies. Technically, the EMBA is aimed at people who would like to bring their business knowledge up to date and/or need to be prepared for working with other cultures and the challenges of digital transformation.

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