Over the next four weeks I will be living in Berlin and working for Axel Springer AG as part of Stanford GSB’s GMIX (Global Management Immersion Experience) program.
The GMIX program is an ‘opportunity to explore and engage with corporations, governments or NGOs to build your global management skills in a country new to you’. Core to this is gaining an understanding of the culture, business and social norms of the country.
The deliverable for the program is a series of reflective blog posts that investigate a culture related hypothesis through first-hand, on-the-ground experience.
Of particular interest to me is the general German work culture and more specifically the start-up culture in Berlin. Regarding the former, looking across dimensions such as status, authority, conflict resolution and leverage, communication, team-based work, responsibility and gender disparities will help me form this perspective. Obviously there are several stereotypes associated with the German population. Uncovering how true they are is of key interest.
As part of my investigation, I will also immerse myself into the local start-up culture. Axel Springer operates the Plug & Play Accelerator, which is where I’ll be based. During my time in Auckland and San Francisco Bay Area, I have had the opportunity to work in the entrepreneurial ecosystems endemic to those locations. Berlin is regarded as the center of European entrepreneurship. Finding out what their start-up culture looks like in the form of answers to such questions as how far has the entrepreneurship bug spread? Is entrepreneurship seen as a viable career option? Do German entrepreneurs dream big? What are the gender disparities like? How do they treat failure? and risk? What is it like working in a German start-up?, is of great interest.