December 4, 2014
Stephan Strauss is CEO of Building, Industrial and Consumer Goods at DB Schenker, Europe's largest rail freight logistics operator, which manages the rail transport and logistic activities of Deutsche Bahn. Strauss began his career at Philips Electronics in sales and marketing and later became a supply chain management consultant for leading firms in the US and Germany. Before joining DB Schenker, he was a senior executive at ThyssenKrupp.
In this interview, Stephan discusses the Breakthrough Program for Senior Executives (BPSE).
Why did you choose IMD?
I was looking for a truly inspiring experience that would help me build momentum for myself as a leader in a challenging environment. I am currently taking my business — a €1billion division of the second largest logistics services company worldwide — through some major transformations focusing on our business model, strategy, culture and leadership. I was specifically looking for a business school and program that would help me look at my challenges from different perspectives, identify new opportunities for value creation, and build a personal agenda to achieve the step-change transformations I needed to make.
What did you take away from the experience?
The IMD experience was outstanding and the BPSE program was probably the most valuable two weeks of my professional career — it was exactly what I was looking for. It combined intense learning with making friends with fantastic people from all over the world. We were a group of 34 senior executives from 21 countries and almost as many industries, services and governmental organizations. Discussing relevant real-life business issues as well as my own personal challenges around strategy and leadership with such a diverse group of leaders gave me a wealth of new insights and perspectives. The combination of discussing similar challenges with such a diverse high-level group and, in parallel, working on my own breakthrough agenda, underpinned by the support of a personal coach, was extremely inspiring and effective.
Additionally, it helped me build a global network with fascinating people!
How has BPSE changed the way you lead?
The BPSE program delivered what it had promised for me. It helped me become more successful driving radical transformations by being more focused and innovative as well as effective and self-confident as a leader. The inspiration I was able to draw from this experience helped me build momentum for my personal transformation agenda in a major way.
Breakthrough Program for Senior Executives (BPSE) caters to a carefully selected group of senior executives who are searching for game-changing moves in their business through high-impact strategy and leadership. It is a two-week program with additional pre- and post-program support.