Exploring agility: Successful Business Project for Deutsche Telekom

All News, Inside CBS   -  6. June 2019

How can a global group like Deutsche Telekom and its more than 200,000 employees stay dynamic? They start an “Agile Transformation Journey” and launch a series of initiatives, activities and programmes. Masters students from the CBS International Business program, focusing on HRM and Leadership plus Consulting, were able to accompany Deutsche Telekom on this journey with their expertise and fresh and unbiased approach.

As part of a business project during late January to mid-May, five student teams were each working on a highly relevant concept for Deutsche Telekom on how to implement agility even more effectively within the company. Under the direction of Prof. Dr. Anja Karlshaus (Dean of General Management and Professor of General Business Administration and Human Resources Management at the CBS) and Prof. Dr. Malgorzata Zmuda (Vice Dean of International Business and Professor of Strategic Management and Consulting), powerful presentations were created that impressed a number of Telekom managers at the final presentation.

“The findings of the students were based on great research work, were systematically prepared and presented in an highly professional way. Deutsche Telekom will certainly use many of these ideas and inspirations and further discuss them internally. One recipe for success is certainly that we have formed cross-functional teams in which students from the two specialisations Consulting and Human Resources Management complement each other perfectly,” says Prof. Dr. Anja Karlshaus. “We are already using these interdisciplinary team structures for the second time in order to maximize learning success for the students and consulting success for the company.”

Deutsche Telekom already uses an Agile Compass and a wide range of agile methods. Based on this, the students developed further ideas that contribute to the company’s agile strategy. They used scientific studies, many best practices and conducted interviews with key representatives at Deutsche Telekom. The five fields worked on by the teams are highly relevant in many companies and are a worldwide research and application focus: Agile Culture, Agile Leadership, Working Environment, Organization Types and Learning Organization.

Working on the most exciting management challenges for one of the most interesting companies was very motivating for the five- to six-member teams, who, in addition to their time in lectures, individual coaching sessions, feedback loops and three rounds of presentations, put a lot of energy into their work in their free time. The great importance of the business project is reflected in the fact that on the side of Deutsche Telekom it was assigned to Marcus Flory, Vice President Technology Europe.

Business Projects bring companies and talents together.

For the students, a business project is, in addition to the educational effect, also a kind of sample work at potential employers – and the companies also have the opportunity to identify top talents. This matching is proving to be successful, and cooperation with Deutsche Telekom is intensifying steadily. Individual students from this business project are in talks with Deutsche Telekom to write their master’s thesis in the fourth semester. Half a dozen students from last year’s business project with Deutsche Telekom are already writing their master’s thesis there, and Deutsche Telekom is also open to interns from CBS.

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