Prof. Simon Kleinert

Simon Kleinert is assistant professor at the Department of Department of Organisation, Strategy and Entrepreneurship at Maastricht University. Simon’s research interest is focused on entrepreneurial finance and in particular, on innovative forms of financing such as crowdfunding.

 

He received his PhD at the University of Wuppertal. Before, he studied International Business with a focus on Strategy and Innovation at Maastricht University. Throughout his studies, Simon also spent semesters at the San Diego State University in San Diego and the Universidad del Pacifico in Lima.

 

Simon is involved in the MaastrichtMBA programme as instructor at the EuroMBA Online course on Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

WHAT IS YOUR CONNECTION WITH MAASTRICHT?

I have had a special connection with Maastricht for a long time. Born and raised in Cologne, a stone’s throw away from Maastricht, I have ever since been a frequent visitor of the beautiful city. I also studied at Maastricht University myself and knew that I would like to come back somewhen. So after my PhD in Wuppertal, Maastricht was an obvious choice to start as an assistant professor.

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO BECOME A PROFESSOR?

Already during my studies in Maastricht, my interest in an academic career was raised. I like the mix of duties I have as a professor. On the one hand, I can conduct research on self-chosen and impactful projects with people I enjoy working with. Thus, doing research is highly social and I appreciate the close cooperation with like-minded people who bring in different skills. On the other hand, I like the educational part of being a professor. I enjoy the interactions and intense discussions with students. Here, I can pass on my knowledge to students but also learn from students myself.

WHAT IS YOUR ROLE WITHIN THE EUROMBA ONLINE TRACK?

Currently, I teach the module Entrepreneurship and Innovation together with Dr. Boris Blumberg.

YOU WILL BE THE INSTRUCTOR FOR THE NEXT EUROMBA ONLINE COURSE ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND INNOVATION. CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR LESSONS DURING THIS COURSE?

The course provides participants with the knowledge to make profound decisions about innovation strategies either in established companies or in entrepreneurial ventures. Important lessons concern how creativity can trigger innovation and how the potential of a new technology or business idea can be evaluated. In addition, the course addresses issues related to market entry decisions, formulation of innovation strategies, and implementation of innovations.

 

The course follows a hands-on approach and includes various case studies on innovative companies such as Apple, Disney, Uber or Google. Overall, students will learn theoretical frameworks and apply their knowledge; for instance, they will identify and evaluate market opportunities related to Artificial Intelligence.

SINCE LAST YEAR, THE WORLD OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND INNOVATION CHANGED RAPIDLY. HOW DO YOU THINK THIS NEW WORLD WILL BE FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS ON THE TOPIC OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND INNOVATION?

I believe that COVID-19 will indeed trigger some significant changes for topics of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. We have seen that many startups had to shut down their operations over the last year, leaving voids for post-Corona. Many of these gaps bode entrepreneurial opportunities in the years ahead.

 

However, we have also seen many businesses pivot their business models over the last year. Consider that the vast majority of companies that have always relied on offline sales channels were forced to find new ways to sell their products to customers. Whether these are just short-term tactical measures or whether these changes will translate into long-term strategic success remains to be seen.

 

Furthermore, we have seen that the use and adoption of technologies are changing due to Corona. For instance, we observe an increased acceptance of digital solutions, especially in areas that have been previously resisting the change. Overall, I presume a cultural shift is taking place so that many of the traditional resistance and rejection to innovations will be less pronounced in the future.

WHAT ARE YOUR LESSONS LEARNED DURING THIS PANDEMIC CRISIS AND HOW DO YOU THINK THAT THE TOPICS OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND INNOVATION CONTRIBUTED IN COPING AND DEALING WITH THIS CRISIS?

Entrepreneurship and Innovation have played a significant role in the crisis and are contributing significantly to its solution. Established pharmaceutical companies paired with newer companies like Biontech from Germany have quickly developed the vital vaccine and are working on meeting the global demand.

 

But even beyond these obvious examples, many companies have demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit and significantly reinvented themselves in a very short time. Consider, for example, the fundamental transformation that companies are enabling their employees to work in completely different ways than they did before Corona.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY PROUD OF PROFESSIONALLY?

In my professional career, I would say that I am proud to have become an (assistant) professor at a relatively young age. I am also proud of having created networks with scholars worldwide and having published my research in prestigious scientific journals.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE SOMETHING PERSONAL WITH THE READERS?

Besides my professional life, I am a passionate traveler, enthusiastic about getting to know new cultures and seeing the world’s many beautiful places. In this regard, I have enjoyed living abroad in Peru and the US.

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