Careers with an MBA – “We are Disrupting Google’s Business Model”
Graduate of HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management part-time MBA program has founded the big data start-up Humada in Silicon Valley
Dr. Andreas Berger is a graduate (2015) of the Part-time Master in General Management Program (MBA) of HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management. Born in Saxony, he is now the founder and CEO of the start-up Humada headquartered in Palo Alto, California. The company, which specializes in big data solutions, is working on the infrastructure for a decentralized Internet. The founders believe in a paradigm shift in the Internet, away from the major data silos to many small data banks whose interaction needs to be managed. “In the same way as the change in the energy market, where the world went from large power stations to many small solar and wind systems, the Internet will be undergoing dramatic changes as well,” says Berger. “The large data monopolies will disappear in the process. We have come to disrupt the business models of companies such as Google,” Berger comments jokingly, but with some seriousness attached to his statement.
MBA provides valuable impetus for founders
Looking back at the MBA program, the 32-year-old says, “The most important thing about completing a Master’s program are the people with whom you interact. You not only learn to work with the most varied characters on a professional level; you also find friends for life.” Although he had already been infected with the founder’s bug, his time at HHL encouraged Dr. Berger to take business matters into his own hands even more. “After obtaining my MBA, it was clear to me that the world belongs to the brave once and that we can tackle anything that interests us.” To this day, the passionate value investor draws a lot of positive things from the MBA topics which he needs for his own entrepreneurial activities. He concludes, “All in all, I benefit every day from the decision to complete an MBA program: as a human being, on the job and in my personal life.”
A career in Silicon Valley
Dr. Andreas Berger’s career so far has been in equal parts multi-faceted and international. After obtaining a doctorate in law and working in a firm specializing in corporate law in Regensburg, Dr. Berger launched his career at the RWE Group where he accepted a position in project and investment management in early 2011. After this, he oversaw an international M&A project in Poland where he was a member of the Supervisory Board of a publicly traded company. In 2014, he took over as a General Manager of the IT service provider GISA GmbH in Halle/Saale where he was responsible for sale of the company to itelligence AG. Following this, Dr. Berger shared the responsibility for the activities of RWE in Silicon Valley for two years. During this time, new products were developed in close cooperation with innovative technology start-ups, entry into the U.S. infrastructure market for charging stations was facilitated, USD 15 million were invested in well-known venture capital funds focusing on green technologies and several direct investments in start-ups were made. According to Dr. Berger, the next logical step was founding Humada Inc., his own company, where he has worked together with his co-founder Hans-Martin Hellebrand since April 2016. “In addition to this, I also travel internationally as a speaker, I own two small dry cleaning businesses as well as a gym together with my best friend and I have worked as a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University since April – that keeps me busy,” Berger laughs.
Commenting on his current work for the big data start-up Humada Inc., Dr. Berger says, “As a founder you do everything. Your main concern is finding the right partners and the capital required to pay them. The most important thing, however, is to make sure that everyone else can work without disruption.” The HHL graduate enjoys being able to make all decisions himself and assume responsibility. “To see how quickly you can make progress with the right co-founder is the best thing in the world – every day anew. The learning curve is steep, of course, because you have to deal with so many different things which you all have to understand as you are completely responsible for everything. This is where the MBA was great preparation,” says Dr. Berger.