What are the benefits of studying at the first business school established in Germany? In a new series of films, HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management alumni describe their careers and share how the program at HHL and the school’s network supported them in reaching their personal and professional goals.
With his HHL education he became the boss of one of Europe’s biggest online opticians
In 2005, Dirk Graber graduated with a Master of Business Administration from HHL. The 37-year old is closely connected to his Alma Mater. Amongst other things he is the first Chairman of the Association of Friends of HHL – GdF e.V. In addition, he shows a lot of interest in HHL and its excellent students by having co-financed a Germany Scholarship in the past.
Graber, who was born in Halle/Saale, founded the online optician company in 2007. As the CEO he is responsible for business development, IT, financing & controlling, operations and HR. The company offers Germany’s biggest selection of glasses, sunglasses, sport glasses and contact lenses of known brands over its online platform http://misterspex.de. Customers also benefit from services such as eyesight tests and the adjustment of glasses because Mister Spex cooperates with over 400 local opticians in Germany. In 2013, Mister Spex had a turnover of €47 million and is therefore one of the ten top-selling German opticians. Last year, Mister Spex doubled its customer numbers to 1 million. The Berlin-based company currently employs 250 people and is pushing its expansion in Europe. In the past, Mister Spex was awarded as the “online shop of the year”.
Before founding the company, Dirk Graber worked as a business consultant for the Boston Consulting Group for more than two years. He was involved in projects in the consumer goods industry, in the banking sector and in corporate development/corporate finance. His affinity for online topics goes back to his time as a student when he did internships at Jamba and EBay.
Strong HHL Network
In the HHL alumni film Dirk Graber says, “During my studies at HHL I particularly liked the small classes and the motivating learning environment.” The entrepreneur returns to his alma mater several times a year to pass on his knowledge in entrepreneurship classes and to approach HHL students about working for Mister Spex. His conclusion is, “The HHL network has developed really well in the past few years.”
Above-average commitment: HHL’s alumni
HHL’s over 1,500 alumni are organized in the HHL Alumni Association e.V. and members of regional and international HHL Alumni Chapters. Graduates now work in the fields of consulting, finance/banking, industry, e-commerce and as entrepreneurs. A great number of HHL alumni still feel a bond with their alma mater long after their time at the school. They contribute to the university’s content as guest speakers at enrollment ceremonies or at HHL conferences. Julia Höffner, who is in charge of Alumni Relations at HHL, emphasizes, “The relations between the HHL graduates and their university go way beyond the level of content and ideals. For example, a large number of alumni, among them successful entrepreneurs, supported our innovative HHLNewCampus crowd funding campaign with great dedication. Thanks to the HHL alumni, we were able to raise over EUR 200,000 for the renovation of study rooms in our new annex building.” www.hhl.de/alumni