Digital Excellence Program

Digital Excellence Program

Get ready for digital disruption

> Target audienceKey benefitsKey topics Meet the staff

Digital disruption affects businesses across all sectors. Corporate decision-makers have the choice whether they only take the role as followers to preserve their existing business lines in the digital age, or whether they want to become innovators, shaping industry trends and conquering new digital markets.

ESMT Berlin entered into an academic partnership with the newly founded 41 North Business School in Istanbul, Turkey. The six modules of the joint Digital Excellence Program prepare and equip corporate leaders to disrupt their businesses, develop new strategies, introduce organizational changes and pro-actively seize the opportunities digitalization brings to their markets.

The Post-graduate Certificate in Digital Excellence for business leaders and executives is a university- level certificate offered by 41 North Business School in partnership with ESMT Berlin. To acquire this certificate, candidates have to enroll for a minimum of six program modules (12 days) spread over a period of a year. The program modules have been designed – and will be led – by 41 North Business School in partnership with ESMT faculty members and 41 North's visiting faculty. Programs are offered in English.

Module 1:
Innovation as a Corporate Model & Building Digital Strategy
Module 2:
Ideation Workshop: Being Agile and Entrepreneurial
Module 3:
Data Driven Organizations, 14 – 15 March 2019
Module 4:
Understanding Leadership and Being a Leader in a Digital World, 15 – 16 April 2019
Module 5:
Understanding, Analyzing and Applying New Technologies in Existing and New Business Models, 9 – 10 May 2019
Module 6:
Bringing Technology to Market and Delivering on Digital, 13 – 14 June 2019

Target audience

The Digital Excellence Post-Graduate Program is designed for current and future business leaders and executives who are looking for the right path for transforming their business digitally as well as those looking to focus on special topics such as Innovation, Data (Analytics), Blockchain and Agility. Building on existing knowledge in Digital Transformation as well as mastering topics like Driving Strategic Innovation and Leading Digital Business Transformation.


Key benefits

  • Receiving a framework to generate new business models, identifying key resources, partners, and organizational prerequisites
  • Working with tools how to better understand customers’ needs, ideating, developing prototypes, and generating solutions
  • Understanding and making use of data analytics and quantitative insights
  • Improving the own leadership skills in a digital environment
  • Embracing digital technologies, such as Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence
  • Getting inspired on how to commercialize new ideas and how to successfully implement digital transformation projects


Key topics

  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Agility
  • Blockchain
  • Data Analytics
  • Digitalization
  • New Business Models
  • Managing Technology


Meet the teaching staff

The program modules will be jointly delivered by 41 North Business School (visiting) faculty and ESMT Berlin faculty.

ESMT Berlin

Bianca Schmitz (Program Director)

is a co-director of the Hidden Champions Institute (HCI) and a program director at ESMT Berlin.

She is responsible for establishing new international alliances with other business schools, institutions and networks, such as the Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM). Her focus lies on agile innovation processes, especially of so-called Hidden Champions. She has been trained in Design Thinking by Hasso Plattner Institute and is a certified SCRUM Product Owner.

She studied Regional Sciences of Latin America at the University of Cologne and finished with a diploma. Her focus was on economics and the Spanish language. Bianca worked for three years at the International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS), a nonprofit organization based in Cologne, Germany, with branches throughout the world.

Bianca’s international profile is supplemented by two years of work experience in Spain.


Jens Weinmann (Program Director)

is a program director at ESMT Berlin. From 2007 to 2009, he worked as a manager at the economic consultancy ESMT Competition Analysis.

Jens’ research focus lies in the analysis of decision making in regulation, competition policy, and innovation, with a special interest in energy and transport.

He received his PhD from London Business School in decision sciences.He has been trained in Design Thinking by Hasso Plattner Institute and is a certified SCRUM Master.


Olaf Plötner (Professor)

is a professor at ESMT Berlin. He joined ESMT as one of the first faculty members and managing director of ESMT Customized Solutions GmbH in 2002. From 2008 to 2017, he was the dean of executive education at ESMT and developed the school to a top-ten institution in this field, based on the global ranking of Financial Times.

Olaf's current research and teaching focus on strategic management, industrial market management, and sales management in global B2B markets. His work is reflected in his most recent book Counter Strategies in Global Markets, published by Palgrave Macmillan, Springer, and SDX Shanghai. His research has been portrayed in journals such as Industrial Marketing Management and Journal of Business and Industrial Marking as well as in leading international media such as CNN, Wall Street Journal, Times of India, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, China Daily Europe, and Financial Times.

Olaf is a visiting professor at Darden School of Business, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and CELAP Shanghai.
Olaf also worked as a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group in Frankfurt and as a director at Siemens AG in Boston.


Christoph Burger (Senior Lecturer)

is a senior lecturer at ESMT Berlin. Before joining ESMT, he worked five years in industry at Otto Versand and as vice president at the Bertelsmann Buch AG, five years at consulting practice Arthur D. Little, and five years as independent consultant focusing on private equity financing of SMEs.

His research focus is in the energy sector/ innovation/ blockchain and decision making/ negotiation. He is co-author of the dena/ ESMT study on “blockchain in the energy transition”, the “ESMT Innovation Index – Electricity Supply Industry” and the book “The Decentralized Energy Revolution – Business Strategies for a New Paradigm”. Christoph directs and teaches in open enrolment programs decision making, blockchain, innovation as a corporate model, customized programs in the energy, banking industry as well as programs for international senior executives such as the Yale Global Executive Leadership Program, CKGSB CEO/ EMBA program or the supervisory board program for Deutsche Telekom. He is a speaker in conferences of dena, eco-summit, energinet, IAEE, KAPSARC, OMIE, a member of the jury of the GreenTec Awards and the Dena Startup Energy Transition Award as well as mentor at accelerators such as the startupbootcamp, GTEC or Axel Springer Plug and Play.

Christoph studied business administration at the University of Saarbrücken (Germany), the Hochschule St. Gallen (Switzerland), and economics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (USA).