From Insight to Impact with International EMBA Alumnus Arno Held

We talked to our International EMBA Alumnus Arno Held about his learning experience during his International EMBA journey and how important sustainability is in the 3D printing industry.

You were a participant in the 5th International EMBA HSG programme. How has the programme affected you professionally?

For me, the IEMBA journey was quite honestly life changing. The materials and tools that you receive in each week of the course and apply right on the spot or even afterwards in your own practice help me to structure my work and further improve myself and my business to this day. I was lucky enough to become part of the management team of my company during the programme. Also during this time, we made the decision to launch the first major fund for industrial 3D printing technologies, which we have now achieved a few months ago. I am quite sure that I owe my professional progress in large part to the tools, the network and the motivation that I was able to take with me from the HSG.

I was particularly impressed by the open and supportive exchange with the professors before, during and also after the lectures, as well as the contact with my fellow students.  These were extremely enriching for me in every aspect. The exchange with experienced executives from other industries, with whom one could share experiences and reflect on lessons learned in a highly trusting manner, was by far the best experience within the framework of the IEMBA. I got to know many impressive personalities and made some new friends that have enriched my life to this day. I am especially grateful to the HSG for these.

Thinking back to your IEMBA course weeks, was there a particular week of classes that you enjoyed the most?

There are too many to list them all individually! In any case, the Leadership week with Wolfgang Jenewein is worth mentioning, as it certainly saved me from at least one burn-out. Innovation Management by Oliver Gassmann, Business Transformation with Karolin Frankenberger and the week on Operations Management with Lüder Tockenbürger were also particularly instructive and still help me today. Of course, I also really enjoyed the two modules abroad in Cape Town and Dubai and look back on this time with pleasure.

During your IEMBA HSG studies, you presented a sustainability programme for AM Ventures. To what extent were you able to establish this in the company? 

I had already instinctively implemented many of the topics I learned in my company before the Sustainability course week. But it was the days with Karolin Frankenberger and Barbara Kux that helped me apply sustainability in a much more structured way, on a broader front, and to demonstrate a clear benefit. The course week is now two years ago and I dare to say that I was able to implement everything announced, including a competition that honors the sustainable use of industrial 3D printing technology and is being held at FormNext Frankfurt, the world’s leading trade fair for this industry. In addition, over the last 1.5 years I’ve built up our €100m venture capital fund for additive manufacturing, which includes a dedicated ESG strategy and has been successfully investing since the beginning of this year.

You are Managing Partner at AM Ventures. How important is sustainability in your industry and for you personally?

For me and my entire team, sustainability is one of the big drivers of our passion for industrial 3D printing. This technology is changing the world and helping to address the major challenges facing our society and the planet. Thanks to our activities, airplanes use less fuel, electric vehicles travel further distances on the same battery charge, and implants remain in the body for a human lifetime instead of just a few years. Modern environmental technologies use this technology wherever energy and materials are saved and products are made lighter or customizable. The opportunity to work on such a world-changing technology and even help shape it through our investments is incredibly fulfilling for all of us.

For this reason, all disciplines of sustainable business for the planet, people and companies are very close to our hearts and we are constantly looking for new approaches and ideas to take our work forward.

What advice would you give to potential participants who want to complete their Executive MBA at the University of St.Gallen?

At the beginning of the IEMBA05 journey, I could hardly wait to finally hold the diploma in my hand and adorn myself with an HSG MBA. Then, during the trip, I remembered Lao Tzu and realized that it is not about the final state, but much more about the way to get there. At the end of the trip, I was actually sad that the time passed so quickly and came to an end. I would have loved to spend many more weeks of courses with these great people. So my clear advice to future participants is: enjoy every moment of this trip and never turn down an invitation to an apero. The encounters and experiences of the IEMBA make the magic of the programme and will change your life.

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