2021 Best & Brightest MBAs: Christian Bopp, IESE Business School

Christian Bopp

IESE Business School

Introvert by day, extrovert by night. Someone willing to create value with everything he does.”

Hometown: Bad Rappenau, Germany. (Very small town in the south of Germany between Frankfurt and Stuttgart. NO its not Bavaria!!)

Fun fact about yourself: My mum is a hairdresser, so I had the weirdest hairstyles growing up.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg Stuttgart, Business administration (Bachelor)

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa, Business administration (Study Abroad)

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school?

Management Trainee, Magna Powertrain (Automotive) Germany and China

Financial Analyst, Magna Powertrain (Automotive) Germany

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020?

Summer associate, McKinsey & Company Germany

Where will you be working after graduation?

Managing Director Bopp&Hahn Mittelstandspartner (My own Search fund)

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • IESE young talent scholarship
  • Director Private Equity and Venture Capital Club (2019-2020)
  • Organizer Venture Capital Investment Competition
  • Director Start-up and Entrepreneurship Club (2019-2020)
  • Organizer Start-up and Entrepreneurship Trek to Berlin
  • VP DACH Business Club (2020-2021)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? At the beginning of the first term, in the first year, I organized a Start-up and Entrepreneurship trek to Berlin for some of my fellow classmates. Typically, those “career treks” are organized by second year students but the former Start-up and Entrepreneurship president asked me if I was up for the challenge. For me it was a great way to engage with the German Entrepreneurship community in a deeper way, and to grow a valuable network. We visited a wide variety of start-ups in different stages, venture capitalists and even a search fund. I could share my interest and passion for entrepreneurship with my classmates and they gained firsthand entrepreneurship experience from the companies we visited. It was a very insightful experience for everyone that attended—some students even ended up working at the companies we visited.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I successfully raised my search fund in roughly 1-2 months. It was hard to handle all the investor meetings and the academics at the same time, but I couldn’t be prouder that it worked out. I know that I am now on my way to fulfilling my dream (or reaching my NorthStar as our career development center team would say) and I am very happy and excited for the journey that lays ahead of me.

Now I am spending my time and sharing my knowledge, in the hopes of inspiring and supporting my fellow classmates who want to do the same.

Why did you choose this business school? I went to business school because I wanted to enhance my general management and leadership skills to either be successful in consulting or in entrepreneurship. IESE is a business school that works very well for both. The case method and the extracurricular activities prepare you for a life as a consultant and as an entrepreneur. This was exactly the combination I was looking for. I did my internship during the summer at McKinsey, and will now start my own search fund and become an entrepreneur. IESE is the best school for search funds outside of the US, so the brand and the network helped me a lot. (Big shoutout to Jan Simon and his search fund class.)

In addition, I really value the cultural diversity IESE brings to the table. I interviewed with a few of the best business schools in the US, but after my interview with IESE I knew that this was the place I wanted to be for the next two years. Each and every person I met during my interview day, admissions day, welcome weekend, or any other touchpoint before the MBA started was a very warm, welcoming and supportive individual. I made new friends during each of those occasions; I learned about their cultures and backgrounds and I knew that those were the kind of people I wanted to spend the next two years with. My first-year team members, whom I spent a lot of time with, were from five different continents, all with different stories to tell and incredible experiences. I find it truly amazing that I got to spend time with such a diverse group of people and make friends from all over the world.

The beautiful city of Barcelona may have also helped a little bit with my decision. 😉

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school?

Definitely the Multi-Culti. It is one of IESE’s biggest social events every year, when all the students get together to celebrate the diversity of IESE. It takes place in a big venue and each country has its own table displaying their traditional food and drinks. A group of students from each country performs a traditional dance and afterwards there is a big joint celebration. At this event you can clearly see why IESE is so proud of its diverse student body with students from over 50 countries. You see on one hand the willingness of the students to share their culture, food, costumes and experiences and on the other hand, you see the appreciation of each other’s cultures and the willingness to learn those new customs. The diversity of the student body is, in my opinion, IESE’s biggest asset.

What is the biggest myth about your school?

“The first year is ours and the second year is yours” – Marc Badia, Academic Director MBA

IESE is very demanding in terms of academics. Everyone told me this before I started and I would smile about it, but oh boy was it a lot. In the first-year, students have to prepare cases for three classes every day. It is important to do that well because otherwise you miss so much learning from the in-class discussions. On top of that goes all of your involvement with clubs and internship recruitment.

The second year is much more flexible, and you can take fewer classes if you want to focus more on other activities such as clubs or traveling,.

So, it’s very important to manage your time and prioritize your obligations, especially in the first year.

What surprised you the most about business school? How supportive everyone is for one another. We all have very busy schedules and it’s not easy to handle academics, job search, club activities, or friends. But if you ask someone for help, they will make the time and offer you their help. Moreover, everyone celebrates each other’s wins without any jealousy. When I got my McKinsey offer, those who didn’t get it still celebrated with me. And in return, I sat down with them to help them land another great internship offer. This is what makes business school, and especially IESE, special.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? That is something you should probably ask the admissions team. I would say though that I spent more time on self-reflection than I did on mastering traditional application questions. I wanted to make sure that I could truly be myself and I guess that resonated with IESE’s values.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Again, it’s hard to pick only one because I admire and have respect for a lot of my classmates. If I really have to pick one, I will pick Mayank Dayal. He is a very good friend from my first-year section, and the kind of person whose typical day seems to have 48 hours. I would say everyone in the MBA knows Mayank because he either did something for them, or with them. He is the president or vice president of a million clubs,; he is a representative of the school; he interned with McKinsey; he helps the first-year students prepare for their consulting interviews; he organizes dinners, treks and trips; and is overall just a good friend when you need him. I honestly don’t know how he manages to do it all, while still being such a nice and relaxed person, but he seems to be very good with time management. In my opinion, there are very few people that can represent the school and its values in a way that Mayank does.

Cheers to you my friend! The next Gin Tonic is on you!

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? The first weeks of online classes were definitely weird. Not seeing your classmates every day and not having the chance to socialize was very hard. The professors and the school had to get used to the new way of teaching. After a few weeks, everything was working well and properly, and the professors had adapted to the new way of teaching.

Thereafter, changing to a hybrid format for our second year was a relief. Everyone was very happy to be back in class and grateful that the school had invested in new tech to ensure that the experience would be as seamless and comprehensive as possible. The hybrid format we have now has almost become a “new normal” and it’s a good way to meet the needs of students who both can and cannot attend class, while promising safety. I really have to give IESE credit for adapting so well and so quickly.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? When I was younger, my mum had her own hair salon and my dad was running a restaurant, so I grew up surrounded with business topics. Although both of my parents didn’t go to university, they encouraged me to do so and they supported me with whatever I wanted to do and thought was right. I quickly learned how important it was to have a proper business education because while I learned a lot in my undergrad, I found myself able to support and help them with their own businesses. I will be forever grateful to them both because, ultimately, they sacrificed a lot for me. It is thanks to them that I was given the choice to pursue my education, and to become the motivated businessperson that I am today.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

* One day, after successfully running and exiting a search fund, I hope to become an investor (in search funds or start-ups) myself, and to mentor and guide young talented students/individuals along their entrepreneurial journey. I’ve already had the pleasure of meeting plenty of great investors that helped me a lot, and will enable me to pursue my entrepreneurial dream. I hope that I can give back that same experience to others at one point in time.

* My mum always tells me that I should become chancellor of Germany because I talk a lot and because of the way I talk (not sure if this is a compliment…). But I actually think that we need younger people as politicians, because their decisions have a lasting impact on society. Maybe I can fulfil my mums dream one day.

What made Christiansuch an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“I see in Christian someone that truly aspires to develop the character that represents what MBA stands for:

* Mature – His depth of reflection and respectful assertiveness – not afraid of challenging the teacher – made his participation in class discussions enriching to everybody. He is diligent and reliable to take leadership roles in several extra-curricular initiatives related to entrepreneurship.

* Balanced – He understands and practices the power of “and” which means he is very good at integrating hard work with a social life, calm poise with zest for high adrenaline, focused and ambitious in pursuing his goals while at the same time collaborative and generous with classmates.

* Appreciative – His curiosity and eagerness to learn is great. He has a proactive attitude in front of difficulties or problems. On top of this, and even more relevant in terms of contribution, he manifests a highly positive and empathetic view of others regardless of different cultures or interests.”

Alberto Ribera
Professor of the Practice of Management of Managing People in Organizations

“In the very first term of the MBA, students have to shoot a case-based video for the Leadership course. Not only did Christian get chosen as the section´s best actor, but I can also say now that he has lived up to the character he played in that video as a superstar. With a sharp and analytical mind, Christian always acts with empathy, respect, and personal understanding for the diverse perspectives of his classmates. Moreover, he is extremely resourceful in developing initiatives and supporting others, such as when he organized the very successful Start-up and Entrepreneurship trek in Berlin in the first year, on top of a demanding academic schedule in that period.“

Anneloes Raes
Associate Professor of Managing People in Organizations and holder of Pug Chair of Global Leadership Development




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