A career in private business

Hertie School Alumnus Johannes Boege is General Manager and Managing Director at the Axel Springer Group.

Johannes Boege was studying business administration in Reims, France and Reutlingen, Germany when he read an interesting article in Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. It was about a new university in Berlin with an international, interdisciplinary approach—the Hertie School. It was just what he wanted. “I’d searched for just that kind of thing in Germany and came up empty-handed. And it also touched on an area I’m very interested in—the place where the public and private sectors meet,” Johannes says.

After reading the article, he went on to complete a Franco-German degree in International Business that also included a six-month academic exchange at the University of Gothenburg’s business school. “At the time, it seemed like every degree programme, regardless of where it was, was better than its German counterpart,” he says. But that changed when he started his MPP at the Hertie School. “The professors’ doors were always open, not just during office hours. I didn’t see anything as nice and professional as that in either Sweden or France,” he says.

“My first most memorable moments were the discussions among students. The candidates were from the US, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and Pakistan—we were a colourful unit. Different worlds would occasionally collide. Discovering this and learning how to accept the differences while finding your own way was unbelievably interesting,” he says.

Prepared for an exceptional career

Johannes wrote his master’s thesis while working at the German Federal Chancellery, but planned to go into business. “I wanted to go into the private sector but was interested in an area that was very close to the public sector. Energy, for instance, or media,” he says. The education continues to pay dividends. Five years ago he accepted a position as executive assistant to the CEO and chairman of leading German publisher, the Axel Springer Verlag. He has since worked his way up to general manager of the newspaper, DIE WELT, an Axel Springer subsidiary. “The Hertie School prepares you for your professional career and sharpens your synapses. You learn how to quickly dive into complex topics, separate the important from the unimportant, ask the right questions and find the right solutions. You learn to think broadly and to see the bigger picture. Those are very good tools,” Johannes says.