On November 21 we were honoured to host Dr. Andreas Bierwirth, CEO of Magenta Telekom, in the Lauder Business School ballroom. He inspired both the attending students and lecturers with his fireplace talk on courage and decisions, the role they played in his career path and the challenges facing the telecommunications industry as well as the leaders of tomorrow.

“Have a plan, but be flexible in adapting it.” This advice, which Dr. Bierwirth gave the LBS students, served him well in his own professional life. He spoke openly and directly of the family background that shaped him, and his love of flying which – in a roundabout way – led him to his current success. His family ran a construction company in a mining region of Germany, so from an early age Dr. Bierwirth learned to communicate with people from all walks of life as well as a strong sense of responsibility and humility towards employees. Dr. Bierwirth’s passion for flying drove his choice of university, where he quickly earned his Doctorate in Marketing. A chance encounter while flying then determined his future part, and he became Deputy Managing Director of Eurowings. He has since been a firm believer in networking and luck – whether good or bad.

Indeed, over the next years as Managing Director of Eurowings, VP of Marketing at Lufthansa, COO and then CFO of Austrian Airlines, Dr. Bierwirth gained great experience as a leader of both start-ups and large companies. A reversal of fortune led to a career shift, the opportunity for which again came from a previous meeting at university with the head of T-Mobile. He has driven the success of Magenta Telekom since 2012 and gained invaluable insights into leadership, which he shared with the LBS audience:

  • Be grateful for good luck but learn to cope with bad luck.
  • Your career depends on hard work, preparation and goals – but also on networking, being at the right place at the right time to meet the right people. Invest in people and communication.
  • Don’t be afraid to make decisions. Take the risk to fail, don’t simply stand by.
  • Don’t think of job-titles but of responsibilities when choosing your career path. Ask yourself if you merely want to lead or to transform your field.
  • Train your paranoia – When disruption comes, you must react or lose revenue.
  • Have a plan in life but don’t expect to reach it, think of your goals as a light-house shining the way.
  • Study game theory. Win responsibly but consider the success of your competitors.
  • Learn from your mistakes, don’t look back but keep learning every day.
  • See and understand what drives success – recognize the patterns.

Dr. Bierwirth concluded the evening by taking questions from students on a wide range of topics from connectivity, smarter energy management, environmental and social technology, the Internet of Things, cyber defence and the challenges driving the communications industry today.

For current job and internship positions at Magenta please check their online career portal.