IE Business School has been participating in the annual Bits & Pretzels event for a couple of years now, and so it was a nice surprise to bump into one of our BBA graduates at this year’s event in Munich (see the post-event Bits & Pretzels promotional video here).  Between meetings and the sessions, which included talks with big names like Kevin Spacey, IE’s Regional Director for Europe, Mr. Joël McConnell (JM), caught up with Carl Cousin (CC), who is not only an IE BBA graduate, but is also the Business Development Manager for MVPF Technologies GmbH, to have a quick interview. Below are the transcripts from the interview and photos from the event.

Transcript from the Interview at Bits & Pretzels 2017 in Munich

JM – Question: What’s the toughest part of working in an entrepreneurial venture vs. say a large corporate? Who should plan to follow your path, after graduating from an IE program? Who tends to be most successful at MVP Factory? What’s unique about MVP Factory’s work environment?

CC – Answer: Working especially in an early stage venture is a commitment of choice, as you can expect gazillions of hurdles along the way, starting off with loads of personal challenges like time management, financial insecurity or constant change in your day-to-day. But it all of course has its upsides down the line, because in the end we get paid with invaluable experiences and learnings, which you might not have enjoyed in a similar fashion within big corporates. Furthermore, accountability is not limited anymore to one’s certain area of responsibility and rather measured through the overall success/performance of the venture. There are always times when you have to jump in for someone else, take it as a chance to learn something new instead of being demotivated, as it’s not what you have signed up for.

IE equips you quite well with a “let’s do this” attitude, which is very helpful especially for the early days of a venture, but if you are hunting for a unicorn status it might be worthwhile to check out some corporate structures. Every growing startup eventually will turn into corporate like structures.

We are successful as a team. Period. Having said that though our work environment since day one has been special, as the core members of the team have been friends for long time and we put strong emphasis on referrals with respect to hiring. Besides that, the various client’s teams we work with constantly challenge us to adjust to their working habits and sometimes even show us what we can improve internally. Constant learning!!! If you are reading this we most likely have the IE experience in common, so let me know if you are looking for a new gig – we’re hiring!

JM – Question: What’s the gutsiest thing you’ve done professionally to date? If you had to rank yourself on a scale of 10 (1 being the most risk-averse), how much of a risk taker are you? What factors do you consider most important when making a gutsy move, in a professional context?

CC – Answer: I guess the gutsiest thing I have done professionally is to A) run a record label and throw a music festival simultaneously to my work at MVP Factory and B) investing all of my savings into cryptocurrencies. Risk keeps me going and motivated, so I’d rate myself an 8 or 9. How do I assess bold moves? If the downside is reversible through hard work and the upside is completely changing the status quo, then I want to go for it.

JM – Question: Who most impresses you? Who are some of the big thinkers, entrepreneurs, artists, etc. that most inspire you?

CC – Answer: While being fully bullish on the cryptospace I assume Satoshi Nakamoto, the unknown founder of blockchain and subsequently bitcoin, will be one of the key figures of our century. Blockchain will disrupt how we do business, govern institutions and eliminate barriers off as well as on-chain. It will have a similar impact on us as the internet.

JM – Question: What was the toughest part of your BBA program? Tell me about your study experience in Turkey? Koç University is a partner school of IE’s, what was most impressive about their institution? Any thoughts on where Turkey is headed mid-term?

CC – Answer: Leave a stellar group of friends behind, after all of us spread across the globe to pursue our careers. At our graduation we were asked by the Dean what our main takeaway was from IE and it was most certainly the outstanding people we got to study with.

Kevin Spacey hosted two sessions at this year’s Bits & Pretzels Founder’s Festival in Munich.

Koç, and respectively my time in Turkey, was definitely something for the books. We were very fortunate to that our experience there was without incident, and before the current ongoings started to take place. Our Turkish friends and especially our co-students at Koc proved again and again to be the magic ingredient for additional personal development. I believe that Turkey has some challenging issues to work through short to medium-term. Most of our friends from my time at Koç have left the country, but not even a single person I know does not want to return eventually. So let’s see where it goes…

JM – Question: 2 Truths and a 1 Lie? Let’s keep the readers guessing as to which is which… Tell me three interesting and unknown facts about you, 2 being true, and 1 being an absolute fabrication… Can fellow I alumni contact you to find out which two were true fact?

CC – Answer:

  • I once initiated a diamond trade worth a couple million Euros when I was still a teenager.
  • I once played a 12 hour DJ set in the desert.
  • I sold my father’s car without permission and over the internet when I was 14.

Fellow alumni should feel free to contact Carl via LinkedIn (see here) or at carl@mvpfactory.co to find out which were the two truths!

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