Current role: Full Professor, Riesner Endowed Professorship in Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurial Finance and Academic Director, Center for Entrepreneurship Düsseldorf (CEDUS), Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf.
Could you give a brief description of your career to-date?
After studying business administration and a number of internships with venture capitalists and young companies, I decided to do a doctoral degree in Germany with a focus on Entrepreneurial Finance. I then felt it was time to experience the real world outside of academia and I started working for L.E.K. Consulting in London. But I soon realized that my heart belongs to academia. So I went back and at first was Lecturer at the Technical University Munich. In May this year, I started to work in Düsseldorf. I have a double role here – both as Professor in Entrepreneurship/Entrepreneurial Finance and as Academic Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship Düsseldorf (CEDUS).
Eva wears The Stratton Top in Fuchsia and Le Marais Straight Trousers in Black
You’ve worked in the City as a consultant as well as in academia, tell us some differences between these two careers?
The two worlds are completely different: as a consultant you always focus on the issue with the highest impact, whereas as research scholar you rather focus on the most interesting problem. In consultancy you always work against a tight deadline given by clients. This often does not leave room to really get to the bottom of the issue. In academia, this deadline does not exist – on the one hand, it gives you the freedom to take as much time as you think is required to do the analysis, but on the other hand this leads to incredibly long time horizons of research projects. Something, I still have not gotten used to.
How did your experience working in the city support your current work and research?
It definitely helped to get insights on a number of different industries. This helps me in understanding business cases that I not only use in research, but also in teaching. That is the great thing about my subject – it is an applied science where you can bring the real world into the classroom.
Entrepreneurship is one of your leading areas of research. What would you say are the most valuable tools for financing your own enterprise?
That very much depends on the business model. A very often used financing tool is bootstrapping where the founders try to limit their need for external financing as much as they can. However, for instance for tech ventures with a high capital requirement, external forms of financing are needed. Working together with a Business Angel can be very valuable – not only financially, but also through all the non-financial support you might get. He or she might also help in getting future funding, e.g. from a Venture Capitalist.
As a consequence of the latest recession, would you say that attitudes towards start-up businesses as well as the funding towards them has changed?
During times of recession, the number of start-ups usually goes up. But this is due to so called necessity entrepreneurs that decide to start a company because of a lack of alternatives. In contrast, the number of so called opportunity entrepreneurs remains relatively stable. Financing the start-up is always a key challenge for founders. But in times of recession, external investors are more hesitant to invest – it is more difficult for them to do fundraising and the exit opportunities are limited. So overall, start-ups have to make do with less funding.
Your work demands that you are often travelling. What are some of your top tips for packing for a work-trip?
I like packing a few pieces that can be combined in many different ways. The Marais Capsule is great for that purpose. Or for short trips, I love just taking my favorite dress – only one major piece and you are done packing.
How would you describe your work style?
I am afraid you would probably describe my work style as typically German: structured and reliable. But I hope that working in the City at least has given me a non-German humour that I bring into my work.
Given you are frequently lecturing and presenting in front of a highly qualified audience, what are your tips for dressing for an important presentation?
The most important thing is that you feel comfortable in your clothes. You should not be thinking about your wardrobe at all during a presentation.
Ever since my work in the City, I hate wearing classical suits. In fact, I threw them all out after I quit the job. And I really like to wear dresses or skirts. No wonder, I really love The Fold…
What is your favourite piece from The Fold collection?
That’s a difficult question. From the current collection, I really like the Stratton top in Fuchsia. It is such a great color that gives you confidence instantly. But I am still wearing the very first dress that I bought from The Fold, the Carlyle, quite regularly. It was even an icebreaker at a recent conference. An MD from a leading investment bank asked me where I bought that dress and we ended up having a very interesting conversation.
Eva wears le Marais Tuxedo Jacket in Fuchsia and The Cavendish Dress in Plum