Out of the Comfort Zone!

Photographs: Regula Bearth © ZHdK

Receiving fresh impetus and reinventing his own role: the Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Strategic Design is inspiring Uli Gröber to make his over ninety-year-old family business fit for the future.



Yvonne Hachem: Why did you decide to do the MAS in Strategic Design?
Uli Gröber: I heard about the CAS in Culture Change at a ZHdK event. The programme perfectly matched the issues I was dealing with professionally at the time. Next, I took the CAS in Design Thinking and the CAS in Design Leadership. I’m now doing a Master’s to close the circle of topics that have long exercised me professionally and during continuing education over the last few years and still do.

Has the MAS Strategic Design met your expectations?
I’m really excited. After 26 years out in the working world, it was challenging to go back to studying, learning, doing research and trying things out. I’ve received lots of support, from lecturers and mentors, and also through the CAS peer network. I hadn’t expected things to turn out as they have.

What is your Master’s project about?
I’m looking at process design for innovation culture, specifically for developing and implementing business models in the field of “beyond retail.”

You’re the managing director of a regional fashion and sports company. How do you combine the skills you’ve developed in your studies with your everyday work?
I was able to focus more on the strategic role I wanted to play in the company, drive the transition process and give others more space to embrace modern forms of work organisation, participation and entrepreneurial thinking. What I learned was also helpful when working on concrete projects.

What inspires you?
In general: the mountains. Professionally, the still expanding network that I’ve created through continuing education. Meeting exciting people from other disciplines, seeing how they tackle challenges and contemplating what you can adapt to your own field: that’s tremendously enriching. We exchange ideas and common projects and stories emerge.

What has been your best decision so far?
My best decision was to take off my blinkers, step out of my comfort zone and embrace the challenge of continuing education. I haven’t regretted that for a second.

Further student portraits published in Zett.
Yvonne Hachem (yvonne.hachem@zhdk.ch) is an editor and member of the communications team at the ZHdK Continuing Education Centre.
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