New Zealander in Germany
Simon Wakeman, PhD 07
Associate Professor, European School of Management and Technology, Berlin
When Simon Wakeman decided to move to Berlin after earning his PhD, he had been to the city only twice–as a tourist–and didn’t speak German.
But the New Zealander had long set his sights on coming to Europe, and the idea of working at an American-style business school in Germany fascinated him.
Founded by a group of German business titans, the European School of Management and Technology offers English-language full-time and executive MBA programs. Its Berlin campus is housed in the imposing building where the head of the East German Communist Party had his office. “It is ironic,” Wakeman says.
Wakeman’s research has focused on technology commercialization. His Capturing Value from Innovation course explores preventing competitors from copying innovation and structuring partnerships. “You have to structure how you bring your innovation to market to retain your fair share of the value,” he says.
A native of Auckland, Wakeman always wanted to do something related to technology and innovation. “Coming out of a small country, it was almost in my blood to be interested in startups,” he says.
As much as they enjoy Berlin, Wakeman and his wife, Rachel Fleet, MBA 04, hope to eventually move their family to New Zealand or the Bay Area, which Fleet considers home. “We enjoy being here; there are lots of things to do and lots of opportunities,” Wakeman says. “But it is hard being a long way from home.”