Meet Jo Dietrich, an inspiring 23-year-old CEMS MIM student at Nova SBE who is proving his potential to keep growing and paving the way for innovation and has just made it into the "30 Under 30" on the DACH Forbes list.
Jo Dietrich, at just 23 years old and still completing your CEMS MIM at Nova SBE, you made the "30 Under 30" on the DACH Forbes list. How do you feel about this acknowledgment, and how do you think it can pave the future that lies ahead?
It was only in February 2020 that we founded ZEAM to bring young thinking into companies. It is a great honor to find myself on a list with so many brilliant personalities. But, most of all, I am happy that our vision has finally arrived in the business world!
Why did you create Zeam?
We realized that there is a gap between companies and Generation Z. Most of the products aimed at 14 to 25-year olds were designed in teams where everyone is over 30. At the same time, young employees are often not taken seriously because they "lack experience." We help companies tap into the potential of diversity and engage their young stakeholders authentically and powerfully.
How does Zeam differ from other consultancy and creative agencies?
Firstly, Zeam is a hybrid of management consultancy and communication agency. Companies that worked with us had previously worked with a marketing agency, a strategy consultancy, and an innovation consultancy to get the services we can deliver. Secondly, we have a singular focus on Generation Z. Being Gen Z ourselves and working daily on projects aimed at young consumers/employees gives us an edge that the competition cannot match. And thirdly, the people we work with are not your average teen. We built a network of the most outstanding young people in Switzerland. Our members include the leading voice of the Swiss Climate Youth, some of the biggest influencers, or the guy who won second place in Elon Musk's Hyperloop Challenge. We give extremely talented people a pipeline of interesting projects and companies access to these talents.
What are Zeam's next plans?
The speed with which we have grown in the last ten months and this recognition shows us that young thinking is urgently needed. But this is not limited to business. We want to bring young thinking into every area of our society and show current decision-makers the added value of it.
You are still a Master's student at Nova SBE. Given how demanding and rigorous the schoolwork is, how did you manage this work/student life balance?
I love to learn new things, just as I love to build new things. Starting a company while I study gives me the opportunity to do both. Besides time management, the most important thing for me is to leave room for creativity. This means that I try not to occupy my head with little worries and to-dos.
You chose the CEMS MIM Master's at Nova SBE. Why? And how do you think it will make a difference in your professional path?
During my Bachelor's I met several role models who all had one thing in common: they were CEMS-Alumni. Being surrounded by inspiring people is the most important thing for me to grow. So I figured that I absolutely had to do the CEMS program. The time at Nova SBE has been very rewarding, and now I am looking forward to my semester at the London School of Economics.
You're a Swiss student studying abroad. Why did you choose Portugal and Nova SBE?
Nova SBE offers me the most exciting environment: an ambitious business school that is future-oriented and diverse. My fellow students have backgrounds in physics, communication, and computer science – this creates incredible synergies! And Nova SBE knows how to use them. The university was created in a co-creation approach with its students and is constantly being developed alongside us. The correct description would probably be that it is a student-centered business school. Three hundred sunny days a year, the most beautiful campus in Europe with a direct tunnel to the beach, and the possibility to get a clear head while surfing between two lectures did not exactly influence my decision negatively. The beauty of Portugal's nature offers the perfect balance to a business school's demanding daily life.
Before this accolade, you were already Head of the Marketing & Communications team of CEMS Club Lisbon, and now you're the President of the Club. How has it been to also be involved in that part of CEMS, and how did you manage this work/student life balance with Zeam's growth at hand?
As I said, I chose CEMS because of the people, and I wanted to make the most of it. I just felt that I could add value to the program and make a difference in the experience of fellow CEMSies. Furthermore, leading an international student club during a global pandemic is a unique experience. As president, I am responsible for 170 students. What I have learned during this time will accompany me as an entrepreneur for a long time to come.
Do you think that being part of a CEMS Club Lisbon club is important for the Nova way of life? And do you think it provides extra motivation to go out into the world and leave a mark?
For sure! Nova SBE provides ambitious students with every imaginable opportunity to grow – you just have to grab it! And the Nova way of life also means work hard/play hard. Taking responsibility in the CEMS Club Lisbon was certainly not always easy, but it was a great experience that shaped me as a person.
Lastly, what advice do you have for Nova SBE (and non-Nova SBE) students who, like you, have in them the desire to go beyond, find new opportunities, and be at the forefront of innovation?
Every business student knows this theory from Michael Porter: "Strategy is about being different. It means choosing a different set of activities to deliver a unique mix of value." Yet, I don't see people applying it! At business schools, you are often streamlined, and when it comes to building a career, many are at a loss. They follow the same path as everyone else and try to do better. The problem: in the end, they are always one of many. Instead of focusing on being better than everyone else, you should ask yourself: What can I do to be different than everyone else?