EMBAmbassador Stories: Meet Adrian Schomburg

Like Adrian Schomburg, take the first step into your new work journey and learn more about the Executive MBA today.

Molecular biologist Adrian Schomburg has had a remarkable career and yet decided to take it even a step further. After gaining experience at the major pharmaceutical company Pfizer, he not only took part in several start-ups and projects within other equally large companies but co-founded his own start-up Eisbach Bio – a company unlike any other firm. He explains his bold choice to max out his employees freedom in creating their individual best working conditions and how even the decision to ignore well-used methods needs a fundamental understanding of them.


TUM’s Executive MBA graduate Adrian Schomburg describes himself as an “intrapreneur”: somebody, who sets his goals within his company towards leading, managing and motivating. At just 37 years he looks back onto a career as a molecular biologist Pfizer, a major pharmaceutical company, and several involvements with start-ups and promising projects. In 2019 he then co-founded Eisbach Bio, a company focused primarily on cancer research, with Andreas Ladurner, another renowned biochemist. When Covid-19 hit the world, he even started a side-project for developing a possible treatment based on similarities between proteins found in the Corona virus and in cancer cells.

The leadership style Schomburg chose for Eisbach Bio is unconventional. For him, the main task was to motivate his staff despite the heavily workload and providing all the resources needed to keep pushing forward. In order to achieve this he offers the employees an untypical amount of freedom: “Whenever employees ask me for permission, I say yes. When they ask me if they can get a raise, I say yes – without thinking about it. Everyone in this company is allowed to set their own salary, and everyone can take as much vacation as they want, come and go as they please and schedule their work accordingly, as long as it gets done.”

What Schomburg demands in return is commitment, initiative and intrinsic motivation. And he knows that the burden lies on him to lead the way. “If you want to be seen as a leader, you have to also be the one with the deepest eye-bags. This is the only way to credibly convey to the workforce that you can only take advantage of such an opportunity if you are prepared to go the extra mile.”

Adrian Schomburg took the risk and dared to break new ground with his view on work and leadership. But even with choosing his unusual approach to management, the Executive MBA degree at the TUM School of Management was crucial for Schomburg for learning and developing his managerial and leadership skills. “Doing the Executive MBA was incredibly important for me – for the following reason: I have to know all the methods and approaches, the language, and the way certain topics are dealt with. Even if I then decide to ignore them. If I had not internalized all that knowledge to some extent, I would not be able to stand in front of any of our investors today and explain to them what we need and what we don’t need. It has made a huge difference because it has also given me the security to say: I will just try things out and do them the way I think is best.”

The ability to extract management knowledge from the free economy for his own purposes and to find his own ways is particularly important for Schomburg. Because after all, Eisbach Bio is not only in terms of staff motivation unlike any other firm. “We have neither project plans nor milestone plans. At the end of the day, everyone’s accountability is exclusively to our collective goal”, Schomburg explains.

It takes courage to found a company solely on the grounds of trust in a common vision of work. Adrian Schomburg sets an example with Eisbach Bio that is yet to be evaluated in its success but already a beacon for innovative management and the infinite possibilities beyond rules and regulations we thought of as set in stone.

Like Adrian Schomburg, take the first step into your new work journey and learn more about the Executive MBA today.

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