EMBAmbassador Stories: Meet Dr. Karin Thelen

Like Dr. Karin Thelen, take the first step into transformational leadership and learn more about the Executive MBA today.

Today, a modern leader is often expected to be a source of inspiration. Our alumna Dr. Karin Thelen serves as a striking example for this. Find out all about her journey towards transformational leadership.


Our world is changing rapidly. Climate crisis, digitalization, an older and more diverse population, new ways of work: All these developments demand adaptability and willingness to change from companies. At the same time, they open up new opportunities. To recognize and implement these, executives need a vision. A clear idea of where they want to lead the company. A meaningful picture of the desired future that provides orientation and meaning for the staff.

An inspiring woman, who follows this path day after day, is our TUM and Executive MBA alumna Dr. Karin Thelen. As Head of Quality at Stadtwerke München GmbH, she leads her team through the company’s own digital transformation process and makes an impact in a variety of aspects in her working life. “Besides understanding the technical part, the most important thing as a leader is being able to relate to your coworkers. Because that is the necessary prerequisite for boosting and promoting team spirit in transformation processes”, explains Dr. Thelen. For her, making an impact requires having a good and appreciative relationship with the employees and helping them embrace change. Her most important tool? Communication.

How do you become such a passionate leader? A formative experience for Dr. Karin Thelen was working in a start-up company several years ago. It was then that she realized that as a leader, you need certain skills to create a work environment in which everyone can develop and reach their full potential. When faced with the challenge of leading a heterogeneous team of 80 people through a fundamental transformation process, she decided to focus on sharpening her management skills.

Committing to an Executive MBA at the TUM School of Management was the perfect fit for her. The course for experienced leaders connects theoretical knowledge with praxis-oriented teaching – also in the form of mentoring. For Dr. Thelen, a special source of inspiration was Prof. Dr. Isabell Welpe, Chair for Strategy and Organization, where she wrote her master’s thesis. “Prof. Welpe is a role model because she is a widely respected driving force of digital transformation. And she represents female leadership at its best;” states Dr. Thelen.

Be a female leader and inspire other women: Dr. Thelen has internalized this principle in her daily business. Today, she supports female colleagues in her department and empowers them to take the next steps in their careers.

For us, one thing is certain: role models like Karin Thelen, who lead in a modern, innovative, transformative and empathetic way, not only act as ambassadors for female empowerment in the workplace. They also show very clearly how much you can achieve if you are willing to keep learning throughout your life.

Like Dr. Karin Thelen, take the first step into transformational leadership and learn more about the Executive MBA today.

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