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Swapping the corporate ladder for the entrepreneurial life – with Coco Hannemann

Meet Coco Hannemann (left), who ended her successful corporate career when completing the Executive MBA in Innovation & Business Creation – to now see her own start-up flourishing.

 

Straight forward, very structured with a positive outlook on life: Coco Hannemann is the colleague everyone wants to work with and the boss most of us hope for. While still successfully climbing the career ladder at HUGO BOSS, she enrolled at the TUM School of Management with a clear goal in mind. She wanted to be an entrepreneur and turn the spark of an idea into a business. Today, as the co-founder of THE FLOOX, she shares how she has benefited from her Executive MBA program and what her next big dream is.

Coco Hannemann was content in her corporate job. She held the project leader of the e-commerce department at HUGO BOSS. But at one point she wanted more: She felt the urge to get creative, to build something from scratch and to make an impact. “I wanted to invest one hundred percent of my energy and time into something that matters to me”, she explains. That is when she decided to leave the corporate path and head towards an entrepreneurial life.

First, Coco listened to a range of podcasts. She says: “This opened my eyes for business opportunities.” One Christmas, her brother gifted her a voucher for a workshop to craft necklaces together. “During the workshop my brother taught me everything and guided us through each step of the process. I liked how emotionally attached I then felt to this necklace – just because I had created it myself”, she continues. Coco has always been very interested in slow consumption and the workshop sparked a new thought: “It would be so nice if people crafted on their own, learned the process from others and consequently slowed down consumerism.”

And just like that, the original concept of THE FLOOX was born. She carried the idea around for a while. She wanted to build an online platform where people could purchase the experience of learning different crafts and creating their own pieces. To transform her business idea into reality Coco developed a step-by-step plan – enrolling in the Executive MBA in Innovation & Business Creation was one of the first milestones as she thought: “What can I lose? What would happen if I failed?” And her answer was and still is to this day: “Nothing. The entire journey with all its learnings is so valuable in the end. There is no failure. Either you learn or you succeed.”

Since then, the original idea got shaped, twisted, turned around, and changed all over again through Coco’s and her co-founder Alice’s determination, as well as through the advice and mentoring that Coco received during the program. “The Executive MBA guided my idea step by step to where we are right now”, she adds. During the program, Coco also learned that the business idea itself is less important. “The key is to fully commit to building a company and becoming an entrepreneur”, she continues. “In my case, my idea served as a starting point.”

Coco did not only have high expectations for the program but also for herself: “I wanted to learn all the tools, build a network and the right mindset in order to transform this draft into an actual business. Due to the time and money I invested I was eager to overcome my fears”, she says. Through her studies at the TUM School of Management, Coco gained a whole toolbox to set up a successful business and keep it thriving. “I think what had the biggest impact on me was being surrounded by my classmates who are intrapreneurs or entrepreneurs and learning from all the lecturers who shared their journeys with us”, she adds.

Business partners: Alice (right) and Coco (left).

Especially the “Team Project” provided Coco with a space to go through the entire business process of her idea for THE FLOOX – from customer research to problem-solving. “I benefited from the continuous spearing with my teachers and classmates as well as seeing the projects from the others developing.” She also used the “Impact Project” to pitch in front of feedback givers and met Georg Bader and Philipp Engelhardt who then became her business angels. Coco describes Bader who is a TUM School of Management alumnus himself: “He was very curious and liked that we already had a bit of traction. We had implemented the idea and showed the first results. From there on, we had a lot of calls and it kept developing. I am so grateful for this opportunity”, she adds.

Looking back on her Executive MBA journey, Coco’s expectations of the program were fully met: “I think it was a great decision to do the Executive MBA with a very clear goal in mind. It turned out exactly the way I wanted it to.” Upon entering the program, Coco was very aware of her intention for her studies. “I discovered the opportunities the Executive MBA had in store for me and grabbed them as soon as they were unfolding in front of me”, she continues.

Today, Coco Hannemann is an Executive MBA graduate, quit her corporate job and is fully committed to THE FLOOX. Of course, this powerhouse already has new ambitions and visions ready to be brought to life: “We have transformed THE FLOOX from an offline-based workshop platform to on-demand video art classes. Next up is growing it into Europe’s leading ed-tech platform for female role model learning. I love this shift and we are fully focused on it.”

The post Swapping the corporate ladder for the entrepreneurial life – with Coco Hannemann appeared first on Technical University of Munich – School of Management.

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