INSEAD Participant Interview

Interview with Matthias Meier, past participant of the Strategic Marketing Programme

Matthias Meier

VP Sales and Marketing
DT Swiss

"I went into INSEAD with really high expectations about the relevance of the programme and the intellectual level of the learning experiences. And I came out with every expectation exceeded"

Strategic Marketing Programme past participant

The Strategic Marketing Programme: “This is what learning should be”

Matthias Meier, VP Sales and Marketing at DT Swiss, went into the Strategic Marketing Programme wondering whether INSEAD could deliver so broad a topic in one week – he left with “rekindled excitement for learning and a profound motivation to put new concepts into practice .”

Staying ahead of the market means keeping abreast of change. And that means making continuous learning a priority.

But while reading up about your discipline or industry, or researching the latest developments in your spare time can help you stay up to speed, there’s nothing quite like the dynamic of a focused learning experience.

And it is this desire to exchange ideas and perspectives and explore concepts within a structured framework – a passion for learning – that brought Matthias Meier to INSEAD and the Strategic Marketing Programme in 2019.

Vice President of Sales and Marketing at the high-end bicycle components brand, DT Swiss, Meier is no stranger to the classroom.

“I have an academic background, with a PhD in strategic management. Learning is a real passion of mine. So going back to school following seven years into my job was a real luxury. It represented an opportunity to explore different viewpoints, diverse industry contexts and new business models in a completely focused setting, away from the distractions of day-to-day work.”

True to his academic roots, Meier took time to thoroughly research different business schools, faculty and programmes before settling on INSEAD – one of Europe’s foremost “top-notch” business schools, he says.

“I was really convinced by the faculty at INSEAD, because of the research and teaching reputation they have. I was confident they had the expertise and the wherewithal to drive deep discussions into real-life problems and challenges such as digital transformation. As leaders in their fields of research I knew they could offer a really rich learning experience.”

And he was not disappointed.

The week at INSEAD delivered the skills refresh and update in marketing developments of the last decade that Meier had been seeking, giving both a broad overview of the discipline and specific focus on individual topics – as well an “intuitive feeling for what will be focal points in the future.”

“I was curious to see how INSEAD would manage to deliver so broad a theme as strategic marketing in just one week. Going into the programme, it felt like an unachievable goal. But there was a great balance between the big picture and the specifics. We covered a lot of ground and our enthusiasm and energy was really sparked to pursue specific ideas. The programme renewed my genuine excitement about marketing in general, while research findings on things like pricing and segmentation gave me strong reassurance that we’re on the right track within my company.”

Meier was particularly impressed with the teaching of Klaus Wertenbroch, whose courses integrate theory, research findings and real-world case studies – a dynamic that Meier describes as “first-class.”

He was similarly impressed by the quality of his cohort.

“My group was small and intimate – quite different to the experience I had as a university student. We were all quite strong personalities, passionate and strong-minded. So working together, exchanging ideas and perspectives was an experience I relished. And with the level of attention to detail provided by Professor Wertenbroch and other faculty, I really felt that this is what studying should be.”

Meier has come away from the learning experience with tangible insights that he feels he can apply to his daily work. And ideas about where to focus moving forward.

“I found the Best Buy case study particularly illuminating in terms of showcasing best practice in building customer brand awareness. I left the programme with new ideas about positioning and brand management, and a strong sense of where to place our focus in terms of managing conversion with consumers who move from brick-and-mortar to online product consideration. The entire experience was hugely dense, intense and provided real food for thought on where to go next.”

In fact, so deep is his satisfaction with the programme that he is currently “negotiating time” with his company to pursue another INSEAD programme in the near future.

“This was my first experience of INSEAD and I do not want it to be my last. From start to finish, the programme here was hugely interesting and motivating. I felt like a student again, but with the life experience of a 40-something experienced professional. I went into INSEAD with really high expectations about the relevance of the programme and the intellectual level of the learning experiences. And I came out with every expectation exceeded.”

Find out more about the Strategic Marketing Programme.

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