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Unconventional Interview with Prof. Dr. Ralf Strauss

After the Social Media Take-over of our Media Management students in November 2017, we would like to continue their idea of asking our professors some unconventional questions. For this interview we were able to speak to Prof. Dr. Ralf Strauss.

1. What was the best decision in your career?
Well, this is tricky … But looking back after some years, I do think that all decisions were the right ones at a certain period of time. Just to highlight some: having been the head of Corporate Development for SAP and being stuck in reorganising SAP in Germany as the project lead, I was asked to take over the role as Chief Marketing Officer of SAP Germany and then later also Central Europe. After having been a consultant for many years, I loved to have the business role and be able to work together with a bunch of excellent colleagues to further shape our Go-To-Market. But also taking over the role as Heavy Project Manager at Volkswagen and the task to digitalise Marketing and Sales across the VW group was valuable – I  learned a lot, the learning curve was steep.
2. If you could meet a famous person, who would it be and why?

I guess I do have a strong preference for people who just make their way and do what they think is necessary and/or are extremely intelligent (or at least come across to be so). Last year I met Sir Richard Allan, member of the House of Lords in the UK (and therefore having the Brexit on his table) and in parallel being Facebooks representative for all regulatory questions such as fake news and hate speech. An extraordinary person. For the future, I would love to meet Sir Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin group and multi-entrepreneur – a man most probably focused on discovering new business areas and loaded with entrepreneurial spirit.

3. What profession did your parents imagine for you?
(laughing) Most probably they would have loved it if I would have become a doctor as well as they both were doctors. But medicine never appeared to be as fascinating to me in comparison with what I have been doing throughout my entire business career.
4. If you were an animal, which one would you be and why?
That is an easy one: as we do have two cats at home, I would just want to be one of them, enjoying myself in a big house for myself and having two people who cuddle me all the way through.
5. The funniest joke you know?
I guess in psychology there is a term which is called mental activation – this means that some elements resonate more with you and others less. And for me jokes which I can remember mostly have age restrictions (laughing).
6. Do you have a favorite place?
Jointly together with my small family on my sofa on the weekends when we all fly in and relax jointly.
7. If you were to publish a book about your life, what title would it have?
Carpe diem – he always tried to leverage opportunities wherever he found some.
8. Who is your childhood hero?
A bunch of famous singers such as Luciano Pavarotti, Barry White or Luther Vandross.
9. Your secret business idea?
I do not have one … everytime I do have an idea, I try to realise it. So no secrets, just execution.

10. Which three goals do you have for your future?
Yes … spending more time with family, caring more for my personal health condition and last but not least further enlarge the teams working with me on a bunch of large scale projects with similar smart professionals as we do have today.

Thank you very much für your honest answers, Prof. Dr. Ralf Strauss!

Ralf Strauss