Known for his energetic lecturing style, Robert Hattemer teaches different management modules at accadis, both in the bachelor and master program. Some of you may already have experienced him as a lecturer in the modules International Management 1 and 2, Cross Cultural Behaviour or International Leadership, Applied Global Strategy, Global and Transnational Strategy. We - that is Alexander Stanzel and Benedict Gribbin, have met with Robert Hattemer in the morning, just after one of his lectures, in order to ask him some interesting questions. If you like to find out more about his experience at accadis, the most hilarious moments and how he got his own business started, you should continue reading!
Hello Mr. Hattemer, we are glad you found some time to conduct this interview with us. Let’s get started: You have been lecturing at accadis for quite a long time now. What initially motivated you to become a lecturer at accadis 10 years ago?
I was teaching at several different universities at that time: University of Applied Sciences in Wiesbaden, Mainz and also the EBS. Then Prof. Dr. Schüle – who teaches Economics here at accadis – suggested to apply for a lecturer vacancy. What impressed me at first sight was the familiar atmosphere at accadis, as the class sizes were small - It was a big difference to the public universities where I sometimes had 60-70 people in a class. With around 30 students it was manageable here, so I tried lecturing here once. I liked it and decided to stay!
What challenges you most as a lecturer? What is the most fun part of lecturing at accadis?
Let’s start with the last part of the question: The most fun part is seeing the students develop. They come here, they don’t have a lot of business experience, their soft skills are somewhat limited, and their analytical capabilities are still in the rough. What I do see is a big difference after three years, for example when students come and continue with the masters program here and when they really have developed different types of thinking skills. That is the fun piece for me, to be part of the story of developing business leaders and managers of tomorrow. For me, the most challenging part of lecturing is the digital revolution and the digital natives as there are many students who – in spite of certain rules – are using technology all the time. The big problem here is that they think, that if they can google, they can automatically think. I just had an assignment in class, where students had to hand in a remote assignment and roughly 50% of students copied something from the internet. That’s sort of frustrating! To me keeping students focused and engaged, that they use their brain rather than their smartphone – that is the most challenging part.
What was the most hilarious moment during one of your lectures?
The most hilarious moment was when we were teaching motivational theories in class, and we were able to see into the offices of the neighbouring company from our classroom. We saw someone who was playing card games on their computer, rather than working. The person was actually doing that for the entire length of our lecture!
Besides lecturing at accadis, you are also running your own consulting and training business, where you already worked together with managers from big companies like Google, SAP, Deutsche Telekom, Boehringer Ingelheim and many more. How do you find the time to relax and what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
During the trimester it is difficult to relax, as there is a lot of preparation and updating of class material to be done. I try to take a few breaks, going on vacation three or four times each year – varying in length. I also love reading books.
Did you know early on that you wanted to start your own business?
No, absolutely not. That was sort of a coincidence. I have been living in the US for 16 years, working at AT&T in the telecom industry, and when I moved back to Germany in 2001, I applied to different German telecom companies. Unfortunately, I was at a certain managerial level which was neither top-level management nor low-level management, and companies like to fill these gaps from within. I thought about alternatives, and I figured to start my own business. It took quite a while to take off, but now it is working wonderfully.
How would you define success?
That’s a difficult one! I think if you set yourself fairly ambitious goals, and if you meet those. That’s how I would define success.
There are certain things we never leave our home without. What do you always keep around you?
I only take the usual stuff with me, for example keys and my wallet. The one thing however that I often do leave at home is my smartphone.
You surely have come around quite a lot. Which from all places is your all-time favourite travel destination?
There are various travel destinations that I like! My favourite cities that I have visited are Barcelona, Prague and also Amsterdam. There are also smaller cities that I really like as they have a completely different atmosphere. Salamanca and Toledo in Spain are wonderful, and Bruges in Belgium is also beautiful. Another great travel destination for nature vacations are the national parks of the western US. I love backpacking there!
If you had to give us students some advice for life, what would it be?
Figure out what you really want to do and pursue that! Many students beginning at accadis don’t know what to do later, but by the end of your studies you should know in general what you want to do. Be open minded! Be willing to try different things! Learn how to self-reflect! Be critical in yourself – both in positive and negative ways! Understand how you can improve yourself! Try to do those things that will allow you to achieve your goals!
Thank you for the Interview Mr. Hattemer!
Benedict Gribbin & Alexander Stanzel