Executive Transition Program

Succeed in the transition to general management responsibility

> Target audienceKey benefitsKey topics  – Meet the staff

The Executive Transition Program (ETP) consists of three non-consecutive weeks of study and has been designed for experienced functional managers transitioning to an increased level of general management responsibility. Advancing to the next level of leadership implies the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as much as fundamental changes in behaviors and attitudes. We invite new and future general managers to participate in this intense learning and development intervention, which will help them to succeed at the next level and remain personally fulfilled.

General managers have to evaluate the potentially conflicting interests of the various functions. In order to decide each time which of these have priority, they have to go beyond functional jargon and be able to ask critical questions. Reflecting this necessity, ETP will start in module 1 (Core managerial competencies) by looking at the fundamentals of all major business functions. As a result, the program offers participants a solid understanding of both the language and the thought processes prevalent in the major functions (such as Operations, Marketing, Sales, HR, IT, Finance and Accounting).

In module 2 (General management perspectives), the focus of the program will turn to cross-functional aspects, that is, to the ways in which the functions discussed in module 1 interconnect. We will look at strategic aspects of running a business incl. digitalization, discuss the critical role of innovation incl. design thinking, evaluate relations between business and the non-market environment, and discuss the methods and rules general managers should follow when making decisions.

Every new set of responsibilities increases the number of stakeholders who need to be taken into account. Therefore, module 3 (Integrative leadership in action) will further broaden perspectives by looking at the role of communication, at leading yourself and others, change management, as well as business ethics and CSR. By being offered an opportunity to discuss personal leadership challenges with experienced faculty, professional coaches, and a diverse, experienced, and international group of participants from a broad range of functions and industries, participants will leave the program with clear ideas and plans for the businesses they are leading, as well as their future personal development. At the same time, this group of individuals will serve as a lasting peer network that can be leveraged beyond the duration of this program.


Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Management

Having completed the ETP you will receive the ESMT Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Management, a prestigious recognition of your professional development.


Scholarship Opportunities

To increase the number of female executives, ESMT awards 2 full-tuition scholarships and two ESMT/30% Club partial scholarships (value €12,450) for women in leadership positions.
Exceptionally qualified and talented candidates might be eligible for the scholarships. Please get in contact with the ETP Program Director Urs Müller.


Target audience

Professionals in their thirties or forties from any educational background with a proven track record in their business. Participants are typically: leading a business unit or a regional subsidiary; in charge of a new product, market, or major project initiative; employed by companies operating globally or regionally; confident in their English-speaking capabilities.


Key benefits

Participants will return to their organizations from this program feeling confident and ready to assume complex roles as general managers. They will be equipped with new capabilities, tools, and concepts, feel competent when leading others, and will be prepared to manage across national borders. In addition, ETP alumni will become members of the exclusive ETP Salon, which will give them access to the ever-growing group of executives who have completed the program.

Many of the ETP alumni highlighted the enormous benefit they were able to reap from the diversity of their classmates. Intensively interacting with peers from different organizations, functions, industries and countries helped them to broaden their horizon and to lead their areas of responsibility more successfully.


Key topics

The ETP offers a unique combination of residential modules with inter-modular activities. Spread over nine months, this intense learning experience will provide the powerful set of tools participants need to make the leap from a functional role to general management. 

  • Operations and Supply Chain
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Human Resources
  • IT Management
  • Executive Transitions
  • Corporate Strategy
  • Competitive Strategy
  • Strategic Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Digitalization
  • Non-market Strategies: The Role of Lobbying, Politics, and Regulation
  • Intellectual Property Rights
  • Decision Making and Evidence-based Management
  • Leaders, Leadership, and Followers
  • Leading Change
  • Business Ethics and CSR
  • Status and Networks
  • Executive Careers
  • Leading and Reinventing Yourself
  • Executive Communication



"There are usually several transitions in a professional career. But the move from functional to general management requires a fundamental change in capabilities, skills, and attitudes. After the ETP, I was appointed chairman of the board. I am happy to have attended the ETP, which gave me the opportunity to learn, experiment, develop, and build a network of great people from very different backgrounds – while preparing for my transition."

Michael Kiesewetter, Chairman of the Board, Investitions- und Förderbank Niedersachsen NBank



Meet the teaching staff

Executive Transition Program

Module 1

22. - 29. Nov 2019
8 Days

Module 2

14. - 21. Feb 2020
8 Days

Module 3

8. - 15. May 2020
8 Days
24,900 €
(includes program fee, learning materials, program-related activities, and on-campus meals)

Urs Müller (Program Director)
Lecturer and Head of the Practice Group Consumer Goods and Retail, ESMT Berlin

Urs' focus in research and teaching is in the domain of Business ethics. Sometimes he also moves into the areas of Strategy and Change Management. He truly enjoys the opportunity and privilege to regularly discuss with executives the dilemmas that they really face in their daily life. Urs joined ESMT Berlin in September 2005 where he currently is a lecturer and serves as the head of the practice group "Consumer Goods and Retail". After his studies of Philosophy, German Literature and Art History at the University of Goettingen (Germany) and at the Université de Fribourg (Switzerland), Urs taught at the University of Goettingen, at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun (Poland) and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (U.S.A.).

During and after working on his PhD at the University of Goettingen, Urs worked as management consultant for A.T. Kearney. Where he served different international clients. Urs is a best-selling and award winning case author and serves as visiting tutor on writing and teaching with case studies for "The Case Centre". His work has been featured or quoted in several leading German and international media such as Al Jazeera, BBC, Bild, Deutsche Welle, Financial Times, Handelsblatt, Süddeutsche Zeitung, The Times, or The Wall Street Journal.


Matthew S. Bothner
Professor Deutsche Telekom Chair in Leadership and HR Development, ESMT Berlin

Matt Bothner joined ESMT Berlin in 2011 as a professor and the first holder of the Deutsche Telekom Chair in Leadership and HR Development. In 2015 he was appointed as the acting director of PhD Studies. His current research addresses the measurement and consequences of social status in several empirical settings, including venture capital, professional sports, and higher education. Bothner studies status to understand a form of ethical leadership—leadership guided by the categorical imperative, and for which status can be a means, not an end. In addition, he has developed computational models both to better understand factors affecting the evolution of cumulative advantage and to clarify the optimal strategies for leading tournaments for peer recognition. His research has been published in Administrative Science Quarterly, American Journal of Sociology, Management Science, and Organization Science.


Christoph Burger
Senior lecturer, ESMT Berlin

Christoph Burger is a senior lecturer at ESMT Berlin. Before joining ESMT, he worked five years in industry at Otto Versand and as vice president at the Bertelsmann Buch AG, five years at consulting practice Arthur D. Little, and five years as independent consultant focusing on private equity financing of SMEs.
His research focus is on long-term industry development, specifically in the energy sector/ innovation and decision making/ negotiation. He is author of the "ESMT Innovation Index – Electricity Supply Industry" and the book "The Decentralized Energy Revolution – Business Strategies for a New Paradigm". Christoph directs and teaches in open enrolment programs, customized programs in the energy, banking and aviation industry as well as programs for international senior executives such as the CKGSB CEO program or the supervisory board program for Deutsche Telekom. He also lectures for institutions such as Duke CE, ESCP or HEC and is a speaker in conferences of Wade, Cornwall Energy, Oxford Energy, Pennwell or Platts. He is a member of the jury of the greenTech awards, a mentor of the Startup Bootcamp and mentors MBA projects on new energy solutions.
Christoph studied business administration at the University of Saarbrücken (Germany), the Hochschule St. Gallen (Switzerland), and economics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (USA).


Linus Dahlander
Associate Professor, ESMT Berlin

Linus Dahlander is an associate professor at ESMT Berlin and the inaugural holder of the KPMG Chair in Innovation. He joined ESMT in January 2011 as an assistant professor. Linus received his PhD in Technology Management and Economics from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden in 2006. From 2006 to 2008, Linus was an assistant professor and an Advanced Institute of Management Research Fellow with the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group at Imperial College Business School in the UK. From 2008 to 2010, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University.

Joe Peppard
Professor, ESMT Berlin

Joe Peppard is a Professor at ESMT Berlin. Additionally, he is an adjunct professor at the University of South Australia. Previously, he held academic appointments at Cranfield School of Management (United Kingdom), Loughborough University (United Kingdom), Trinity College, Dublin (Ireland), Groningen University (the Netherlands), Politecnico di Milano (Italy), and University of Sydney (Australia). In 2011 he was the Dean’s Distinguished Scholar at the University of Southern Queensland (Australia). The focus of his research is in the area of information, information systems and information technology. Through his research he seeks to challenge dominant orthodoxies as he believes that these are contributing significantly to the problems that organizations have in leveraging digital technologies, both operationally and strategically, and ultimately in optimizing the value delivered from digital investments. Professor Peppard has published widely in academic and general business and management journals and regularly presents his work at international conferences.


and more internationally renowned and skilled educators and researchers with practical business experience

The Executive Transition Program - your door to general management

The Executive Transition Program - your door to general management

The Executive Transition Program is a general management seminar. It is a modular six-week program designed for experienced functional managers who have recently moved, or are about to move, into positions with general management responsibility.

The ETP provides an integrative understanding of key management functions, including the personal and organizational skills required to lead an enterprise and the broad strategic capabilities needed to identify and capitalize on new growth opportunities.

Combining residential modules with inter-modular activities, ETP offers an intense learning experience spread over 10 months, providing executives with the necessary tools needed to master the transition from a functional role to general management.