Gregor Müller Of GoStudent: How AI Is Disrupting Our Industry, and What We Can Do About It

An Interview With Cynthia Corsetti

Don‘t be too cynical about the AI craze. Is there a lot of hype involved? Yes, certainly. Is there a lot of noise that you have to cut through? 100% yes. Are there lots of fancy products without much behind them? Yes again. However, we are still at the very beginning of a paradigm shift. You don’t want to be sat on the sidelines and miss this opportunity.

Artificial Intelligence is no longer the future; it is the present. It’s reshaping landscapes, altering industries, and transforming the way we live and work. With its rapid advancement, AI is causing disruption — for better or worse — in every field imaginable. While it promises efficiency and growth, it also brings challenges and uncertainties that professionals and businesses must navigate. What can one do to pivot if AI is disrupting their industry? As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Gregor Müller, COO and Co-Founder, GoStudent.

Gregor Müller is the COO and Co-Founder of GoStudent, one of the world’s leading tutoring providers and education platforms. GoStudent’s goal is to use the best of tech to unlock the full potential of every child. In 2023 Gregor was featured in the Forbes Europe 30 under 30 technology list.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive into our discussion our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Ofcourse! I’m Gregor Müller, and I am the co-founder and COO of GoStudent. Our goal is quite simple: we want to harness the best of tech to unlock the full potential of every student. We started out by offering 1:1 online tutoring and, over the past eight years, have evolved to span online, offline and hybrid education. Right now, we’re building AI-powered learning tools, meaning we can offer students a truly personalized learning experience. It’s an exciting path to be on and, when I think about what brought me to it, there are two very clear drivers.

First, coming from an entrepreneurial family (a smaller, old-economy business), it has always been clear to me that I want to build something myself. Something that solves a real problem and that helps disrupt an industry. Ever since I remember, I’ve always thought about different business ideas. I was in my early twenties when myself and my co-founder, Felix Ohswald, realized the immense need for GoStudent — but even now, I am still always thinking about new challenges to solve. I do this in my spare time, almost as a hobby.

Second, I know first-hand the impact a good tutor can have on a student. When I was in college, I gave tutoring lessons and became very aware of two things: 1. The fundamental difference a good teacher can have on a child’s life and 2. The changes needed within the school system. Together, this understanding made GoStudent the perfect opportunity.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Something that I am really proud of is that almost everybody in the company has a passion for education or some direct connection to the topic of education. This creates a very special connection to what we are trying to do and an intrinsic motivation to want to drive real change. This creates a really strong culture. Looking at our team, a lot of our talents have worked as tutors themselves or have a parent that is a teacher. I also find it interesting that a lot of our executive team has a parent or family member who is a teacher. It shows the passion we have for supporting education to evolve and to support those vital individuals shaping it.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Able to stay calm and focused under pressure — In the early days of GoStudent there was a moment when a vital investor dropped off days before signing and we only had a few days of funds before the money would run out. We understood the size of the problem, but we stayed calm, stayed confident, got in touch with the right people in our network and were able to find new investors within hours.

Being a very optimistic person — Starting and running a company is a rollercoaster ride, and there are many occasions where challenges arise that you need to handle quickly. As you grow, new topics always come up, and it can feel like you spend most of your time on addressing problems. In this environment, you need to find ways to stay extremely positive. For me, I always aim to see the good things and the opportunities in a topic rather than the problems and risks. Team members need that of a leader, especially in very fast moving and uncertain times.

Ability to make big topics manageable — To my mind, a successful leader knows how to look at a topic and see how to break it down into manageable pieces. Take each piece and think about how to approach that part of the problem. Can it be tackled step by step? Can it be measured in a certain way? You must be pragmatic. You often can’t solve the whole, but you can address the individual pieces. Coupled with this is the ability to communicate this process. Clear direction and guidance is key — particularly when the topic you are looking to solve spans many departments.

I also think another key part of making topics manageable is making sure you truly understand what you are dealing with. It is vital for leaders to be hands-on. You dig deep yourself, stay close to the customers and understand what happens on the ground. By staying in touch with the day-to-day, you can couple your strategic vision with the true understanding of the situation.

Let’s now move to the main point of our discussion about AI. Can you explain how AI is disrupting your industry? Is this disruption hurting or helping your bottom line?

AI is fundamentally transforming the education sector in several ways, as knowledge becomes more accessible.

For us at GoStudent, this disruption has been overwhelmingly positive. AI enables us to offer value-added services around our core product. Features such as our AI-powered learning platform and our curriculum-trained AI tutor significantly enhance self-study options for students, by providing personalized and engaging learning experiences. This means students can receive tailored support that adapts to their individual needs, enhancing their learning efficiency and engagement. These tools not only make for a more exciting learning experience for students but also make our services more scalable and efficient, and distinguishes us from traditional tutoring providers or the “tutor from next door”.

AI is also helping teachers become more effective by automating tasks that traditionally take up a lot of their time. At GoStudent, administrative duties such as lesson planning can now be supported by AI, allowing our educators to focus more on the actual teaching and interaction with their students. This not only improves the quality of education but also enhances job satisfaction among our tutors.

Operationally, AI is helping businesses across industries improve their processes. At GoStudent AI enables our educational advisors to manage more customers simultaneously and provide more personalized support.

To my mind, AI is both helping and disrupting the education industry. It is driving demand for more personalized and efficient educational services while also pushing companies to innovate and adapt.

Which specific AI technology has had the most significant impact on your industry?

We believe human teachers will always play a crucial role in education. That said, AI holds the potential to streamline workloads and personalize learning — in many ways turbocharging the classroom. This is incredibly exciting, but it is essential that we recognize the pivotal role that student-teacher connection plays. Teachers are so often a child’s first role model, and this is something AI can’t replace.

For this reason, the AI technology that has, and will continue to have, the biggest impact on the education industry will be those in the sphere of either teacher support or self-guided learning. We also see this reflected in our own innovation.

Last year, we took our first step towards building an AI-powered classroom by releasing an AI lesson planner, enabling tutors to create tailored lesson plans in seconds. We also introduced AI lesson transcripts, meaning lesson summaries could be created in seconds. Together, these innovations allow tutors to spend less time on admin and more time with their students.

When it came to finding the same benefits for students, we wanted to ensure that whatever we built would enhance their learning. It is for this reason that we built Amelia — our curriculum-trained AI tutor. There to support in the windows between tutoring sessions, Amelia offers around-the-clock support, answering questions and providing revision materials. She sits within the wider GoStudent Learning platform, where students can access content and quizzes that adjust in real time to match their level of challenge. Tutors can set quizzes in GoStudent Learning for their students, meaning the flow between 1:1 human tutoring and AI-supported study is seamless.

Can you share a pivotal moment when you recognized the profound impact AI would have on your sector?

I remember so clearly the first time we played around with a very early iteration of our first AI feature: our AI lesson plan generator. We found from our early testing that tutors were saving around 10–15 minutes in preparation time per lesson while achieving higher satisfaction on the family side. This was an eye-opener and the reason why we doubled down on our internal AI Squad.

How are you preparing your workforce for the integration of AI, and what skills do you believe will be most valuable in an AI-enhanced future?

The key to preparing the workforce for the integration of AI is to clearly communicate the why behind the changes you are implementing. If you can show the value of the innovation — maybe in the form of the efficiency gains behind it — they can better understand what’s in it for them.

Next, make sure your team really tries out the AI tools themselves. Let them work out their own use cases for AI and explore how they could embed it in their day-to-day. Ultimately, we want to make their lives easier, remove their bottlenecks, and empower them to be more productive. We can then take their feedback to our AI squad and build custom tools to suit their needs.

Balancing this, though, soft skills are going to be even more important. Understanding how to navigate several tools without becoming overwhelmed. Being able to cut through the noise and understand what makes sense. This requires the ability to connect the dots, a commercial understanding and a deep understanding of the customers and their needs and preferences. Supporting teams to understand this need will ensure they are able to succeed in a world with AI.

What are the biggest challenges in upskilling your workforce for an AI-centric future?

I think a common challenge for many businesses is workforce uncertainty about where innovation will lead. A big concern is around being replaced. This causes fear, and a reluctance to be open for change and opportunity. My co-founder, Felix, and I are both of the mindset that yes, things will change, yes, this may impact us all in some way, but that AI will create more opportunities, not fewer. There will always be a bright future for motivated, curious, talented people. This is the message we want to get across.

What ethical considerations does AI introduce into your industry, and how are you tackling these concerns?

I think it important to address this by first acknowledging that businesses that don’t evolve with technological innovation will be more likely to fail. We don’t want this to happen, so we need to view AI as an opportunity for positive change.

We know that in harnessing certain tools, AI can help our business to be more profitable and significantly improve margins. We also know that by building AI tools, we can support our users to have a better educational experience. For tutors, this means creating solutions to help free up their resources. For students, this means using AI to help them study at their own pace, in between their interactions with their teachers and tutors.

We need to always assess if the change being made with AI will have a positive outcome. If the answer is yes, then we should be open to exploring it.

What are your “Five Things You Need To Do, If AI Is Disrupting Your Industry”?

1 . Don‘t be too cynical about the AI craze. Is there a lot of hype involved? Yes, certainly. Is there a lot of noise that you have to cut through? 100% yes. Are there lots of fancy products without much behind them? Yes again. However, we are still at the very beginning of a paradigm shift. You don’t want to be sat on the sidelines and miss this opportunity.

When we first launched 1:1 online tutoring we were hugely different from our main competitor: offline tutoring. We could see the beginnings of a change, though, with online becoming more popular. We took a calculated chance, and it paid off. Now, in 2024, 96% of parents believe 1:1 online tutoring to be effective.

2 . Focus on the opportunities. Believe in your team’s ability and empower them to build AI tools that they see real potential in. Don’t get too distracted by the drawbacks and approach the topic holistically. You and your team have a deep understanding of your industry and your customers. Trust that they know how AI can make your business better and your customers happier, and give them the space to start building and testing. This is how we at GoStudent approached our AI strategy.

3 . Challenge the new AI features that are flooding the market. AI is a buzzy topic. There is a lot of interest in AI, and it can feel quite stressful seeing so many new innovations appear. I’ve learnt to challenge what I’m seeing. It may be that it is a bit sensational, or that the strategy behind it is not that clear. Take time to identify the true game changers — the things with real value and use cases behind them — and see if you can learn from them for your business. At GoStudent, looking very closely at what’s already out there and extensively trying it out ourselves is absolutely key.

4 . Start with internal processes. Your first step towards using AI doesn’t have to be a big customer-facing breakthrough feature. A good first step can be identifying the biggest bottlenecks in your operations and exploring how AI could help ease these pressures. At GoStudent, one of the areas where AI has its biggest impact from a business perspective is customer support, where our own AI Support Agent handles most of the first-level support queries.

5Set up an AI Enablement Team. This can be small — maybe two or three skilled enthusiasts tasked with building an MVP fast for testing. Usually, this role attracts great, highly motivated internal talents with some knowledge of AI within your company. At GoStudent we were able to set up a smart hands-on team very quickly that has enough independence to rethink and challenge things, ultimately making a huge impact.

What are the most common misconceptions about AI within your industry, and how do you address them?

That soon, teachers, tutors and educators will be completely replaced by AI. While we agree that there are plenty of aspects that can be greatly enhanced or even replaced by this technology (prep work, coming up with practice examples, marking papers, etc.), from our experience (and especially with kids in K12) what makes human teachers so invaluable is the mentor role that the teacher plays.

Teacher needs to be able to connect with a child — be a role-model. Often this means being very proactive to get the kids attention. AI can help teachers focus more on this connection and less on the day -to -day. That’s why we are currently enabling our Tutors to create AI Co-Tutors for themselves. AI can support them by generating lesson plans or transcripts — meaning tutors can focus more on the individual student.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

Rafael Nadal once said, I always work with a goal, and the goal is to improve as a player and as a person”.

If I could pick any mentor, it would be Nadal. He is among the (if not the) greatest tennis players of all time, he is a 22-time Grand Slam Winner, spent 209 weeks at #1 in the world, and is an Olympic gold medalist. He’s also faced major injuries and tight losses in huge tournaments. No matter if he’s winning or losing, he is always looking to the future and to what he can do next.

To overcome hurdles and to achieve such success, he has had to maintain an extreme amount of passion, focus, dedication, and discipline. He trains hard and has never stopped trying to become better at his sport. He won his first grand slam at age 18 and his latest at age 36 — and in that time he’s always strived for self-improvement.

My craft is my business, but what I see in Nadal, I am inspired by every day. Not only does he always strive for more, but he is also known to be an incredibly fierce competitor on the court, while always being fair. Off the court, he is known as a humble, friendly and honest person: qualities I believe every founder must keep close to their heart if they want to grow a meaningful business.

Off-topic, but I’m curious. As someone steering the ship, what thoughts or concerns often keep you awake at night? How do those thoughts influence your daily decision-making process?

Luckily over the years, I’ve developed a way to turn off when going to bed. It is rare, but if something keeps me awake it’s usually a new idea or approach that I want to try out. If the idea gets me excited, I engage with it — sometimes leaving a note on my phone so as not to forget it. Then, in the morning, I build the idea out and get it going. With negative things, I tend to tell myself that there’s no point in overthinking things right now. It’s more important to have a good night’s sleep and then approach the problem with a clear mind the next day.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Personally, I have always regarded education as life’s greatest enabler. The goal of my movement would be to revolutionize the school system. In my opinion, many parts of it are outdated and don’t prepare kids well enough for the future. We need to re-think this from the ground up and be open to trying new things out. The obstacles to doing this are plentiful, which is why lessons still look the same now as they did a century ago. Luckily with GoStudent, we have a realistic chance of driving some of this change — but I’d love to see more done on a global scale. Our company mission is to build the #1 global school — join us!

How can our readers further follow you online?
Please follow GoStudent on LinkedIn — we regularly share updates and would love for you to join our community!

Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

About the Interviewer: Cynthia Corsetti is an esteemed executive coach with over two decades in corporate leadership and 11 years in executive coaching. Author of the upcoming book, “Dark Drivers,” she guides high-performing professionals and Fortune 500 firms to recognize and manage underlying influences affecting their leadership. Beyond individual coaching, Cynthia offers a 6-month executive transition program and partners with organizations to nurture the next wave of leadership excellence.