ALT + + Schriftgröße anpassen
ALT + / Kontrast anpassen
ALT + M Hauptnavigation
ALT + Y Socials
ALT + W Studiengang wählen
ALT + K Homenavigation
ALT + G Bildwechsel
ALT + S Übersicht
ALT + P Funktionsleiste
ALT + O Suche
ALT + N Linke Navigation
ALT + C Inhalt
ALT + Q Quicklinks
ESC Alles zurücksetzen
A - keyboard accessible X

Wirtschaftsforum (Economic Forum)

The "Wirtschaftsforum" (Economic Forum) was founded by students of ESB Business School in the autumn of 1996 and has developed into a well-known panel discussion beyond the region.

The Economic Forum 2020 planned for 27th April on the topic of "Germany vs. China - Who will win the economic competition of the systems?" will not take place due to the prevention measures against the spread of Covid-19.

Previous Economic Forums

2018: Opinion. Power. Manipulation. - Lobbying and the German Economy

The 22nd Economic Forum at ESB Business School focused on the influence of lobbying on the German economy, politics and society. The word lobbying goes back to the English term “lobby”, in this case meaning the entrance hall of the British parliament. It is where stakeholders would acquaint the parliamentarians with their points of view and opinions. That diverse groupings approached politicians in order to communicate their requests and concerns seems reasonable. Yet excessive influence on the part of lobbyists might cause problems for democracy. So what, in fact, does lobbying mean? What function or what benefits does this mechanism have? What impact does it have on the German economy and society? Who can afford to lobby?  And how transparent is lobbying in Germany?  


  • Dr. h.c. Dirk Niebel, Former federal minister, Director of International Strategy Development and Government Relations Rheinmetall AG
  • Prof. Dr. Ulrich von Alemann, teached political science at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, managing director of "Verein zur Förderung der Wissensregion Düsseldorf" 
  • Hartmut Bäumer, Deputy Chairman of Transparency International Germany e.V., lawyer and politican (B’ 90/Die Grünen)
  • Dr. Dr. h.c. Peter Spary, Association offical and lobbyist, founder of Spary Network Communication

Moderation: Dr. Andrea Despot, Director of the European Academy Berlin

2017: "Money, health, conscience – is the legalisation of cannabis long overdue?"

This year’s Economic Forum (Wirtschaftsforum) focuses on the effects of a possible legalisation of cannabis. In many states in the US cannabis is being progressively legalised. In Germany too, cannabis has been available for medical purposes since 2017. But what is the impact this has on our everyday life? Will cannabis soon be for sale in the local supermarket? Will the illegal black market be finally overcome? Or will cannabis become a widespread gateway drug with devastating consequences for young people?  


  • Helmut Wlasak, Austrian criminal court judge for drug-related crime
  • Prof. Dr Justus Haucap, founding Director of the Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics
  • Jürgen Scholz, lawyer and founder of “Medweed”
  • Tim Pfeiffer-Gerschel, Head of the German Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
  • Georg Wurth, Chairman of the German Hemp Association

 Moderation: Dr Andrea Despot, Deputy Head of the European Academy Berlin


2016: "The hunt is on for the forgotten continent – Africa for sale?"

Participants in the discussion:

  • Judith Helfmann-Hundack, Director of Foreign Trade and Development Policy at the German-African Business Association (Afrika Verein der deutschen Wirtschaft e.V.)
  • Dr. Julia Leininger, acting head of the department Governance, Statehood, Security of the German Development Institute
  • Hanna Rammig, assistant manager and senior project manager of the ScMI Scenario Management International AG
  • Fritz A. Grobien, Immediate Past President of Bremen Cotton Exchange and partner at Albrecht, Müller-Pearse & Co. Trade


  • Dr. Andrea Despot, vice director of Europäische Akademie Berlin

2015: "Russia and Europe - does the curtain fall again?"
Participants in the discussion:

  • Dr. Rafal Dutkiewicz, mayor of the city Breslau
  • Prof. Dr. Klaus Mangold, honorary consul of the Russian Federation for Baden-Württemberg
  • Dr. Anna Rose, German correspondent of the Russian governmental daily newspaper "Rossijskaja Gasjeta"
  • Jens Siegert, director of the Heinrich Böll-Foundation, Moskau
  • Jürgen Trittin, MdB Bündnis 90/ die Grünen and member of the foreign committee of the German Bundestag


  • Dr. Andrea Despot, vice director of Europäische Akademie Berlin

2014: „Sports and Commerce – A Continuous Balancing Act“
Participants in the discussion:

  • Matthias Berg, gold medalist paralympics
  • Thomas Bader, 1. Dean TSG Reutlingen e.V.
  • Roland Eitel, Chief executive RE SportConsulting GmbH
  • Kahraman Erdin, Chief executive GAZi Promotion GmbH
  • Prof. Dr. Gerd Nufer, Professor Marketing and Sportmanagement, ESB Business School
  • Bernd Wahler, President VfB Stuttgart 1893 e.V.


  • Jochen Stöckle, SWR1-Host

2013: European Dreams and Realities – Is the European Union Falling Apart? 
Participants in the discussion:

  • Cem Özdemir: Federal Chairmann Bündnis 90/Die Grünen
  • Prof. Dr. Rolf Caesar: Economist Universität Hohenheim 
  • Rodrigo García Liébana: spanish graduate ESB Business School


  • Prof. Dr. Hans Tümmers: Founding father ESB Business School

2012: Germany on Her Way to Poverty?

  • Dr Carmina Brenner: President of the State Statistical Office of Baden-Württemberg
  • Max-Richard Freiherr Rassler von Gamerschwang: Owner and manager of Schloss Weitenburg Hotel, Starzach
  • Professor Dr Meinhard Miegel: Chairman of the Board at Denkwerk Zukunft-Stiftung kulturelle Erneuerung (Future- Foundation Cultural Renewal)
  • Sebastian Nerz: Chairman of the German Pirate Party
  • Dr Volker Wissing, MdB (MP): Deputy Chairman of the FDP parliamentary group

2011: Foreigners – Germany’s Last Chance?
Participants in the discussion:

  • Christian Lindner: Secretary general FDP
  • Thomas Maria Renz: Suffragran diocese Rottenburg-Stuttgart
  • Prof. Dres. Eva Maria Haberfellner: Head of School Schloss Salem 
  • Ursula Schwarzenbart: Director Global Diversity Office Daimler AG  
  • Dr. phil. Vassilis Tsianos: Social scientist Hamburg University


  • Normen Odenthal: Facilitator ZDF

2010: German Diet Schizophrenia
Participants in the discussion:

  • Stefan Kreuzberger: Author of the book ,,Die Ökolüge" 
  • Dr. Brigitte Bäuerlein: Dietary adviser
  • Joachim Kaiser: Starred Chef of the restaurant ,,Meyer´s Keller" in Nördlingen 
  • Christiane Manthey: Ministry for consumer protection in Baden-Württemberg
  • Michael Schneider: Founder of the organic food shop “Der Marktladen“ in Tübingen


  • Marcus Niehaves: ZDF-Journalist 

2009: Germany 2020 – A Country without a Middle Class?
Participants in the discussion:

  • Christian Erbe: Chief executive Erbe Elektromedizin GmbH
  • Dr. Michael Müller: Chief executive MBtech Consulting GmbH
  • Eberhard Reiff: President der IHK Reutlingen
  • Tom Schmitt: President & CEO FedEx Global Supply Chain Services, USA
  • Fritz Schuller: Dean a.D. Hewlett Packard GmbH
  • Frank Zach: Board secretary DGB Baden-Württemberg


  • Ariane Reimers: Editor ARD-aktuell Tagesthemen

2008: Global Climate Change – Challenges for Politics, Industry and Society
Participants in the discussion:

  • Dr. Gerhard Timm: Federal whip BUND
  • Dr. Martin Stuchtey: Partner at McKinsey&Company
  • Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke: former president Wuppertal Institute for climate, enviroment, ernery
  • Tanja Gönner: environment department Baden-Württemberg
  • Kurt Döhmel: Chairman of management German Shell Holding GmbH


  • Klaus Stratmann: Handelsblatt

2007: A Crescent in the Night Sky – How much Turkey can the EU Bear?
Participants in the discussion:

  • Dr. Alexander Gauland: Undersecretary a.D. and publicist 
  • Dr.Tessa Hofmann: Scientist on Osteuropa-Institut Freien Universität Berlin
  • Dr. Ulrich Kater: Chief economist DekaBank
  • Reiner Möckelmann: German consul general in Istanbul a.D.
  • Martin Schulz: Party whip SPE-Fraktion in  EU-Parliament
  • Dr.Vural Ünlü: Media scholar and executive consultant 


  • Bernd Heller 

2006: Thinker Seeks Maker – German Innovation in a Midlife Crisis?
Participants in the discussion:

  • Dr.-Ing. Bernd Bohr: Chief executive Robert Bosch GmbH, Department Chairman automobile technology 
  • Edelgard Bulmahn: Chairwoman committee economy and technology, Federal Ministry of Education and Research a.D.
  • Richard Hauser: Managing Director of Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Georg List: Vice President Booz Allen Hamilton, Amsterdam
  • Andres Kochhäuser: Partner 3i Deutschland, Gesellschaft für Industriebeteiligungen mbH
  • Prof. Dr. Dr.-Ing. E.h. Max Syrbe: Chairman advisory board Steinbeis-Stiftung, past president Fraunhofer Gesellschaft
  • Prof. Dr. Norbert Walter: Chief economist Deutsche Bank Gruppe


  • Philipp Encz: Correspondent Bloomberg TV, ESB-Graduate (graduation year 2000)


2004: China: The new engine of the global economy? With over a billion ‘people power’ towards the future?

  • Dieter May: Vice President Corporate Strategy, Infineon Technologies AG
  • Jürgen Redmann: Head of Global Logistics, Roche Diagnostics GmbH
  • Dr Christian Ramthun: Writer for WIrtschaftswoche Berlin
  • Luoding Rath: Managing Director of ChinaConsult Projektentwicklung (project development)
  • Dr Manuel Vermeer: Lecturer at Ostasieninstitut (East Asian Insitute) Ludwigshafen
  • Peter Witteczek: Chairman of the Board at Walter AG
  • Klaus Zimmer: President Greater China SAP AG


  • Clarissa Ahlers: n-tv newsreader


2002: The Project Future – corporate development in the 21st century

  • Professor Dr Michael Schenk: Head of Fraunhofer Institute (IFF) factory operation and automation
  • Anja Kissling: Personnel developer of the year 2000 corporate development, personnel consulting and success training
  • Professor Dr Erich Zahn: Institute director at Stuttgart University & member of the body of experts strategies for the future and services 2000
  • Dr Wilfried Sihn: Deputy director of Fraunhofer Institute(IPA) production engineering and automation


2001: Start-up made easy? Success factors and challenges for founders of companies

  • Guido Alt: Chairman of the Board at caatoosee ag
  • Dr Walter Döring: Minister of Economics in government of Baden-Württemberg
  • Leonhard Fischer: Member of the Board, responsible for investment banking at Dresdner Bank AG
  • Andreas Schmidt: Member of the Board at CENIT AG Systemhaus


  • Burkhard Böndel


2000: International brand strategy at Nestlé
Panel guest:

  • Hans G. Güldenberg: Chairman of the Board at Nestlé Deutschland AG


  • Dr Helmut Kohl: Former Federal Chancellor


1999 (1): Challenges for Germany in the globalisation age
Panel guest:

  • Professor Dr Herbert A. Henzler: Chairman Europe of McKinsey & Company, Inc.


  • Dr Helmut Kohl: Federal Chancellor


1999 (2): Competition and cooperation between banks and insurances
Panel guest:

  • Jürgen Eichelmann: Management board member of the Allianz Lebensversicherung AG


  • Dr Helmut Kohl: Federal Chancellor


1998 (1): Expo 2000
Panel guest:

  • Helmut Werner: Chairman of Supervisory Board of EXPO 2000, former Chairman of the Board at Mercedes Benz AG


  • Dr Helmut Kohl: Federal Chancellor


1998 (2): Telekom in international competition
Panel guest:

  • Dr Ron Sommer: Chairman of the Board at Deutsche Telekom AG


  • Dr Helmut Kohl: Federal Chancellor