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Wirtschaftsforum (Economic Forum)

The Economic Forum at ESB Business School is a public panel discussion on current topics in business, politics and society. It was launched by students in autumn 1996 and is organised every year by a team of students.

Wirtschaftsforum (Economic Forum) 2022

“Action needed now – Europe’s future won’t wait!” 

The European Union has been around for almost 30 years and during that time many fundamental aspects have changed. A new single currency has been introduced in many member states and the addition of new countries has led to the expansion and progress of the EU. Most people see the EU as a milestone in Europe’s history, bringing more prosperity, freedom and peace. In recent years, however, there have been increasing difficulties and conflicts that the EU has had to overcome. There has not always been unity. There is a need for action on a number of issues in order to remain a strong unit.

The 26th Economic Forum (WiFo) of ESB Business School is therefore taking place under the heading “Action needed – Europe’s future won’t wait!”

The event will take place at 7 pm on Wednesday 4 May 2022 in the assembly hall on the campus of Reutlingen University, subject to the current guidelines and hygiene concepts. No registration is necessary.


The current situation:

The subject is very topical and since it affects us all, it is our duty to help shape the future of Europe. As 2022 is the European Year of Youth, it is particularly appropriate for us as a student initiative to take up this topic. 

Current global events pose a host of new challenges for the countries of the European Union. They provide a deeper insight into how the EU is currently positioned and where there are possible shortcomings. Yet it has also become evident that the EU can stick together at difficult times and react quickly and as one when it comes to crises like the corona pandemic or the war in Ukraine.

The panel discussion will also revolve around the future of the EU and how it can assert itself among the global powers China, the USA and Russia.

To what extent should and can we guarantee our sovereignty as a European community? What opportunities and what obligations does the EU have in strategic cooperation with other countries and continents?

The Economic Forum will also focus on Europe’s potential. Topics such as digitisation, innovation, start-up ecosystem as well as human rights will be used to show how the EU’s strengths can be advanced in the future.


Like every year, the panel will feature big names from the world of politics, business and academia. We are pleased that all areas are represented at an equally high level that will guarantee a discussion with different perspectives and opinions on equal terms. 


We are very happy to welcome this year’s speakers in the assembly hall:

Professor Dr Hans-Peter Burghof – University of Hohenheim, expert in banking and financial management

Evelyne Gebhardt – former vice-president of the European Parliament, SPD

Felix Kuhnert – Partner PwC, 20+ years automotive expert worldwide

Dr Daniel Stelter - economist and author, publisher of the podcast “Beyond the Obvious 2.0”

Professor Achim Wambach, PhD – President of ZEW Mannheim


Dr Julia Hagel will be the moderator. She completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration between 2009 and 2015 and subsequently gained her PhD at the WFI – Ingolstadt School of Management in 2020. She completed her training as an event moderator in 2013 and since then has been a very committed moderator of a wide variety of events and special occasions.

After the panel discussion, guests will have the opportunity to exchange ideas with the speakers and ask personal questions over finger-food snacks and drinks.  


This year the Economic Forum is being organised by a team of seven ESB students. The areas of responsibility are divided as follows:


Engagement of speakers: Sofia Schwartz, Louis Vaillant (both IMX 6), Leon Kozak (IMX 4)

Marketing: Camille Wambsganss, Samuel Krämer (both IMX 2)

Logistics: Laura Wachsmann, Pepe-Samuel Willer (both IMX 2)


The Team looks forward to welcoming a large audience to the Economic Forum.