"Time to Celebrate!"

250 alumni, professors and students are celebrating and networking at the ESB Alumni Weekend 2019

By Katrin Reil

A total of 250 participants, 13 speakers and 4 locations – the 2019 alumni weekend was one of biggest homecomings to the Reutlingen campus to date. On Saturday 16 November graduates and students from the graduation years 1983 to 2023 met at ESB Business School and networked across the alumni generations.

“Time to celebrate“ was the official motto of the day. The large number of graduation-year anniversaries were celebrated first. But there were also many other reasons for us to raise our glasses. 40 years of ESB Business School, 10 years of ESB Reutlingen Alumni e.V. as well as the AACSB accreditation ESB obtained in summer. To fit all of this in, the event did not start with long speeches but with a small panel, chaired by Pasquale Seliger (IB 2015), who also guided us through the rest of the day. ESB founding father Professor Dr Hans J. Tümmers, alumni president Philipp Greiner (IB 2014) and the former ESB dean Professor Dr Andreas Taschner looked back on the history and most recent achievements of ESB Business School. The conclusion was that ESB had always been in a class of its own. From the polytechnic in the seventies with the aim to confer double degrees, which at the time were completely unknown, to the university of applied sciences with its strong focus on research today. “Back then at the ministry they didn’t even know what a double degree certificate was supposed to look like – perhaps German on the front and another language on the back?”, recalls Professor Tümmers, accompanied by laughter. All three speakers cited the ESB Spirit as one of the main reasons for the ESB Business School success story. “We live from communication, from networking. That is why it is worthwhile to continue to spread the ESB Spirit. This doesn’t end with graduation, but remains with us for life“, says Philipp Greiner.  

The ESB Spirit was also remembered by Keynote speaker Rolf Sigmund (IPBS 1984), who at the beginning of his speech took the chance to tell some stories from his student days. The former general manager of L’Oréal Germany took early retirement at his own request and today is a member of the advisory board and a consultant. Thus Sigmund is one of the first generation of ESB alumni to have meanwhile gathered many years of (leadership) experience. Hence leadership is what he spoke about in his keynote speech. Under the title “Successful leadership: Yesterday – today - tomorrow“, he looked back on the stages of his career, his experiences and their significance for the managers of tomorrow.

Following the keynote speech, the alumni weekend continued with the participants forming small groups. As part of the “ESB Research Talks“, they attended workshops, presentations and guided tours, which were conducted by ESB professors who spoke about their current research work.  In the first round of talks Professor Dr Martin Mocker presented his new book “Designed for Digital”, which is about the digital transformation of large companies, and Professor Dr Nello Gaspardo, who took his audience on a journey to “hard dogs” and “hyperactive apes”, different types of employees and people we meet in everyday (working) life. Then Professor Dr Anna Göddeke and Ricarda Rauch (IPBS 2013) talked about their research in the area of digital transformation in the working environment and Professor Dr Florian Kapmeier about climate change and the creation of a sustainable yet prospering world. Professor Dr Daniel Palm and ESB staff member Altan Aydemir were actively involved twice. They guided two groups of participants through Werk150 (former ESB Logistics and Learning Factory), the teaching, research and development factory test field at ESB Business School.

At the closing dinner in the university refectory the last official speaker made his speech, with a particularly important message. ESB dean Professor Dr Christoph Binder, in office since October and himself an alumnus (IPBS 2000) offered a glimpse into the future. ESB, said Binder, is currently at the beginning of a strategy process which will shape the school’s orientation in the long term. He invited and called upon all the alumni with their practical experience and their know-how to get involved with their ideas and to secure the long-term success and of ESB Business School. We, the ESB Reutlingen Alumni Association, will most definitely take an active part in ESB’s strategy process.    

“We had set ourselves the target to get the entire range of our members across all years and degree programmes back to the campus, to link the generations with each other and to provide an attractive programme with relevant contents. This we have definitely succeeded in doing”, sums up Franziska Ibele (IB 2015), vice president of the ESB Reutlingen Alumni Association.

For an extensive recap of the ESB Alumni Weekend 2019 as well as more pictures visit the website of the ESB Reutlingen Alumni e.V.