Welcome (back)!

Start of the digital summer semester 2020 / A warm welcome to all first-semester students at ESB Business School!

Gundula Vogel/Sven Rottner

For the students at Reutlingen University, including 667 in their first semester, an unusual semester started on Monday – a semester that will take place mainly in digital form. The “freshers“ in particular were given a virtual but warm welcome by the university’s executive committee  and the individual schools and degree programmes.

On 20 April students all over Germany started a new phase of their life that was very different from usual due to the current safety precautions taken against the corona pandemic. For Reutlingen University and thus many of ESB Business School’s degree programmes, the summer semester began later than usual and in a digital form..

University president, Professor Dr Hendrik Brumme, and the vice-president, Professor Harald Dallmann, welcomed the first-semester students warmly in a video address delivered on the digital campus. In the coming semester they must be prepared for the fact that teaching will almost always be digital. “It has been and still is a tour de force for the entire university“, says Professor Dr Hendrik Brumme, president of Reutlingen University together with Professor Harald Dallmann, the vice-president for teaching, in a video message. All the professors were asked in advance to load RELAX, the central teaching and learning platform, with course material, to prepare live classes via video conference systems, to use collaboration software to set up projects during the coming semester and much more besides.    

Due to the current situation ESB Business School has been faced with a very special challenge: Faculty has not only had to ensure a smooth start to the semester by yesterday’s date. Several degree programmes had already started teaching activities before the corona pandemic. Parallel to the preparations for the digital start to the semester in business engineering and in most of the master’s degree programmes, the programmes BSc International Business and BSc International Management Double Degree as well as the MBAs had to be converted to digital teaching during the current semester.

All other ESB degree programmes were now able to start the unusual 2020 summer semester on 20 April as planned. Most of the programmes welcomed the new students in video conferences in which they responded to questions and concerns of the first-semester students, for example the organisation and implementation of group projects.   

The MSc International Business Development and MSc International Accounting, Controlling and Taxation programmes had already responded to the new students following a preliminary survey. They were therefore able to identify topics that were of particular concern to first-semester students.  

Before the semester began, all new students at Reutlingen University had the opportunity to prepare for their studies by attending the three-week staRT courses. Then it was still possible for the courses to take place on campus. With more than 200 registrations the preliminary courses for mathematics, physics, informatics and chemistry were in particular demand. Besides workshops, for example on entering the academic world, the programme included opportunities for the students to get to know each other. The preliminary course weeks are provided within the framework of the “start your studies!” project funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and Art. 

For international students the Reutlingen International Office and the Institute of Foreign Languages offer preparatory online German courses. The courses have been running since mid-March and with approx.. 100 international students are very well attended.

Although the start to the new semester was very unusual for both students and lecturers, we are nevertheless confident. The success of ESB Business School in the Wirtschaftswoche-Ranking published last Friday also contributes to this. ESB was able to defend its first place in business administration and held its own among the business engineers on rank 6.