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Living the ESB Spirit

Interview with ESB Dean Prof. Dr Christoph Binder

By Sven Rottner

50 Years in Business: In the light of the anniversary of the department for Business Administration at Reutlingen University, leading representatives speak about their time at ESB Business School, what internationality and practical relevance means to them and how they imagine the department in the future. Prof. Dr Christoph Binder, Dean of ESB business School, was a student at Reutlingen himself once. In the interview, he also emphasises the vast experience he gained during his time in management consulting.

When you think back to your student days at Reutlingen University - What impressions did you have when you first set foot on the campus?

What I thought was particularly great was that all student life takes place on campus. I also remember very positively that we were welcomed by the StuBue directly after the faculty's introductory event and got to know our fellow students right away in what was then called the "Bierkeller". You felt welcomed, part of the group, by everyone from the very first moment.

At that time, the food in the cafeteria was rather quaint - with the predefined plastic trays on which the food was portioned out - for example, the legendary "Tiroler Wälderpfanne".

The history of Reutlingen’s Business Administration is a story of constant change. What were the biggest changes you noticed when you returned after eight years?

After I graduated, I came to campus almost every year as a company representative to help with the entrance exams. That's why I noticed changes such as successive renovation measures, the technical equipment in the lecture halls and the expansion of the computer pool over time. Buildings 5 and 9, on the other hand, where most of the lectures were held for us at the time, changed very little.

Reutlingen's business administration has always focused on being practically-oriented. You yourself worked in management consulting for many years and so you know what you’re talking about. How did your studies in Reutlingen help you to gain a foothold in the professional world?

Reutlingen, Heidenheim an der Brenz, Austin (Texas), Düsseldorf, Reims, Paris - six different locations for studies and internships in four years alone were important mobility training. This made it possible to develop key skills that are very helpful in management consulting. First and foremost, the ability to quickly find one's feet in a new environment with different people, to analyze the situation and to successfully complete a project with a clear perspective and objective.

And how has your work in management consulting helped you to give practice-oriented lectures and seminars?

The constant confrontation with new, sometimes extremely complex issues enabled me to acquire in-depth specialist knowledge and methodological skills. Regular, targeted specialist training also promoted my development. These experiences provide a very good foundation for today's lectures, for instance, through various practical examples and case studies.

Thank you for this interview.