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140 caps in the air

ESB Business School says goodbye to its graduates from all over the world with a festive ceremony

By Katrin Reil

Finally, the graduation caps were flying again in Reutlingen’s civic hall: at the graduation ceremony of ESB Business School at Reutlingen University last Saturday, 140 graduates embarked on a new phase of their lives. Numerous well-wishers attended the premiere after the long break caused by the pandemic. In addition to keynote speaker Dr Stefan Wolf, CEO of ElringKlinger AG, the Mayor of Reutlingen Thomas Keck also joined those present in looking back on their studies and into the future.

“You are now standing at a crossroads with many turnings. Your studies at ESB Business School have given you the tools and skills to take on responsibility, no matter which turning you take,” said Mr Keck in his welcoming speech. At the same time, the mayor expressed the hope that many of the graduates would stay in Reutlingen, either as entrepreneurs or in local companies.

Keynote speaker Dr Stefan Wolf also appealed to the younger generation: “You now have the best career prospects – we, the economy, need you! Our economy is now more dependent than ever on highly qualified employees because in many areas we are in the midst of an unprecedented transformation.” The CEO of ElringKlinger AG left no doubt that he believes the current graduating classes in particular are ideally equipped to meet the challenges of the future. “You have shown the pandemic that you will not allow it to divert you from your chosen path. You have consistently overcome hurdle after hurdle on the way. Chapeau!”. Like all the evening’s speakers, Dr Stefan Wolf delivered his speech in a mixture of German and English, taking into account the international character of ESB Business School and the families and friends of the graduates who had travelled to Reutlingen from all over the world.

Studying under Coronavirus conditions – Professor Dr Hendrik Brumme, President of Reutlingen University – also paid special respect to the graduates for this. “Take the values of the university out into the world with you and stay connected to us,” was his message to them for their journey ahead.

Professor Dr Christoph Binder, Dean of ESB Business School, also reminded the audience of the values ESB Business School stands for against the backdrop of the current global political situation: internationality, friendship and the ‘ESB Spirit’. "We are calling on our ESB community to continue to operate with respect and refrain from stigmatising or excluding individuals based on their country of origin. Leading and responding with empathy will allow us to remain united rather than cause further divisions. Instead, as a global community, we should continue to promote dialogue and the value of learning from one another."

New Bachelor's graduates Julia Brunner and Niklas Frühling recalled in their address their first day at university: “Most of us didn’t know anyone. But we knew we were in the right place and that we were in for an adventure.” Master's graduates David Huque und Qing Yun Li also went back again to the special feeling of togetherness at ESB Business School. It is true that the courses were demanding and full of long nights, they said. But, “we were always ready to celebrate each and every one of us for their successes.”   

After the official presentation of the Bachelor’s and Master’s certificates amid applause and congratulations, Daniel Nothelfer, Vice President of ESB Reutlingen Alumni e.V., welcomed the new graduates to one of the strongest alumni networks in Germany. At the same time, he called on them to continue supporting the following generations of students, whether as mentors or guest lecturers.

Jazz pianist Patrick Bebelaar provided the musical backdrop for the speeches and the presentation of the degree certificates. With several musical interludes, the professor for Jazz/Pop at the University for Church Music in Tübingen set the right accents for the festive ceremony.

After much looking back and looking forward, they finally flew again: the graduation caps of the graduates of ESB Business School. The current cohort comprised a total of 236 graduates. 140 of them took part in the ceremony in the Reutlingen civic hall.