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Jumping into the deep end with water wings

How studies at ESB Business School prepare you for a start-up career

By Martina Traub-Kaiser

Start your own business straight out of university? ESB Business School is setting the trend with an increasing number of students active in the start-up scene during their studies or launching careers there after graduation. Does studying at a business school help?

"Founding a company is always a bit like jumping into the deep end," says Martina Traub-Kaiser, coordinator of the MSc International Business Development and MSc International Accounting, Controlling and Taxation programmes. "A degree programme cannot anticipate all eventualities. But we can provide the 'water wings' for the start, that is, we impart knowledge in a practical way and support the development of a broad network at an early stage."

The lectures at ESB Business School impart know-how that all new entrepreneurs need, for example in project and strategy management, general business administration, law and accounting. In the lecture "Entrepreneurship", for example, students are given the task of developing their own business ideas, including a business model, in teams. They go through a complete business design process and immerse themselves in the world of ideas of founders using various methodological skills such as design thinking. Then the students have to pitch their ideas to their fellow students and their professor. 

Nick Hammer is a student in the 2nd semester of the MSc International Business Development programme and is already active in his own start up. He and his partners have founded a company for the trade, reconditioning and optimization of used machines and spare parts for production facilities. He greatly appreciates the professional input at ESB Business School, saying "The program is definitely able to give you the tools so you won’t feel completely lost. Also, the expertise and infrastructure available here really helps." Nick Hammer’s company often saves machines and parts from being scrapped. It thus ensures greater sustainability by extending the working life of machines and components, or giving them a second life.

Student initiatives such as ESB Student Consulting also impart knowledge and skills that founders need. The diverse extracurricular involvement with numerous projects promotes a student start-up culture at ESB Business School and is an optimal environment for developing one's own ideas.

Tim Geyer is a graduate of the MSc International Business Development programme and is setting up a US branch for a high-tech start up from the Stuttgart area. He also sees his recent studies as good preparation, saying "Especially in the start-up phase, you have to take on many tasks at the same time, and the varied course contents are perfect preparation for that. In addition, you need a lot of advice from various perspectives during the start-up phase. The necessary contacts in the areas of venture capital, consulting, industry and start-ups can be made early on in your studies at ESB Business School."