EBS Universität supports students in setting up their own business
Felix, Vinzenz, Florian und Julius with their coach Thomas Alt (f.l.)
Giving students methodical and professional support is part of his daily business. But accompanying students on the way to their own business idea and teaching them the basics of business administration is not an everyday occurrence for him either. Thomas Alt is a research assistant and doctoral student at the Institute for Brand and Communication Research (IMK) under Prof. Dr. Franz-Rudolf Esch and is one of three coaches with whom EBS Universität is supporting the business@school initiative for the first time. When asked about his motivation, the answer comes without hesitation: “I thought it was excellent that there is an educational initiative that shares sound business knowledge with students who are enthusiastic about entrepreneurship.” Since August last year, Thomas Alt has been looking after a team of four students at the Schloss Hansenberg boarding school in Geisenheim. He and his team have already been able to celebrate their first success: “In November, my students emerged as winners from the first phase. They won their school decision, which was about the best analysis of a Dax company. The team worked hard to achieve this victory. In preparation, we worked late into the evening on topics such as internal and external financing and the leverage effect. Contents with which one usually only comes into contact in the bachelor’s study of business administration”, said Thomas Alt and added, “With such a motivated team it was really fun!”
Initiator of the partnership between EBS Universität and business@school is Christof Glaser. He is Student Recruitment Manager at EBS Universität and supervises a team of four at Leibniz Gymnasium in Wiesbaden. “I have repeatedly read about business@school in the resumes of motivated applicants. At some point I did some research and it quickly became clear to me that EBS had to be involved here. As a university, we can not only provide supervisors, but also offer good support in terms of content”. His team initially had start-up difficulties. The first phase did not run optimally. True to the motto “one learns from mistakes”, Christof Glaser supported the team in developing their skills. The team worked successfully on itself and was rewarded for this with winning the second phase. The project involved a business analysis of a small local business. “I was personally overwhelmed by the development the team went through in such a short time. The students worked incredibly hard on themselves and on the topic and were rewarded for it.” Glaser is certain that critical reflection and ambition are two essential qualities that are valuable for the development and realization of one’s own business idea.
The third coach at EBS Universität experienced a similarly positive team development. Tanja Schader is Faculty Director at EBS Universität and together with Jürgen Frank, Technical Product Manager at Commerzbank AG, she is in charge of a five-member team of Graf-Stauffenberg-Gymnasium in Flörsheim am Main. Her team has recently completed the second phase and extensively analysed a local pension. The owner of the analysed company was very interested in the findings, so he too was anxiously watching the school decision.
For the three coaches at EBS Universität it is clear that students and coaches alike learn a lot from business@school: The students gain basic business knowledge and what it means to develop a solid business idea. And the coaches are able to learn from the students how a novice can approach business problems with a great amount of creativity, curiosity and perseverance. The third and final phase, the development of an own business idea including a business plan, has already started. The EBS coaches are also at hand to help and advise their students in this phase. Afterwards, the winners will present their idea to the public and an expert jury at regional and Europe-wide events.
Background: Since 1998, business@school, the educational initiative of the international consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG), has taught more than 26,500 students business in three phases over the course of a school year: first by analyzing a large and then a small company, then by developing their own business idea including a business plan. The teams of students are supported by their teachers as well as around 500 supervisors from more than 20 partner companies and BCG.